Oh, the culture wars continue. First, there’s this bit from the LA Times:
Shepard Fairey, street artist, co-produced an “art” exhibit celebrating Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
Vicious was very influential dontchaknow. He died at 21 from a drug overdose (or was it a sore throat? He did scream a lot on stage). But during the brief time his light shone brightly, he managed to destroy a hotel room. Now Fairey has recreated that scene of destruction.
Such moments cry out to be savored.
The hotel room was destroyed. A television lay shattered on the ground, surrounded by a shredded pile of photographs and Bible pages, soda cans and broken furniture. On the mangled hotel bed, the sheets were coiled up in a corner, still holding the form of the human responsible for this mess. Just down the hall, Billy Idol and guys from the Sex Pistols, Blondie and Adam & the Ants banged out loud and sloppy Stooges covers late into the night.
It’s a scene Sid Vicious might have loved if he’d lived to attend the Los Angeles art opening. After all, he was there when the real thing happened…
So much attention to someone so trivial.
Next, the LA Times notes the 25th anniversary of sitcom Murphy Brown. You may recall this moment:
…The show’s popularity turned to infamy when in May 1992, Murphy gave birth to a baby boy conceived during a brief reunion with her ex-husband, a ’60s radical who opts not to be a part of the child’s life.
The day after the episode aired, then-Vice President Dan Quayle gave a now-immortal speech in which he criticized “Murphy Brown” for “mocking the importance of a father, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.'”
The comments sparked one of the most bitter chapters in the 1990s culture wars, with Murphy’s fictional bundle of joy a wedge issue in that year’s presidential election. Social conservatives rallied behind Quayle and accused English of cultural elitism. Liberals called Quayle a hypocrite for vilifying unwed mothers while also opposing abortion rights.
With all the means available to avoid pregnancy in 1980s, why is it hypocritical to oppose both abortion and single motherhood?
The controversy peaked at the Emmys, where Bergen thanked Quayle in her acceptance speech and English made an impassioned defense of single mothers. An estimated 70 million people — some 41% of American households at the time — tuned in to the fifth-season premiere, in which Murphy dumped a truckload of potatoes on the veep’s lawn.
Ha ha ha. Quayle was once heard to misspell potato. Maybe a sitcom should dump a truckload of maps onto the White House lawn demonstrating that the USA only has 50 states, contrary to Obama’s slip.
“Murphy was a giant magnifying glass on a lot of cultural changes that were happening in terms of how we perceived women,” says Rebecca Traister, author of a forthcoming book about the history of single women. “She reflected the changing world back at the world.”
And Dan Quayle, mocked as a retrograde dunce, reflected a problem smug progressives refused to acknowledge: single motherhood was a social problem. A vast majority of crime and poverty stems from children raised in fatherless homes.
Quayle was right, Murphy Brown was wrong.
And Obama’s latest crusade against “income inequality” cites a decline in middle class incomes dating from the 1970s, right about the time single motherhood took off.