Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Sunday, July 01, 2012
  When we all circled the drain
Mario here:

Years ago I vowed that I would never write a story set during the 70's. For various reasons, I had to break that promise when I wrote a piece of short fiction for You Don't Have A Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens. Once done with that, I had hoped that I wouldn't have to return to the cultural wastelands of my formative years.

But here I am. What happened is that I'm working on a freelance project that spans the 60's to the early 2000's, and a significant amount of the action takes place during the 70's. I was in the ninth grade in 1970 and entered Army flight school in 1979. In between, I went through high school, college, lived in Tempe for a summer, spent a night in jail, joined the army, and got married.

There was a lot I forgot--on purpose--and thinking the 70's couldn't have been that bad, I bought a copy of 70s All American Ads to refresh my memory. In his forward, cultural scholar Steven Heller dismisses the 70's as a cultural sinkhole and goes on to explain why. Even me, fashion yokel that I was, could see that we were in a stylistic morass. To go through this book is like plunging fresh daggers in my eyes. And sadly, I committed many grooming atrocities and have pictures to prove it. Like this one.

And somewhere, there's a snapshot of me in the ubiquitous and horrific maroon tuxedo with a ruffled pink shirt with maroon piping, and brown platforms. At least, I had the sense to not buy a leisure suit or worse, the one-piece jump suit. The hair! The bad clothes! The awful earth tones (mustard, avocado, beige). Shag rugs. Even the cars were butt ugly. The entire decade looked like the set of a porn movie.

Compare the cover of that book to that of 20s All American Decades and we see why we hang our heads and weep. Even though the 20s predated my parents, I still feel nostalgia for that time. The elegance, the style, the striving for an ideal--while I feel nothing but loathing for the 70s.

But to say there was no progress would be a lie. In the 20's, African-Americans were seldom depicted as anything more than maids or porters. In contrast, check out this 70's cat in his 'fro, 'stache, aviator shades, and long shirt collars, and tell me he doesn't look like a bad mo-fo.

While the 70's didn't look good, the decade did produce some of Hollywood's most iconic movies. Clockwork Orange. Patton. Dirty Harry. The Wild Bunch. Star Wars. The Road Warrior. Rocky. Apocalypse Now. Alien. As well as Death Race 2000 and Vanishing Point.

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I think the 80's was a worse cultural decade. Come on, mall bangs and mullets are much worse than 'fros and bell bottoms.
I spent most of the 70's on Mars, fighting banthas with John Carter. Much better than living through that hideous decade. Just as long as I kept a good grip on my book the bullies couldn't do much other than take my lunch. And my mother thought the astronauts were cool so she packed us things like astronaut sticks and Tang. Gah!

Nice looking young Mario under all that hair!
Shannon: Mall bangs--fly catchers! Yipes! I forgot those even though I had a neighbor who wore them well into the nineties. Yes, a fro does beat a mullet.
Bonnie: I too escaped to Barsoom.
Mario, I kind of liked the 70s...as a matter of fact, I've found lots of good stuff in every decade starting with my grade school years in the late 40s.

I remember the 70s as being the best years with my kids, lots of fun at the disco, and the decade where I finally went back to school and got my bachelor's degree, then landed my first most excellent job.

And I remember some guys looked pretty snazzy in their leisure suits, too. :D
Weren't you adorable!
Dang, Mario back in the day, smokin'! I could argue for or against, but the 70's had some fantastic music. As long as you had the time and the headphones to enjoy it.
Patricia: The 70s was also when I got my first degree. But I was glad when the 80s arrived.
Julie: Adorable? I was trying for band mo-fo!
Aaron: Some good music. And lots of crap. And yes, I did own a copy Of Saturday Night Fever.
Funny how I missed out on all the iconic clothes of the Seventies and Eighties in my youth. My old pictures show me in t-shirts and jeans. Why didn't I have an avocado green leisure suit in the Seventies or a fluorescent Members-Only jacket in the Eighties? My parents didn't follow the fashions. I was so deprived!

Oh, and don't forget "The Godfather" movies and "Serpico". The Seventies was a zenith decade for movie craft.
Daven: What, no bell bottoms? How about dingo boots? Yes, The Godfather and Serpico were among the best movies.
And Roy Scheider starred in just about every action adventure that mattered Jaws, French Connection, Seven-Ups, Marathon Man, Klute, to mention a few... then ended the decade as Broadway dancer in All That Jazz - go figure...

I LOVED the 70s, how can you miss the Oil Embargo, Vinnie Barbarino (aka the Boy in Bubble and Tony Manero)... and, oh yeah, the infamous 18 minutes at that little break-in at the Watergate...

How people do you know who became writers because of "Woodstein"? Count me among 'em.
Ron: For sure lots of important stuff happened then. It just lacked style.
I remember the 1970s as the decade of High School and the Army. And I bought and wore those hideous leisure suits all over Europe. It was the decade of Disco, which I hated, but it also had bands like The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Yes and ELP. And as you said, it allowed black people to have starring roles as badasses , as well as Asians in all the Kung Fu flicks, where they didn't remain stewards and servants as well.
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