Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stuff You Really Couldn't Do Without

Last week in class we watched the film Blowin’ Up. It was significant because of the culture that was displayed throughout the film. We got a keen insight to the London culture that was occurring around this time. There are many significant examples of cool culture displayed throughout pop culture.

The first is one of my favorite movies depicting the culture of the world at one point in time, The Decline of Western Civilizations Pt. II: The Metal Years. The first is significant because it gives a deeper look into the culture of Glam Metal during the ‘80s. Touching not only on the thoughts that the fans of the music have, but also revealing the thoughts of the musicians that made the ‘80s glam metal scene what it was. One of the most revealing interviews of the film was with W.A.S.P. guitarist, Chris Holmes. During the interview Holmes describes the lifestyle he lives: Constant partying, sex and drugs whenever the he wants, and all the excess the glam metal scene had to offer. He finishes the scene by guzzling a bottle of vodka, while dumping another on his head. The interview is intense to say the least. It is the culmination of what the ‘80s metal scene had become. There was no substance to it anymore. The songs were put out only for their commercial success, not what the musicians felt. It was time for the glam movement to end because by that time there wasn’t much left. This is significant to the idea of cool culture because it documented the final breaths of the glam scene on sunset strip. For the large part after the movie was released people who previously identified with the music shied away from it in order to find something more substantial and real. Many say The Decline of Western Civilizations Pt. II: The Metal Years was the cause of the downfall. When people saw the reality behind what they supported they could no longer indulge without being disgusted by themselves.

Another example of cool culture is the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. This film is representative of cool culture because it describes the American culture from a different perspective. Although many find the film horrendous and offensive, it is meant to be depicted that way. We see our culture everyday in the same light, however when Borat is able to pick apart our daily activities in a comical manner we should be able to laugh about it and see it differently. The final scene in Borat depicts his return home with his new bride, a prostitute named Luenell, and all the Americanization that had undergone in the village: i.e. Christianity (the Kazakh version of which includes crucifixion of Jews) and the introduction of computer-based technology, such as iPods, laptop computers and a high-definition, LCD television.


  1. Decline of Western Civilization is an awesome documentary series. I can't find a copy of Part 3 yet though.

    Anyway, do you think that while excess is not cool, all cool culture is bound to fall into excess?

  2. I never realized the excesses of drugs, sex, and alcohol that destroyed the big hair. I always thought it was simply changes in what everyone else liked in music.