Quote of the Day:
“Can you help me occupy my brain?” –Black Sabbath, Paranoid, released October, 1970
Contemplating the at once ascendant and yet deteriorating state of the world we live in and TB’s ten-twenty on the celestial spectrum lately…..
I was born in 1970. Coincidentally, perhaps, I view that year as year one of the modern era. There is abundant evidence for the proposition in the changes that came about over the surrounding years.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon (said none of these things by the way, sadly), and by 1970 Bewitched, Andy Griffith and I Dream of Jeannie were all airing in the full glory of Technicolor. Beverly Hillbillies too. But these shows, that all started as black and whites and depicted American life in an idyllic, delightful and zany light were in their last days, being overcome by a new type of sitcom–All In The Family, The Brady Bunch, and MASH–still funny, still zany, but with hippies and mixed families and people who hated the Army. We began to acknowledge and laugh at American dysfunctionality. The transition from the ancient world to the modern in entertainment was distinct.
The turbulent sixties (a federal law was passed in 1978 requiring use of “turbulent” in any publication discussing that decade in any way) featured civil rights battles in the streets and the passage of Medicare, changing American politics forever; and Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays retired in 1969 and 1973, respectively (though many baseball fans refuse to acknowledge Mays’ two years with the Mets beginning in ’72.) Their departures symbolized a changing of the guard in the pastime. In 1970 Curt Flood challenged baseball’s reserve clause and set in motion the concept of free agency as it is now practiced in all professional sports. The seventies would begin the era of mortality for our sporting heroes–Reggie Jackson, Steve Garvey, Pete Rose–little different than their often belligerent, hard-drinkin’, womanizin’ and gamblin’ predecessors, but publicized now. Even the Presidency was de-pedestalized in the new age with the exposure and fall of Nixon.
The first mideast oil crisis was in 1973. Resulting gas lines were a deceptively gruesome foreshadowing of America’s future. Monday Night Football debuted in 1970 too, and the New York Jets set football on its modern course when they won Super Bowl III in 1969. The Beatles split up in 1970. Black Sabbath debuted. The first Earth Day was proclaimed in San Francisco, asbestos insulation was banned, and eighteen year olds were given the right to vote. Astroturf. Old Elvis. Hurricane Camille.
Am I right? When did the modern era begin? With America’s victory in World War II? With the explosion of the PC and the Internet Age? Sometime else?
I still say around 1970.
“What difference does it make?”, you might ask, or possibly “how does one punctuate a question within a sentence?”
I don’t know. Probably none. Just something I was thinkin’ about.