Reminiscences: The 1970s

 

1970sI confessed to my seven-year-old son recently that when I was his age I was usually out in the street playing with toy guns and eating a pack of candy cigarettes a day. “Where were your mom and dad?” he asked. I told him the truth: “Entertaining in the den with real guns and real cigarettes.”

Couples with children were seen as blessed, surrounded as they were by forgivable versions of themselves. Children weren’t coddled but cherished and I still remember the pleasure my dad took casually cracking hard-boiled eggs on my head. The term role model did not then exist nor, for that matter, did solar subsidies, the prevailing belief in those days being that Americans could never be cowed into paying for the sun.

Heh, good times.

Government, like everything else, seemed more expensive than today though it was actually cheaper, politicians not yet having discovered that their special brand of magic, like everything else, seems cheaper when paid for with borrowed dollars. Today, of course, Congress’ motto might as well be “We tax your children and pass the savings onto you.”

For conservatives the political landscape was indisputably worse than today, the current Trump-Clinton-Sanders unpleasantness notwithstanding. Gridlock, the next-best thing to freedom, was in scant supply. There were two political parties: the Democrats (liberal) and the Republicans (liberal). Working-class whites were the backbone of the GOP, though then the party still understood this. The explosion of regulations that accompanied Nixon’s presidency notwithstanding, government somehow seemed smaller. Banks were deemed too big to bail.

Nixon was not just in the GOP but of it, launching the absurdly ambitious war on drugs and instituting price controls. Price controls. The term white privilege did not then exist, nor did its attendant warnings about everything from gluten to peanuts. Privacy did not then rank as high among our list of concerns as it does today. And understandably so, given that an innocent online purchase now results in my browser filling up with countless ads for inflatable women.

Down the street from us was Disneyland which, though world famous and immensely popular, had not yet achieved the marketing gold standard of appealing to both Mormons and gays. The end of the Cold War seemed nowhere in sight and it was understood that if some naif chose to go hiking in North Korea that that was his problem, not that of the American taxpayer, who is now expected to facilitate to his return home.

Then as now, a large percentage of people believed that Elvis was still alive but only because they just saw him at the Vegas Hilton. Though hands-down the worst-dressed decade ever, the notion that one dressed up for air travel still existed to a certain extent, unlike today when being bumped up to first class means donning your “fancy” tank top.

Bill Clinton’s presidency was two decades away and Obama’s more than three, so the notion that a haircut and a shoeshine could only get you so far was still widely believed. Middle-class families like the one I grew up in weren’t threatened with bankruptcy by merely living a middle-class lifestyle. NASA was sending men to the moon and back, not issuing press-releases about finding signs of water. On Earth.

But between between inflation, long gas lines, obstacles to trade, Watergate, Vietnam and men like Rockefeller the face of the Republican party, I’m sanguine about my children’s prospects.

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles
    • #31
  2. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    RightAngles:Here’s Mom:
    MOM

    Mom’s a stunner.

    • #32
  3. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    RightAngles:Here’s Mom:
    MOM

    Huzzah!

    • #33
  4. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles
    • #34
  5. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    EThompson:I miss:

    I read “Partridges” as “Patricides”. That would an issue of Tiger Beat I wouldn’t mind reading.

    • #35
  6. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Cat III:

    EThompson:I miss:

    I read “Partridges” as “Patricides”. That would an issue of Tiger Beat I wouldn’t mind reading.

    Of course you wouldn’t, Amy.

    • #36
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RightAngles: Everyone loved her because she was always nice to everyone, and I never heard her speak ill of another person. She was a true southern lady (with the drawerful of white gloves to prove it).

    Not even one little “bless their hearts?” Truly impressive.

    • #37
  8. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles
    • #38
  9. LesserSon of Barsham Member
    LesserSon of Barsham
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Cheers to all those survivors of lawn darts.

    • #39
  10. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Don’t remember much about the ’70s, myself.

    • #40
  11. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    thelonious:In the 70’s we had a real life Superman. Doctor J standing 6’7, 6’10 with the afro was flying through both the ABA and NBA dunking on anybody who got in his way. Maybe the last athlete whose history was as much mythology as it was recorded.Dr. J

    One of the great Virginia Squires!

    • #41
  12. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    The 70s were awesome.  My mother made me a cream and brown plaid leisure suit for Easter.  And there was great TV like Barney Miller, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Kojak.  Star Wars!  Midget airplane spotters.  Sid & Marty Krofft productions.  Things like this happening at random:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE2m355-JRo

    And these guys:

    Kiss_alive_album_cover

    • #42
  13. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    I do, however, remember this:

    • #43
  14. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    And this:

    • #44
  15. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    Hilarious post, David!!

    (and a boss photo to go with it)

    • #45
  16. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    • #46
  17. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Roberto:This is an excellent piece.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, Roberto, and thanks for letting me know.

    • #47
  18. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Pencilvania:Hilarious post, David!!

    (and a boss photo to go with it)

    Thanks, Pencilvania.

    • #48
  19. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    MLR, even as a fan of BOYZ II Men, I can’t defend you from ABBA. :)

    • #49
  20. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    EThompson:

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    MLR, even as a fan of BOYZ II Men, I can’t defend you from ABBA. :)

    Hey, I couldn’t resist two beautiful women in miniskirts!

    • #50
  21. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Mike LaRoche:

    EThompson:

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    MLR, even as a fan of BOYZ II Men, I can’t defend you from ABBA. :)

    Hey, I couldn’t resist two beautiful women in miniskirts!

    Oh, come on. We all know it’s Yer ringtone.

    • #51
  22. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    Who didn’t have a crush on Agnetha?

    • #52
  23. LesserSon of Barsham Member
    LesserSon of Barsham
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Whiskey Sam:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    Who didn’t have a crush on Agnetha?

    Gesundheit…

    • #53
  24. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    You never see them together….

    • #54
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    I think if you mute the video, you’ll get more of the effect Mike is going for.

    • #55
  26. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Although there was a lot of schlock, there was also a lot of good music made in the 1970’s.  Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Electric Light Orchestra, Waylon Jennings, Rod Stewart, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Carole King, and yes I’ll say it, the BeeGees.  It’s been hip to dump on the BeeGees for decades, but I think their music really holds up.

    • #56
  27. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Randy Weivoda:Although there was a lot of schlock, there was also a lot of good music made in the 1970’s. Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Electric Light Orchestra, Waylon Jennings, Rod Stewart, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Carole King, and yes I’ll say it, the BeeGees. It’s been hip to dump on the BeeGees for decades, but I think their music really holds up.

    Alice Cooper once said the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was the best album of the 70s.

    • #57
  28. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    ABBA isn’t all bad. The Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock took the main riff of “Pretty Vacant” from ABBA’s “S.O.S.”

    • #58
  29. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Whiskey Sam:

    Randy Weivoda:Although there was a lot of schlock, there was also a lot of good music made in the 1970’s. Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Electric Light Orchestra, Waylon Jennings, Rod Stewart, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Carole King, and yes I’ll say it, the BeeGees. It’s been hip to dump on the BeeGees for decades, but I think their music really holds up.

    Alice Cooper once said the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was the best album of the 70s.

    It certainly taught me how to dance.

    But… speaking of Cooper, can we agree that I’m Eighteen is his best song evah?

    • #59
  30. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    Randy Weivoda:Although there was a lot of schlock, there was also a lot of good music made in the 1970’s. Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Electric Light Orchestra, Waylon Jennings, Rod Stewart, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Carole King, and yes I’ll say it, the BeeGees. It’s been hip to dump on the BeeGees for decades, but I think their music really holds up.

    KANSAS!  STYX!

    • #60
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