Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Stooges, Fun House (1970)

This is great.

Compare this to Drake. No hating on Drake here. We get the culture we deserve, Drake's music is a mirror on the twenty-teens, things are what they are.

But The Stooges? Something was different here. The seventies cracked open a window. But in the end, the enthusiasm would come to lack direction.

The seventies was that decade when all this chaotic energy of the libido could have turned into something revolutionary. But what happened? What did the Boomers do with all that Dionysian verve? In the long run they sold out and bought in. In the short run they pursued their own selfish pleasures. Which amounts to the same thing.

It's tough to indict a generation. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and there are plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacks, me included. For shame.

Still, there were enough people who were coming up in the seventies who knew at the time that there was plenty of potential energy there to turn America into a proper nation-state like the European countries through social, labor, and health-care reform. And there could have been a proper system of mass transit that united these great States, which alone would have helped foster a greater sense of community. We needed more than highways. I'm not the first to have this thought. Boomers knew.

The English-speaking world's most popular novelist since Dickens and Boomer extraordinaire, Stephen King, has mourned his generation's real lack of social transformation in his short novel, Hearts in Atlantis (1999). There, King's characters initially pat themselves on the back for avoiding the draft, opting instead to go to university to get educated. But all they wind up doing is drinking, gambling on hearts (apt metaphor), and attending protest rallies for the fun of it. King is drawing upon his own experience here, by the way, and has said as much.

So The Stooges.

The lyrics of The Stooges' 1970 Fun House are nonsensical, wine-drunk, and dirty. One song is actually called "Dirt." Another song makes use of the verb "stick" for an action that is barely innuendo. The album is the raw energy of disaffected youth. But energy counts for nothing unless it's put to good use. This was raw power harnessed for what? Arch-individualism.

The youth coming up in the seventies gradually transformed their antagonism toward unjust social system to apathy and to the glorification of me, me, me. Free love? The most prurient of expressions.

Could the Boomers have done something? I think so. Unless you think all the babies that came into the world in the fifties were born with their hands tied behind their backs, I don't see how you can't think that their actions could have constructed a more decent American society. Or that in fact they ended up constructing a worse one.

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