Hi everybody! Welcome to another edition of Bad Sandwich Chronicles Beyond Thunderdome. This is a small excerpt from a much longer piece. If you subscribe already, you shouldn’t be here. This is the free excerpt. The other email with the whole article should be in your inbox (and thank you for subscribing!). For the rest of you, if you like what you read, yo, subscribe and get on that VIP shit!
Since I just talked about disease and dying last time, I feel like today we should tackle something a little more fun, no? Okay, good. Here’s the general premise of what I’m gonna try to do here: Pop culture is so ubiquitous these days that it just seems like a given that everyone has experienced everything you have. In fact, when you bring up that you’ve never experienced something that everyone considers to be a cultural touchstone, the reply is always “YOU’VE NEVER SEEN/DONE THAT?” which, yeah. That’s literally what I just said. I didn’t tell you that I’ve never watched Star Wars because I thought you’d be unsurprised. If I was gonna tell you something unsurprising, I’d say something like “I’ve never been to Belarus.”
It should be noted right here, right now, that I have, in fact, seen Star Wars. I’ve seen it many times, even. But there is a lot out there I haven’t seen or experienced, and that’s what I’m gonna talk about today: my cultural blind spots.
Now, to be clear, I’m not at all talking about things that came up that just weren’t for me. Things like Steely Dan and motorcycles come to mind immediately as things that fall into this category. I’m talking about shit that, through no sort of intentionality, I just kinda missed. A lot of these, I’ve since explored, but some are still things I have no idea about.
Please, feel free to leave what you’ve just not experienced by weird haphazard chance in the comments. Please refrain from saying things like “I don’t believe you’ve never XXXX” because that’s literally why I’m writing this. You won’t believe, for example, that I’ve never experienced:
This is a big one and this one is straight up no contact for me. I have never seen Jaws and I’ve never watched a clip that’s more than the one dude saying “we’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Here’s what I know about Jaws: the costuming in that Life Aquatic movie was, at least in part, a cheeky nod to Jaws (although (I fell asleep in the theater during that one, so I guess it could be on this list too, technically, but even as well known as Steve Zissou is, that’s more obscure than I’m trying to go for in the overall theme of this article), they’re gonna need a bigger boat, Richard Dreyfuss was in it, they couldn’t show the whole shark due to budgetary and technical constraints so it created a theater of the mind sort of situation that went on to be extremely influential in the world of filmmaking, and um, okay, I’ll try this:
It’s about some guys trying to hunt a shark that’s terrorizing a beach community and the shark is mean and eats people but people still keep going to the beach anyway for some stupid reason and then there’s some sort of ending that probably doesn’t involve killing the shark since Jaws 2 exists. That’s my guess.
I’m never gonna watch this. Movies from this era are great if you’re already indoctrinated into em, but I bet this shit is slow as hell by today’s standards, and I’m not trying to waste my time watching Jaws. I even went to film school, but, uh...I got other things to do.
To kinda piggyback another blindspot into this entry, I’ve never seen the Wire and I think of finally getting to it the way that I think of reading War and Peace: I want to, and I will, but not today. That’s too much. I KNOW it’s amazing. That’s what everyone says. Chris, who is my oldest friend says the Wire is the pinnacle of television and he’s got tastes that align with mine most of the time. I WILL watch the Wire. I will MAYBE read War and Peace. I am not trying to watch Jaws.
Calm down! I know the Clash. I have listened to Clash albums. I know the singles and I know the beater tracks as well, but I did NOT grow up knowing the Clash. I kinda missed them. It wasn’t that I had an aversion to them, but they just kinda never came up. When I was exploring punk rock for the first time in the late 80’s, they were a way in, but they weren’t the way in that I took. I listened to the Sex Pistols, but that was after I’d already heard Minor Threat and Bad Brains. Imagine, if you will, hearing those two bands, then going to explore the Sex Pistols. Would you be like “oh! More shit from this era, please!”? It would never happen.
I’m aware the Clash are not the Sex Pistols at all, and that they would have probably been a welcome addition to my home catalog, (and I’m not even really trying to motherfuck the Sex Pistols here, just expressing that the urgency I craved had already been kind of upped to the point where it sounded like an entirely different vibe) but I didn’t go there until years later. I PRETENDED I understood the Clash for my teen years, when I couldn’t have named 3 songs by them (I COULD name Rock the Casbah and London Calling, but who can’t?) and then I finally rectified that shit in my late 20’s. Pretty weird for a politically minded ska band guy, right? Eh...I was and remain a poser. Whatever. Let’s move on.
I don’t know what this is.
Okay, so to be clear, I LOVE the Misfits. Seeing them reunited at Riot Fest with Danzig was an experience I A) will never forget and B) never expected to ever see. It was awesome. But when I was a kid in Chicago, there was a weird thing where the goths and the punks were kind of like uneasy allies, and more to the point, it was hard to tell the difference. There was a bit of cultural bleed that led to some lame purchases if you had no one to guide you, and I did not. SO, I inadvertently bought some goth/industrial albums and the sound just wasn’t for me. The imagery of the Misfits led me to believe that they were more one of THOSE bands than a band like the ones that I got into.
Clearly, that was not the case and later on, I discovered that I loved the Misfits. Besides having whipass songs, they’re one of the most innovative entertainment troupes of all time.
Consider this: They started in 1977 and their thing was:
Okay, we’re all muscle men
We have this haircut that didn’t exist before
We tell everyone we’re zombies
This guy sings like Elvis
But he’s singing about raping babies and shit of that nature
We totally aren’t even getting anywhere near pretending we’re a tight band
Literally, I don’t care what you think of the Misfits, that’s an incredible concept package to think of even now, much less in 1977. Who has a higher concept than that that’s still good? No one. The Misfits set the bar so high so early, and it’s never really come close to being breached. The fact that they all seem like they have brain damage makes this all the more amusing.
I felt like a real dildo for missing out on the Misfits during my formative years. Which is in stark contrast to….
Holy shit. I’d never seen this until 2 years ago, and I was fucking AGHAST at this film…
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