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I ♥ the 80s. At least the modern throwback to the 80s.

The boys asked me the other day in what year I was born, and when I responded, “the end of 1978” they both in unison mockingly exclaimed, “whoaaaaaa! Did you know Leonardo DaVinci?”  At that moment I realized, regardless of memorizing an extensive histororical timeline, the boys think everything prior to 2000 is on the same relative plane — old. “No. The end of the 20th century, NOT the Renaissance period.” They just laughed. Although I was young during the 80s decade (and probably making the same jokes to my mom about her age), I was old enough to remember the waved bangs, the big hair bands, bright neons and layered colors, and the Talking Heads. Aside from David Byrne, I never thought I’d look back.  Until now that is. Apparently, I loved that decade more than I thought, and here’s some ways I’m enjoying the 80s in the 21st century:

+ wearing tight-rolled mint cords

+ listening to Wild Nothing’s newest album Nocturne

+ reading The Marriage Plot (think Victorian novel set in the 1980s — begins with lyrics from the Talking Heads)

All I’m missing is the high side ponytail and my walkman; two things not happening anytime soon. Cheers to repeating history trends!

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  1. I thought Franzen was exhausting. I think my expectations were too lofty because of all the ecstatic reviews. I read Freedom and The Corrections one right after the other and I ended up feeling really defeated by the end. I guess I’m still am idealist when it comes to literature–I’d rather read about aspirational characters (by which I don’t mean flawless) and not characters that are mired in apathy or despair. I felt like all of Franzen’s characters (there might be a couple of exceptions–I remember really liking the dad in The Corrections, I think) made me feel hopeless. I just find as I age and get more acutely aware of how little time we have here, I don’t want to get to the end of a long work of fiction and feel more rudder-less than I did before I started. It makes me feel like the absurdist plays I had to read in a Modern Drama class in college–there was one (Ionesco? maybe) that ended the final act with the first act starting over again, so that there was never any real conclusion; just the same stupid characters saying the same stupid dialogue in the exact stupid nonsensical order. It indeed made me FEEL something (if that is the mark of “real art”) but the feelings were frustration and anxiety and insignificance.

    So, I guess there is evidence to suggest that I do not like Franzen. I did, now that you mention it, really enjoy the subtle satire of The Study of The Literature in Academia in The Marriage Plot. Funny stuff there. A really easy target. My husband (who is a college professor, though not in The Liberal Arts) knows which anecdotes to share with me to really get me riled about the absurdity of academia.

    And I have been writing this instead of doing a reading lesson with Hudson. He is instead upstairs playing the Finn McMissile theme on his kazoo. Because my life is an absurdist play, apparently.

    1. Apparently, your comments and writing always leave me laughing. Thanks for sharing them, even as an occassional distraction from reading lessons. Also, I finished the book. And was disappointed with the last 75 or so pages. I really had to push through. And I hate having to push through books. Sigh.

  2. Acid wash. I hope it doen’t come back; some things are best left to nostalgia. I’m sorry about the book. I always feel far more disappointed with a book that I don’t like; I’m just shy of finishing this one, so I can’t tell you yet. I have enjoyed the mockery of the collegiate english seminar, Mitchell’s character and his quest, and Eugenides’ ample research and literary references. There’s something a bit claustrophobic about the plot, but I can’t tell what yet. I’m hoping to know better when I finish. Otherwise, I’ve been enjoying the just-before-bedtime easy read as a pause from the more difficult fiction or self-helping non-fiction reading I usually take on. Did you not enjoy Franzen either?

  3. I did not love The Marriage Plot, but I can’t remember exactly what my objections were. I think I read it in a frenzy that included Franzen. Which is probably more “modern” and “literature” than my brain can handle all at once. I finish those books and wish they could be brilliant without being so crass. Which probably means that I should have been born in the century your boys probably think I was born in.

    I tight-rolled my jeans. I think I was a junior in high school. They were probably acid washed.

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