Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Childhood Was In the 1980's and All I Got Was this Lousy Essay

Ugh. The Eighties. I used to have a huge problem with jealousy in my life. I had to learn to be happy for others and appreciate what they have…blah. I don't think I'll ever get over growing up in the lamest decade since the 1930's. Only the Great Depression can outdo the cultural damage caused by hair bands and black stretch pants with stirrups.

There seems to be too many targets, honestly. The Reagan years were teeming with awkward trends and gaudy fashion and dumb artistic ventures and Don Johnson. I'll stick with two that irked me the most. Girls and pop music. Those were the main topics of my youth anyway so it should be no surprise.

I'm not hearing the twentieth anniversary resurgence of 1980's music, like I heard twenty years after the 60's and 70's. Somehow it's just been left alone for some reason. Sure, I hear a few people admit they like a Journey song and there seems to be home for the alterna-pop of the 80's here in Portland. But for the most part, it's throwaway, right? MTV killed radio, but it just took a generation to figure that out. We allowed hundreds of songs to affect our brain because the girls looked good in the video or the lead singer took his shirt off. It opened the gate for Justin and Britney and Justin and Kelly.


But when you listen to these "classics" they sound like Weird Al Yankovic parodies of themselves. Electronic, clunky songs and embarrassing metal. No wonder I listened to the Beatles. There wasn't much to yank out of that grab bag.

So let's get the timeline down: The seventies gave us Stevie Wonder, The Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty…then the eighties threw up New Edition, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force, Glass Tiger, Poison and Ratt….? I see a lot of skipping on that playlist.

I don't think Kurt Cobain gets enough credit for killing that shit, to be honest.

I want you to picture a young woman in the seventies. Maybe you picture long hair across her shoulders and a pair of bell bottoms. Maybe she's a little more urban and she has a collared shirt on. Hell, how about a T-shirt and shorts. The point is, there wasn't a lot of fuss outside of the disco. Now picture a girl in the early nineties or so. Same chick, right? She could be a bit grunged out with a flannel shirt, but her hair is still pretty natural or on a ponytail or something. Those high school girls were less unencumbered by, well, clothes. The music was varied and so were the looks.

Now let's take a peek at the ladies on Ferris Bueller's bus on their way to Shermer High School to find out who taped Larry Lester's buns together. Those are the fashionistas I went to school with. Smack dab in the Republican wet dream of 1985 and 1986 or so. Let's start with the hair. Thirty eight ounces of Aqua Net was just the beginning to keep those art installations on top of those heads. No guy I ever knew said" "She's fine, dude. She has towering hair." So they must have loved punching a hole in the ozone while shaping a garden rake over their foreheads in an attempt to make solid bangs you could bounce a tennis ball off of. Watch Working Girl if you can. Half the budget was spent encrusting bangs and arching hoops of hair. Think of the starving Ethiopian kids we could have fed with that money. We could have at least kept them shaded from the African sun in the shadow of Melanie Griffith's bouffant hairdo.

Now, the clothes. What the hell was up with the shoulder pads? Again, I never heard any man, or woman for that matter, say: "She's pretty, but too bad about those rounded, soft shoulders. They could use some squaring off into a ninety-degree angle." The billowy button-up shirts that hid all curves and sometimes, the knees. The fluorescent colors and the big stupid bracelets and sweatbands. Huge hideous belts with awkward buckles. Stretch pants. It was a ten year costume party.

If you combine the giant head and the billowy clothes it almost looks alien. Or, the silhouette was that of a warrior period in the Middle Ages where the men wore giant robes of silk and animal pelts while their hair was adorned with the skull of a fresh kill. ANYTHING but the natural lovely form of a woman. That is reason #146 I hate Reagan and all who praise him. It was a decade of covering up, and impersonating men who were assholes.

Please reject all notions of 80's revival! No clothes, no music, no fads! Nothing. It was an enormous waste of ten years or so that yielded little that was worth saving.

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