Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Want a Refund on the ’70s!

Of every decade during which I’ve possessed total awareness, I enjoyed the seventies the least!

I loved the sixties. Liked the eighties. Loved the nineties. After a disastrous beginning, I came to love the two-thousands. I cannot begin to guess about the twenty-tens… but, if it were at all possible, I’d take a refund on the seventies.

In the seventies, every aspect of life (and all the things I enjoyed in other decades) either became absurd, went into serious decline, or was just totally wrong.

But, why take it from me when the writer of
THIS DVD REVIEW says it better than I ever could.

Aw, don’t be curious… read it! You just might agree!


Chuck Munson said...

To those who consider the '70's the highlight of their lives, I say more power to you. (I also have to wonder if items recreational were involved with that fond nostalgia, but that's tracking a bit too bitter.) So Joe, no point in preaching to the choir, I'm right there with you. I haven't even read the article! While I cannot, however, say that the '70's were a total disappointment (after all the best thing to come out of that decade for me is my wife!), at age 16 no less I felt that I could completely empathize with President Carter's "malaise" speech - no matter how lame the speech is considered to this day. So outside of my future wife and my wonderful parents and extended family, how did the decade fare for me? The things that came to be my main hobbies, stamps and Disney comic books, tracked ever downward in quality but tracked ever upward in how much of my allowance they grabbed. I became the quintessential nice guy nerd through junior high and high school. And let's not even go into the shell that coming of age had me crawling into at the same time. Picture "16 Candles", but without the humor. It took all of college to crack through that one. Why in the world would I want to forget all that?? Ah, good times. So, yeah, the '70's owe a good many of us it seems.

Pokey said...

70s and 80s sucjked. The ony good thing about 80s was that Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear were rerunning. The voice actors in the eighties [Strawbeerry Shortcake, Elmyra, Dot Warner,anyone] were worse. Not to mention my pal GUMBY and I had to suffer with the 1950s production stock music redubbed by a poor mans Blue Man Group/Kraftwerk kidd band [and I LIKE BMG and Kwerk at that!]

Jeff Overturf said...

I was screaming for my refund while we were still IN the 70's!

It's a shame that so many confuse nostalgia for quality things of the past with nostalgia for "HEY, I remember that!" no matter how much it sucked.

Joe Torcivia said...

Well said… All of you!

Yes, in the seventies, the Yankees won back to back championships… and there was that “loss of virginity thing” – but even that got much better in later decades! One could certainly say the Yankees did too. So did the things I did for a living, music, television, the general feel of New York City, and surely other things I cannot name at the moment.

We all know the horrors of seventies animation, and for comic books quality was at an all time low across all publishers with Batman titles, X-Men (back when there was only ONE title), and Howard the Duck as the few precious exceptions (though Chris Barat will argue in favor of Harvey – to me even THEY were better in the fifties and sixties).

Chuck: Totally agreed. Coming of age in the seventies was no picnic.

Pokey: Yes, lots of the eighties sucked too! That’s why, as I said, I merely “liked” the eighties – and did not love them. You’re on the mark with your eighties observations. …Didn’t know you REALLY WERE that flexible orange pony though! I was a big fan!

Jeff: Great line: “I was screaming for my refund while we were still IN the 70's!”

Where do I send the checks, when I start using it?


Chris Barat said...

Joe et al.,

Won't argue the inferiority of the 70s insofar as NEW animation is concerned (and yes, that includes Disney feature -- only WATERSHIP DOWN can be counted as a true classic today). Ditto the general trend of comics, for all my enjoyment of the Harvey RICHIE RICH team-up titles, and the ribbon of bad national news that festooned the decade like a string of Christmas-tree lights in really sickening colors (you know what those are; you've probably seen them in your neighborhood). However, the 70s DID have its moments; here are 10 of them:

(1) Baseball bounced back from a decade-long slump.
(2) Pro football was great as well.
(3) The Bicentennial was kind of cool, particularly since, coming at a time when the nation's morale was at a low point, it reminded us of how great we had been -- and WOULD BE again.
(5) The "Golden Age" of syndicated TV. All sorts of memorable shows from the 60s, along with classic cartoons, etc., were on display on your local syndicated stations. This made up, in a sense, for the lack of channel options.
(6) The NCAA basketball tournament started to become a big deal, culminating in the Bird-Magic showdown in 1979.
(7) My extended family was still intact (Dad passed away in 1982 and older relatives followed in relatively quick succession). Though the teen years were decidedly awkward, this obviously looks all the more important in retrospect.
(8) I got to meet my grandmother from Hungary (my Dad's mom) for the first and only time.
(9) High school became more bearable as the 70s came to an end.
(10) Disco music wasn't ALL that bad. (OK, I'm stretching for that tenth point. There were a couple of decent disco songs.)

BTW, Pokey, Elmyra and Dot Warner were early-90s creations... and post-1985, TV animation began its monster comeback, which almost cancelled out the rather lousy first half of the decade.

Also, what is your official "end" of the 70s? (You know, in the same sense that the 60s "ended" when Nixon resigned, or the 50s "ended" when JFK was assassinated.) My two candidates:

(1) Feb. 22, 1980: USA 4, USSR 3 in Olympic hockey. (It was the same day I wrecked the family car, but I'm thinking globally here.)
(2) Jan. 20, 1981: Reagan is inaugurated and the hostages are released.


Joe Torcivia said...


As with all subjective matters, views on the merits of the various decades will vary by the person. But, in several ways you reinforce my point.

I mentioned baseball. Football was also great, especially if you were a Dolphins, Steelers, or Cowboys fan. Not so much here in New York, though. Still, a point for you!

The Bicentennial, though nice when it happened, is largely a forgotten ceremonial event today. I know you will bristle at this comment, but I believe it to be true (for better or for worse), Woodstock is better remembered – and would seem to be more of a cultural landmark – than is the Bicentennial at this point in time. So, it hardly makes the seventies a great decade – even when one looks back on it fondly.

STAR WARS (No arguing its greatness) simply proves how STARVED we were for anything imaginative! Especially if we’d grown up on STAR TREK (TOS), LOST IN SPACE, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, TIME TUNNEL, THE OUTER LIMITS, THE INVADERS, THE WILD WILD WEST… and other such shows from (You guessed it!) The Sixties!

“The Golden Age of Syndicated TV” (again, as great as IT was) was a regurgitation of the great shows from (You guessed it!) The Sixties!

College Basketball is one of those subjective things that I don’t know enough about to comment on, but I somehow doubt that it reached its “ultimate height” in the seventies – and was never that great either before or since.

I will not presume to comment on “family matters and memories”. But, I’d be willing to say that all of us (including me) had dear ones alive in the seventies who are not with us now. So, no diminishing that observation in the importance of our eyes, but I’m taking that one off the table.

And there is NO ESCUSE for Disco, the music and the absurd culture that surrounded it!

Beginnings and ends of decades are also subjective (as are the beginning and endings of the “Ages of Comic Books) – but note that even you END the seventies with the markings of “happy events” and the optimism of change and better things to come!

I STILL want my refund!


Chris Barat said...


...I will not presume to comment on “family matters and memories”. But, I’d be willing to say that all of us (including me) had dear ones alive in the seventies who are not with us now. So, no diminishing that observation in the importance of our eyes, but I’m taking that one off the table...

In truth, I don't think that you can separate the "personal" from the "global" when talking about a decade, or any point in time for that matter.


Joe Torcivia said...


Actually, we SHOULD all “separate the personal from the global” when accessing a shared life experience such as the merits of a particular decade.

As you know, as my longtime friend, I would never be able to rate the last decade with any favorability, given how it began for me. Nor would it be fair to rate it oppositely grand based on my new life with Esther at the decade’s middle and end.

Receiving HD TV and Blu-Ray from Esther for my birthday would also skew the month of January 2010 into the favorable column, regardless of all other occurrences in the outside world!

Shared experiences and shared reference points would seem to be the only fair way to accomplish this – and I should have stated it as a “ground rule” up front.