Descent in Madness

December 14, 1978 Saturday Night Fever Opens

To really understand Disco, you must understand the America it was born of.  The war was over.  We lost, leaving 55,000 young Americans in their graves.  Nixon was gone.  He resigned. Later he was pardoned so that we could put this’ long national nightmare’ behind us.  The new President, Jimmy Carter spoke of a national malaise.  The civil rights movement stalled with the assassination of Martin Luther king.  Gasoline, once cheap and plentiful was, at times, hard to get and was expensive.  The Revolutionaries [yes Elizabeth, there really were revolutionaries] had gone underground and were disbanding.  Their idealism and desire to abolish capitalism has dissolved with the war over and Nixon safely out of sight.   Inflation ravaged the people and Times Square had deteriorated to the asshole of the universe.  LSD experimentation was uncool after too many bad trips were reported, and the young (and not so young) retreated to alcohol and marijuana to numb themselves into escaping reality and was used everywhere, openly.  America may have been at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression, but there was no war to fight as the Cold War stagnated into Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

Then came the lights.  Bright lights and pounding rhythm so strong even white boys could dance,that called liked a beacon for the survivors to come out from their bunkers.  Forget about the past.  Forget about the future.  Live for the moment. Pretty young woman cast off their laid-back, counter-culture clothes and donned high heels, tight jeans, and glittery tops or wore sexy tight dresses cut with slits up their sides.  They were FOXES.  Young men cut and feathered their hair and threw away their jeans for tight pants, rayon shirts they un-buttoned half-way down their chests, exposing (hopefully) a hairy chest and gold chains.  Aviator glasses and thick moustaches were now the fashion.  It was a good time to be Italian, or at least look like one.  Champaign was back, Dom Perifnon prefered, but now it was enjoyed with cocaine, sniffed threw gold tubes or $100 dollar bills.  Feel Good America!  Lose yourself in the moment.  Hear the music.  Feel the rhythm.  Watch the lights.  Black and whites joined together listening to the same music and dancing together.  So what if two men or two women were dancing together.  Nobody cared.  Hell, the Village People were a hit.  Rod Stewart had a #1 on the R&B charts.  For a few brief years this new craze captured the nation.  America went out and partied like never before.  The madness and excess were changing everything, and then suddenly, as if someone had pulled the plug, Disco died and the party was over.  And what would come next?  The Ray-Gun!

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