I'll come up with something in a minute.

What a dated joke

So I was listening to the Weird Al song “Headline News” and I noticed that all the joke were really sort of dated. Of course they were. They were all things that were going on at the time the song was written. What’s interesting is that if the song was a few years older (or possibly if I were a few years younger) I don’t think I would think “dated” so much as “cultural milepost” or something like that. If you weren’t around, and you wanted to know what people were obsessing over in 1993 and 1994, here is a song that will give you three stories to look into.

I’m always torn on the idea of current pop-culture in movies and songs. On the one hand it’s neat to see an old movie mention something you’re read about, because you get to see living people respond to something you only know about in the abstract. You can see how mocked some events or people were in comedies, you can get a good barometer for how certain things effected people at certain times. In stuff I wasn’t old enough to know about, it’s kind of neat.

When dealing with something more current though, it always seems to distract and annoy me. When I watch a movie now if someone talks about those little spots in the soda commercial, yes I know what they’re talking about, but those spot commercials are so long ago that it just reminds me that this movie is old and I’m old for remembering what they’re talking about. If you don’t know what soda-pop commercial had a spot for their mascot then fuck you for being young and skinny!

No! Fuck you! You don’t get a link. Google it, you damn young whipper-snappers!

Oh, alright… it was 7Up.

In both situations, the movie is being dated by the references to current events. It’s just that it’s less distracting in the older stuff, for me anyway. In the older movies, everything is old. There are a thousand little things in any given shot that we don’t use today so you hardly notice it if someone starts talking about Hoover being slow to act or what great legs Betty Grable has or some other statement that would have been current at the time. In a current movie, almost everything is current, except the cell phones, the computers and the conversation about whacking a skating star in the knee cap.

I know that part of it is also that in the mid to late 90s, making references to other bits of culture became incredibly hip. Both old and new things started being referenced to such a degree that some movies were all reference, taking recycling to a ridiculous degree if you ask me. I am specifically thinking of Shrek 2, where I felt a lot of the jokes were old the day it came out. The Spider-Man gag specifically wasn’t just old it was overdone by that point.

I suppose when it gets to being 2028 all these movies will show kids what it was like living at the beginning of the 21st century. I just wonder if they’re going to bother watching us at all or just watch all the old stuff we’ve been referencing. It could be a quandary, but I’m too bored to think about it anymore.

August 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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