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Friday, May 9, 2008

Me and 1988....

I pondered for a few days about how I could write about this, but every idea I came up with seemed stale. So, being the last minute slacker that I am, I decided to just shoot from the hip and write about my perspective of this year free flowing...

That year I was dating a very well known film director, who I have actually written about on this blog. Don't bother to ask who it is, the only reason I mention it at all is because it is so relevant to what was going on with me in 1988.

That year I was the prototype of young and dumb, with a capital Y & D. I was book smart, for sure, as I'd always been, but when it came to real life I was completely clueless, though I left home at 17. When I look back on it now, I know that it was only by God's good graces that I am still alive.

Along with my complete naivete came a huge capacity for useless knowledge. It was around this time that I began realizing that I was quite the pop culture addict, as well as having a love for fairly superficial things--fashion for example. When I met this director, I think he was mildly fascinated with me because I was completely and totally full of fluff. He probably spent half of his time with me wondering if I was for real or not. Unfortunately, I was, haha.

I was mildly fascinated with him because for the first time, he made me see the political aspects in everything. I was, at that time, very reflective of the climate of our nation. It was pre New Jack City, Boys N' The Hood, Menace To Society. It was pre concious rap, even pre hardcore gangsta rap. We were living in a society as we were for a few decades; everyone listened to black and white music equally, and the films that we looked at weren't alarming in any way, shape, or form.

This director would do his best to ask me questions about how I saw things, and try to make me see that there was always danger in complacency. Case in point, one of the biggest songs of that year was "Don't Worry, Be Happy". He made me see how a song as seemingly innocuous as that was really just an opium for the people. I know now, of course, that life is what you make it, and everybody sets the bar for their own realities. His realities were no more real to me then as mine were to him. I was untouched by the roughness of life then, and that was my reality. We would have lengthy conversations about whether Terrence Trent D'arby/Michael Jackson/George Michael were gay, but he would also give me soliloquies about why we should never lay down as a people, and why it was so important to stir thing up again, something that really hadn't happened since the early 70's. He started opening my eyes in a way that set the tone for how I feel about race and politics to this day.

To me this year was probably the last of it's kind in complacency and crossover mentality. In the next couple of years we would get films and music that would challenge the status quo, never to look back again. The top 10 films of that year were pure 100% sugar water, for sure, but they were breakouts for more than a few stars whose careers thrive even brighter today:

1) Rain Man (Tom Cruise)

2) Who Framed Roger Rabbit

3) Coming To America (Eddie Murphy)

4) Big (Tom Hanks)

5) Twins

6) Crocodile Dundee 2

7) Die Hard (Bruce Willis)

8) The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!

9) Cocktail (Tom Cruise)

10) Beetlejuice

As you can see, complete complacency and crossover. Even Patrick Swayze had a song hit that year. More on 1988 to come.....


dc_speaks said...

Hey Lady!!!!!!!!

Just droping by to say hello and I saw my name on your blog roll.

Thanks for the link love.

Have the best weekend!

Undercover Black Man said...

Got dayum, IW... that movie list... that's some bleak shit. I didn't know '88 sucked so hard. And I was there.

The world was so ready for a change. Luckily, it got it. "Do the Right Thing" really shook things aloose, didn't it?

The Obenson Report said...

I'm glad I could be such an influence on you I.W. Thanks for the props ;o)

But seriously folks... I barely remember my 1988 actually... seems like ions ago. I vaguely remember getting into high school, working at McDonald's part-time so that I could afford the next style of Air Jordans! Michael certainly made a lot of money from people like me - people who really couldn't afford his shoes in the first place, but did so to fit in! I can't imagine what life was like sans Internet and cell phones, because those things certainly weren't ubiquitous at the time. Wow - what were we all doing with our recreational time back then??

Danielle said...

Damn! Look at that film list.

IW - you were some kind of rebel Miss Thang out there in the big nasty world just being fabulous.

I was sitting behind a desk at a drug treatment center as a part-time receptionist and undergrad.


Invisible Woman said...

@dc: make sure you drop by more often, my man! :-)

@ubm: omg--that year was culturally anemic--yikes! I'm sure that's why Spike's film gained so much noteriety--people were so thirsty for something different.

@obenson: that is very much part of NY culture---gear is so very, very important. The thing is, you eveolved from that; I still see men in their late 30's early 40's still getting caught up in that mess. SMH

@danielle: don't sleep, Madame Invisible has served her time behind a reception desk as well! :-(