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March 16, 1989 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-16

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PERSPECTIVES

The Michigan Daily Thursday, March 16, 1989 Page 5

The

70s

weren't

that

bad at all

BY TONY SILBER
What did the 1970s mean to your
life? Perhaps after a bit of thinking
and reminiscing, the lost and in-,
significant decade it is often consid-
ered to be may reveal itself to be a
little more special than you may
think.
I miss the '70s. It was my youth,
my initiation into an intricate world.
Life was simple then, but now,
looking back ten years after its com-
pletion, I regret that I didn't appreci-
ate or relish the many wonderful
things the '70s gave us at the time.
It was more than Watergate and
disco. The decade had an identity cri-
sis as America emerged from the re-
bellious, Vietnam-tainted '60s into a
new, futurous decade. Let's look back
on the lost decade for a moment and
hopefully relive a spark of magic that
was there for everyone to feel.
Richard Nixon was President.
George C. Scott refused the Oscar for
Patton. The Beatles split. All in the
Family redefined television. The in-
vasion of Cambodia and the Kent
State massacre alienated the nation
against Vietnam. The Attica prison
revolt took 39 lives. The Pentagon
Papers were published. Inflation hit
5%, the deficit $25 billion. Nixon
went to China and got re-elected as
"plumbers" broke in at Watergate.
Mark Spitz found gold in Munich,
Israeli athletes found terrorism. The
Guess Who, Jackson 5, Patridge
Family, The Carpenters, Three Dog
Night, Bread, Marvin Gaye, Roberta
Flack, Neil Young, The Staple
Singers (remember them?), Janis
Joplin, and Tony Orlando and Dawn
took the reins of popular music. And
then there was the Theme from
Shaft. The Godfather captivated the
cinema. George Wallace was shot.
The Arab Oil Embargo strangled the
economy. Nixon resigned. And that
was only the early '70s.
The early '70s was the true disil-
lusionment of the decade. America

was a frustrated power, mad at the
world and mad at itself. No goals
were set, no dreams were dreamt. The
nation was content to become stag-
nant and revel in the glory days of
the '60s. Watergate was the rude
awakening the nation so desperately
needed. It sent a shock wave through
every facet of American life and re-
vealed the true power of the Ameri-
can people over their own President.
The world of popular music was also
stagnant after apparently peaking
with the Beatles. America needed di-
rection, and the mid '70s provided
more than the early '70s. Hope was
restored. The war was over. It was
time to enjoy ourselves.
Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the
Moon changed progressive rock for-
ever. Patty Hearst was nabbed, Nixon
went free. Wide ties, lapels, and big
collars dominated fashion. Hank
Aaron hit his 715th, Evil Knievel hit
the wall. TVs were turned to
M*A*S*H, Little House on the
Prairie, and Good Times. Saturday
Night Live debuted. Gerald Ford
slipped on the stairs, Squeaky
missed. Roe vs. Wade legalized
abortion. Jimmy Hoffa went for a
long lunch. Consumers stood in
lines for mood rings and pet rocks.
Jaws changed going to the beach
forever. Nadia and Bruce stunned the
world in Montreal, Charlies Angles
stunned television.
Film gave us Cuckoo's Nest,
Rocky, Chinatown, Rocky Horror,
and Blazing Saddles. Vinyl gave us
The Eagles, Peter Frampton, Crosby,
Stills, and Nash, Elton John, Electric
Light Orchestra, Stevie Wonder,
Steve Miller Band, The Doobie
Brothers, and Disco. The Americans
and Soviets linked up in space, but
Sonny and Cher split on Earth. And
then there was Jimmy Carter.
The mid '70s set the stage for the
true glamor era of the decade, the late
'70s when America put on its danc-
ing shoes and tuned in to new,

glossy television series. We matured
culturally and socially. It was a
charming time for the nation. A
flash-dash moment in history when,
in between wars and economic crises,
the '70s developed its true identity.
This is the only part of the decade
most of us really remember. A time
when a nation could say together,
"Nanoo! Nanoo" and have a "Reggie"
bar. Americana nostalgia was at its
peak in the years 1977-1980 and, de-
spite the problems and strife around
the world, the '70s drew to a close
with flair.
A nation loved to hate its Presi-
dent. Saturday Night Fever burned
the silver screen and Elvis burned

out. Disco ruled the airwaves, the
Steelers ruled football, The Fonz
ruled television, and Luke Skywalker
saved the galaxy. Everyone had a
John Travolta or Farrah Fawcett
poster while Shaun Cassidy and Eric
Estrada became hearthrob-reserves. A
pope died after a month, Morris after
nine lives. Roots beat the Super-
bowl and Spinks beat Ali, but
Michigan lost the Rose Bowl three
years in a row.
Music rebelled and produced the
Sex Pistols and Devo, and Bluto
Blutarski became a collegiate role
model. The Tigers had "The Bird" and
Brooke had her Calvins and Jim
Jones had bad Kool Aid. Iran took

hostages and death took The Duke.
Israel and Egypt made peace while
Skylab fell to the Earth. Billy Carter
went to Libya but no one went to
Three Mile Island. Saturdays meant
rollardisco, Love Boat, and Fantasy
Island. And the decade ended with
My Sharona.
The 1970s have gotten a bad im-
age, an image which it didn't deserve.
It was a decade of highs and lows, of
problems and solutions, of Lenny
and Squiggy. We had gas lines and an
oil crisis to go with our gas guzzling
big cars, isn't that romantic? The
'70s gave us memories to smile to
and a Bicentenial to be proud of. The
Womens and Civil Rights move-

ments continued their growth from
the '60s. Popular culture modernized
our lives and technology continued to
astound us.
The '70s had a flavor and a per-
sonality which are difficult to de-
scribe. It had a sound to it, the '70s
sound. It was like we were a nation
unsure of what to do next. The '80s
have been cold, but the '70s can be
seen as warm. We were home then,
growing up. Bash the '80s all you
like, but find praise in my '70s. It
was a time when we all learned to be
ourselves. So the next time you
watch a rerun of Chips or Starsky
and Hutch, think back long and hard
and come home again.

Hvrhmo n &

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