Speakin' as a Child of the '70s
by Jessica Brandt
I didn't really 'grow up' in the '70s. I lived through exactly 8 months and 2 days of it. But at least I can say I was there.
Those of you who were born in 1979, I welcome you! Half of us are officially 21 now, and the rest are soon to follow. We've now been around for FOUR decades, and we're still very young. We missed all the bad parts of the '80s because we were blissfully unaware. We endured the changes of the '90s and helped shape the world with our youthfulness. Now, in the "next millennium," we're far ahead of our elders because we've been daring and ruthless in our quest for knowledge...or at least in our quests for comfort.
As a whole, our lives haven't been that bad. Now that the '90s are over, we can stop sending each other "You're a child of the '80s if you remember..." email and start looking at the past two decades as a complete, moronic, confusing, adult-ruined package. Let's forget about those uppity young venture capitalists who will be burnt out by the age of 28, and forget about the precious "class of 2000," and remember just what we have gone through to make us the most level people on the planet. The children of 1979.
Music: We've seen the rise and fall of "hair metal" and the infusion of rap and metal. There have been two types of Metallica, three incarnations of Prince, four personalities of Bono and 1,001 Michael Jacksons. "Alternative" and "grunge" music were created for us, and now it's about to be considered classic rock. We survived the New Kids on the Block, and no one took notice of their emminent failure, and thus the Backstreet Boys were born.
Television: We started out with the Cosbys and the Keatons, living comfortably in their city and suburban homes, but ended up with "Roseanne" and the ultimate middle-aged single mom, Murphy Brown. We've made "The Simpsons" into the most-watched animated series ever, starting with the fact that we thought "The Bart Man" was cool and bought all his products, but then we started watching reruns of it and caught on to its satirical brilliance. Reality TV started out with "Cops" and then exploded into "Mounties" and "The Real World." More of that to come. MTV stopped playing obscure videos during the day and reserved the "Alternative Nation," "Headbangers Ball" and "120 Minutes" nighttime spots for those. And then MTV stopped playing videos altogether.
Movies: Four Star Wars movies! We were the guinea pigs for the beginning of what they call "movie tie-ins" and we so showed them out amazing buying power. Those kids today who love their Burger King Pokemon cards owe us much. We started buying soundtracks, too. Especially The Crow, because it was so dark and it was based on a comic book, AND Stone Temple pilots did a song for it.
Politics: A movie star was president. Then a Texan. And THEN...the most exciting and newsworthy president since JFK came along. He smoked pot and played the sax and even stimulated an intern with a cigar. Hot dawg! We were blind to the concept of a "cold war" in the '80s and in the early '90s all of our teachers made us write letters to service men in some place called "Iraq." We tried to avoid voting but MTV made it so trendy. Activism spread because no one wanted be be an investment banker anymore.
Technology: Our families proudly bought the latest and greatest machine- a BetaMax VCR- for over $300. Five years later, they bought clunky LaserDisc machines for over $500. Now, we have jobs and buy ourselves DVD players- for under $200. Ours schools each had one Amiga or Commodore 64, around which we would crowd to see Logo or Basic programs be carried out. Later on, the nerdlings among us got Windows 3.1 machines and started going to BBSes. We went because we were 15 and had nothing else to do. We were there with the 55-year-old retirees who had nothing else to do, and wanted porn. We had the terms "cybersex" and "cyberstalker" invented just for us. Then the Internet came along and now we're so much more enlightened. We get more free porn.
Congratulations, children of 1979! Here's to another 19 years...those happy years before we turn 40 and die. I'll see you at the top.