By all means read the whole thing here, but I really want to call your attention to this one phrase:

Until the rise of high-tech companies in the 1980s, there were, for better or worse, certain understood rules that governed the behavior of large corporations.

It’s remarkable how often I encounter some version of this straight across the political spectrum (here, moderate right).

“Until the 1980s” is routinely followed by some language that translates, across a sentence or a page, as: And then there was unmitigated disaster, the consequences of which are with us still.

Yep. Until the 1980s.

And then?

And then-n-n–n?

4 thoughts on “DEFINING THE AGE…

  1. Too true. Wait until people start getting dumb enough to let themselves be frightened into microchipping their children. That’s not to mention the likely continued patronage of companies that have replaced all of their human workers with robots, such as Amazon and Google. Then we can conclude that humanity has truly played itself out.

    Oh, wait……

    Hmph. Well, whereas everything that could be considered simultaneously creative and mainstream seemed to begin its steep snowball-roll in the ’80s, Mr. Pain-in-the-Ass Bright-Side-Finder here feels compelled to point out that at least “Beneath the Blue Sky,” “I’m the Only One” and “Mercenary” could still happen, for every hundred musical bits of plastic cheese.

    At least the Black Crowes could still happen — a band that stubbornly refused corporate-sponsored tours, lip-synching on stage, or playing anything that wasn’t exactly what they wanted to play, much to several record companies’ consternation. and still managed to thrive, due to the existence of enough people who still liked to hear real rock being played on real instruments in real time.

    At least unwatched, unregulated corporations couldn’t stop a gloriously unfashionable outcast from pointing out, loudly and with the greatest guitar tone on Earth, something that she still points out from nearly every radio at one time or another: that she loves rock’n’roll.

    For every unoriginal bit of disposable horror that swam down the pike like a shark with contagious cavities, at least this could still happen:

    • All true and more. There was still a fight for the future going on in the 80s and Rock and Roll America was still part of it (still most of it actually). And I’m sure great records are still being made….I just don’t hear anywhere for them to go–which tells me the fight is lost and makes me a Gloomy Gus.

      How exactly does one transcend the personal these days? I have a feeling if it were possible somebody would be doing it outside of paranoid TV shows like Homeland and The Americans (which wouldn’t be either necessary or conceivable in a moderately healthy culture).

      I’m still trying to get some thoughts together on She’s So Unusual as the centerpiece of Rock’s last great communal era (roughly 1983–85). Still haven’t figured out which angle to take or if it will come together….Anyway it’s been a nice excuse to post Cyndi clips!

      (Sorry for the slow response BTW–internet down most of the last 36 hours…I feel like I’ve been let out of prison!)


      (Also, not sure if you’ve seen Susanna Hoffs’ interview where she talks about the inspiration for Eternal Flame, but it’s at the bottom of this piece I wrote a few years ago and worth listening to in its entirety!)

  2. I think I’ve heard it — if it’s the interview in which she mentions the Brill building, and the clueless, apparently research-phobic interviewer has to ask what she’s talking about, then yes, she has some cool things to say about music in general, and the Bangles’ perception of themselves as part of the continuum of real rock’n’roll songwriters going back to the ’60s.

    In terms of transcending the personal, all I can offer is what my attempts amount to: I don’t watch or read any news. All it does is make me angry. Even when I happen to walk by a TV that has news on it, I can’t help but to offer comments to nobody. “How about this, you ungrateful trollops: ‘I eat three meals a day!’ ‘ME TOO!'”

    Instead, I try to stay gleefully clueless myself, live an optimistic life, and subsist in a detached world of old music. This isn’t meant to be sanctimonious — it’s just one way in which I’ve bowed out of the formulaic game called modern society. When I manage to succeed at staying in my mental bubble, I have a great day!

    • I feel about interviewers the way you feel about news….I try to ignore them. At least this guy mostly stayed out of the way and let her talk (not always a given!) FWIW I’m not sure he didn’t know what the Brill Building was (he knew who Bacharach was, so it would seem odd if he didn’t). I think he may have been short-handing the standard “I know what you’r referring to but our audience may not so please take a moment to explain)….Anyway, it’s not as bad as the really long (2 or 3 hours if I remember) interview a deejay did with Susan Cowsill a few years ago where she had to explain who Vicki Peterson, Karla Bonoff and several other people everyone in the music business should recognize, actually were. She stayed classy, which is probably more than I could have done!

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