Pop culture… why hast thou forsaken me? I used to be in the know, I used to have the inside track, I used to be with it… now, now I am just a relic of the past with nothing positive for the future.
Pop Culture as a whole changes with the times, it has too lest it become stagnant and yet, stagnant is a relative term it would seem. I am almost 40, I lived through half of the 70’s and grew up in the 80’s only to watch the 90’s kill everything I held dear to me at which point it dawned on me… it was not pop culture that grew stagnant… it was I that had grown stagnant. Okay, not stagnant, but comfortable with what I liked and I closed myself off to how these things “evolved” over time. The reason for the quotes on evolved is that I honestly don’t feel that music, television or movies have gotten any better so you may see an evolution while I see a medium that is devouring itself with no regard to quality. Yeah, I got old and cranky(er) but you have to admit… everything WAS better when I was a kid wasn’t it?
Lets look at music shall we? I grew up in the era of Punk Rock, of Heavy Metal (real Heavy Metal, not that glam shit) and of innovation of the Rock art-form when truly new ideas were bandied about… but this shit nowadays? It’s regurgitated spunk with no wit, less talent and lack of ambition to even try anything outside of the safe and the secure walls protecting those with the low end wit, talent and ambition. Do you really think that anything in the field of modern “punk” will break the mold and start a musical revolution in the same manner The Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains or The Damned did? Are there any bands today like Public Image Limited which truly experiment with music in new and innovative ways? Of course there are not… Metallica stopped caring about music back in 1990 when they decided they wanted to be rock stars instead of musicians, Iron Maiden became manufactured product used to sell t-shirts and posters, Slayer grew deaf to the idea that music required effort and Henry Rollins deluded himself into thinking he was a poet and a pundit. Lets face it people, music peaked between 1986 and 1989, after that it was all downhill and more of the same. Nu Metal is just poser music with the EXTREME styling for the modern day (read: dumb) youts (not a typo). Punk is all but dead and has been since the aforementioned 1989 date. Rock is non-existent outside of some old cover tunes and even rap is nothing more than anti-ho word salad over Casio beats.
Movies are done. $100 MILLION dollars is an average film cost today and they still can’t make a movie as good as those in the 80’s. Transformers: The Movie cost $6 million and gave us everything we could have hoped for in a Transformers film… heroes, villains, rock music, the triumph of good over evil, the pathos of the 80’s all in 90 goddamn minutes of the most amazing thing ever made… and yet people tell me there are other Transformer movies out there and they are just talking gibberish it seems… who would have hired Michael Bay (the Meatloaf music video guy?) to make a movie about cartoon robots? I am told it starred the horse head kid from Dumb & Dumberer… really? You go from Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Eric Idle and JUDD FUCKING NELSON to a bunch of never-will-be’s? This is why movies stopped being good after the 1990’s*, because hollywood stopped caring about quality and started only to care about bleeps and bloops along with being all showy and shit. In the 80’s we had people like Michael Cimino who would say “to hell with the budget or the studio, I am making my movie my way” and the man had both class and truly cared about the artform. These guys today though, with their CGI and digital audio, they don’t know what the audience wants. The audience is ultimately the arbiter of art and the audience has been manipulated into thinking black cross-dressers with sexuality issues are taking film to higher levels. The audience wants movies about people bumbling into situations in which wacky hijinks ensue. The audience wants the good guy to kill the bad guy in the final act. The audience wants sex and fun punished by sharp objects thrust into the orifices of horny teens. The audience wants to know that the hero will win in the end, not some depressing ending where the bad guys get what they want. REALISM HAS NO PLACE IN FILM DAMN IT, WE WATCH MOVIES TO HAVE OUR CORE VALUES REINFORCED, NOT SUBVERTED.
Television has completely lost it’s way… since when was television about reality, a false reality at that… which I guess equates to fiction and therefore becomes unreality again… where was I going with this? In the 80’s you had amazing shows that could only have been put on in the 80’s… why? Because the 80’s had balls before the 90’s ruined everything. The 90’s were all about political correctness and being fair and inclusive to everything, 80’s TV shows were about being nuts and pissing off the status quo. We need that attitude back, an 80’s attitude to television. Today shows such as Max Headroom, China Beach, Cagney & Lacy, Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting and Miami Vice would never even get past a pilot instead being passed over for cheap garbage about teenage sluts. In the 80’s those teenage sluts would have been on sitcoms and become coke addled superstars. That is how 80’s TV worked, not this mamby-pamby clean living shit today… drug fueled mayhem was how greatness happened.
Books today are all made for whore moms or teenage girls… want to know how 80’s kids got their literary thrills? King and Barker damn it!!! Oh today we need books that speak to the teen angst and moral quandaries of our times… waaaa, waaaa, waaaaa in the 80’s we had teens blackmailing old nazi’s into helping them kill bums… that is how we identified with a protagonist, none of this hand holding love story bullshit, just old fashioned homicidal tendencies boiling just under the surface. On the other side you have mommy porn that is all pseudo-sexy but is reality setting back woman’s (sexual) lib 20 years… which I should be okay with (being a misogynist pig as I am) but I am not for some reason. Literature has lost quite a bit of the literate part in the last 30 years.
Pop Culture grew up all around me and frankly I stayed cool it was just that what was cool changed, so I didn’t need to change, I am just as cool now as I was when the cool stuff was cool before the cool stuff became lame. Pop culture did NOT leave me…I left it… it had a failing libido and I had been faking it those last few years so yeah, I left you pop culture, I… LEFT… YOU!!!
*I give movies a little more leeway when it comes to peaking, they had a few more good years after music died.