Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pop culture at a standstill

Think for a moment. Besides the technology, what's really so different about today that makes it distinguishable from the '90s?

Here's the biggest changes I can think of: video games are much more complex, movie special effects have made leaps and bounds, portable computers are the norm, and the internet has changed the way we communicate and access information.
Aside from that, the biggest cultural change, I think, is our almost total abandonment of old-school cartooning, in favor of CG animation. Would you see a show like Animaniacs made today? Probably not. That sort of thing is slowly coming back again, but not so strongly as it did after Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

The world of entertainment tachnology is going strong, and progressing like a bullet train, and I'm totally in favor of it. But have you ever noticed how teenagers are still dressing like the latest blond diva or gangster rapper? Take a look at the comic strip Curtis- that kid has been dressing like a rapper since 1988, and his clothes are still in fashion. Perhaps clothes have become less colorful since the '90s, but I swear, I'm in my early twenties and I can't distinguish a kid from today from a kid I saw when I was eleven.

The 20th century tends to be subdivided into individual decades, and for good reason- they're clearly distinguishable from one another in regards to fashion, music, cinema, and the arts. You can always see a relationship between one decade and the next, and when you've done as much internet research as I have, they all start blurring together, but they're still distinguishable.
I didn't really find 2000-2009 terribly different from my childhood years of 1995-1999, culturally.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finger on the pulse

Jaded fairy tale satire is on its way out.

Ironic retro futurism is in.

I'm predicting a darker and edgier old-school cartoon comeback once Epic Mickey comes out.

Melt your grandmother's wedding ring for CA$H!

Need money? Got some "worthless" gold jewelry lying around? Don't sell it at auction! Give it to us so we can melt it down and destroy priceless pieces of cultural history! It's totally not worth more intact, so don't sell it at a pawn shop or on eBay- you'll never get as much money, trust us*!

*This is a bald-faced lie. Cash4Gold is not responsible if you're a gullible schmuck.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Try and top THIS

I just realized that nostalgia is quite possibly in the top five of the most popular cultural phenomenons in the history of forever.

There's also the phenomenon of what I like to call "double nostalgia", which can be loosely described as being enthusiastic for a revivalist movement from the past. Like, say, reviving Pre-Raphaelite styles or 1970s retro rock, like "Crocodile Rock" or "The Time Warp".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Modern ghosts?

It's a curious thing: as far as I know, there are no ghosts who died in any time period after the 1950s or very early 1960s. We have some dating all the way back to Medieval times, but none from the '70s as far as I know...

The most recent ghosts I know of are Marilyn Monroe and possibly James Dean, whose car was supposedly cursed and caused several injuries or deaths before vanishing.

If you believe in ghosts, and I certainly am open to it, you could say that it takes several years before they appear or something like that, but these two examples don't really work with that theory. Personally, it seems to me that it's just because a ghost hippie simply wouldn't be very cool...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Confederate flags

If you prominently display a Confederate flag in whatever manner- like, say, hanging it up in your room or painting it on your guitar- as far as I'm concerned, you're supporting slavery. I don't know if it's the same as wearing plastic devil horns on your head or anything, but seriously... why would you even joke about it, just to look dangerous?

Why do you think they seceded in the first place? Isn't there a better way to show pride in your state in an edgy sort of manner without resorting to using a symbol of separatism?

I suppose I should talk, since I like skull and crossbones flags. But the original associations with them are long dead, and now we're more likely to associate it with Captain Jack Sparrow than real-life bloodthirsty thieves.

Ruin value

This is the ONLY good idea the Nazis ever had.

Mind you, they're still evil. But since this is an idea that isn't specifically tied to fascism (except, by a stretch, to their self-glorification), it's actually something I can get behind, in the context of creating beauty that lasts for millennia and leaving behind a legacy of artistry.

Too bad we don't have any giant blocks of stone lying around... at least ones that can be retrieved without damaging the environment.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Toon Music Special: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

"Stars and Stripes Forever", composed by John Philip Sousa in 1986 (briefly featured in an over-the-top rendition by a toon brass band in the Acme warehouse)-

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244/2, composed by Franz Liszt in 1847. If there was a "national anthem" for toons, this would be one of the contenders. It first appeared in animation in Disney's 1929 short The Opry House, performed by Mickey Mouse. It's best known for appearing the Warner Bros. shorts Rhapsody in Rivets (1941) and Rhapsody Rabbit (1946), and MGM's The Cat Concerto (the same year- no one's sure who plagiarized who). It's been adapted to lyrics as "Freddy Get Ready" (sung by Bugs Bunny, Doris Day and Jack Carson) in My Dream is Yours (1949) and "Daffy Duck's Rhapsody" (1950, sung by you-know-who).

"Why Don't You Do Right?", written by Kansas Joe McCoy in 1936 (originally titled "Weed Smoker's Dream (Why Don't You Do Now)")-


"The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", written by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin in 1937, best known as the theme tune of the Looney Tunes.


"Witchcraft", music by Cy Coleman, words by Carolyn Leigh, 1957 (exactly ten years after WFRR's 1947...)-


And finally, "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!", words by Chas O'Flynn and Jack Meskill, music by Max Rich, 1931. Disney probably chose the song because of its appearance in the '31 Merrie Melodie of the same name below:

Here's a little digression on the cartoon above:

And, the song itself-


That's all, folks!

Toon Music: "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady"

Look, I'm dancin'!

Written in 1917 by Walter Donaldson and Monty C. Brice, as featured in 1947's A Hare Grows in Manhattan. The song was also used as the title song of a 1950 Warner Bros. musical film:


Speaking of A Hare Grows in Manhattan, did you know that it was originally based on an illustrated feature in the Dec. 1945 issue of Coronet magazine?:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010