Years after college I would go out clubbing, often at places that played ’80s music. It was fun, silly and high-spirited namely because the songs were just for dancing (mostly badly) with no real no societal insight. Although I readily danced to it, I must admit I hated that Come On Eileen song. Still do. But I can still somehow cheer on when it comes on the dancefloor.
The ’80s were a time of greed and outrageousness, pleather and jerry curls. It was all one big show. This past month some of that showmanship really came to light. Hulk Hogan went from wrestling blond god to walking showcase of that song “everyone’s a little bit racist”. He was caught using the “n” word in regards to his daughter’s date. He was always a caricature or low-grade comic book character. I am not too sure what we as a society expected from him. I do know my mom loved him. She found him attractive, manly and entertaining as a wrestle. She loved Wrestle Mania, as did many Puerto Ricans in the South Bronx many years ago. It saddens me that despite her love of him, he would maybe not have loved her back. Oh, sad ’80s icon.
Then, we have Bill Cosby. Imagine that look of disappointment he often displayed as his Huxtable character as well as the look he gave when chastising the African American community as a whole. Despite those chastisements and admonishments he was not readily dismissed. He kept getting honorary degree upon honorary degree bestowed upon him. Me? He never impressed me much. I never much liked the Cosby Show and didn’t understand why a fictional family show was named after him (his real life name). To me it reeked of arrogance. Mind you I didn’t know about the Bob Newhart show or countless others bearing the celebrity’s name. Apparently this practice still occurs in television. Other than Seinfeld I am not too sure if I find such named shows funny or entertaining. Anyway, my mom liked Bill Cosby and not so much because he was funny or that she liked the show. She liked him for his pudding pops. And now that just seemed so dirty. It saddens me that she had thought of him as wholesome, for who isn’t when they like pudding pops, and he just wasn’t so.
The ’80s shiny veneer is coming off many decades later. Why must we as we grow older learn those sorrowful truths that make us reinterpret past events. Seriously. Go catch an old pudding pops commercial now. What do you think of it?
Sadly this past week Roddy Rod Piper passed away. Another wrestling showman. To my knowledge there are no scandals there. It just saddens me to hear of his death as my mother really loved his wrestling moves and antics.
My mother thoroughly loved the ’80s. Today though she would have probably shed a tear as the past was never the way she really knew it.