The inevitable first blog post

Andrew Bissell's picture
Submitted by Andrew Bissell on Tue, 2006-02-14 07:39

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. I get quite a bit of enjoyment reading my friend's blogs, and I *love* hearing myself talk, so it was only natural that eventually I'd start one of my own, especially once I was handed an audience of fellow travelers to marvel at my own online navel-gazing.

So, here goes.

Throwing parties is a new hobby of mine, so this past Friday, in my cramped little university apartment, my roommate and I put away all our furniture and various geegaws that were lying around, hung a mirror ball and a Vertigo light (which shoots out colored beams to the beat of music that is playing) from our ceiling, and put on a full-blown retro-70s disco party. It was a blast, and, despite the simultaneous presence of two handles of tequila, two liters of vodka, and two dozen college students, nothing (and nobody) wound up broken, stained, or poisoned. I attached a little picture of the festivities.

Anyway, I bought a bunch of disco comp CDs from a series called "The Disco Years," published by Rhino. Something in one of the inserts (authored by Ken Barnes) caught my attention:

This is the kind of music rock 'n' rollers love to hate. And though much of it may be lightweight, the reasons why it was (and is) reviled carry some serious sociological tonnage.

This music was so disliked that well over a decade later the very word "disco" is still a stigma that musical astigmatics attach indiscriminately to anything with a dance beat. Back then, during its late-'70s peak, disco and its backlash threatened to foment out-and-out class war.

What was the problem? Let's concede that some disco was repetitive. Certainly its radio omnipresence bred and spread discontent. But that's not enough ....

No, the kind of sentiment that led to the 1979 Comiskey Park disco destruction derby ... was something stronger. Some of the reasons disco was so violently loathed by rock 'n' rollers are:

-It was alienating. It's a minor point, but unlike the freeform dancing late-'60s/early-'70s pop inspired, or the slack-jawed milling that was the norm at rock concerts, disco demanded a degree of dancing skill quite foreign to the rock culture, requiring as it did choreography, coordination with a partner, and agility.

-Along the same lines, disco's renascent sense of fashion (laughable as some of its manifestations may seem today) clashed with the jeans-and-T-shirt rock mentality. Anyone dressing up for disco purposes was cruising for a dressing down.

-More seriously, disco was the music of threatening subcultures. [Barnes goes on to note that women, blacks, and gays performed most disco hits and formed a large part of its fan base.]

I've always liked disco songs and thought this was a pretty fair look at the anti-disco backlash.

So, that disco party was on Friday. I also attended a dance on Saturday, where modern hip-hop formed a good two thirds of the music that was played out on the dance floor. Oddly enough, the hip-hop bump 'n' grind felt much more restrained and joyless than the less explicit dancing I'd been doing the evening before. (And it didn't come *close* to being as hot as the time I got to perform my own patented "Car Wash" on a girl after making a well-timed request with the DJ.)

Call me a crusty bastard born in the wrong decade if you must, but my generation is much poorer for its love of the crap that is rap.


Jesus, Deputy!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Call me a crusty bastard born in the wrong decade if you must, but my generation is much poorer for its love of the crap that is rap."

You're starting to sound like me already. But I'm not fooled. I know this is part of The Cunning Plot.

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