History

Sucking in the Seventies

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Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this (UK) Times' reassessment of the most maligned decade of recent years, the 1970s. A snippet:

The full reassessment of the 1970s must, therefore, take into account two great truths. First, it was the age of transition from then to now. Battles were fought and won that made us who we are today. Some victories were benign—few now would argue against the liberation of gays and women, and environmentalism. Others were distinctly ambiguous—hyper-individualism has gone, everybody agrees, too far, though nobody knows how to restrain its excesses. Second, it was a period that produced a disproportionate share of the greatest art of the postwar period. Sam Tyler was right to leap off that building back into the era of Gene Hunt and Mark III Cortinas. It felt more alive. The 1970s had the [famously rotten car, the Austin] Allegro, but they weren't "shit-brown". They were golden.

Whole thing here. It's well worth reading, though it will be familiar to readers both of Tom Wolfe's seminal essay that coined the term "the Me Decade" (pdf!) and David Frum's anti-'70s history, How We Got Here.

And to readers of good old Suck, who were treated to this analysis of the decade that brought us, among other unimaginable marvels, Evel Knievel's pants-soiling personal Vietnam over Snake River Canyon and the best music from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones:

Intellectuals, artists, and architects, Wolfe notes, had always had great plans to "pygmalionize" the common man. "But once the dreary little bastards started getting money in the 1940's," [wrote Wolfe], "they did an astonishing thing—they took their money and ran! They did something only aristocrats (and intellectuals and artists) were supposed to do—they discovered and started doting on Me! They've created the greatest age of individualism in American history! All rules are broken!"

A quarter of a century after The Me Decade was so named, Wolfe's analysis is more relevant than ever: We are that much richer still, that much more all aristocrats now, and never less likely to heed the call of "remoralization" emanating from a wealthy Beltway pundit. (Indeed, judging from the lukewarm reception of Wolfe's A Man in Full and its weak sales vis a vis The Bonfire of the Vanities, we don't even give a shit what that old windbag has to say anymore.) For some of us, that may be cause for concern. But for the vast, overwhelming majority, it's only cause to dig out that old Kool and the Gang 8-track from 1980 and celebrate the new world order.

More in that jugular vein here.

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  1. I can’t agree with you on the “Bob Dylan’s Best Music” claim. Bringing it All Back Home, Blond on Blond and Highway 61 Revisited was his best music. Nothing against Planet Waves, Slow Train Coming and Blood on the Tracks, I still would take those three.

    My older siblings all grew up in the 1970s and they seemed be a hell of a lot more fun than the 80s or 90s. That said, my siblings also had a lot more classmates who died of drug overdoses, suicide and senseless car accidents than ever did. I know that is acidotal, but it seems like they had a lot more fun but were a lot more screwed up than we were in the 80s.

  2. Others were distinctly ambiguous – hyper-individualism has gone, everybody agrees, too far, though nobody knows how to restrain its excesses.

    Everybody agrees? When did that happen?

  3. It was one of the great decades in film, that’s for sure.

  4. “[Mayor O’malleuSuxs] grew up in the 1970s and they seemed be a hell of a lot more fun than the 80s or 90s.”

    Too true.

  5. ” …never less likely to heed the call of “remoralization” emanating from a wealthy Beltway pundit.”

    Yup, we are so selfish in our rejection of our betters telling us how to live.

  6. Pro,

    I think the reason why it was such a great decade for film was because of the pent up creativity being unleashed by the end of censorship. Before the 70s, you couldn’t make graphically violent or sexual content. When they finally could, filmmakers were really able to do a lot of things that they never could do in the past and make remarkable movies. Sadly, the pent up creativity was used and it just became a race to the bottom of who could blow up the most stuff or show the most outrageous sex scene and we are left with the big budget cartoons that pass for movies today. But before it became a race to the bottom, there was some pretty good stuff.

  7. Jaws was actually a phenomenal film whose reputation got destroyed by three horrible sequels. Fortunately, Godfather III has only mildly tarnished the first two.

  8. That said, my siblings also had a lot more classmates who died of drug overdoses, suicide and senseless car accidents than ever did.

    We can all be thankful for the drug war for keeping us all safe from dangerous drugs.

  9. What about Dirty Harry? I watched that for the first time in years the other day. What a great movie, that was completely panned by the critical establishment of the time.

  10. Sam Peckinpah + 70’s = Straw Dogs. Enough said.

  11. $40/oz. columbian gold. lemmon/714. Rush, Yes, Dark Side Of the Moon, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Life of Brian. The string Bikini.
    All In The Family.

    my favorite decade so far.

  12. “…it just became a race to the bottom of who could blow up the most stuff or show the most outrageous sex scene…”

    And what is wrong with that?

    I go to the movies to laugh and/or see things blown-up and/or watch some good T&A. Why the hell would I pay good money to watch some movie by some Hollywood douche to make me think? It is not a judgment of the film maker’s opinion one way or the other – I just don’t care what they think.

  13. Sadly, the pent up creativity was used and it just became a race to the bottom of who could blow up the most stuff or show the most outrageous sex scene and we are left with the big budget cartoons that pass for movies today.

    I guess you’re not too familiar with 70’s horror, John. The crap we see in theaters today is nothing–nothing–compared to stuff like Cannibal Holocaust (1980, but close enough) or the giallo flicks.

  14. Puh-leeze. The 70s gave us the Unknown Comic.
    Never forget that.

  15. There were plenty of bad movies made in the 70’s, but they fell away much quicker and with less discussion because there were no video stores for crap to be in. Only the strong survived. In the 80’s, there seemed to me to be less crap made but with video we recognize that crap survived a little.

    Today, if it’s crap it’s straight to DVD or cable, and it is painfully obvious because really good movies today are very well made and have the same dozen actors in them that are very good. Still, these days most movies make some money because there is a niche for everything now.

  16. “I guess you’re not too familiar with 70’s horror, John. The crap we see in theaters today is nothing–nothing–compared to stuff like Cannibal Holocaust (1980, but close enough) or the giallo flicks.”

    I am very familiar. But those were B movies that were never meant to be serious films. There has always been crap produced by Hollywood. The difference is the guys who made Student Bodies didn’t think they were doing anything beyond showing some blood and skin to make a buck. The guys who made The Day After Tommorow or Outbreak or any number of other summer blockbusters that have come out over the past 20 years, really thought they were making a serious film.

  17. John, my take on the whole “thinking they are making a serious film” is this.

    Many of the people getting the directing gigs in Hollywood grew up, like Tarantino, on the same stuff we did. They loved Star Wars and The Godfather and Jaws. They looked at those movies and said to themselves “I want to direct a movie like that, where everyone hails me as a genius”.

    But they’re not interested in making great film. They’re interested in being known for making great film. It’s a subtle, but important, difference that I believe affects Hollywood very badly today. They’re not in it for love of the craft, they’re in it for the fame, and that affects product.

  18. Monster Squad was produced as a B movie that turned out to be great. Happens sometimes.

  19. I should add that the smartest thing is being in it for the money, because if you make something people like (because it’s good), they will pay to see it, like LOTR.

  20. That is a really good point Episiarch.

  21. As someone who lived through the 70’s, at the time we all thought of it as a gallstone of a decade. But it gets better and better with each passing year. Ah nostalgia [sigh] I’m looking forward to senility.

  22. The way people behaved in the 70s was disturbing, but I like the cream of the music and film produced during that period. Not sure about books–must think about that.

    I wish Coppola could return to his old form–he was a great director.

  23. I was 20 years old in 1970, and I think the decade was mostly bad. Polyester double-knit flare-legged leisure suits, for Christ’s sake!

    The hideous Bicentennial, when everything that wasn’t actually wrapped in a flag was painted red, white and blue.

    Jimmy Carter. Billy Carter.

    The CB radio craze…

    Gah!

  24. “$40/oz. columbian gold.”

    Measured by “fingers” instead of grams, because pot was plentiful and dealers were often pretty cool people.

    As in;

    Man, he sold me a four finger bag for $40. Cool.

  25. What Al,

    You didn’t like all the fire hydrants being painted like minutemen? The 70s were terrible for the country. The crime was horrible and cities almost completely collapsed. People who grew up after the 70s don’t know any better so they don’t realize how good the quality of life was pre 1970s when city governments actually worked. The 70s were a great time for hedonism. Nothing against hedonism, but there is more to life than that. Yeah, the sex and the drugs were great, although I am sure a lot of that has grown better than it was as time goes on. The 70s were also when it was assumed that taxes would always go up, government would always get bigger and things would generally get worse. It was the 60s without the idealism. No one even pretended that the social welfare programs of the 1960s were actually going to solve any problems. Instead, government was viewed as basically a caretaker to the inevitable decline of civilization and no one outside of a few kooks like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan had any faith in capitalism or the market. It was a really lousy time to be a Libertarian. The fact that Reason loves the decade so much says more about them, most bad things, than it does about the 70s.

  26. More in that jugular vein here.

    Well said, Mr Nick.

    Like many big cities in America, the 1970’s is a nice place to be from.

  27. Nostalgia’s never done much for me. Either you go back to the past with no knowledge of the future and therefore no appreciation of the new “present” or you do and are tortured by the knowledge of what will be that you can’t have yet.

    I don’t want to live in a world without TiVo, iPods, Internet porn, HD TV, widespread disc golf courses, Iain Banks novels, ubiquitous sushi restaurants, VCRs/DVDs/CDs, Guitar Hero, Guided By Voices albums, and Joss Whedon.

    I could do it, mind you, but I would want to.

  28. Epi, good point about Tarantino et al. Bravo.

    The other thing that would help [keeps beating the dead horse repeatedly] is that IF you could get a refund every time they showed a crap movie or you bought a crap DVD the general movie experience would improve.

    If you don’t like the computer you bought at Costco, you take it back. Try that with a DVD of Evan Almighty.

  29. @ zig zag man –

    Yeah, and you’d usually have to smoke about a finger’s worth of that four-finger bag to get off. There has been significant progress on that front.

  30. Sugar, there is always a certain nostalgia for some period of time just back over the distant horizon. But, I would submit that you are absolutely correct, few us want to give up the perks of our modern existence.

  31. I have long believed that the decade of the ’70s was the zenith of America as a culture. Sure, the economics and politics were all screwed up. But as you get older, you realize that the politics and economics are *always* screwed up.

    Culturally, though, there was so much great music and cinema being made. Look at the audacity of great progressive rock and fusion jazz artists with major label deals, selling millions of albums full of challenging, invigorating music. There was such an atmosphere of positivity and willingness to challenge the limits of creativity. Even in pop genres, there was a host of challenging music being made, as well as real funk. The fake funk started in the ’80s, and we’ve never been able to get rid of it.

    Things were never the same after the cultural implosion of the ’80s (when I was a teenager). Culturally, America pretty much shriveled up and died about the time Reagan entered the White House (not that he caused it–he benefited from it). We’re now mostly just recycling the stuff from better times, with an added touch of snark.

  32. I think things started going to shit around 1880.

  33. If you don’t like the computer you bought at Costco, you take it back. Try that with a DVD of Evan Almighty.

    As I’ve said before, if the studios were only interested in selling to an American market, you’d see more good stuff. But they make more in foreign sales than domestic now, so they’re going to tailor the movies to sell as well as possible to foreigners. Which means more visuals and less American-style dialogue.

    This makes complete sense for them to do, but it does feel like a shame because the big blockbusters are all terrible, terrible, terrible now. Pearl Harbor was a fucking travesty.

    When I was a teenager and I saw the commercials on TV for Total Recall I almost shit my pants. I knew it would be great and it was* (Paul Verhoeven, where are thou?). That never happens any more–every preview makes me groan.

    * Cronenberg was originally attached to Total Recall, and though I love the Verhoeven version, a Cronenberg version would have been fucking incredible.

  34. A couple of other things about the 70s from someone who is old enough to remember them.

    1. You couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee. Folgers was considered as good as it gets.

    2. You couldn’t get a decent beer. The based an entire classic 70s movie (Smokey and the Bandit) on the premise of someone being willing to pay thousands of dollars and risk jail so that they could have Coors at a birthday party. And you know what? No one batted an eye or found the premise in any way unbelievable. That is how bad the beer was in the 1970s.

    3. It costs $2 a minutes (in 1970s money) to make a long distance call.

    4. Airlines were regulated and charged obscene fares. The idea of vacationing in Europe was something that was available to the rich only. For everyone else it was a family vacation to the Jersey shore or the Poconos.

    5. There were five channels on the TV (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and your local UHF station running reruns). No ESPN, no history channel, no CNN, nothing but Walter Crankcase telling you that is the way it is.

    6. There was no serious competition from imported cars and the golden age of the American muscle car ended in the early 70s. Everyone was stuck driving ugly, poorly made pieces of crap for cars.

    The list goes on and on. If you gave me several million dollars, I might consider going back to the 70s because being rich back then was more exclusive and places like Key West that are tourist traps now were really cool back then. But to be an average guy? Hell no.

  35. “Culturally, though, there was so much great music and cinema being made. Look at the audacity of great progressive rock and fusion jazz artists with major label deals, selling millions of albums full of challenging, invigorating music.”

    Jazz fusion SUCKS!!. Jazz died in the 60s never to be seen again. Also, I would rather live now and be able to listen to all of that music than live then when it was being produced. Yeah, it would have been nice to have seen some of those people live, but still not worth the price of sucking in the 70s.

  36. Nick wrote:
    …it is painfully obvious because really good movies today are very well made and have the same dozen actors in them that are very good. Still, these days most movies make some money because there is a niche for everything now.”

    I’m sick of the same dozen actors in the same shitty big production titles. Long live niche films!

  37. Saturday Night Live was funny in the 70’s

    Condoms were for birth control only and the pill was ubiquitous.

    We did not live in fear of everything.

    No one suffered from food allergies or asthma.

    Pot was considered cool and common.

    I have long believed the 70’s were the freest decade — if also the most decadent.

    Radio stations had unique style and were culturally important. Music mattered. At least I thought it mattered . ..

  38. I was born in 1981 so it was obviously before my time, but all I can say is a world without personal computers or decent consumer electronics must have really sucked.

    No way to watch movies at home, no way to carry your music around with you, no decent video games (just try playing any Atari game today), only four tv channels, the list goes on.

    And college would have been torture. I would go insnae if I had to write 25-30 page papers using a clunky typewriter and white-out.

    The earliest time I could live as a common person would be the mid-80s. At least then there were VCRs, cable, Nintendo, PCs and the Walkman. Basically everything we have now just in a more primitive form.

  39. Roy Scheider just died, speaking of 70s icons. I’ll always remember him as a bad, bad brother. At least from Dustin Hoffman’s frame of reference.

  40. The music was great, but what else? I’m not old enough to know, but from what everyone here is saying, I’ll take the present.

    No internet, no thanks. I don’t want to have to go to a travel agency to make a reservation to a place I can afford now, but not back then.

  41. “Saturday Night Live was funny in the 70’s”

    Sometimes, but you forget it was on 29 times a year and you only see the good parts now. But yes it was a hell of a lot better then but it was good in the 80s to.

    “Condoms were for birth control only and the pill was ubiquitous.”

    AIDS sucks but the 70s had herpies and the clap which sucked to and when hasn’t the pill been ubiquitous?

    “We did not live in fear of everything.”

    No we just lived in fear of getting nuked by the Russians. How quickly people forget how much the cold sucked and how real the threat of nuclear war was or at least seemed at the time.

    “No one suffered from food allergies or asthma.”

    Yes they did. My sister nearly died from asthma. She just didn’t get on Nancy Grace like she would now.

    “Pot was considered cool and common.”

    Pot is still pretty common and at least in some circles considered cool.

    “I have long believed the 70’s were the freest decade — if also the most decadent.”

    There is nothing saying we can’t be free now and not have to suffer the bad clothes, bad cars and bad hair of the 70s.

    “Radio stations had unique style and were culturally important. Music mattered. At least I thought it mattered . ..”

    Music still matters and radio outside of a few lucky markets was never that good.

  42. Who the hell listens to radio stations now anyway besides teenyboppers?

    You can get satellite radio for not too much money with a channel for every kind of music imaginable.

  43. “Roy Scheider just died, speaking of 70s icons. I’ll always remember him as a bad, bad brother. At least from Dustin Hoffman’s frame of reference.”

    That is terrible. I will always remember him 2010, not his best movie, but one I liked a lot. Him and Helen Miran as the uptight Russian cosmonaut. He made so many good movies.

  44. I liked 2010. It was more straight S/F than 2001 and wasn’t directed by Kubrick, which is why I think it didn’t get the love from critics, but it was still a good movie.

  45. The ’70s, from what I remember

    Mary Tyle Moore show – good
    Donnie and Marie Show – bad
    Carol Burnett Show – good
    The Brady Bunch – very bad
    Lost my virginity – very good
    Disco – bad
    Got turned on to illegal drugs – good (for me anyway, Standard libertarian Disclaimer 6 goes here.)
    Vietnam fell to the communists – bad
    The Ramones – good
    KISS – very bad
    Nixon resigned – good
    Carter elected – bad
    Blazing Saddles – very Good
    Love Story – excruciatingly, horribly, insipidly BAD
    Adulthood – mostly good
    High School – mostly bad

    IOW, like most decades it had it’s moments.

  46. Nick, don’t be hatin’ on T. Wolfe. Agreed that MiF blows, but “I Am Charlotte Simmons” shows that he is still relevant. I thought it was his best ever, but then I lived it at Duke.

    After tackling the blowjob culture, his next novel is supposedly on immigration. Seems to me he’s got his finger on the zeitgeist….

  47. I was about 3 years old for the Bicentennial, and it made a heck of an impression on me.

    Red, white & blue streamers on my trike handles
    Patriotically painted garage doors
    Parades, oh, the parades!

    Well, I guess that was about it.

    But those minutemen garage doors stuck around for a few years after that.
    And it took me a couple of years to understand why every Fourth of July wasn’t made into such a big deal.

  48. It is interesting how Reason is so fascinated with the hedonism of the 70s. It is my experience that there was a whole lot of sex and good times to be had in the 80s, 90s and 00s if you were young, had a buck in your pocket and bothered to look. I would imagine that has been true of every decade in history. Say what you want about the Romans but man they knew how to party. Reason always acts like there was something special or different about the sex and good times in the 70s versus now or in the 80s or 90s. Really there wasn’t. It was all sex, and it was all fun. My guess is that the Reason staff didn’t get laid much or have too many good times in the 90s or 00s and look back on the 70s as some kind of golden age when even dorks got laid.

  49. Shit Cesar, you ain’t lived until you’ve typed a flight schedule onto a blue memeo master on a manual typewriter and then wrapped it around the mimeograph so’s you can run off fifty or so copies to pass around to the pilots.

  50. KISS – very bad

    except for this one

    cuz she ain’t old enuff to vote………..

  51. You couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee. Folgers was considered as good as it gets.

    Amen Brother!

    It was those fargin’ hippies that disavowed anything that happened 15 minutes earlier as being so last week. So we lost Sebastian’s Coffee House and got stuck with the worst coffee ever.

    We owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Gen X for bringing us coffee. Thanks.

  52. I’ll tell you one great thing about the 1970’s.

    Chicks did not wear bras. I mean, how cool is that? And thongs? Well, we didn’t have those, the chicks just didn’t wear underwear at all when they wore those little hot pants.

  53. THE WINE COMMONSEWER,

    AH, YES, THE URKOBOLD IS QUOTED IN THAT SONG:

    Every damn time I walk through that door,
    It’s the same damn thing.
    That bitch bends over, and I forget my name.

    SO TRUE.

  54. In the mid 80s there was a Zippy the Pinhead comic where he referred to the 70s as the “height of Western Civilization”.

    A joke then or just prescient?

  55. Urkobold:

    I forget my name every time I go to the beach.

  56. Next time you post a music video with a teaser lyric like that, be sure to indicate whether we actually get to see her bend over. Preferably with a NSFW tag.

    Just sayin’ I want my four minutes back.

  57. Hmm. There’s a lot of love for the 70s here. Me, I was born in ’69 so I missed all the grown up aspects of it, which were apparently the only ones worth remembering. Yeah, Star Wars ruled as a kid, but the the rest of the decade was a suck fest of Sid & Marty Croft. The vast majority of the music, from any objective standpoint, sucked. (Sturgeon’s Law, I know)

    Not to say I don’t have some nostalgia moments for that portion of my childhood when I was but a t, but it was a fucking cultural wasteland. Just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it’s good.

    I’m off to annoy my wife with some Gordon Lightfoot (#1 with Sundown! Yeah, that’s good 70s there!).

  58. 1970’s “Golden Age of Cinema” overused plot #1A:

    -make the protagonist an unlikely/anti-hero.
    -kill them in the end.

  59. John:

    Jazz fusion SUCKS!!. Jazz died in the 60s never to be seen again.

    Sez you.

    Are you one of those Wynton Marsalis worshippers who fetishizes the Blue Note post-bop sound? I love that stuff, too, but it’s instructive that many of the leading post-bop artists like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter were the very folks who created jazz fusion.

    If you think that albums like On The Corner, Weather Report, Birds of Fire and Head Hunters “SUCK”, then I guess have nothing to say to you.

  60. “(just try playing any Atari game today)”

    dude, yar’s revenge! YARS FUCKING REVENGE, DUDE!

  61. I still have nightmares about that goddamned hippopotamus from the New Zoo Revue.

  62. “Are you one of those Wynton Marsalis worshippers who fetishizes the Blue Note post-bop sound?”

    Not necessarily. I love some of Miles Davis. Anyone who denies loving a Kind of Blue is lying or never really listened to it. I love Bill Evans and Oscar Patterson and I think Vince Giradi was a genius. Also the older I have gotten to more I appreciate Coltrane. For the longest time I just didn’t get him. That said, I would rather get a root canal than have to listen to Bitches Brew or about anything Davis did in the 70s. Even with the beebop stuff, a lot of my favorite things are the latin and afro cuban music.

  63. dude, yar’s revenge! YARS FUCKING REVENGE, DUDE!

    Yars Revenge was fun in the day but Atari games just didn’t age well.

    Anyone can pick up a decent NES game today and still have fun with it. Atari just makes most peoples eyes bleed.

  64. My kids liked Combat. And Adventure.

  65. Give him the original Zelda, and he’d forget all about Adventure.

  66. “Are you one of those Wynton Marsalis worshippers who fetishizes the Blue Note post-bop sound?”

    Not necessarily. I love some of Miles Davis. Anyone who denies loving a Kind of Blue is lying or never really listened to it. I love Bill Evans and Oscar Patterson and I think Vince Giradi was a genius. Also the older I have gotten to more I appreciate Coltrane. For the longest time I just didn’t get him. That said, I would rather get a root canal than have to listen to Bitches Brew or about anything Davis did in the 70s. Even with the beebop stuff, a lot of my favorite things are the latin and afro cuban music.

    Shorter answer: Yes, he is.

  67. The 2600 games don’t stand up super well (beyond pure nostalgia value, anyway), but the old arcade games are still fun. We have the Atari collection for the Xbox, which has both, and we all enjoy that. I’m the Galaga king at home, and I shockingly displaced the wife at Ms. Pacman (yes, I beat her high score solely for the purpose of beating her high score).

  68. Pro, I wasn’t speaking of the Arcade games. They most definetely stand the test of time.

    But the home console generation of the Atari 2600 and Co. don’t stand up very well today, especially when compared with the NES.

  69. On the other hand, I’ve got a Super Nintendo, and the only game I ever play on that, and rarely, is Goldeneye. The Xbox 360 is too much fun. Current game of choice is Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (and expansion pack).

  70. Yup, and the 19 inch black and white we had back then didn’t stand up to LCD today but The Night Stalker still scared the bejeezus outta me. Video games are great fun now, but I wouldn’t trade my childhood for more technology.I have nephews that couldnt ride a bicycle till middle school but they could whoop everyone at the vidia games.
    I played Pong in Boise airport in 1976 for a dime and it was the most incredible thing. Every bit as entrancing then as Turok and Guitar Hero are now. Or Zelda was when it came out for NES.

    btw, my favorite arcade game was Starcastle.

  71. I agree with everyone.

    except John. While it’s true that sex and drugs are objectively better now, they were subjectively better then. We use to ride our bikes in shorts and bare feet. We might have been smoking ditch weed, be we were much cooler about it.

    70’s things not yet mentioned:
    The Muppet Show
    John Denver (who was WAY 70’s cool but we were too cool for school to listen)

    mood rings
    pet rocks
    black light posters

    DISCO SUCKS spray painted on every overpass across the country.

  72. 70’s things not yet mentioned:
    The Muppet Show
    John Denver (who was WAY 70’s cool but we were too cool for school to listen)

    mood rings
    pet rocks
    black light posters

    Bicentenial air (basically an empty jar, closed in 1976)

  73. Oooh Ooh, and that totally cool train that went from town to town with all the neato stuff!

    The first time I did acid I played adventure in a hotel room in Mississippi for about 9 hours. 2 hits of Mr. Bill 25 mcg. what a trip.

  74. More cool 70s things

    Blaxploitation films, Cleopatra Jones, Shaft, Across 110th Street.

    Bob Marley.

    Fania All Stars.

    No more separate “Men” and “Women” sections in the want-ads.

    Things that sucked:

    Double digit inflation, along with price controls, gas shortages, and 14% interest on home mortgages. Plus high unemployment.

    Richard Nixon “We’re all Keynsians now”, Gerald Ford “WIN” buttons, Jimmy Carter “wear a sweater and turn down the thermostat”.

    Oliver Stone. Jerry Brown and Linda Rondstadt. Burt Reynolds and Sally Fields. Oh, and huge sideburns and pornstaches for the guys.

  75. I’m off to annoy my wife with some Gordon Lightfoot

    Last of the good folkies……at least for a long time.

  76. 1970’s = No pissing away your rights just for a job, which will be;

    outsourced,

    downsized,

    or

    restructured

    without any regard for you or your contribution.

    /Thanks ’80’s for the Escalation of the War on Some Drugs and the introduction of pissing for $.

  77. Not necessarily. I love some of Miles Davis. Anyone who denies loving a Kind of Blue is lying or never really listened to it. I love Bill Evans and Oscar Patterson and I think Vince Giradi was a genius. Also the older I have gotten to more I appreciate Coltrane. For the longest time I just didn’t get him. That said, I would rather get a root canal than have to listen to Bitches Brew or about anything Davis did in the 70s. Even with the beebop stuff, a lot of my favorite things are the latin and afro cuban music.

    Fair enough. We’re pretty much exact opposites. My tastes in jazz basically start with Kind of Blue and Giant Steps and go further out from there. I do also love the Afro-Cuban stuff, though.

    ’70s fusion jazz is only now starting to be well-appreciated, since it can be more easily considered outside the context of the critics of that time who didn’t have the ability to reach for the unknown. The same can largely be said of progressive rock, which seems finally to be gaining some proper appreciation.

    I think the bottom line of this whole thread is cultural freedom. There was a looseness and openness to the 1970s America that went way beyond the stereotypes of potheads, porn mustaches and bellbottoms. What’s striking is how intellectually and artistically constrained we have become by comparison.

    And I believe this goes hand in hand with the parade of horribles we get from Radley Balko everyday on this site. We, as a country and culture, are becoming something ugly and unrecognizable.

  78. ChrisO, well played sir.

    I would like to add that a lot of my music collection is 70’s and it works with my newer stuff. Sometimes, the old stuff still works and there are no acceptable substitutes.

    The music scene is different now with more access and the veil has been lifted from the mysterious lives of our musicain heros, they are more human.

    “1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I’ve always wanted and now I have it. I rule!”

    //actually still owns a ’94 Saturn Wagon

    ///will own a sweet Firebird some day I hope

  79. I think the Firebird in the movie “American Beauty” was a Formula 400 (Another cool car as well as the old T/A) Anyone notice?

  80. I have to go with the gist of John’s posts here, although I’m a little bit younger – I started high school in 1978 and all I remember of the 70s – this is hindsight, of course – is the aesthetics, which sucked. Ugly colors, ugly clothes, ugly hairstyles – both male and female – ugly (in the visual, emotional and intellectual sense) movies, insipid and boring and painfully, self-consciously earnest TV shows…the 80s was the damned Renaissance compared to the 70s. No one in the 70s was as cute, or as funny, or as happy as the characters on That 70s Show.

    We’ve only just gotten over the resurrection of the poncho, and now women have started tucking their jeans into their boots again. Will we never learn?

  81. I sure do love me some 70’s flicks.

  82. I pray everyday that the poncho comes back. The finest in Mexican fashion!

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