Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Sensitive Seventies Kinda Guy



I put the above up as illustrations of the post's title, all of which are examples of the sort of music I listened to during that period of time when I was… really, in all respects… a Sensitive Seventies Kinda Guy. Both Jackson Browne and Dan Fogelberg figured heavily in my musical tastes back when I was the guy in the post's title, along with groups like The Moody Blues and 10cc (as above). While I'm tempted to put the "sensitive" bits in quotes, the reality is I was that sort of guy. Which, of course, bears some splainin', as Ricky Ricardo said.

I've been on a mini-voyage of rediscovery of late, which is to say that thanks to the wonders of the 'net… and YouTube, specifically… I've been doing some deep dives into the music that formed the biggest part of my life back when I was a Sensitive Seventies sorta guy. The videos above are icons of that period of time, but let us also be clear: there are other "icons" of that age I can MOST definitely do without… like Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, and Billy Joel, just to name three… about which I mean: there WERE (and are) limits to the amount of cloyingly sweet sentiment one man can take. If I never hear "Operator" again it will be too damned soon (and oh! how it hurt me to seek out a link for that), and ditto for the entire repertoire of the other two. It must also be said that I abandoned all that J. Browne, D. Fogelberg, and other such crap for many a year and have only recently come back to it, however briefly.  But we digress.

Back to the subject at hand… There were those sorts in the wayback that adopted the "sensitive" pose as a ruse, a way to connect to women. While it's possible to divine the same sort of motive to YrHmblScrb… and one would be correct, in a somewhat literal sense, to ascribe that sort of behavior to present company… the truth of the matter is I really believed in that krep. At the time, and that time being from around 1968 until about 1980. I adopted for my own the talismans of that particular class of dudes… the blue chambray work shirts, the tattered embroidered jeans, the expensive stereo system showcased on plywood boards and cement blocks… bookended with sand-cast candles… and the ever-present baggie of proscribed vegetable material. All of the foregoing were part and parcel of the expected baggage of said sensitive males… not to mention decidedly Left-Wing political views. And it's the latter I want to be on about…

I began by saying I've been revisiting the music of my ill-spent youth and that is true enough. But what motivated that recent inquiry is pretty much a mystery to me. I think a very large part of it is this: I've really been disaffected and disenchanted by politics of late, both on the left and on the right, but much more so by my comrades-in-arms on the right. A large part of my alienation with the political right is the right's tendency to pick nits and to ascribe sinister motives and radical labels to our fellow Americans on the left (see: Glenn Beck, among others). This really bothers me, in that while I strongly disagree with the Left's policies and prescriptions for what ails us as a nation, I do not for a moment think they are "the enemy" in any way, shape, or form. They are simply political opponents... nothing more and nothing less... to be debated and argued with, but NOT to be slandered or demeaned. Which brings us back to the Sensitive Seventies Kinda Guy. I'll not be na├»ve and say that there wasn't an "us and them" mentality in play at the time… as there most certainly was. But… in the circles I ran in at the time, there was willingness to listen and openness to any and all points of view. The people I hung out with at the time… predominately Lefties… were open to debate and argument. All that changed, however, and I left the Left when they became Politically Correct to the extreme and supremely intolerant… which is to say sometime around 1980 or so. We could go on at length here, but we won't. It's my habit to be brief in my blog posts and respect the reader's ability to read between the lines. We can debate fine points in comments, if you've a mind to do so... or expand a particular line of thought, if that's the case.

So. My journey back into the music of my youth… and I use the term "youth" loosely… is more than likely an attempt at revisiting what I perceive to be a "better time," a time where the folks I hung with could agree to disagree and get on with what really mattered: having a good time. And we were quite good at that, Gentle Reader. Oh yes, we WERE.

Now… perhaps the next post in this vein will be an exploration of the sexual politics of music… specifically the sexual politics of the Sensitive Seventies Kinda Guy (Heh: Marvin Gaye)… and that's a subject I could warm to, but not necessarily one that lends itself to brevity. We'll think about that.


Today's Pic:  The Sensitive Seventies Kinda Guy in Kyoto in 1975:

Yes... we were oh-so-sensitive, not to mention being more fun than a National Park.  (The foregoing is a quote from a female friend of mine, verbatim, and predates my first observation of such as a graffito on a bathroom wall. Srsly.)  Heh.

20 comments:

  1. GREAT photo handsome man! I love that track by 10cc too. I still have an original copy of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy which kind of sums up 70s music for me right there on its cover. I love it. That and my dad's JBL speakers.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts as I feel the same way about politics. It's getting worse because of blogging - that whole attitude thing. I reckon its precisely because you can be anonymous that politics is turning into a spitefest. People like to quickly summarise your opinion based on things they read, assume way too much and then go for the jugular in as offensive a way as possible and sometimes often get personal. I had my share of that over at A Tangled Web so often I quit posting. I was assumed (there) to be a feminazi of the worst kind amongst many other things whereas what I wanted to get going was a reasonable discussion where we could see each others points of view. The fact that I vote right seemed to go right past them since to have any opinion about a number of hot right ticket issues that didn't jive with them instantly graded me a "feminazi". I often wound up fighting (quite ruthlessly) from a corner I did NOT want to be in and from a perspective that had been grossly distorted. I hate all the distortions by the Right as much as I hate being patronised and labelled by the Left. I also have a theory about how and why there is so much women-hating/blaming going on out there ( uncovered thru blogging) which frankly I find utterly depressing.

    So in short I tend to steer clear of the big fights. And plan on keeping it that way. For my sanity! I reckon people such as yourself who have come from understanding a perspective to forming a new one in their political views or who see both sides views, are the best people to debate with. Basically we should run the world! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Geez, Buck, that photo is almost painful. Mind you, when that was taken, I was a sophomore at P-ville High School, doing my best to get laid (and often succeeding).

    I never wandered over to the left side politically. It probably helped that Carter was the president of my late teens, and I followed that with living in Ol' Blighty when Margaret Thatcher was hitting her stride. I came back to the Gipper hitting his.

    Just lucky in timing, I guess. But the sensitive thing never worked for me. I was much more successful being a confident, unapologetic conservative. Oh, sure, there's a few lefty gals that swear that they'll never sleep with a Republican, but like all lefties, they're deluding themselves! They will.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great music there - 10cc and The Moody Blues in particular. And I know we disagree on Billy Joel... :-)

    Great thoughts Buck and like others here, I tend to agree. I've been hitting the nostalgia list on my iPod more than anything else for a long time now and have wondered why.

    I think you hit it right - a longing for a time when things weren't so damned ugly. When disagreeing politically meant the conversation just got interesting, and not a blood feud.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember you taking our crayons to make those "sand-cast candles"; I was never a fan of those.

    I still have some of those albums and your stereo (not the one from that time), but a very nice one just the same.

    SN2

    ReplyDelete
  5. Alison sez: It's getting worse because of blogging - that whole attitude thing.

    Agreed. I've mostly sworn off blogging about politics but sometimes I can't help myself. I've mostly sworn off political bloggers, too, but I still read a couple out of loyalty. ALL political bloggers post the same sorta shit, day after day after day... and it gets pretty damned boring after a bit. So: I hear ya!

    And thanks for the backstory about ATW. I'd caught bits and pieces of it at your place and at Daphne's, but didn't know the whole story until now.

    Gordon sez: But the sensitive thing never worked for me. I was much more successful being a confident, unapologetic conservative.

    Don't mistake sensitivity for a lack of confidence. :-)

    I was a confident, unapologetic moonbat, back in the day. Old Lefties did have some of the traits of new Lefties, in that we were absolutely, positively convinced we were (a) correct and (b) it was just a matter of time before we ruled the world. And that attitude worked for me with women of all political POVs, as well. (insert another big-ass grin here)

    Kris sez: I think you hit it right - a longing for a time when things weren't so damned ugly. When disagreeing politically meant the conversation just got interesting, and not a blood feud.

    Eggs-zactly. You summarized my entire post in two concise sentences, Kris.

    Sam: I apologize for stealing your crayons... just in case I never did before. ;-)

    I miss that vinyl, too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I never thought of Jackson Browne as sensitive seventies music. Does the fact that I really like all the music you listed make me a sensitive seventies woman or just a child of the 70's?

    I totally understand about politics these days. I love a good healthy debate, but I hate being attacked. Sometimes I find I have spouted my opinion on something before I have considered the consequences. I did this while in Dallas last week with my Southern CA friend, who is very liberal, but has moved to Conservative, OK. Fortunately, she is not smart enough to do any damage with her attacks/arguements. She did call me a "Wal-Mart Lover," and she meant in the worst possible way. For some reason I LOL at her.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bag Blog,

    There was a magazine--Esquire, I think--that came out about 1979 or so with Jackson Browne on the cover. The headline was, "The Return of the Sensitive Guy."

    This was, of course, some years before he beat up Darryl Hannah.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Tremendous post, Buck.

    I, too, find decent, polite political discourse at a discouraging low. You know my leanings - libertarian. I could have fair debate with friends 'back in the day' even if we disagreed vehemently concerning some things. Now? It's as though many of us have contracted some sort of political rabies. And the folks who are foaming at the mouth are being seen, more and more, as somehow normal.

    What a shame.

    Thanks for putting into words some of the things I've had in the back of my head for a while now.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There is some seriously good discourse about the "state of discourse" in, and following, this post.

    My husband has moved from screaming-lefty-having-crosses-burned-in-his-yard to strict- Constitutionalist-conservative. I, too, made a philosophical journey from left-ish of center, to right of center, to leaning toward libertarian-ish, so the "change" taking place in the political arena definitely entertains me to a degree. However, my middle-aged blood pressure demands that I not get into debates with dirt-and-epithet-slinging troll-ish folk (which, being trained as a lawyer, irritates me to the Nth degree!). But, by golly, I will still write and call my elected officials and vent on my blog as to my take on the goings-on and scallywagging by our purported "elected representatives.". I try not to get too ugly, but, sometimes "ugly is as ugly does" slips under the radar. My bad.

    I do think Kris hit a whole bunch of nails directly on their heads about a healthier time for debate. And I, too, often long for those days. In another lifetime, proscribed vegetable matter facilitated exploration more than condemnation. Maybe there's something to be said about that in the war on drugs.

    As to music -- I'm still girly-girl crazy about the ones you mentioned! They had -- albeit occasionally on the cheesy side -- actual lyrics! With internal rhyme and meter! And some of them even told a story, with a little double entendre for lagniappe, from time to time. I was in college and had just gone to see Jim Croce in concert on campus when his plane went down -- I can still spout every word to "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" (even though that's not exactly a girly-girl, sensitive 70s guy kind of song), among others, in my sleep.

    Thanks for the foray into a more innocent time.

    I can't believe you left out Pure Prairie League!

    ReplyDelete
  10. And, we should run the world. ;-D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Concur on the lack of friendliness in our political discourse; Back then you could be for a strong defense while caring about the proletariat.

    Today, to be for a strong defense of your country is "conservative".

    Also, people had better educations before the 1970's, grounded in the three R's and classic philosophy.

    "Liberals" feel that their opponents are soul-less oppressors, whereas most conservatives will allow that there may be another opinion.

    That's my experience, anyway.

    As for that sesnitive music; I loved it all in the hopes that I would seem more attractive to the young ladies.

    Then I got "Double Live Gonzo" and moved on to "All the World's a Stage".

    Frontier Individuality meets Ayn Rand and tears the camp apart!

    ReplyDelete
  12. P.S Buck, I hope you can perform the action described on the first song on the "Modern Times" album.

    Good Luck and have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lou sez: Does the fact that I really like all the music you listed make me a sensitive seventies woman or just a child of the 70's?

    I'd be inclined to think the latter... unless you have the same sort of checkered past as some people who've just posted extensively on this subject. :D

    And I have a Kallyfornia friend who is reflexively anti-WalMart, too. She's toned it down since I pointed out that rural people often don't have any other option, other than to drive 40 or 50 miles to get to another sort of store.

    Gordon: Sensitive J.Browne beat up Darryl Hannah? Wow... I never knew that. But then again, I quit reading Rolling Stone at least 20 years ago...

    Jim: The whole discourse thing is a hot-button with me, and has been for a number of years. But it's just recently I noticed the Right getting ugly.

    Moogie sez: But, by golly, I will still write and call my elected officials and vent on my blog as to my take on the goings-on and scallywagging by our purported "elected representatives.". I try not to get too ugly, but, sometimes "ugly is as ugly does" slips under the radar. My bad.

    I ain't guilt-free in this space, either, as I've been known to throw the "moonbat" word around a LOT. But then again, I figger if I can use it as a self-descriptive term then I can damn well call others that. It takes one to know one, as they say.

    re: the music. I can probably recite the words to "You Don't Mess Around with Jim," too. After all, we heard the song on the radio around 11,463 times, didn't we? As far as leaving things out... I left out a BUNCH. I seriously considered doing a follow-up post to address the omissions yesterday... people like Joni Mitchell (my GODDESS), Van The Man, Dylan (what S70sKG DIDN'T listen to Dylan?), and so on. And PPL would be in that bunch, were I to list them all.

    Darryl: Agree on all your points... especially about folks being better educated back then. THAT is something you can take to the bank, unfortunately.

    re: "Modern Times." By who? There are several albums by that name.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well if you're gonna start making up the holes in the S70sKG list, you have to add Bread.

    If a picture paints a tousand words
    Then why can't I paint you


    Screams for a post all by itself. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kris sez: Screams for a post all by itself. :-)

    Yeah... kinda like the screams you hear when the zombies appear in horror movies. I'm beginning to think mebbe I wasn't all THAT sensitive... :D

    Darryl: Thanks... but I'm so sure I'd wanna do that, LOL! I'm lucky to have survived my youth, like more than a few of us. But there are SOME places I wouldn't mind revisiting.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "the blue chambray work shirts, the tattered embroidered jeans, the expensive stereo system showcased on plywood boards and cement blocks… bookended with sand-cast candles… and the ever-present baggie of proscribed vegetable material."

    OMG, you couldn't have been my 2nd boyfriend... sure sounds like him though.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Heh. There were a LOT of us about, Laurie. :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. "And I have a Kallyfornia friend who is reflexively anti-WalMart, too. She's toned it down since I pointed out that rural people often don't have any other option, other than to drive 40 or 50 miles to get to another sort of store."

    Hey! I'm that friend! Still reflexively anti-WalMart, but anymore I do tend to pick only on the suburban folks who really *do* have a choice. I'm completely cracking up that "they" want to supersize the WalMart in Rohnert Park, and "they" think that's just all fine and well. Meanwhile, "they" continue to yammer and hammer on and on in "their" efforts to block the building of an Indian casino (very near said WalMart) that would generate more than 3,000 new and decent-paying jobs. (I work for the Tribe ... guess what I think?)

    However, I really stopped by here to mention that I remember -- well and fondly -- that "Sensitive Seventies" guy. And all the Jackson Browne and Dan Fogelberg, etc. Hearing anything by those guys still whisks my memory immediately to that funny little house in Westby, Montana. And yeah, those were some VERY GOOD times!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Noted on the Wally-World thing... and thanks for cutting us Rural Rubes some slack. :D

    You are OH SO RIGHT about the fun times in Westby, Lori. Those were some of the best times of my life. Seriously. We had the world by the short ones, dint we?

    ReplyDelete

Just be polite... that's all I ask.