Sunday, July 31, 2005

I Would Go Out Tonight, but the Stitch I was to Wear Has Been Worn by a 16 Year Old

[here's number two in my series of rants, as if I ever wrote anything but rants]

Like Aaliyah said (with the push of R. "I Like 'Em Young" Kelly), "Age ain't nothing but a number." True, but, in the most un-punk thing I could say, age requirements are there for a reason. When you're young, you're a fucking idiot. There's no way around it. You do stupid things like punch your father in the face, shoplift a copy of Gangstarr's "Hard to Earn" from the Wherehouse, or (my personal favorite) smear dog crap all over your ex-girlfriend's boyfriends new Mazda MX-6 (thanks Brandon!). So that being said, what the crap is up with all these kids who were born in 1986 and after being all about the goddamn '80s?

I mean fashion-wise, the 80s were horrendous. I should know. I was there -- wearing awful bright green Genera shirts (word up Seattle!) and T&C Surf Design crap (some things never go out of style, ya heard?). Those are images that I'd like to erase from the organic harddrive that is my brain.

But like how the '50s made a comeback in the '70s and the '90s saw a brief and regretful rehash of the '60s (thanks alot Blind Melon and PM Dawn), the '00s are seeing a resurgence of the 1980s. Years smashed with awesome bands like The Smiths, The Cure, and the Go-Go's; awesome flicks like "Big Trouble in Little China" and "Rocky IV," and massive world events like the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the release of "Return of the Jedi."

This '80s resurgence is partly due to the TV show that was "I Love the Eighties," a VH1 mini-series that had hour-long episodes that chronicled each year. Within the show, several c-list celebritites such as Michael Ian Black (The State/Viva Variety forever, motherfucker) and the not Jon Stewart from the Daily Show (Mo Rocca, represent) would roast the wonderful decade. "I Love" was so popular, in fact, that it boasted several spin-offs: "I Love the Seventies," "I Love the Nineties," and "I Love the Eighties: Strike Back."

What sucks about the youth of America's new obsession with the decade de ocho is that they're not really thinking about why the (later half of the) '90s were much better. No one ever wants to talk about how Reganomics ruined middle and Black America. No one wants to talk about how even after Affirmative Action, there were still minority voices that were left unheard in mainstream media, save Oprah (though this is more of a fall out of the sixties). No one wants to talk about how the American government were training people overseas to kill us nearly twenty years later.

Instead people are filtering out that shit and, interestingly enough, living obsessively with the American Psycho diet: coke, sex, coke, murder. Wait, scratch that last one. But mos def with the coke, sex, coke. It's fucking insane. And now all these dumbass 15 year old kids are waxing intellectual about the '80s like it was they were the Greatest Generation talking about America during "The War." Well fuck that. As a product of the early '80s, I've seen music programs in my schools shut down, several family members -- parents included -- laid off due to a lacking economy; I could go on forever, but I'd rather not.

The only fond memory I have of those years are the cartoons and isn't that just fucking sad? So dear American teenager, before you pump more hairspray on top of your noggin, think about how your folks may have struggled to get through those years so your lame ass could be born. Or do more coke, I don't give a shit anymore.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"while you were sleeping" we hardly knew ye...

[this essay is the first in a series of posts that have very little importance with the world at large. they are, rather, some pop culture musings that have been stuck in my brain for the last few weeks. enjoy! ry]

As anyone who truly knows me will tell you, I'm a pack-rat. Well, I used to be a bigger pack-rat, then, I went out and got in a relationship and I'm in the process of trying to be a responsible (and neat and tidy) adult, so my arbitrary belongings (i.e. mix tapes for girls I've dated, old textbooks from my first year at Seattle Pacific University, etc.) have all seen the way of the dumpster. There is, however, one part of my pack-rat-ness I take a little bit more caution with and that is my fluxuating magazine collection. As a writer, I feel that I have to archive any old magazine I find interesting in case I need to site another writer. This little act has saved my ass plenty of times, whether it was writing a 20 page essay about "Family Guy" (this paper really does exist) to writing an article about sex (see: next issue of "Redefine").

In the last year and a half, I've moved a total five times and for most of the moves, my magazine collection has stayed relatively the same. Except for move number three where I left copies of my beloved "While You Were Sleeping" at the house that I shared with my former bandmates and friends. At first I thought, "Whatever. I don't ever read those issues any more." Turns out that I missed them much more than I was willing to admit to.

"While You Were Sleeping" was a publication that started out as a hip-hop/graffiti magazine, with little tidbits of everyday life smeared throughout its pages. After the first year or so, I think they really found their niche by becoming more of a running commentary on pop culture. While easy to dismiss this change as a way to sell more issues to white urban kids who just love "Vice," "WYWS" wasn't as pro-drug, pro-hipster, or pretentious. Reading their articles was kind of like reading transcripts of conversations I have with my friends. Or reading transcripts of my thoughts. It was bizzare, freaky, and cool at the same time.

I think that "WYWS" really hit its stride with the issues started to become themed. Issues such as "Virginity" and "Ex-Girlfriends" will forever be etched into my mind. Even the "Parents" issue was highly entertaining since they made fun of AFI frontman Davey Havok to his face by calling him a tattoo. I guess it's one of those things that you have to read to chuckle at.

The magazine industry is a difficult business to stay afloat in. I remember interviewing someone back when I worked at The Falcon and they said that magazines usually die within the first two years. "While You Were Sleeping" put out 31 strong issues, the final being a highly stylized "Artists" themed issue that came out last winter. I never would've guessed that that could be the last issue. But when I started to think back, the road signs were there: editors and writers were leaving and the issues weren't coming out as frequently.

In the end, "WYWS" remains to be one of my favorite magazines of all time. And through my many hectic moves, I've been able to salvage 11 issues. While that many copies clearly does not make me a pack-rat, the fond memories I have of purchasing and reading this publication is neatly packed in my head.

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