Vanity Fair Magazine this month has an article about the digital revolution and blah, blah, blah. (Ignore the covers and subscribe. Listen to me.) Genetic Engineering and the Internet will change the world. And isn’t it amazing the speed at which our culture changes and all the predictable stuff you get when December becomes January and we are expected to reflect.
But I want to go in another direction. 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of two movies that were memorable to me. Flashdance and The Big Chill were popular among those of us in our late 20’s and early 30’s partly for the stories but also for the music. Some of that stuff was classic Motown (The Big Chill) and the other was up tempo dance music that was fun to listen to while driving fast. But when I think of those movies, they don’t seem thirty years old. Not new, but not old. Does that make sense? Many of the fashions and social mores and sexual tension of those two movies exist today and yet the settings were thirty years ago.
Now, let’s have fun. Place yourself back in 1983 and look backwards thirty years from that date… 1953. Now, I was alive but not yet walking in ’53 so my appreciation for Gentlemen Prefer Blonds or Roman Holiday is not what it should be. I know they were good films and earned their awards, but for goodness sakes, was anyone dressing like Gregory Peck or Audrey Hepburn thirty years later, in 1983? Not by my recollection. And the music of 1953 was to anyone with still dark hair in 1983 the stuff of Puritans and stage coaches. That’s Amore by Dean Martin and Your Cheatin’ Heart by Hank Williams were number one and two on the Pop Music Charts in ’53. I’m pretty sure even my grandparents found those old chestnuts suitable to be retired thirty years later. Seriously, an overpaid 65 year-old banker in New York and a gorgeous 61 year-old blonde in Dallas feel the same though they never meet. They prefer the music of ’83 over ’53 and enjoy the juice of ’13 more than they expected. Don’t get me wrong, the Dino and Hank songs are great music, but not the tastes of ’83 or ’13. Songs one and two on the year-end Pop Charts in ’83 were by The Police and Cindy Lauper. Names we might actually want to listen to today. Am I making my point here?
Maybe fashion and music has slowed down because technology has not. Back to the first paragraph, we see the cell phone, Internet, Apple-anything world of today as just one big microchip. That’s all we care about. It’s how we communicate, how we entertain, who we work for and where our meager savings are invested. We haven’t had the free time to move into revolutionary new social pleasures ‘cause we have not figured out how to stretch our day to 35 hours. Yet. Now the alert among you might attempt to throw the Hip-Hop argument at me as an entertainment change since 1983. Really? I’ll give you that one ‘cause I’m nice, but don’t expect me to agree.
So reflect if you will. I think it’s how my generation prepares for bed. The world spins faster in some universes than in others. My wife thinks I dress sorta
frumpy…. It’s classic, I assure you.