Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lost the Plot

  Getting my hair re-awseomeized at my barber yesterday by a young lass named Miss Courtney we got on to talking about motorcycles, as I'm an avid fan of various motorsports for the sheer fun of it and all that goes with that hobby, I mentioned I was helping a friend pick-out a Triumph.  "What's that?" she asked.  I explained it was a motorcycle. 

Iconic Triumph T100 "Tiger" 1973

  Clearly she is not a motorsports fan, as the famous Triumph Tiger was used famously by Ted Simon in the famous, Jupiter's Travels where in 1973 got on his dual-purpose motorcycle (the last until Triumph re-opened 10 years later.. motorcycle companies do that from time-to-time..) without knowing how to ride at all, went entirely around the world, famously, often where there were no roads from north to south and then back north again putting on some 79,000 famous miles (quite an adventure).  Ah, but not everybody reads, else she'd know my 2005 Honda Superhawk has history as well, it's nomenclature from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance became standard reading decades ago as well. 

"The Fonz" and Richie Cunningham played by Henry Winkler and Ron Howard

  I explained instead that the bike was used by The Fonz.  She didn't know who that was.  I explained, "You know, from Happy Days.  The FONZ!"  Nope.  Nothin'.  I sang a few bars of the famous Rock Around the Clock by "Bill Haley and his Comets" (1973), then later, Prat & McClain's Happy Days theme (as this was from seasons 3 onward to season 11 [yes, 11 seasons].  The show ran for 11 years from 1974 to 1984, increasing in ratings slightly every year on ABC, and it was pretty much all everyone watched on Tuesdays at 8pm for the whole of America, as few had more than 3 channels until 1984, with fairly popular spinoffs of Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy and the semi-dreaded and far less-popular, Joanie Loves Chachi, Out of the Blue, and Blansky's Beauties (and an animated series). Nope.  She explained she was born in 1992.

Henry Winkler as The Fonz "Arthur Fonzarelli" on his signature Triumph TR5 Trophy

  I had to ponder this for a moment, and then a moment more.  Kids around age 21 never had Happy Days except in syndication, nor Knight Rider or any other of Gary Larson's nighttime TV shows.  No Greatest American Hero, ALF, A-Team, Airwolf, The Fall Guy, Family Ties, Gimme A Break, Golden Girls, Hart to Hart, Hill Street Blues, M.A.S.H., Kate & Allie, Moonlighting, Miami Vice, Perfect Strangers, Remington Steele, St. Elsewhere, Scarecrow & Mrs. King, Night Court, Three's Company, Alice, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, 21 Jump Street, V: The Series, Who's The Boss, Punky Brewster.  Nope.  None of those.  Instead, she probably grew up with shows like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, American Idol, House, E.R., Chicago Hope, Dawson's Creek, and Beverly Hills 90210, as well as a barrage of reality shows that just stunk. 

Gary Coleman and David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff on a TV Guide promo for Diff'rent Strokes and Knight Rider

  I got to realize that TV made a right-turn somewhere and I nearly missed it.  TV in the '60s through the '80s to include Patty Duke and Leave it to Beaver onwards to Good Times and All in the Family and Little House on the Prairie to the '80s shows I mentioned all focused on Good can triumph over Evil with perseverance and determination.  Morals were taught and shown are superior.  The Good Guy will win eventually.  Dating was to court a lady properly.  Profanity was creative with terms like "Way to go, Lazer-Brain!"  Sex was implied and if happened rarely, tasteful with a turning off the lights of a married couple in jammies and cuddles.  Now it's depicted raw, rude, and without grace or form, and often with an ultimatum.  It's as if Lawful-Good TV became Neutral-Evil TV with Chaotic-Evil antagonists!

  TV shapes America, unfortunately.  Kids are affected by it, and the pranks depicted on YouTube.  Girls have become quite advanced in the way of adult intimacy due to the internet, more-so that I remember in high-school where I'd carry books to a girl's class, often getting a quick smooch to the scandal of the waiting teacher, Mrs. Snoot complete with horned-rimmed glasses, arms folded, and the class going, "WoooooOOOOOoooo!"  Very '80s.  Back then, I was a renegade by doing such, getting to class a few seconds late or just on-time, but teachers wouldn't scold me much because I was an A+ student in just about everything in all honors-level-classes, and I retained the knowledge (unlike a lot of high-school kids).  Most important class of high-school?  Typing.  Hands-down.  Who knew?!

1971 IBM Selectric-II typewriter popular for students learning to type in the mid-'80s

  Morals today have disintegrated.  It's like everyone has had a touch of the One Ring from Tolkien's epic tale and looks like a Ralph Bakshai character gone corrupt.

Frodo Baggins being corrupted by The Ring in Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings

  It's a shame, really.  It even is reflected in today's music.  Whiny and pathetic like 2 year olds who never grew up mentally but only physically.  The tearing-down of the American tradition of marriage, a pillar of strength now distorted by the gay-Nazis who want to somehow justify their psychological damage they refuse to heal by way of acceptance in some way, in any way, to just belong to something like a pathetic Harley rider who waves at everyone who rides by.

  I don't know if America has lost it's sense of "right".  I'd almost hand it to the Mormons, but they seem to often be only nice to each other, not such infidels as myself.  That, and they believe in a magic top-hat and that Jesus (ie. Ioshua) moseyed to the "Promised Land" of Utah.  Ever been there?  'Nuff said.  Promised Land?  I'd say Michigan.

Actual Michigan girl smiling for the camera

  I can only hope there'll be a Renaissance of sorts to bring back family traditions, but economic woes often preclude that, making both family members work and minimizing the family structure, but on a side note, men don't beat the living crap out of their wives Muslim-style anymore either, and personally, I find that a good thing.  Check out how men treated their women in the mid-'40s.  Very Palestinian.

  So can we get back to morals?  Hard to say.  TV demands culture as our personal teachers for kids and adults alike.  Lets us think immorality is the new morality:  how can we one-up each other for benefit?  It's all retro-grade for me, as if we're back in the Dark Ages.  With such improvements in Society, there's so much more unimprovments.  Americans have been trained to belive by Apple Inc. that low-fi is the way to go, because it's easier to use and you don't have to put the time-in to learn it.  Anyone remember how we'd change our config.sys and autoexec.bat files to get your DMU and IRQ settings right to get the sound-card to work for your new game?  Took a long time, and the rewards were worth it.  People don't have the patients for that anymore, to learn something valuable.  To play an instrument.  To conjugate a verb.  To research offline.  To solve a differential equation.  To write a poem with a typewriter. 

  Well, very few, anyway.  It's not all dead, it's only mostly dead.

  I suspect two courses, though I know there's an infinite shade of gray to consider.  Either we have a resurgence of Good in media, starting with cinema (there's been a few Good Guys Win coming out in the last 5 years) or we become a Mirror Universe and destroy ourselves (and/or enslave Vulcans under Empress Sato, or whatever).  It feels like that's where I've ended-up, and my so-called "rebellion" is so mild it's considered "charming" and "cute".  Let's hope we flip-back.  It starts with consumption.  Watch feel-good movies and TV and maybe Hollywood will save us?  They're our guides despite religion.  Damn shame but it's the truth of it, as it affects the masses on a continental level.  Religion is so scattered with technicalities, none of them can seem to team-up and fight Ming.


  I have hope for Good to triumph!

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