Thursday, October 23, 2003
Pretty nice little riff
from our friend Heather
And I look in the mirror all the ti-yime...
Lord knows I love the '80s as much as the next tedious member of my generation, formerly known as Gen X and currently known as the Most Pointlessly Nostalgic Generation Ever, but there's something about VH1's "I Love the '80s Strikes Back" that makes my skin crawl. For a while there it seemed like no other generation would ever be nearly as self-obsessed as those boomers with their endlessly repeating specials about assassinations, Vietnam, Nixon, LSD and Manson.
But look at us now, we think we're sooo cute, humming "Hey Mickey" and telling people their hair makes them look like that one guy from "Flock of Seagulls." It was bad enough when our little obsession with late '70s and early '80s consumables hit the Internet, and we realized that pretty much everyone our age likes talking about the triple takes on "Three's Company" or that "Connect Four" commercial where the kid goes, "Pretty sneaky, sis!" It was bad enough when people started having '80s theme parties, where they played "Jesse's Girl" and "Pac Man Fever," and everyone looked much, much uglier than usual, which is really not the desired effect while socializing.
Now we've crossed the line. Thanks to the fact that a few of us have weaseled our way into positions of power (You know who you are!), we can't even pretend that it's only our dumb friends and a bunch of Internet geeks who loved "Sorry!" had the same Fisher Price cruise ship when they were little (you know, the one with the lobster dinner on the table?), and still listen to "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA sometimes when they're feeling particularly low.
Now, instead of imagining that our childhoods are unique, filled with private treasures that we rediscover mostly through intimate conversations with friends, we get to watch Liz Phair and Rich Eisen making clever remarks about "Flash Gordon" and "Eight Is Enough" and Devo. As nice as it was to chat about this stuff, oh, about 10 years ago, there's something about hearing Mariah Carey prattle on about "Hungry, Hungry Hippo" that isn't just grating, but has the power to incite an identity crisis of epic proportions. Suddenly all the crap you always took so seriously belongs to absolutely everyone, even the smarmy jerks on TV. It's like waking up at the robot factory and realizing there are millions of other robots just like you. Countless numbers of us were soaking in the same inane shit growing up, and we were absolutely foolish to imagine that the consumable goods of our shared past were encoded with mythical powers, treating a hot pink plastic plate from a Barbie Dreamhouse or a gun from a Star Wars Action Figure Bespin Guard as artifacts. How pathetic and dull are we, anyway, obsessing about bad songs and crappy toys? I mean, as self-serious and righteous and vaguely uncool as they are, at least the boomers are obsessed with stuff like politics and the Beatles.
Yeah, I know, I should speak for myself, because you're all far too busy feeding the poor and listening to Coltrane to worry about bidding for used "Sit 'n' Spins" on eBay. From now on I'll keep my sweeping generalizations to myself.
Her and Klosterman should do something.