Saggy superheroes, dance lessons from James Brown, what chickens have to do with the roots of hip hop, how to fix all your marriage troubles, and why Springfield, MO is a nerd hotspot.
By Maria Popova
Let’s face it, we’re all headed for the nursing home. Superheroes included. And despite all those “aging gracefully” shenanigans, we don’t think there’s anything particularly super about old age.
Luckily, Italian cartoonist Donald Soffritti is there to put some funny in the grim prospect of it all.
In his line of senior superhero illustrations, he shows Iron Man’s discrediting golf habit, Wonderwoman’s so-not-Madonna arms, and what happens when Aquaman forgets the dentures at home, among other don’t-really-wanna-see-but-can’t-help-looking stuff.
Quick, before you choke on the potent combination of hilarity and gag reflex, rinse your eyes out with the reglorifying stuff of our Superhero Superdose issue.
Speaking of cultural legends, life… well, death, really… sure did a number on the one, the only James Brown. We hate seeing a living legend grow old — first arthritis steals the swagger, then before you know it, they stop being, well, living.
So when the Godfather of Soul went down at the Apollo last year, it was an acid rain on our holiday parade. Good thing YouTube was there to lift us out of our mourning by reviving Mr. Dynamite from those most dynamitous days, full of energy and ready to show Soulja Boy who’s who.
Watch the great James Brown teach you some dance moves you won’t see in your Hip Hop Abs fitness class.
Now that’s a blast from the past that puts the present to shame.
But if hip hop really is your thing, you might as well learn a thing or two about the genre’s own heritage and origin — who knew it had to do with chickens. Straight from the source:
Courtesy of the folks at Nokia N-Series. (Remember when we said Nokia was the underdog to keep an eye on?)
Speaking of advertising and the past, we’re continually befuddled by the level of idiotic pseudo-PC stuff drowning today’s advertising. (A Snickers commercial pulled off the air for being too “homophobic” springs to mind.) One thing’s for sure: today’s regulatory bodies would have a field day with the ads of yore.
Thanks to Weirdomatic’s Old Creepy Ads collection, we can gawk at sedated elderly people (Senile agitation? Pop gramps some Thorazine.), sedated children (Forget Adderall, Nembutal is the name of the game.), self-butchering pigs, the long-lost cousin of the Geico cavemen, and — divorce lawyers behold — the solution to all marriage problems: a bit of Lysol you-know-where.
The irony: Some of these products, along with the delightfully absurd cheesiness they’re framed in, are all to reminiscent of, say, late-night informercials today. Hey, we’re already plotting bringing back the Beauty Micrometer as an As Seen on TV hit.
It’s not like the olden days don’t have their nostalgic appeal. Who doesn’t love nerdy retro games?
And if you happen to love them enough to go out of your way, consider a place that’s just there: Springfield, Missouri. That’s where you’ll find the 1984 Arcade, a wonderland of classic games from Asteroids to Zaxxon.
The arcade is particularly famed for its glorious pinball machines, already an endangered species in retroland. You can even book an event there — how’s that for an unforgettable all-you-can-play birthday party for your neo-nerd friend?
So put on your acid-wash high-waist jeans, unleash the big hair, and head over for some nostalgic revival of that era — as far as “best of the 80’s” type of stuff goes, VH1 has nothing on the 1984 Arcade.
Published September 12, 2008