Thursday, January 29, 2015

Artifact of the '80s - Televised Aerobics Competitions

Youtube is a depository of recent cultural artifacts. It is a gem in our technodumpster Internet. Youtube is a library, and even if just a one other person likes something you liked or like, it can find a place amongst the mass media items like Katy Perry songs. I once saw a video of Tolstoy just hanging out on Youtube, which is cool just for the idea of a 19th century writer being on Youtube. One completely inane item my wife found was the full television broadcast for the 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobics Championships. The opening is below. It is fantastic, and better describes the '80s than I could ever write. It captures a nation gone, but it does have an echo today, proving that some things never quite die, they just go out of focus.

Somehow this national aerobics championship was on television for several years with Alan Thicke as the host. Interviewed contestants cite this as being the best one, so there were other aerobics competitions. It is pretty obvious watching the interview segments that a bunch of these male competitors are gay, but this was the '80s, so the default was all men unless absolutely obviously gay are straight, so there was no questioning things. The guys are fit but incredibly flexible, which is not going to be found at a gym today. The women also have that toned look. They are not muscled up, They are not soft looking though. They just look fit. Even sexy yoga ladies today look a bit softer than these women (still a good thing). The other thing weird about the introduction, besides announcing every single person, is the energy and speed. You might find this in a spinning class. Aerobics is down now. Yoga is in, which is low key. Weight lifting is the default guy work out regimen, which is high intensity but not a speed thing. Cross fit is a group thing but not as choreographed and speed focused as aerobics. Where did this go?

It went into cheer leading competitions. Check out a national cheerleading competition routine. It will look a lot like the aerobics routines. Quasi-dancing, fast movements, terrible music at cocaine enabled speeds, fit women who look sporty but not jacked or soft, and guys who are fit, coordinated and might be a bit questionable. The cheer leading enthusiasts are the sport descendants of these aerobics competitors. The only things missing are the Jackie Stallone headbands. Another change, and this is wider culturally is the sincere effort the old aerobics folks gave. Cheering is right there with them. This is part of the media scorn of Crossfit, too, where the group setting and energetic enthusiasm is a turn off to the media taste makers. You can work out, but not too hard. You should eat right, but not be a fanatic. Supplements are very bad and should be regulated more or you'll die taking them! These groups do not go away, the impulse remains and new channels are found. Try as they might with derisive comments, the media complex that mocks try hards will not beat the drive for status and success.


Magus Janus said...

Key and Peele have a pretty good sketch based off that video.

I found it disturbingly hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I love the inset tondo introductory shots of the host and judges. Those "great ta be here, jus chillin" expressions as they grin and shift vaguely about. Has an uncanny valley vibe.

Suburban_elk said...

It looks like it was a lot of fun. Suspiciously too much fun for the guys. Most of those guys look too healthy to be homos. They were gay for awhile in the 80s, anyways.

As for these fun-loving activities being channelled elsewhere, into cheerleading or whatever; are they? I don't see it.

It would be great if a man could dance at the mall, without getting gawked and having security brought in to taser his mis-timed white ass.

Dancing used to be the backdrop ritual for boy-meets-girl; maybe it still is. Maybe it still goes on at some country style bars. Around here people don't dance anymore.

Aerobics is dancing, easy step stuff, so that just about anyone can keep up, and then work into the intermediate and advanced classes later. The people in the featured video are at expert levels, and some of their moves more difficult, but they are still based on the old straight time 1 2 1 2.


Alan Thicke and Dwight Stone. Dwight Stone cleared 7'7" in the high jump, according to wiki. Alan Thicke has a great personality.

Pvt. Jaybird said...

Suburban Elk said:
"Dancing used to be the backdrop ritual for boy-meets-girl; maybe it still is. Maybe it still goes on at some country style bars. Around here people don't dance anymore."

What about singing? I live in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. Whenever the neighbor behind me hosts a party for one of his multitude of grandkids, he blasts ranchera and norteno music. I actually enjoy it. Although I can't speak much Spanish, I can easily see how you can sing and dance to this type of folk music.

How many white Americans sing together anymore? Karaoke doesn't count. We've lost our folk songs (not the fake Guthrie-Dylan kind). If kids can dance at all it's usually to shitty modern country or rap.

Song and dance are essential to a vibrant culture.

PA said...

"Song and dance are essential..."

So true. I don't know about people but in lighter moments (fun fact confession time) I'll spontaneously make up a song or do a little jig dance at home with the wife and our boys. Occasions such as "it's snowing!" (Me happy, Mrs. PA chagrined). Its fun and as natural a thing you can do-- and I'm a terrible singer and very average dancer.

It's a healthy thing to do. A bit more formalized socially, but there anyway.

Suburban_elk said...

On dancing and celebration

I wanted to dance
Once i danced a slow tune
It was over fast
And not even a sad song sung
could make it stay

They said come back if you can
if you can't remember when
Laugh and forget it then

Without you it doesn't do
It's not the same
They want you to

Sad rhymes turn blue
A better way is better new
Tomorrow starts the same way too
Remembered again and forgotten then

pwyll said...

I actually participated once in the mid/late '90s. By that point the scene had shrunk considerably as interest had waned since the high point in the '80s. Of the American men, I know at least one other was straight, but we were definitely far outnumbered. On the other hand I got the impression that the foreign men were much less likely to be gay. (similar to what you see in e.g. figure skating.) I'm also guessing the scene was significantly less gay in the '80s when it was bigger... it's an interesting dynamic where sometimes if a culture starts seeing some activities as less masculine, more gays start doing them, which causes them to be seen as even less masculine, and so on towards a gay singularity.

Suburban_elk said...

This is off topic, but at the permission of the host i would relate this on-the-train bullshit. The same old story that must have happened 20 thousand times yesterday alone, across the country. Four or five black youths came onto the train and wrecked what was otherwise a pleasant ride, which people seemed to be enjoying, the angled winter sun in the afternoon. They were punks, but one was a thug. No one wants trouble and they make people uncomfortable.

At point what will white ethnic gangs come on the scene to beat them down. Four or five local white kids might do the job. The four or five middle-aged white guys who were there? perhaps, but past the age of 25, what kind of deal is that. "I'm taking the train downtown, honey, be back around 5. Oh and where did you put my knuckles i can't seem to find them."

The behavior of those youths is provocative and insulting: "Nigger" this and "nigger" that. If hate speech were an actual concern, that word would have to be outlawed, - from all parties - and that is obvious. That would be basis of all hate speech laws: no enwords!

But they love it, those scrawny kids. They are no one in the hood, they are kids without status, but they can go to the mall and intimidate white people, and that is how they work up to earning some credibility.

White people cannot cede the street, the bus, the mall, the park, the public space. But they do, because the public space sucks anyways. It really is about public space. That is where the kids are. That is where you should be able to find the girls. That is where you should be able to engage in ritualistic mating behavior to showcase virility talent and timing, err, dance.

The problem of public space is really the biggest issue for politics that there is. That is what is all about, the public space, the place where people come together to do whatever it is that they are supposed to do, which is basically two things: to work, but even more important, to do a little dance and make a little love. Aerobics in the 80s and yoga at the gym today, that is where it went to.

But the public space was lost, neglected, abused mis-used and ruined. And that was not the fault of blacks or jews. White people built up the metro areas around their cars. That is just how it happened but it retrospect it was unforgivably short-sighted; and to think that to this day it is the model for progress and development.

peterike said...

White hipster audiences still sing at concerts. They love singing along to the chorus. They likely don't realize what a racially binding thing they are engaged in (ain't no blacks in the audience), but it's there, nevertheless, under the surface, waiting to break free.

You can see this happening with the greatest of great hipster bands, The Mountain Goats. The singer even hands it off to the crowd at times (though the crowd isn't recorded well here, you can see it happening).

Best band in America right now, by the way.

People still sing at Springsteen concerts and Billy Joel concerts too. Mostly white proles desperately seeking a cultural experience that isn't nugatory or even overtly hostile to them.

PA said...

Yes, the ownership of the public space. This discussion started at GLPiggy during the Zimmerman saga, triggered by Obsidian saying something about how what goes on in your neighborhood ain't none of yo business if it ain't on your property. Then the subject came up when a white man in FL (?) lost it and confronted and then shot some blacks who were blasting rap at a gas station. I illustrated how liberty = you own the public space, and peace = people with irreconcilably opposing objectives or temperaments are not part of your public space.

That man, the gas station shooter, was a regular family man as I recall. He is now in prison, for a long time. May God give him comfort.

As to the annoying blacks on Elk's train... Lawrence Auster (RIP) once wrote about a primitive black woman on a bus jabbering loudly on her cellphone while her neglected baby was fussing. Auster told her "would you lower your voice please." She aggresively erupted into indignant protestations ("I ain't yo slave mothafucka") and Auster kept repeating firmly "would you lower your voice please." Finally she did, she put her phone away, and gave her child some attention.

Your question about white youths, Elk. White youths will fight like Vikings when in Iraq or as cops or as civilians diving into a flaming bus to save kids.

People fight when they have a formal or informal support and leadership structure. In the streets, they don't have it. They do not see forty year old white men signaling that it's OK to step up.

To brag, I've confronted blacks before. Usually it's nothing heroic. One time, a black woman started flossing her teeth right in front of me. I laser-eyrballed her with a look of disgust on my face and she stopped.

Scrawny blacks are, as you imply, generally a harmless nuisance. Pushing boundaries and equal parts delighted and frustrated by lack of resistance. The Auster gambit should work. Maybe wait to do it with a conductor around. Be careful about the underage-factor; the American Empire would love to see your life destroyed.

PA said...

"People still sing at Springsteen concerts and Billy Joel concerts too"


Now that is a hell of a sing-along band.

peterike said...

To add to my own comment on Billy Joel and Springsteen, just cuz I feel like it.

They are probably the two foremost defiantly prole rock stars ever. But while Springsteen was by far the greater artist, I have to say I have more respect for Joel.

When his muse left him, Joel knew enough to just stop writing new material: hasn't written any in decades. He's content to just keep playing his hits to his fans, which is what they want to hear. He continues to provide support to local, prole causes. Basically, Joel doesn't give a fig about being one of the beautiful people.

Springsteen, on the other hand, actively sought out the moral spotlight and he abandoned his prole audience to become the house singer for the 1%. While he still can spin up working class anthems -- like the terrific "This is Your Sword" -- when it comes down to it his politics are pure Globalist, anti-white, New World Order. And he probably has no idea what kind of evil he supports. I need to have a beer with that guy.

PA said...

For a little Friday self indulgence, music wise. Two summers ago we went to an outdoor summer concert and the band (a very good one) started playing Pink Floyd's "Wish you were here." As I've made it abundantly clear, Floyd is the best rock artist in history. (Number two spot belongs to that lil quartet featuring Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, and Anni-Frid. The band's name escapes me).

Anyway, from the moment those first G chord based twangy notes started playing, the crowd lit up. There is something essential to the English, northern soul that resonates in some of Floyd's classics, especially in "Wish you were here."

The entire crowd sang along through the entire song. Nobody cared about the Sid Barrett backstory, or about some dinosaur rock n roll boomer counterculture, or about even the "deep" lyrics. What people shared is the emotional response to that melody, with its softly crescendoing last chorus. That, and more importantly, everyone, me included, had a personal story associated with earlier days of hearing that song, usually from a time of teenage wonder when the future was a bit frightening, but it was ours.

nikcrit said...


Now that is a hell of a sing-along band.

A very confident if subjective declaration, based on actual comments posted on this blog:

peterike, I and perhaps suburban_elk are the only commenters of this blog with any musical taste, lolzz.

PA said...

Don't knock Journey songs and their effect on the crowd when covered by a good band.

PA said...

"peterike, I and perhaps suburban_elk are the only commenters of this blog with any musical taste, lolzz"

Nah. The jazzy/indie stuff you and peterike post leave me with a meh.

I wonder about an instructional beer with Springsteen. Can anyone learn? You'd have to avoid triggering his pride.

PA said...

Now THAT'S quality sing-along:

I can make the run or stumble,
I can make the final block;
And I can make every tackle, at the sound of the whistle,
I can make all the stadiums rock.

Lol. I'm not even at happy hour yet.

nikcrit said...

White people cannot cede the street, the bus, the mall, the park, the public space. But they do, because the public space sucks anyways.

I recall you making this point in the past; you put it more in the mode that "the blacks won the battle over the street; white ceded it, etc." (or words to that effect).

And I recall thinking: did they really 'lose' it? Or did they weigh the costs and decided it would be, at best, a very ugly pyrric victory, a la what you said: "The street sucks."

That, of course, is what it often comes down to: many 'battles' are determined solely by dint of who's more primitive. I mean, most middle-class and even lower-middle-class whites are going to be directing urban crack and weed distribution because they're not going to risk the official sanction and stigma of a criminal record by civil authorities or death by gunshot street authorities.

How many teddy bear street shrines do you see pop-up on urban blocks in your neighborhood?

peterike said...

peterike, I and perhaps suburban_elk are the only commenters of this blog with any musical taste, lolzz.

It's funny because it's true!

My latest twee, hipster pop obsession is Guster. What a good band. (Somebody's going to call me a fairy for that, and it's ok!).

nikcrit said...

I believe Floyd does touch upon something very Eruopean, even Northern European at a essential level, cuz I know so many people I respect who love the band while I am totally indifferent to them; to me, stuff like "The Wall" is silly and pretentious; I'm basically someone who doesn't like to fuse the term 'serious' with the phrase 'favorite pop music.' I'm sorry, but I think of most Floyd music, particularly its 'space-out' kinda hits, as silly ------ the perfect music to score a Cheech and Chong movie from the late 70s......btw, PA, I did a brief phone interview with Gilmour, think it was around 2000. freely admit the assignment shoulda gone to a colleague who was much, much more steeped in the mythology and admiration for the band.

And the alt-right may like Floyd for this particular reason:

PA said...

"I meant to ask for a while now when music is the subject that arises: who are your favorite 1-5 guitarists, after David Gilmour"

Hard for me to say objectively because I'm not that knowledgeable about music. What Gilmour does for me is those slow tempo emotionally heavy solos. But technical virtuoso stuff like Hendrix or Steve Vai or Eddie Van Helen leaves me cold. A musician/guitarist friend of mine loves Stevie Ray Vaughn but I only appreciate that music in small doses. Never been a Hendrix fan, probably because his songs have that (minor note? Seventh?) sort of gloomy sound.

Of the blacker guitar players I like Slash. The solo in November Rain is not unlike Comfortably Numb in tempo and style. I also like "random" Blues music, in the sense that I don't know the artists but I lime the stuff when I hear it. One late night in 93 I was doing a long distance drive through TN and caught classic Blues on the radio. The moon was high, the coffee thermos got filled up at a truck stop, and the mood was magic.

PA said...

"I did a brief phone interview with Gilmour, think it was around 2000"

That's pretty cool.

I agree that a lot of Floyd lyrics on the Wall were pretentious. Also on Momentary Lapse of Reason, big time. It is worth checking out their (sans Waters) 1994 album Division Bell. It has a few duds but also several good, mature songs both lyrically and musically. The song Poles Apart on that album has the Gilmour solo in his full top form.

peterike said...

On the guitar front, I think Hendrix was a mad genius. I wonder where he would have gone had he lived? Probably would have just burnt out at some point. Unquestionably the greatest rock guitarist ever based on where he took the music.

The best guitar album ever was "Layla."

One of the most lyrical and singing metal guitarists is Buck Dharma from Blue Oyster Cult (at least back in the day). That guy could tear off beautiful guitar runs. Santana was very good too at that kind of thing, though I didn't much care for his style of music.

A guitarist needs to have soul, something to say. Fast fingers isn't enough, which is why technically proficient but empty guitarists like John McLaughlin and Steve Vai are a bore. A 15 second Ramone's guitar break has more life in it than an entire album from those guys.

My favorite Floyd album has always been "Animals." I like some of "The Wall" but it would have been better as a single album. Too much padding.

peterike said...

As far as public spaces go, what the heck do you think the gentrification of SWPL cities is about? Taking back Fort Greene and Bushwick for white people is precisely about reclaiming the public space.

PA said...

Gentrification is an interesting new direction in applied social sciences. It's not just about building condos in borderline ghetto. It includes things like de-ghettofying shopping malls. Two examples not too far from my neck of the woods:

One: a large mall with high-end stores that nonetheless is very non-white in terms of shopper crowds, and has no behavioral problems. Rough guess is 20% white, 40% black, the rest various shades of brown and yellow. I personally don't like that mall because seeing so many diverse non-white faces is unpleasant but the mall has, to my knowledge, zero "incidents." The blacks (many look ghetto and arrive via bus lines rom shitty areas) project zero menace or attitude. And yet, there is no visible police or security presence. How do they manage this?

Mall two: also full of high-end stores, but this one is 95% white by my estimation. Plenty of ghetto with bus connections nearby. How do they manage this?

I'm aware of broken-window enforcement, curtailing teenage group sizes, but there has to be more to this.

Another form of gentrification is on high end or historically charming downtowns, or nice venues/beer-garden pubs, etc. that are full of whites and NAMs are few and visibly feeling out of place. There is some psychic force, indubitably, that whites project in places they consider their own.

PA said...

What's remarkable about Mall 2 is that is started having serious actual real gang problems in the nineties. This included a shooting incident. It was bought out by another company and long story short, is now 95% white and it got even more high-end in terms of stores and female-shopper attractiveness than ever. Do they friggin play subliminal messages via p.a. system?

Suburban_elk said...

Kunstler writes very well about public space issues. He calls the development of the suburbs the "greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world" and i agree with that.

The suburbs were built so that two or three generations could drive around for awhile; and then what?

The pace of change, with available energy and technology, exceeded the bounds of wisdom. I understand that it is just the way things are, but still it makes me cynical about people - and about white people.

White people had all that energy, all that power, and what did they do with it. That is my criticism of the white advocacy culture online that relies on the supposed greatness of white civilization. Where is this white civilization of which you speak?

Maybe in Florence back then there was a moment, but that was a speck of light; and otherwise what?

The harsh reality is that "war is the organizing principle of any society." So as long as that is how it is, there may be no sense in trying to look for more holistic and peaceful version of race-based health. However; it is still necessary to strive for that, if only in order to appeal to people's ethical sense. That is what people's ethical sense is, that striving to get beyond the animal nature of things. It is an impossible quest, and great men have tried to reconcile it throughout the ages. There is no answer and we are stuck here in life.

War is the answer … but it's not. I think the intellectuals of Germany in the 100 or so years prior to the "gas chambers" and "soap and lampshade factories" were all caught up on that crucible of a question.

Big Bill said...

I remember the HBO "Arerobicize"soft-core porn sequences. Lost of stretching, back-arching, lip-licking, etc.

Check it out: