2008-10-23

Great Moments In History: Volume 1


Let me preface this, my first in a series of the Greatest Moments in Pop Culture History, with a brief disclaimer. I was born in 1980, and as such, my understanding of any cultural phenomena prior to this year is severely limited and wrought with unavoidable ignorance. This series could be titled Great Moments In History 1980-present, but calling it that would violate my belief that 99% the most truly irrelevant and hilariously absurd moments in history have occurred after 1980. So, I choose not.

The first installment in Greatest Moments begins with hatchling MTV, in its sophomore state during the early 90s. Arguably, with its creation of The Real World, the network could be credited with unleashing the scourge of reality TV on the American consciousness. Real World was a one-two punch: not only did the show appeal to the decadent bloodlust of the viewing audience by throwing a bunch of hotheads in confined space and having the MTV interns stock the Culligan water coolers with Stoli, it also managed to consistently goad these "typical" Gen-Xers into politically charged debates about hot topics like AIDS and racism. And of course a light bulb went off in the head of every TV exec in the country when it was all pulled off on a shoestring budget.

Riding in on the coattails of this low-fi success story, MTV released a number of short lived and quickly forgotten documentary series, the best of which, hands down, was the Sex in the Nineties series. A combination of interviews and verite footage following 20 somethings in their quest to get laid, the series took advantage of the AIDS-spawned movement to blow the taboo out of talking about sex (wasn't there a Salt N' Pepa song about this...wait, that was every Salt N' Pepa song). In particular, the show focused on the once taboo topic of women talking about orgasms, vibrators, and dildos.

And on that note, we come to Great Moment in History Volume 1. On Sex In the Nineties, Part II, the Breakup edition, who should turn up as the unexpected featured narrator but reclusive indie rocker Lou Barlow, of Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh and most recently Folk Implosion. Much like the afore mentioned apparition of a Conor Oberst photo in People Magazine, this bizarre yet completely appropriate appearance is the thing true legends are made of. Without an ounce of irony, Barlow spent 60 mope-filled minutes expounding on the heartbreak and gut wrenching pain of love.

Oh Lou, where for art thou? Did your legendary relationship with Kath pan out to your liking? On a side note, I saw Barlow play with project Sebadoh at a Flaming Lips show in 1999. His approachable vibe and scraggly appearance led to hecklers shouting out "Get a hircut hippie" loud enough to be heard over his modest and sensitive guitar playing. Let's all pull out our deuce deuce of St. Ides and pour a little on the sidewalk for Lou. Or in the sink. Or just drink it. Yeah, its your five bucks man, do what you want. Its how he would have wanted it.

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