Let's not revisit the 1980s fashion
A tear in the space-time continuum sliced through my living room this Memorial Day weekend. Well, it was either that or my television had become temporarily tuned to the "classic" version of music video station VH-1.
Upon further review, it was, in fact, an '80s weekend on the channel.
Intrigued, I decided to tune in to some of the music videos from the bands I had nearly forgotten. I heard from Duran Duran, Men Without Hats, The Fixx, and other favorites from the decade of excess.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the 1980s as I grew up, I have no desire whatsoever to return to the decade -- its music, its fashions, its attitudes.
As a reporter who is often taken by job duty to the high schools, I've been waiting for the 1980s to make some sort of comeback, as all fashions and time periods do. I have seen tie-dyed T-shirts come back on the scene, paying homage to 1960s fashion. I've seen long, shaggy hair and bell-bottomed jeans return, signaling elements of the 1970s. Just a glimmer of the 1980s has started appearing -- I'm looking in your direction, skinny-tie wearers.
Before we glamourize the decade, I'd like to make the case against returning to a time when things were totally awesome.
First, the music was very repetitive. Tell the truth, you can't tell a Soft Cell song from a Human League song, or a Motley Crue song from a Warrant song. Bland lyrics set to distorted guitars or uppity synthesizer music isn't much of a formula for lasting greatness.
Second, the decade's greatest contribution to the musical art form -- the music video -- got off to a shaky start. From my VH-1 weekend, I realized music videos weren't the small-screen cinema they are today. They are more like a glorified lip-sync, where the musicians danced that 80s dance in front of a camera (everyone do it with me, swing your arms in unison in a big U shape while shuffling your feet back and forth.) Another annoyance: we don't need the musicians to act out the words to the songs as part of the dance. For instance, I don't need you to point to your mouth every time the lyrics say "tell you" or point to your eyes every time the lyrics say "look" or "see." I'm perfectly aware which organs are used for which of my five senses.
Third, movies were no big treat. Yes, I know, you cried during "Chariots of Fire" and you can't get enough of "The Breakfast Club." I'll personally admit to a fondness for "Say Anything," but I'll also admit that at least a majority of movies produced in the decade followed one simplistic formula. You don't agree? Here's the plot. See if you recognize it.
You, the hero of the flick, are a dorky young man who moves into town and is the outsider -- the new kid at the school. Through no fault of young own, the concieted, blond captain of the swimming team/ski team/karate club challenges you to take him on in his sport of choice. Flustered by the beauty of his blond girlfriend, you accept. As you train, you befriend a striking-yet-similarly-dorky girl, and in the end, you beat the jock/bully. As he storms off, his snooty-but-beautiful girlfriend rushes to your side, but you reject her, because the dorky girl is the one you've grown to love.
Sound familiar? I thought so.
But I could definitely tolerate all of the movies and music from the 1980s before I could stomach a return to 1980s fashion. We simply don't need acid-washed jeans and hair gel. We don't need Flock-of-Seagulls haircuts. We don't need leg warmers and Flashdance shirts.
I made the unfortunate mistake of wearing a bolo tie for my senior pictures for high school. It was 1989, and bolo ties were cool for roughly 18 minutes, which happened to correspond to my little photo shoot. I'm trying to repress that memory, but my wife smiles broadly as she reminds me of it every so often.
Please, young people. Take 80s music. Take the movies. Say things like "radical" and "awesome." Crank up your Alpine stereo in your restored Trans-Am. Just don't adopt the fashion from the 1980s. I can't live through that again.