Guest post #2: Ben Weasel
Our second guest post of the day is from Ben Weasel. Ben has been making music for at least fifteen years, most notably with Screeching Weasel and The Riverdales. He is also the author of two books and is a huge baseball fan. You can read Ben's thoughts on music, politics and baseball at his blog, Weasel Manor.
The Last Thirty-Five Or So Years, Condensed.
©2003 Ben Weasel
I was born in the late 60's so I don't remember anything about that decade. I'm told that a lot of people fought The Man for a few seconds until they realized that Talking About Fighting The Man was a lot easier and safer than actually Fighting The Man, and it helped to get them laid, too. The Sixties seemed to start out good, with clever, funny comedy, and good fashion and music, but by the end of the decade the hippies had taken over and ruined everything. As far as I can tell, the Good Sixties were New York, Coltrane, cocktails, skinny ties, capri pants and Lenny Bruce. The Bad Sixties were San Francisco, The Beatles, acid, bare feet, dashikis and Abbie Hoffman. People who were teenagers and young adults back then still talk about The Sixties in romantic terms, which makes the rest of us feel embarrassed for them.
The 1970's sucked. People were very hairy and listened to terrible music. You had three choices of music on the radio in the 70’s; pretentious concept albums by bands like Yes and Genesis, sickly sweet wimpy pop made by Leo Sayer and Olivia Newton John, or soft-rock played by guys with beards and names like England Dan. People wore really ugly, garish clothes and smoked a lot of pot out of bongs with wizards and skulls stenciled on them. A giraffe-like lady named Carol Burnett made millions of dollars staging sketches on television which consisted of lame Z-grade comedians in costumes pretending to try not to laugh at each other's decidedly unfunny antics. Nixon lost his job as President for too many Dirty Tricks and said we wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore, but everybody kept on kicking ‘cause it was fun. Gerald Ford bumped into a lot of things and asked everybody to please wear buttons to help save energy. Jimmy Carter told Playboy he got wood when his brother Billy brought whores to the peanut farm and when people got mad about it he tried to punch a bunny rabbit. About the only good thing about the 70's were the movies; you could still go see a decent film in the average theater. Well, and the breakfast cereals were pretty good, too.
The 1980's sucked, too, but the music was better and people stopped letting their body hair grow so much. The clothes were just as dumb; nobody wore t-shirts. Instead, men shopped at places like Chess King for shirts with a lot of snaps and vertical stripes on them. Girls wore hats and either had really big hair or really short hair. The nation fell in love with Cajun food, then everybody suddenly stopped caring at the same time. Sex became potentially lethal about three days after I hit puberty. MTV showed these things called "music videos" for a brief time in the 1980's but they quickly went out of fashion and the network opted for original programming. A lady named Tipper Gore heard her daughter say "masturbation" and got so mad about it that she tried to beat up Frank Zappa. Reagan literally let the loonies out of the asylums creating a major homeless problem, but he did stop the commies, and he provided great source material for punk rock bands. Sex-positive little cupcakes with dreadlocks and nose rings corrected everybody’s pronunciation of the names of countries like Nicaragua and Guatemala with an exaggerated Latino accent but couldn’t seem to spell “women” properly. Yuppies shot cocaine into their dicks and drove Beamers, Gallagher made vaguely populist remarks about the government while hitting watermelons with a sledgehammer and pop bands cut their hair with razors and played keyboards shaped like guitars.
In the 90's many people thought music got better but they were wrong. Fashion took a step backwards as people developed nostalgia for the 70's and started wearing bell-bottomed pants and lots of flannel. A lot of people threw their backs out trying too hard to be ironic. The President got head from a big-boned girl in the Oval Office but he got caught and then he had to ask somebody what “is” is so he could explain how his cum got on her dress. A guy named Jim invented this thing called "The Internet" which helped people get porn without having to suffer the embarrassment of lurking around video stores in raincoats and receiving bulky packages in plain brown wrappers at their homes. People drove around calling their friends on their cell phones to tell him how mad they were that so many people were talking on their cell phones while driving around. Crack became popular and, perhaps not coincidentally, kids started getting the crazy idea that soccer wasn’t just a pussy European sport. At a party in Hollywood one night in the early 90’s, a bunch of studio execs got really high and made a bet concerning which one of them could take the most talentless buckethead in town and convince film directors and reviewers that he was a serious dramatic actor. Thus, Tom Hanks’ career was re-born. Hip-hop became huge as middle-class white kids from the suburbs finally found artists like Chuck D. and N.W.A. who could really speak to their experience. Susan Faludi wrote “Backlash” and everybody laughed and pointed and said she was ugly and she felt just like the girl in Janis Ian’s song about being seventeen. Punk rock became popular for about 12 minutes and so for the first and probably last time in my life I made very good money playing music.
I like the Zeroes much better. There's never a better time to be alive than right now. After all, we have digital cable.