Emphasizing past, but missing present

By Lynn Rogers

O.K., I’ll admit it.

I stayed up and watched the Late Show the other night. And it was “Saturday Night Fever.”

Yuck, you are thinking. Yes, it was ugly, with wide collars, polyester bell bottoms, Barbie Blue eyeshadow and lots of flowing blow-dried hair. To think that I once watched this movie and copied its style, giggling with friends about what a “total fox” John Travolta was!

If you think about it, the 1970’s are making a comeback. Frightening, but true. Since the 20th anniversaries of Woodstock and the Moonwalk are behind us, society is now seeking some new retro-nostalgia to talk about on Thirtysomething and The Wonder Years.

It was only a matter of time before an Osmond, the Bee Gees and disco were brought up again with misty eyes and bittersweet laughter.

The Bee Gees. With a new album, a new tour and a new look, the Brothers Gibb claim disco is behind them and they want to unload the Fever Night stigma that was attached to their hairy chests over 10 years ago.

I don’t blame them–as they point out, Rod Stewert, Donna Summer and others had disco hits and have successfully crossed over into today’s music charts. And one of my summer co-workers did go see their concert and came back with rave reviews.

No matter how they try, however, those high-pitch voices will always be associated with disco. It is a point in time that most Yupsters and the rest of us will never forget.

Watching “Saturday Night Fever” really hit that point home to me. I can still remember dancing to “Disco Duck” in gym class and feathering my bangs with an enormous wide-tooth comb, which was always tucked in my back pocket.

The mid-70’s also gave us Donny and Marie. I stayed up every week to watch “I’m a little bit country…I’m a little bit rock and roll” and laughed with Marie about Donny’s purple glitter socks. Very Scary.

And now I hear his new album and read about how he too wants to shed his 70’s image. You don’t even see that famous smile (my sister said his teeth were glued together) on the cover and in promo shots. It’s a “brooding, serious” Donny we now see. At least he didn’t change his name to Don.

And who can get into a discussion about syrupy t.v. families without mentioning The Brady Bunch? I bet almost all of you have seen and can quote every Brady Bunch show ver batim (“Bobby, you little stinker!”).

In keeping with the Comeback Crowd, the Bunch showed up on our small screens last year for a t.v. reunion. Marcia was pregnant, Greg was bald and Bobby was fat. Yikes! I want to remember them the way they were.

As the 1980’s close, it is safe to say this was a decade of Looking Back. The 60’s, with the Kennedy’s, Kings, Hippies and highs. The 70’s, with the Osmonds, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb and “It’s a Very Brady Christmas” reunion.

Ten years from now, we may be bombarded with features on the good old days–“Remember Bruce Springsteen, The Cosby Show and Guess jeans?”

But it would be nice if the 1990’s had their own identity. As much as I enjoy laughing about how silly I looked 10 years ago, I am forgetting what is going on today. There is too much emphasis on the past. Meanwhile, we miss the present. And we can never go back to that.