& Recently . . .

Disquieting Modern Trends: Interacting with the Smarty-Pants yet Ultimately Insufferable Public Edition

by Will Layman & Chris Osmond

Hidey-hidey-ho, friends, and welcome to the end of the world.

Signs of apocalypse: (1) duh, the one-two hurricane punch in the gulf that hardly needs explicating here, (2) the actual apology from the president regarding his response to said one-two punch, which apology (even though accompanied by near-simultaneous withering critiques of the state and local governments) made more than one head spin clear around in Linda Blair-like bafflement given the “NEVER APOLOGIZE” tattoo that pudgy, C.I.A. agent-endangering, creepily evil political boy genius Karl Rove had tattooed on the inner arm of all Bush Admin big-wigs, and (3) that we, the erstwhile gadflies-at-large who help this great nation to define those things in the culture that blink in the night with quivering disquietude, have chosen to correspond with you, the reading public. Yes, the end nears.

In our last column, we dared to expose the San Andreas-like rift that fuels the volatile friendship at the top of the D.M.T. food chain. Faced with a cultural milestone—the use of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” in a back-to-school ad for Target (an ad featuring dancing ten year-olds rather than dancing buttocks)—we stared long and hard at our own disagreement. In short …

Polish Fact

How to Find Poland
On the Internet:
Top-level doman .pl

On the telephone:
Calling code 48

On the planet:
Continent Europe

Learn a Foreign Tongue!

Learn Yiddish!
Der Tog nokh der Morgn.
The Day after Tomorrow.

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Monday, October 3, 2005   |    Fiction

70s Music Is Stupid

by Dayvid Figler

“Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce
First of all, you can’t. Time is a concept. But you knew that, you’re just getting all literary. Cool. No problem. Still, the first thing you’d do is “save every day till eternity passes away”? O.K., since by “saving time in a bottle” you mean suspending time for everyone except you and the object of your affections, there would be no eternity—time would just stand still in your fucking bottle. It would be like that episode of The Twilight Zone with the librarian who breaks his glasses. Creepy silence in a world without time. (Have fun making out.) Also, you never mention if you’d ever let the time out of the bottle and what the repercussions of suddenly unleashing bottled-up time would be. You just want to take all time from everyone else in the universe for some selfish little dream and completely ignore the consequences. If you indeed had the technology to save time in a bottle, don’t you think you should use it more wisely—like, say, stopping a plane from crashing right before it hits the ground. (What? Too soon?) And by the way, how big would the time-saving bottle have to be? And why a bottle? Why not a Mason jar or a glass bong?

“You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon
Oh, yeah, Carly, you really got him good with that zinger … but guess what? He is completely justified in thinking the song is about him since it is about him. (Albeit him and his vanity.) If this wasn’t so stupid, the song would be something like “You’re So Vain, You Probably Thought ‘Anticipation’ Was about You.” Or “‘Nobody Does It Better’ Was about You.” And Mick Jagger as the backup vocalist? Hmmm? Did Warren Beatty sleep with Mick, too, and neglect to call? The two of you must have been giggling through your flappy lips all night long.

The entire catalog of The Eagles
Is there anyone in 2005 who hasn’t heard “Hotel California” over 100 times (maybe 1000 times)? Is there any reason to continue to play it on the radio, pick it on a jukebox in a bar or (gasp) choose it for your one and only shot at the karaoke mike on a crowded night at BJ’s Pub? Do people really get pumped at the opening chords these days? Do they say, “Wow … what is that great song?” Or “Wow, despite its annoying familiarity I still want to groove to it right now!” Is there any reason “Hotel California” isn’t mothballed? Does it stay alive just like the Eagles with their 200-dollars-per-ticket, last-tour, Hell Freezes Over Part III bullshit because the music listening audience is that stupid? Maybe it’s because everyone knows the words and thinks they’re cool that they can rattle off that “colitis” means burnt marijuana. (Nothing like obscure music trivia to empower). “Hotel California” is bad metaphor, lame imagery, and it celebrates the ridiculousness of pink champagne. (Stab it with their steely knives was supposed to be a dig at Steely Dan? Really?). It’s stupid—as is every Eagles song. “Ooohhh, Witchy Woman, she got the moon in her iiiiiiiiiiiizzzzz”? “I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot”? Ladies and gentlemen, the genius of Don Henley and his amazing rhyming dictionary. Country rock? All the Eagles did was efficiently destroy everything exciting that Gram Parsons started. (Damn you, Jack Daniel’s and morphine!) The only interesting Eagles song is “Take It Easy” and that’s only because it’s one extended sexual innuendo. From the title to cornball lines like “running down the road, trying to loosen my load,” “looking for a lover who won’t blow my cover,” and, of course, “open up, I’m climbin’ in.” You must have had a real blast in junior high, Glenn Frey.

“Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart
Seriously, “Da” ya. Rod Stewart is embroiled in litigation with an off-the-main-Strip Las Vegas hotel for keeping the two-million-dollar advance (the contract was for three million) for a one-night concert even though Stewart was a no-show claiming he had a sudden onset of “throat cancer.” (He’s apparently much better now). Da Ya Think You Might be a Greedy Bastard, Rod Stewart? All of which belies the fact that 30 years after the stupidity of his biggest hit (by the way, “no I don’t think so—never did”) he still gets paid MILLIONS?!? The depth of stupidity is mind-boggling. Who’s worse—the hotel, the audience willing to pay or Rod Stewart for still trying to pull off being Rod Stewart?

“Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night
Put aside for a second that one of the most popular Christmas songs in the world is already called “Joy to the World” (which, by the way, every kid plays on the piano since it’s just hitting all the white keys from C down to C in sequence). Put that aside, and the fact that generally “silly” songs with la la las and yeah yeahs and even giving “joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea” don’t need to be particularly rational—but when a statement like “if I was the king of the world” gets made, the agenda that follows better be thoughtful. Instead, we get “I’d throw away the cars and bars and the war and make sweet love to you.” Granted war is stupid (as we learned in the next decade from Boy George) and it is good to be the king peccadillo-wise, but then what? No cars (presumably buses and other forms of motorized transportation, too) and no bars surely will cut down on D.W.I.s, but you will almost certainly have a restless population on your hands. And while you’re busy making sweet love, there may just be a revolution in the streets. Sorry to say, but there would be little joy in your kingdom, Nero, not even for the fishes. You know, “Joy To the World” could have been a great lesbian anthem if the selfish 70s singers could see past the their own salacious longings for sweet heterosexual love. “Joy to the World” is already filled with lines like “I’m a rainbow rider” and “You know I love the ladies.” Imagine the impact if in 1970 Hoyt Axton had given this song to Linda Ronstadt to belt out the opening line, “Jeremiah was a bull dyke!” So less stupid!

“Aqualung” by Jethro Tull
Best hit song ever about pedophilia. Check out the snot encrusted guy watching the frilly panties run. Oh look!? Now he’s bending to pick a dog end. What’s a dog end? Charming. Hey, instead of rock flute, wouldn’t it be cool and non-stupid if someone jazz scatted after the dramatic duh-duh-duh-duh dunh-duh part at the end before they go “oohhhhhh ooooohhhhh Aqualung.” C’mon, give us a little skibbity dibitty zop bam doo, Aqualung.

“Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
Hardly. (Too soon?)

Las Vegas native Dayvid Figler is a sporadic commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He was awarded a Nevada State fellowship in the arts for fiction, but spends his days laboring over capital murder cases in Las Vegas as a private defense attorney. His short story, Grope (Future Tense Books, 2005), has a content-appropriate semi-naked woman on the cover--all just a quick Google away.