June 8, 2012

Mellow, wistful summertime music compilation

After looking all over for any CD with "Feels Like Heaven" by Fiction Factory, I finally found Flashback Cafe vol. 1. It's the only one still in print, hard to believe for a compilation disc from 1994. Man, this came my way at just the right time, with summer starting. Aside from the track I was after, it's also got "Life in a Northern Town," "Shattered Dreams," "Under the Milky Way," "Don't Dream It's Over," and 10 others that fit well with the theme in the post's title.

You should buy the entire album Starfish that "Under the Milky Way" is on, but the rest you could probably do with just these hits. I haven't heard the whole album that "Life in a Northern Town" is from, but I wasn't blown away by the ones that "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Shattered Dreams" are from. Enjoying so many hard-to-find songs on a single disc makes this one a real treat.

In general, it seems like the best compilations based around a time period come fairly shortly afterward, when the audience would still remember a lot of the richness of what was in the air. So they'll put out one just filled with MONSTER BALLADS, another one with new wave tracks, another still with heartland rock hits, and so on. The more recent '80s compilations try to boil down an entire decade to a dozen or so songs, which doesn't really do it justice, just like how their cover art invariably shows a chick in neon or a Rubik's cube. Those that stick to just one or two years can do a decent job, though.

I wonder if that's true for other genres -- were the best anthologies of Romantic poetry published around 1840? Sure we can find the complete works of the big-time winners, but what about the one-hit wonders of the era? They probably didn't survive so well over time, and we might be entirely unaware of them. Going on a search to unearth them from the piles of pages in the library wouldn't be for snob bragging rights -- "I only read the more obscure, lesser known Romantics" -- but for the sheer excitement of digging up something wonderful that you didn't even suspect would be there.

If you've found a compilation like this, no matter what medium or genre, please comment and clue the rest of us in.

11 comments:

  1. You know what. I think I figured out the whole cocooning trend.

    You ever seen the movie "Lucas", from the 80s? Its about a dork who gets a crush on a hot redhead girl, played by Kerri Green, but she doesn't return it, and he has to deal with it, etc.

    Anyway, there's a scene where she's the new girl at the high school, and he takes her out to the movie theater. This was made in the 80s, so everybody's "out and about". Everybody at the high school all goes to the same movie theater on Friday night. There's tension, for isntance between a jock and another nerd, but no genuine misanthropic behavior.

    The dork and Kerri Green are sitting in the front row in the movie theater. Kerri Green turns around to put her jacket on the back of the seat. She locks eyes with the school quarterback, played by Charlie Sheen. Boom. Love at First Sight. The dork is totally left in the cold.

    Point is: cocooning is meant to prevent assortative mating!

    During falling-crime times, Provider men - in other words, ugly men - control society. They enforce cocooning to prevent women, especially attractive women, from encountering handsome men.

    Women are very carefully managed. They're only allowed in environments where assymetrical, ugly, Provider men dominate - such as frat parties etc. (The fratboys at my college were easily the ugliest kids on campus). Unsupervised fraternization is strongly discouraged.

    When people go "out and about", they naturally assort based on looks. This means that a hierarchy is formed whereby those who are symmetrical are the "cool kids", while the asymmetrical struggle to survive. Identities - such as being a "jock" or a "gearhead" - take a backseat to looks.

    Here are some things I've noticed lately. First, it seems there are asymmetrical(ugly) people everywhere, even in high-income towns. In movie theaters, old women are working the counters, as opposed to teen girls, like in the 80s(there are some exceptions to this, for isntance in rural areas).

    Another thing I've noticed is that whenever an attractive girl or girls are seen, they are usually flanked by one or more ugly men. I saw this at a park today actually. The kids were only 10-12. Two pretty girls were flanked on either side by asymmetrical little boys. The boys were carrying water pistols! The girls looked absolutely miserable. It was some kind of camp thing, and the man managing it directed them as if it was a military drill.

    As you've pointed out, environments where people are supposed to meet each other - such as bars and nightclubs - have become hostile. Both have blaring music, preventing genuine conversation.

    And at colleges, it seems like every beautiful girl has an unattractive female "manager" who controls who she meets and interacts with.
    Think "Ghostworld", with Scarlett Johansson and the girl-nerd she's friends with(forget her name). That just doesn't happen in rising-crime movies. In "Saved by the Bell", the three hottest girls at the school formed a clique with each other.

    Wouldn't this also fit in with the idea of falling-crime times having strong censorship? The powers that be dno't want the truth to come out, that people assort based on looks. Rather, the culture invents all kinds of crap like PUA to convince guys that they can "earn" a goodlooking woman. Movies emphasize provider values - so for instance, in a superhero movie like Spiderman, the hero starts out a neglected dork, but then he does some great deed, and gets the girl.

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  2. Contrast this with rising-crime movies. Ever seen Pretty in Pink? Molly Ringwald obsesses over her crush for most of the school year, but he can't take a hint. After much turmoil, she finally decides to go to the prom. When she gets there, she locks eyes with him. Without a word, they go outside and start making out.

    You could *never* make a movie like that in falling-crime times! The asymmetrical nerds and fratboys couldn't handle it.

    Or how about Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Ferris' sister goes to the principal's office to pick up his homework. Sitting on the bench next to her is Charlie Sheen, sent for troublemaking. The two have prolonged eye contact, and then start making out. Once again, with no words exchanged.

    In fact, much of falling-crimes culture can be explained as oriented towards unattractive people. Nerds watch movies of unattractive men who commit heroic deeds, and then get the girl; fratboys and "thugs" avidly read PUA blogs; assymetrical girls listen to songs about being pumped and dumped.

    Anyway, it wasn't my intention to come off as a deranged conspiracy theorist. I know it sounds almost too cruel to be true, that our rulers are conspiring to prevent attractive people from having sex with each other. But still...

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  3. Now how does this effect the crime rate?

    Well, the German anthropologist Egon Von Eickstedt - who worked in the
    20s, during a rising-crime period - showed a very strong correlation between assymetry - ugliness - and criminality. In other words, ugly people are more prone to be immoral. This makes sense, since there disadvantage is so overwhelmingy.

    In a healthy society, where attractive people are allowed to assort with each other, assymetrical people fall to the bottom. In order to survive, they're forced to resort to criminality - against each other and against the goodlooking. Some successfully use criminality to gain power and the ability to compete with their handsome rivals - but society at large is controlled by the symmetrical.

    During a falling-crimes period, however, asymmetrical people are somehow given economic opportunities. As a result, they no longer need to engage in crime - they now are dominating the environment.

    That being said, I don't think their power is absolute. As you've pointed out many times, women are simply refusing to have sex with them. Techniques such as "vocal fry" are used to keep nerds and fratboys at a distance, until the social milieu improves and attractive people are allowed outside again. The repression isn't nearly bad enough to the point where a beautiful actress such as Marilyn Monroe could be bullied into marrying Arthur Miller, or whoever.

    That being said, I'm not sure if things will improve without effort of some kind. For instance, in the 1960s, young people created a revolutionary movement to induce assortative mating. Conservatives complain that the 60s movements were just about sex, but that was the point! The "counterculture" created a separate society where goodlooking people could assortatively mate, free from their overlords.

    It could also be possible that the "Providers" are just preparing for one final push. They've more or less sucessfully isolated attractive women from the rest of the population - now they just need to convince them to have sex with their ugly sons.

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  4. Sorry to quadruple post, but I noticed you made a reference to "cuddle parties".

    As I said, Providers are in control, but they can't seem to make women sleep with them.. yet. So you see all kinds of strange phenomena, where women pretend to give the Provider men something, but actually give nothing. For instance, women giving "fake lapdances" in clubs; provocative pictures on facebook; etc.

    Its like some kind of a dangerous game, where women have to placate all these unattractive men, while trying not to actually sleep with them. The Uglies have control, and they have no choice but to play along.

    At least I hope they aren't actually sleeping with them :P

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  5. Some questions you might want to focus on:

    1) Why did the Baby Boomers begin assortatively mating once they hit puberty? (The crime rate began rising, in 1959, when the first Boomer boys turned 13). Was it because they were raised differently? And if so, why? Or was it because the social milieu in 1959 was somehow different?

    2) Why were the Millenials, which you define as those born 1985 and after, cocooned? Neil Howe argues it was a reaction to the policies of Reagan's second term, as well as media scare-mongering.

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  6. I hate fucking up your thread, but one last question(if you feel like it):

    What kind of psychological changes are associated with assymetry("ugliness")? I recall reading a post of yours in which you argued that the left and right brains are supposed to work together, but in many people they don't.

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  7. I'm not sure it's more assortative mating, although that could be. You're talking mostly about the lower assortative mating for looks, but that could be compensated for by higher assortative mating on some other trait like future time-orientation, intelligence, excitability / impulsiveness, and so on.

    I'd definitely say, though, that groups or sub-cultures are much more insulated and assortatively socializing than before. You could've met anyone at a rock concert back in the day, whereas now it's a pretty narrow slice who shows up to a band playing live, or to a dance club, etc.

    And that's even stronger at the ethnic or racial level, where whites used to watch TV shows featuring all-black casts, compared to the mid-'90s through today when they have no interest.

    Blacks used to take part in white music trends, like Prince, Ray Parker Jr., Michael Jackson, and the roughly 10% of new wave bands who had a black bass player or drummer -- even if they were from Scotland, like Fiction Factory and Big Country.

    So cocooning is a fractal phenomenon, applying at every level of social interaction / grouping.

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  8. I don't think the provider males are conspiring to keep females away from athletic, heroic, or dreamy-looking males. The girls themselves show less interest in those types than before.

    Otherwise, there'd be large swathes of culture supplying the pent-up female demand for those types. And similarly, when they were more crazy for those types, it showed up in pop culture by and for females. "Muscles" by Diana Ross, "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler, "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons, etc.

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  9. Five Daarstens6/11/12, 8:02 PM

    I'm a child of the 70's, so one favorite is Various Artists - Only Love 1975-1979.

    I bought it cuz of Keith Carradine's semi-hit "I'm Easy".

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  10. "Otherwise, there'd be large swathes of culture supplying the pent-up female demand for those types. And similarly, when they were more crazy for those types, it showed up in pop culture by and for females. "Muscles" by Diana Ross, "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler, "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons, etc."

    Well, consider the fact that, during a falling-crimes time, Provider men control the levers of power. Its long been observed that the gays and Ugly women in the fashion industry keep out feminine, shapely women. Why couldn't provider men do the same thing, i.e. suppress depictions of desirable men?

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  11. "I'd definitely say, though, that groups or sub-cultures are much more insulated and assortatively socializing than before. You could've met anyone at a rock concert back in the day, whereas now it's a pretty narrow slice who shows up to a band playing live, or to a dance club, etc."

    There's little assortative mating based on looks, though. During a rising-crime time, assortative mating and assortative friendships seemed based on physical attractiveness. For instance, Slater and Zack were nothing alike. Neither were Kelly and Jessie. Except for the fact that they were the "beautiful people".

    Or how about Luke and Han Solo...

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