Tuesday, February 11, 2003

A Decade of Excess

A very interesting thing happened to me a couple of days ago while I was at brunch with Kristin that I had completely forgotten about until I was at Cold Stone Ice Cream yesterday. You see, at Cold Stone, in the background they were playing some old 80’s music that Kristin loved, but that I found somewhat aggravating. It’s not to say that I hate music from the 80’s because there is some that I can tolerate, but as a whole almost all of the music that came out of that decade was extremely shallow and lacked real musicianship. Anyways, I’ll get to talking about that later. Here is the scenario:

Kristin and I were sitting eating at the reef Sunday morning and I was wearing a new t-shirt that I had picked up at Hot Topic the day before. I thought it was clever and it was also only like $7 or so. It was black and on it was written the quote “still living in the eighties.” I won’t actually spend money on an article of clothing, especially a t-shirt unless I have some type of personal investment upon what is written on it. That is one of the main reasons I won’t buy Abercrombie or AE or Nike or any of those brands because then I am nothing more than a walking billboard for their store. I don’t want to pay to promote them, no way. The only thing I’ll promote in t-shirt form are bands that I like so that is why most of my clothes either have nothing on them or whatever is written or drawn on them, I like for a particular reason.

As we are eating, I was approached by a woman professor who nicely asked me what it meant to still be living in the eighties. My first reaction was simply amazement for the fact that someone was actually looking for me to justify what I was wearing. This, of course, thrilled me to no end. The is the first time in a long time that I had been asked about my clothing (besides the usual comment like “why the hell are you wearing that?” or “that doesn’t match”). How was I going to answer? I was on the spot and I didn’t want to sound stupid, yet I wanted to give my actual justification for wearing what I was. Ooooh, I was savoring the moment.

I kindly thanked her for asking and then explained that I was born and spent my childhood living in the 80’s. Since I never want to grow up and stay a child for the entirety of my life, I found it appropriate to say that I was still living in the 80’s as that is when I was a child, age-wise, because I am still as mature as an eight year old at times. She seemed satisfied by the answer and went on her merry way. Usually I wouldn’t remember little encounters such as that, but for some reason it stuck with me.

What does it really mean, though, that I’m still living in the 80’s? Do we actually remember what the 80’s were like? When I sat down and thought about it, they weren’t that great. First, getting back to what I said in the opening paragraph, the music was terrible. It was all cheesy pop music or hair metal. Sure, I used to be a Def Leppard fan, but I was also eight and didn’t really have a cultivated musical ear. I just listened to what the popular kids did so that I could possibly be one of them (it never quite worked out, unfortunately). Every time that I listen to an 80’s song now I am sorely reminded of how bad all of it was. I’m sure that everyone could criticize what I listen to now because my tastes lean towards punk, nu-metal, hardcore, and emo, but these genres show true musicianship. Everyone writes their own music and expresses true emotion, for the most part. I also like to think that I’ve acquired an ear for good music as well since my cd collection now numbers in the 1500’s. Excessive, I know, but that’s how much I love music. Compare anything from the 80’s to a modern Dredg, Finch, Mudvayne, or Embodyment cd. There is no comparison. I’m sorry, but I will always be biased against most music that came out before 1995.

Think about what we would also be wearing if we were still in the 80’s. Blech, I couldn’t imagine having to dress like that again (outside of the occasional costume party or rave). Big hair, denim everything, bright colors, and too much makeup. Watch an episode of any 80’s tv show (especially Three’s Company) and you will see how horrible the fashion sense of the populace was during that decade. I think I’d like to stick to my wardrobe that I have now from the late 90’s and 00’s.

There are so many other negatives about that decade that I could bring up, like the Cold War, useless products, crappy movies, and much more, but there is one good thing from the 80’s that I wish was still around—the cartoons. Oh my gosh, this was the golden age for American cartoons. Transformers, G.I.Joe, He-Man, Dungeons & Dragons, and so many other quality cartoons came out of this wonderful decade. The Cartoon Network is trying to reinvent some of them and bring them back (Transformers and He-Man in particular), but they’ve failed horribly in capturing the essence of the originals. I would savor every Saturday morning and I still long for the quality of cartoons from that time. Today’s cartoons just don’t do anything for me. There is the occasional anime that I enjoy, but other than that the only cartoon I regularly watch now is the Simpsons.

So, after thinking about it, would I still want to be living in the 80’s? Probably not, but I definitely would like to be a kid all over again. There is no denying that, so maybe I should just get a t-shirt that says “still living in diapers.” Yeah, that’d be great.

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