Thursday, November 3, 2005

The lovealicious 1977

I've had something on my mind for awhile now... since about 1995, actually, the year I graduated high school. This thought has had plenty of time to percolate, and it's developed from passive observation to ludicrous metaphysical speculation. So enjoy.

Or don't. If you're feeling dyspeptic already, I understand. Just go.

My high school class was a fresh bunch. Not hand-on-the-thigh fresh, mind you, but fresh like produce, once-vogue hip-hop vernacular fresh. Fonky fresh, as it were, we were. What set us apart from other classes at my high school was this: we were the first class in the that didn't prize deprecation and humiliation of underclassmen.

The classes before us were rich with assholes. The kind who thought it senior privilege to book underclassmen or roundhouse you without warning. So we were stuffed in trash cans, roughed up for backtalk, or generally spat upon for being of a more tender age. So tender, aged 14 or so. And probably lame, definitely awkward, but rarely deserving of violence.

So our class rose to power, planted daisies in a big '95 on the main lawn, and generally made love to everybody in the high school. We weren't hippies about it (though we had a choice selection of hippies), but we basically just weren't unwarranted dicks like every previous class prized as a right of passage (vis a vis Dazed and Confused). My man Rob Nof even gave his senior speech about how worthwhile it was to be cool to underclassmen. Et cetera.

I thought it was interesting anyway, and still love the people I went to high school with. We just had our ten year reunion, and everybody was beautiful and full of life. The classes following ours had a more humane sensibility as well. It was like an old regime had crumbled. A pretty defined line of demarcation.

But the really interesting thing is that the trend has proven (anecdotally) to be nationwide. Frequently I meet somebody with an identifiable spark, and they end up being from the class of '95 or thereafter. I've found myself persistently gravitating to people my age or younger. My buddy Chad has friends taking the SATs, for God's sake. On the other hand, classes before us in the same age group often have that same old-school mindset, only translated into the workforce. But people from the class of 1995 and on are dreamers. Imagineers and poets. Artists and musicians who learn quickly and tire quickly of being in a position that doesn't realize their purpose.

And I think it has to do with Star Wars.

Follow me now, it gets abstract. 1977 was a great and awful year. It was typically beset by terrorist hijackings and senseless violence not so unlike that of my early high school years. (Okay, way unlike, but metaphorically, see.) But 1977 had a few worldwide cultural earthquakes that changed the way people thought. And one of those was Star Wars.

America was in a pretty f'ed up state, riding off the heels of Vietnam, Watergate, and the rise of terrorism as a refreshing new alternative for desperate fundamentalists. Star Wars beamed on the American psyche and global consciousness, giving them something - anything - to believe in. It did for America what the Beatles did a decade before, following JFK's assassination. The very title was an invitation: "A New Hope".

The film captivated the world's imagination. To a Beatles degree. Why? Because it did give everybody a new hope. It drew existence in simpler terms, with fresh heroes and clearer villains, and gave us a Force that "surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds us together." That buzz still persists almost thirty years later (although in a less artful, commercially distasteful way) because people still love the soul of the movie.

But I'd like to propose that the lovealicious new hope which inspired the world in 1977 permeated deep into the developing consciousness of unsuspecting babies around the world. And we're unwittingly fresher for it, demanding ideals realized in our lives, not settling for less. We think different and act accordingly (oh yeah, the Apple ][ was released in 1977 too, so props to Jobs and Wozniak as well as Lucas).

So I gets to rambling here. The suggestion is outrageous and oversimplified, and yet I stand by it. I could introduce other ludicrous notions (like the fact that Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx both died in '77, passing the torch), but I digress. Intuitively, I'll buy that for a dollar. It's not provable by western science, but what is?

Oh, this is: Kanye West and I were born on the same day. Boo-yah! And I've probably sold at least 1,000 records in my life. So while his record goes platinum, I foresee mine going drywall. At least.

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