might as well add myself to the rush to call it hbo-ver
big love: season two finale

best whatever of their time

We were at the ballgame today, and as baseball fans in particular will do, we were discussing players we'd known and loved, talking about all the goofy lists fans will make when they're bored. You know what I mean if you're a fan, too ... Best Team Composed of San Francisco Giants Who Hit Left-Handed, or All Hair-Team ... stuff like that.

I started thinking about how I've constructed some of my course syllabi in the past, and realized there was something similar involved. Let's say you're doing what we were doing this afternoon, trying to name the best players at each position that we'd seen play who weren't in the Hall of Fame. For Yankee fans like my friend, this is often called the Don Mattingly Award (Giants fans might name it after, oh, Jim Ray Hart, A's fans could mention Gene Tenace). Well, that's what you do when you are teaching a course on, say, Teenagers in American Popular Culture since the 1950s. I taught such a course once, and for that class, I showed one movie from each of five decades (50s thru 90s). I'm not sure I even remember all of the movies now ... let me try ... Blackboard Jungle, Wild in the Streets, Saturday Night Fever, River's Edge, maybe Boyz n the Hood. Doesn't really matter what I picked ... might have worked Breakfast Club in there, can't recall. The point is, I was playing the same game baseball fans play when they name an All Facial-Hair Team.

Try it yourself ... heck, leave a comment if you'd like. Maybe I should be more specific, to make this manageable, or maybe no one cares enough to leave a comment, which is certainly possible, perhaps likely. So here goes:

You are teaching a course on American Popular Culture of the past 50 years. As part of that course, you will be spending a few weeks on the 1970s. You have time to include one movie, one book, and one television series, and you will spend one lecture talking about the most representative pop music of that decade. What would you choose? Just like the baseball fan who has to reject Will Clark in favor of Norm Cash, you'll have to eliminate all but one movie, or book, or whatever.

The only easy answer for me is a cheat: I'd show the first two Godfather movies (I always treat them as one). For the rest, I'd have to think on it.

Comments

Bobby P.

Love lists.

Movie: I'd also pick "The Godfather" films, but if those are eliminated, "All the President's Men" or "Network" would also be interesting choices.

Television: "Roots," "All in the Family" or "M*A*S*H."

Book: On second thought, instead of using it as a movie, I'd use "All the President's Men" in the book category.

Popular music: Something about how Bruce Springsteen picked up where Bob Dylan left off and carried on mightily, even with disco creeping in. :)

Diana

Would like to point out I only had 2 years in the 70s...

Movie: Star Wars - A New Hope

Television: Three's Company started in the 70s, right?

Book: Let's go with Stephen King's Carrie since it is a better book than any of the movie adaptations

And I'd spend my one lecture on the offshoots of traditional country that emerged from the 70s.

Steven Rubio

Interesting choices. Star Wars (sorry, I'm old, never got the hang of calling them by their new names) certainly works as an example of how Hollywood changed, from the early 70s, which some of us think was Hollywood's finest era, to Jaws/Star Wars, which led to the blockbuster mentality that still rules, almost 40 years later.

Nondisposable Johnny

I, alas, grew up in the seventies and if it's "representative" that I'm gonna teach, then the choices are clear:

Movie: The Bad News Bears
Book: Semi-Tough
TV: All In the Family
Music Lecture: Disco ("Why I loathed it then and why I love it now")

Mind you, the movie is the only one of these things I actually liked at all in the seventies, and disco is the only thing (other than the movie) I like without qualification now. But what I like and how it was are two different things. (Thanks to Diana for bringing this to the top of the comment list!)

Steven Rubio

I should note that Diana brought this up after I trashed The Breakfast Club on her blog :-).

I never taught a course on 70s popular culture as a whole, and only singled it out for the Teenage Culture course. I worked disco into the course via Saturday Night Fever. The underlying theme of my lecture on that movie was that it marked a shift from disco as part of gay culture to disco as mainstream, by removing gay culture entirely and convincing America that disco was about cool Italian-Americans. At least, that's how I remember it now.

Nondisposable Johnny

Actually Saturday Night Fever is an excellent choice, especially since it combines music and movies...but I figured I could work our inability to escape John Travolta and the Bee Gees out in the sticks into my music lecture! (lol)

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