Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Only Thing Constant Is ...



As mentioned in the last post, I usually watch movies with the students on Fridays, after we finish our tests.

They enjoy movie day, but they're picky about what they like: nothing with wizards, monsters, superheroes, etc. "Teacher! It's for children!" they cry.

They like cop / mafia action flicks, and of course things like FAST AND THE FURIOUS. (Anything with careless driving.)

Recently we watched these two movies:



THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, from 1998

and



THE TRANSPORTER, from 2002.

While watching them, I had a moment of dawning realization:

Why the fuck hasn't style or music changed in 15 or 20 years?

I mean, think about it. If you watched a movie from 1980 in 1995, you'd laugh at the hairstyles and such. If you watched a movie from 1970 in 1985, you'd be amazed how different it looked.



1983's VALLEY GIRL, which we can safetly say looks entirely fucking different from 1998s THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS.

The world has changed tremendously, in terms of technology, economics, and so forth, in fifteen years, but nothing else in America has. I know I wear the same kind of clothes I was wearing 20 years ago (modified FRIENDS casual, I guess?) and don't feel behind the times.



Watch a Michael Bay movie from 1995:



and does it look too much different from a Michael Bay movie from 2015?



Look at something like the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise -- it started in 2001, adding a seventh installment last year, and the styles, music, and everything else looks pretty much identical. Give or take a tattoo or a shaved head.



One funny thing to me though, you watch a Russian or Indian movie from 2000, they look VASTLY different:



versus today, when pretty much everybody in the world looks like this:



I mean, add a beard or a tattoo or whatever, swap the skin tones out, and that's prime time TV everywhere in the world. Find me 10 differences in the cast of FRIENDS and the cast of NEW GIRL. Of course there's exactly one: a couple of them have darker skin tones and parents from other countries.

You may say to me, oh, but that just means that fashion is done; one can wear the best of whatever stylistic era now, and it will be accepted. Whether you wish to be a hip-hop doofus, an extreme-sports tattooed wraparound sunglasses guy, rock a suit, or be a flip-collar preppie, it's all cool in the 21st century.

To which I say: There are a LOT of styles that the future has yet to explore.



Music, too. The same blonde teenagers singing the same auto-tuned pop, and the same generic hip-hop and R and B, often sung by exactly the same people. (More big asses these days, I guess?) If Adelle's album had come out in 2000, would people think, "Wow, that really sounds ahead of it's time!" Or if Eminem's first album was released now, would people say, "Oh that is some tired old-hat shit!"

English Teacher X says, nup!



I feel this is a significant observation, but I'm not sure exactly what it means. It would be dramatic to say something like "the terrorists hit pause on American culture when they hit the World Trade Center!" but I'm not sure that's exactly it. More of a general case of arrested development, I think, our general culture of sequels and nostalgia plundering, of reboots and rehashes and "hacking" for profits rather than thinking of something original.

I mean I guess I'm as guilty as anybody. This blog is 13 years old, and counting.

6 comments:

Ken said...

I look at myself and my fashion style hasn't changed in a decade. Maybe I've become more comfortable with it... but 10 years ago I worked for a corporation suit and tie... never again.

The thing is though I do remember visiting Russia many times (Irkutsk, Novosirbisk) and seeing women dressed incredibly well in what we might think as prom/cocktail dresses as if it were completely normal. While I look around and sweat pants, leggings (and rolls of fat) seem to be the norm in the UK.

Anonymous said...

I think people's teeth have gotten nicer-looking, all over the world, since 2000. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Hey X...an interesting post would be your take on the Roosh debacle of late...with him being hunted down.

Anonymous said...

Mr. X,

What is your take on the young lady from Russia allegedly involved in a $1k/night hotel "incident" with Eliot Spitzer? There is a very interesting article purportedly penned by her on medium.com entitled "sex-is-sex-but-money-is-money". Is Spitzer Alpha or Beta, and what is his deal?

And now for something entirely different - will you officially be endorsing any U.S. presidential candidates?

Thank you,

A loyal lurker.

englishteacherx said...

I knew from the beginning the "manosphere" was going to explode, with their rhetoric becoming more and more extreme and attention-seeking, so I'm not too surprised by this. It's why I didn't get more involved with them. I pity the guy, but hey, all gurus and messiahs get crucified eventually, right? You play the game, you take your chances.

I haven't read that article yet, but I will. Prostitutes and politicians go together pretty well by nature, though.

I think I'll go for Hillary. We need a tough babe in the White House, and if she can handle her philandering husband, she can handle congress.

Chris said...

Russia makes movies?!! Holy shit!!

The world, as a whole, took perhaps 4 decades to recover to a reasonable degree from the cultural clusterfuck that was the social revolution of the 1960s. That's why 70's style was what it was, and just not a mildly adjusted 1950's style, and in turn that's why 80's and 90's fashion was what it was. Consider it a mass slow movement back to psychological normalcy. Though, we obviously still deal with the remaining effects such as a vastly reduced fashion formality and idiot trends that pop up with seeming less and less frequency.

The people in that Old Russian movie look like they have a communist fashion hangover. It's to be expected. It's not so dissociated from 60's fashion, I suppose along the lines of a first cousin to it (loud colors, patterns, and cuts that buck the 'establishment', etc), though without the large collars and open knits.

As my grandfather likes to comment, blue jeans are an alarming modernist trend with staying power. I don;t find them alarming, but the older that i get I increasingly see how ridiculous they look in general. Or, perhaps, merely on anyone over 35 with any extra weight on them whatsoever. In fairness to grand-pappy, they were once strictly the clothing of people such as miners and farmers.

I see style edging its way back to 1950's style formalness with some updated lines, without the hats, and perhaps with some casual accouterments (you're business rock - we get it), instead of what we have now which is casual with formal garnishes, at least in urban areas and once the hipster more or less dies or becomes passe (it will). As social standing becomes more competitive once again, as it has been for a while, the formal style will come back as a social signal.

Anyway, that's my cut at it.