As the late 1970s turned to the 1980s there were lots of changes on the culture front. The sexual revolution was in full swing, personal experimentation with everything from sex to drugs became more and more mainstream. But on thing remained taboo. Gender was still a static thing. For the most part people who expressed themselves and their genders as anything but their biological self were often seen as strange and on the fringe. Sure there was all sorts of what I would call “gender cosplay”. Movies like Some Like it Hot and the Carol Burnett show exploited cross dressing for its comedic response. However, there were few in pop culture who were exploring this subject. The first inkling of gender non-conformity appeared in songs like Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wildside and of course the forbearer of exploring gender fluidity, David Bowie.Continue reading “From Tomboys to Boy George – Generation X and Gender”
Oct. 11, 1975 – Oct. 24, 2006 – Generation X
I am a member of Generation X. I am the core demographic os Generation X. I was born in January of 1973 which, by generational standards places me at exactly the half-way point of Gen X. And while there are overlaps in all generations there is no doubt where I am. My favorite bands are R.E.M. and Depeche Mode, my favorite movies likely featured Molly Ringwald or Christian Slater, my favorite TV shows were Beverly Hills 90210 and Miami Vice, and my favorite athlete is Dan Marino. I am a child of the Reagan and Clinton years, the first major news event of my lifetime was the Challenger Disaster in 1986. I graduated high school in 1991 and by September Nirvana had released Nevermind, just in time for me to start college. Continue reading “Oct. 11, 1975 – Oct. 24, 2006 – Generation X”
Our kids are just smarter than we are. And that is great!
Let’s Face It, Our Kids Are Simply Smarter Than We Are
Nothing is more grating on our nerves than a smart-aleck kid. We all either have one in our homes or we know one. These kids love to show us how much they know about technology, access information on the web far faster than we can access it with our brains, and they can YouTube a solution to just about any task. Yep, kids these days. But are kids really getting smarter? The science and practical evidence seem to say yes. Despite all of our efforts to quell our kids curiosity and ability to learn through draconian textbook committees, school voucher systems, attacks on their self-esteem, and the constant barrage on changing education standards our efforts to dumb down our kids has fallen mostly flat.Continue reading “Our kids are just smarter than we are. And that is great!”
My post about Tom Petty
This week has been really tough. In a week dominated by a mass shooting in Las Vegas, a continued humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, and just the standard craziness of the Trump years the life of one of my personal music idols was taken by a heart attack. Tom Petty died at the age of 66. Honestly this is not really young, but its also not really old. David Bowie was 69. Men die in their 60s from heart attacks all of the time. But that was not what hurt.Continue reading “My post about Tom Petty”
Flag Frustrations Show Nothing Changes
This is not a post about football players kneeling. This is not about the politics of athletes, or the President, or whether people should or should not watch football. This post is about the frustration of censorship and the way that we always tend to elevate our own personal feelings above others. I am a 44 year-old Generation X-er and I am also a fierce advocate for free speech and expression. I have always felt like even when the message is crude, misguided, or disagreeable to me that is when I need to be even more outspoken for their protection from censorship.Continue reading “Flag Frustrations Show Nothing Changes”
Everything You Will Know or Ever Know is Just a Pale Blue Dot
This photo was taken years ago by the Voyager Spacecraft as it was approaching outer space and leaving our solar system. It would be the last photo taken by Voyager. Voyager was launched in the mid-1970s as a space craft designed to get us up close and personal to our many solar system neighbors. It has sent us amazing photos of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. Voyager’s payload includes a golden record of the sounds of earth so perhaps an interplanetary archaeologist may one day find this record and understand there is a civilization in all of that darkness. The record is designed to last over a billion years and will exist long after we are gone. Voyager one day will likely be the only evidence that we ever existed. As we all know, in time, the sun will begin its process of dying and will at some point super heat and eviscerate all life on our planet and there is nothing we can do to stop it. But this is not supposed to be a sad post, more hopeful.Continue reading “Everything You Will Know or Ever Know is Just a Pale Blue Dot”
When YOUR idols begin to pass.
I am pretty sure it was 1986 when I discovered Husker Du. I was on summer break and my dad took the family on a road trip. Part of the trip was a swing by my Uncle Steve’s house in Atlanta. We did not get there often but it was always the best. my Uncle Steve was the cool uncle to me. He went to Harvard, had this cool house, did things like have cheese plates on the counter. It was also awesome because I got to hang with my cousins; Tad and Ben. Tad and Ben have always been cooler than me and I always loved hanging out with them. That summer was a little different though.Continue reading “When YOUR idols begin to pass.”
Day Seven – #SeptVinylChallenge – Seven Inches of Heaven
Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Depeche Mode. They are one of my favorite bands. I think so highly of their music and how much their lyrics speak to me. And often they are just damn fun to watch. As part of their Music For The Masses album promotion the band put out a seven inch remix of the song Behind The Wheel. It is really great and played an important part of the movie documentary 101. But it was the B-Side to that seven inch single that really worked.
On the other side was a seven inch remake of the song Route 66 originally written by Bobby Troup and sung by Nat King Cole. This version was a great techo-pop version and was amazing. it quickly became one of their most common encore songs to sing and is just perfect. I love this song and put it on so many mix tapes that I did in the 1990s. I think it is one of their best ideas.
Day Six – #SeptVinylChallenge – Album you Often Don’t Remember Buying
When I was a Sophomore in high school I went to the Campbell Square Six movie theater in Homestead, Florida and saw the documentary Imagine on the life and times of John Lennon. I was already a huge fan of The Beatles and John Lennon but this movie gave me a new perspective. I appreciated how amazing his talent was, how he developed, and how he lived other parts of his life. I also was introduced to so many new songs by John Lennon and got to see him as separate from his Beatles persona. It was such a liberating movie.
I immediately went to the record store in the Campbell Square shopping center and got the album. I must have listened to it for a month straight. Learned so many song from his albums like Double Fantasy. I loved the collaborations with Yoko Ono and I really began to appreciate the members of the Beatles outside of their band. I started buying Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison albums, and went to see Ringo Staff with a friend. It reminded me that the whole is the sum of it’s parts. I often forgot I had this album because I could get so many of the songs in other ways but I remembered how important this was at the time. Formative.
Day Five – #SeptVinylChallenge – Back to School Album
In the fall of 1990 I began my senior year at Homestead Senior High. At that point I was already a huge music fan and always on the look out for amazing new discoveries. I was most interested in how the artists I loved as a child began to mature and grow. George Michael was a teen pop idol, George Michael was an MTV star, George Michael was an artist who I always believed was so much more that his sex appeal and fame. He showed that in 1990 with one of the great albums of the 90s. Listen Without Prejudice was an album that few critics saw coming. It featured iconic pop songs like Freedom 90′ and ballads like Waiting For Time.
The album was mature, personal, and showed his deep commitment to his songwriting. He was looking to move past his teen idol days and become an icon. And that he did. I believe that his album, along with I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got by Sinead O’Connor are the true harbingers of the shift from Hair Metal and Bubble Gum Pop of the late 80s to the real sound of Gen X that will be defined by NWA, Nirvana, and others. I must have listened to this album 100 times. I chose it because the album came out just as I was returning to school that year. It was the defining album of my senior year.