Casaubon's Book

Just watch, and understand why the death of what passed for culture in our youth is probably something we can bear with equanimity. Plus, the hair gave us a taste for the apocalyptic – the bangs are exactly what your hair will look like during a zombie attack.



  1. #1 Lauren
    September 14, 2011

    Wow – glad I missed the 1985 music scene. Not much to lose there! Do they still have Billboard Top 10? Anybody who grooved to that music can indeed make it through anything – although I like Dire Straights

  2. #2 Martha
    September 14, 2011

    Gee – I liked that music! Not Thomas Tallis, I’ll admit . . . what’s all this about zombies? 🙂

  3. #3 Eric Lund
    September 14, 2011

    Plus, the hair gave us a taste for the apocalyptic

    Not just the hair. I was half expecting Ronnie Raygun to provoke Global Thermonuclear War between the US and USSR. I still sometimes worry that we will get a nuclear war, though nowadays it’s India vs. Pakistan taking up that space in my anxiety closet. See, e.g., “99 Luftballons”, which managed to be a US hit despite being a song (1) sung in German (2) about nuclear war.

    Yes, that was the music of my high school/early college days. I had managed to block completely the memory of a couple of those songs, and mentally shifted several others by as much as five years. But yes, some of those are in my collection. I don’t mind admitting the Dire Straits song is one of them. I’ll take the fifth on the others.

  4. #4 Brad K.
    September 14, 2011

    Sharon, what, you don’t think the people that elected President Obama are ready to abandon the pursuit of hedonism (Do they still call it hedonism?) do you?

    When today’s youth are leaving empty (pilfered) boxes of condoms and cosmetics scattered around the Wal-Mart store?

    The last couple of generations have been anointed by mass media advertising and “entertainment” into a pursuit of decadence. Some few fall by the way side (and feel estranged, at least at first) when family issues overcome the drive to party, frolic, and self-medicate recreationally.

    I think Kenny Roger’s “Slow Dance More” tells a more positive story.

    And there were still those that fell through the cracks, from the 1950s through today. Those that lived and loved, cherished responsibility, family, community, and faith. That should be what we strive for, not bundled up to throw out with the wash water.

    The hubris of the decadent will resist past the bitter end, I am afraid, and will do all they can to hinder help.

  5. #5 Apple Jack Creek
    September 14, 2011

    Awww, c’mon Sharon … you know the lyrics to all these songs and you sing along when they come on the radio, dontcha?

  6. #6 Bridget
    September 14, 2011

    Oh Sharon. All you’ve done for me with this post is rekindled my love for the music of my youth. Despite all the mocking of the outside world and from my husband.

    I hope I can find a way to run my record player on solar. Then I can have great tune-age during the zombacolypse.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    September 14, 2011

    what’s all this about zombies? 🙂

    The Men at Work say she’s not there.

  8. #8 Glenn
    September 15, 2011

    Sturgeon’s Law definitely applies here. I might change the percentage from 90 to 99 though.

  9. #9 Tom
    September 15, 2011

    I’ve you’ve not been “Rick rolled” yet then allow me the priviledge.

  10. #10 Sharon Astyk
    September 15, 2011

    Tom, Eric’s best friend Ranjan used to call him “Eric Astley” – and he kind of looked a little like him when he was really young. I’m glad I didn’t know him then – I’m not sure I could have dated him ;-).

    As for knowing the lyrics – absolutely not. I have no space in my brain to waste for the words to Safety Dance and Turning Japanese. It is a complete coincidence that both of these are on my Ipod ;-). Aliens musta done it.

    I admit, though, George Michael kinda made me queasy when I was 14, and he still does.


  11. #11 Collin
    September 15, 2011

    @4. Clever alliteration “condoms and cosmetics”, but they’re not analogous. If the cosmetic industry went out of business, we’d just find other, probably simpler and more natural, ways to adorn ourselves. But if we didn’t have access to condoms, overpopulation, with its depletion of resources, would get faster than ever.

  12. #12 c.
    September 15, 2011

    And we ran headlong into grunge in college.

    go figure 😉

    (but thanks for the laughs and the memories, we’ll be running these songs when we’re little old ladies and men wanting to dance off our limited solar panel power…)

  13. #13 Tony P
    September 17, 2011

    I was 21 years old in 1985. That was an interesting time in my life.

    Besides doing a retail job I was also DJ’ing a radio show every Saturday and Sunday night and that little gig lasted for almost three years.

    The music, lets put it this way, not much of what you have in that video was on our playlist. Think more along the lines of Full Force, Whodini, Slick Rick, Dana Dane, et al.

  14. #14 Daniel Rothman
    September 23, 2011

    but, but… phil collins (three time!)? breakfast club soundtrack? White Knights soundtrack! Henley’s gotta be in there somewhere too (boys of summer! – what, no Henley?). Tears for Fears (Shout!) was my first ‘going-out-to-a-concert’.

    The hair is relatively forgivable. Leg warmers too.

    I have to admit to curmugonly and ungenerous preference for big hair and leg warmers to recent droopy drawers and gang colors.

    In fairness, only Phil Collins, Madonna, and Whitney Houston (for those so inclined) will survive as artists with any real impact. Huey Lewis, Mr. Mister, and the mysteriously absent Bruce Springsteen and Don Henley really expressed the energy and exuberance of the eighties. Other more serious (but less populatr) artistic influences coming out of that time frame, I’d cite Andreas Vollenweider (OK – hush up, I’m a flutist), Suzanne Vega, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson… Chronos Quartet, Talking Heads, U2, and Rush were older, but really rocking/productive in the 80s. Dire Straits and Jethro Tull (in it’s Dire Straits-clone phase) were strongly doing their thing.

    So overall – pop culture… not so much. But not exactly a musical culture wasteland. My perception is that the 90s-00s were each more fraught – though I admit that I’m not a great fan of grunge, hip-hop, or rap. I can give some points for Ska. Rave/Trance from the 90s had some experimental merit.

    Overall – I’d have to disagree with the premise, or at least argue that other folks’ childhoods were more deprived. And I’ll have to admit to real counter-culture (60-70s) envy.

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