Hot Stuff or Hot Mess? Weekend of a Wimpy Adult


So… that was quite the weekend. It’s Sunday noon and you know what, I’m not going to discuss at length what went on this weekend: you can read a NYT editorial on that, or better yet, subscribe to our independent press to make a point.

I want to talk about music.

The other night we were listening to some music and discussing some of the songs that stand out from our childhood. We started looking up some of these songs and their MTV videos (why oh why, don’t we make those anymore– they can be quite entertaining… as we found out). Take a look at Hot Stuff by the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqS4aNi0HQY): there’s some stage effect there that’s hilarious. If you can spot it let me know.

Also, I’ve always loved the song It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls (where are they now– the lead singer has an Aretha Franklin type voice but the low-budget video is somewhat absurd– or maybe it just hasn’t held up over time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5aZJBLAu1E. Granted, the lyrics are absurd, but anyway, you get my gist (or not).

Before we knew it, we were on some YouTube video play list and I realized that the feminism of the 1970s has really trickled down into some of these songs. They’re affirmative women’s lyrics, which, to my mind, have now been replaced by a lot of misogyny in rap and maybe this is why we need a second feminist revolution.

Take Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBR2G-iI3-I. There’s no way that that song could ever have been made in my mother’s generation…

Then, by the end of the seventies and early eighties, a kind of hedonism entered some of the lyrics– the hedonism we were entitled to, after burning our bras and going on the birth control pill: Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper is strangely feminist and sexist at the same time. My sense of fun at that age was reading a book, not crawling in bed with some boy toy, so I certainly wasn’t that kind of “fun” girl.

In my generation, the Dutch government also did a big campaign, trying to encourage girls to take more science in school and go for the STEM subjects in college. I’m sure it was well intentioned but one of their semi hip slogans was Een slimme meid is op haar toekomst voorbereid (A Smart Girl is Prepared for her Future). Again, this is feminist and sexist at the same time, because did it imply that that kind of advice didn’t need to be let loose on the boys as well? I saw many boys in my school and in college who could have used that advice as well, if not more than I ever did…

It’s fascinating how the Zeitgeist of the time penetrates these songs (and campaigns), and how, in retrospect, you see more clearly what actually was going on there, culturally. As such, I wonder how we’re going to look back on our times, to determine what was going on, as this weekend went from Summer’s Hot Stuff to Trump’s hot mess.

There was one big surprise and a lyric that said it all for me this weekend. I never ever was a Bonnie Tyler fan and have always hated her song Hero because I thought it was soooo cliché, but listen to the opening:

Where have all the good men gone/Where are all the gods…

This country needs a hero pronto, male or female.

***Caveat to the reader: this is a diary challenge I imposed on myself, not a newspaper editorial. I write these quickly to entertain you on your metro ride to work or a quiet (LOL) moment in the bathroom. Some readers seem to believe I’m in the business of swaying your opinion. I’m not. Merely expressing my feelings. I can write academic articles but this is not the genre I’m aiming for. This is a mere public diary and moment of stream-of-consciousness that I capture online. Feel like I needed to clarify that disclaimer…

 

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