O My Old 'Murica, Where Have You Gone?
I suppose America has almost since its inception been the number one purveyor of a strange, rather bratty and rebellious culture. Right? Our arts and culture have long been pretty dominant, certainly more so than any other nation of the last hundred years or so. But it strikes me that as the nation lumbers unsteadily into the initial stages of its inevitable slow decline into irrelevance (but don't worry...just like China, we'll cycle through various temporary relevance come-backs and manage some super cool dance moves on the world's stage), that American pop culture is hurtling ever faster into a increasingly childish mind-set.
Don't believe me? Think I'm just one more old fart railing about how things were so much better back in the day? (Actually they probably were...but let's face it, "better" is a completely relative, absurdly ambiguous term.) Consider a couple of cultural milestones in American pop culture history:
In 1979, the number one film of the year was Robert Benton's (admittedly flawed but, still, adult-oriented) KRAMER VS. KRAMER, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. The movie examined the way in which gender roles in our nation seemed to be changing, how our legal system seemed to be failing the very citizens it was supposed to benefit, and how people, both children and adults, dealt with the various problems brought on by divorce. It was a sober, thoughtful film with moments of humor scattered throughout to help leaven the seriousness, in that time-honored manner pioneered by Shakespeare. Yeah...that was the NUMBER ONE film of the year.
For 2014, it appears that the highest grossing movie was the sci-fi actioner, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. (KRAMER, by the way, beats GUARDIANS out for highest gross--adjusted for inflation, of course--and for number of tickets sold.) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY centers on a group of rogue-ish interstellar outlaws (including both a walking tree and a talking racoon) who team up to save the universe from the villainous Ronan who seeks...ahem...ultimate power by gaining possession of an ancient precious stone called the Infinity Gem.
Things are changing, my friend. Things are changing.
More about this in future rants.
Hey! I recorded a 29 second noise track yesterday. And semi-wrote a new song.
More about that in future posts.