As you might expect, I’m really not a huge fan of the 1980s. The 1980s equals Reagan, Thatcher and the painful final seasons of the long-running ‘Cold War’ series, which had long ago jumped the shark and was now resorting to frankly implausible twists to keep us interested. (Yeah yeah, maybe we can shoot their missiles out of the sky with our own magic missiles from Star Wars, whatever. Like that would work.) In fact, since correlation always equals causation, I’d argue that I was born in 1989 – immediately saw that something was terribly wrong – and thus the immeasurably superior 1990s was born.
However, one thing which is hard to deny is that 1980s music videos had the property of being ‘not crap’ in a way which was never really regained:
I was thinking about this whilst watching the marvellous Krush (above) and reading the recent slew of reports about the exposure of children to sexual imagery and accompanying damage. And if only to make the point…
Fact: humans are inherently ridiculous. Mad apes with delusions of universal grandeur, we’re also basically pretty ugly when you think about it. (Mm – blood, bone, muscles, fat and insufficient body hair! Intelligent design fail.) Sexuality is a cheap hack to get us to reproduce, and of course we play along, but to talk about the media as projecting ‘unobtainable’ images of ‘perfection’ is absurd. We’re so very far from perfection it isn’t funny, but if you really wanted to project images of at least ‘some genuine improvement’ in a human being you wouldn’t concern yourself with the tedium of body shape. You’d photoshop a creature that didn’t require advanced medical intervention to be born without a scarily high chance of dying, was immune to the charms of Jeremy Kyle and could get basic percentages right. Models would be pictured reading books at the speed of light whilst simultaneously playing Twister without falling over. In space.
We can’t do this, obviously. (At least not at the moment. I hold out hope for the future. C’mon, genetic engineering and/or cybernetics!) But in the meantime, we could at least derive some genuine enjoyment from our innate rubbishness rather than strutting about and pouting. It’s fun to hop around in baggy jumpers and baseball caps – it’s also a sign of intellectual self-awareness that human beings, far from being divine receptacles of holy reason, are charmingly absurd. Pretending that we should spend all of our time trying to be sexually attractive, on the other hand, is terrifically insecure. Relax, humanity. We’re not going to lose the urge to procreate any time soon, and there’s no need to fool ourselves into thinking that we need to make a special effort about it. It’ll only be disappointing in the end.