Wednesday, July 20, 2011

STiMuLaTioN: WHaT's iT DoiNg to US?

Every once in awhile one of the Top 40 hits of the 1950s or early 60s runs through my head, and the same thought always comes to me: The songs that we sang and danced to back then would never make it on the current charts. How would today's teens react to lyrics as benign as these?

If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air,
quaint little villages here and there.....

For that matter, how would they react to "The Singing Rage, Miss Patti Page"? Compared to Patti Page, Susan Boyle practically approaches Lady Gaga status.

Okay, if you're significantly younger than I you probably have no idea who or what I'm talking about (except for the Lady Gaga part). But that's okay; you'll get my point in a minute.

The thing is, either humans have come to (inexplicably?) crave constant stimulation, or the marketing gods have decided that we do. "Special effects" aren't special anymore; it's hard to imagine any kind of action film without them. In a good movie, something has to explode, someone has to disrobe, and/or 50 F-bombs must be dropped. Don't get me wrong.....I enjoy those movies (except for the violent ones). But I wonder why we as a society are no longer able to enjoy Deanna Durbin.

Oh, and about violence....Back when my kids were little, violence in film was relatively new. Children were studied as they watched what passed for violence in those days. Those who were used to it watched without reaction. But those who hadn't been exposed to violence cringed and twitched as people on the screen were mown down, etc. Who is cringing and twitching today (besides me)?

Winding roads that seem to beckon you,
miles of green beneath a sky of blue.
Church bells chimin' on a Sunday morn
remind you of the town where you were born.

I won't even get started on TV, especially "reality" TV.

But let's talk about lipstick. Those marketing gods control consumer products to a large degree. Ever since I acquired pen pals from Russia in the 1980s, the "Buy me! Buy me!" culture has bothered me somewhat. Advertising is everywhere, and our shelves are so packed with products. The ability to choose is a wonderful thing, but do we really need so many choices? Or do their sheer numbers eventually reach a saturation point and become a negative factor?

I admit to being fond of lipstick. When I get home I can't wait to take it off, but when I'm out I love to wear it—and yes, I love choices. I have a little white wicker basket filled with lipsticks. But I would say only three or four are my top favorites. The cosmetic companies don't seem to care about favorites, especially old favorites. They care about New!! and Exciting!!! and Hot!!!! I hear women complain about it all the time......cosmetic lines change regularly, and their favorite lipsticks, eye shadows, and even shampoos simply disappear so the company can bring out something with a hotter sounding name.

I know. All this makes me sound old. But not nearly as old as that Patti Page song:

If you like the taste of a lobster stew
served by a window with an ocean view,
you're sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod.


crystal said...

One of my favorite old songs is one I only know about because I heard it on a tv commercial -- Sweet Happy Life by Peggy Lee. The words are so sweet :) ...

My wish for you, sweet happy life
May all the days of the year that you live be laughing days
With all my heart, sweet happy life
And may the night times that follow the day be dancing nights
Stars for your smile, moons for your hair
And someone’s wonderful love for your loving heart to share
My wish for you, sweet happy life
May all your sorrows be gone and your heart begin to sing
And if a wish can make it be
I wish you spend everyday of your happy life with me

Stars for your smile, moons for you hair
And someone’s wonderful love for your loving heart to share
My wish for you, sweet happy life
May all your sorrows be gone and your heart begin to sing
And if a wish can make it be
I wish you spend everyday of your happy life with me

Sweet happy life, sweet happy life

Mali said...

I am totally with you on the lipstick thing. I hate it when I find the perfect shade of lipstick, or foundation, then the company "discontinues" it. Argh. I usually switch brand at that stage as a silent (and unheard) protest.

Deloney said...

Old Cape Cod is a great song.

Susan said...

Mali, sometimes you can find discontinued lipsticks, etc., on eBay. But be careful....if they were discontinued some time ago, they could be too old to use.

Crystal, that song is so familiar. Maybe I heard you sing it to Kermit in dream.....

Deloney, now I know how to bring you here (says Susan, who is so behind in her blog reading!): All I have to do is mention a song. :-)

Susan said...

I forgot to mention the "secrets" thing. Magazine articles all seem to be revealing secrets these days. This is true even among the old standard women's magazines like Good Housekeeping and Family Circle. We have gardening secrets, cooking secrets, beauty secrets, weight-loss secrets, health secrets, and (of course) sex secrets.

It's all part of trend to keep us stimulated. I guess the publishers don't trust us to read anything that doesn't reveal something "Four Secrets to Perfect Mashed Potatoes!"

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

Choice is good, until it hits diminishing returns, and then it becomes burdensome and stressful.

Indigo Bunting said...

Mmmm...lobster stew...I choose that tonight.

Nice post (says the woman who never wears lipstick).