The Seventies were a time of terror, and I’m not just talking about the fashion styles.
The upheavals of the late Sixties ushered in a Strange New Decade of heightened anxiety and an loosening of cultural mores. The face of the looming unknown took a multitude of shapes, with a significant number reflecting those subcurrents of panic.
It seemed like Satan was everywhere, expanding his media exposure on multiple fronts. Strange invaders from beyond lurked by every rural road and cattle farm, seeking to abduct or mutilate unwitting victims according to some esoteric agenda. All manner of vicious predators lurked beneath the surface — devouring hapless swimmers at the local beach or luring some ignorant tourists to their gory doom. Sci-fi plumbed the depths of dystopian outcomes.
These fictional nightmares existed in symbiosis with the litany of horrors on the nightly news — the energy crisis, killer bees, serial killers, nuclear “mishaps,” toxic waste dumps, and countless others offered up as a daily dose of apocalypticism.
This is the world I spent the first eight years of my life in, my initial and enduring impression of How Things Are. I’m still trying to understand (if not extricate myself from) its long term effects. I’ve had some success in that ongoing process, but I don’t think I’ll every fully comprehend the nightmare of the cast of a cancelled sitcom acting in character while they host a variety show whose signature spectacle was synchronized swimming.
Recommended listening: More evergreen than Evergreen.