Taking a walk down memory lane: A tribute to You Tube and Olivia Newton-John

Breaking from politics for the evening …

A few readers have steered me in the direction of YouTube and I have to confess I’m close to obsession with searching for fun videos to add to this site.

Special thanks to ST reader Severian and a few others for pointing out the more fun videos to be found there – I also like that it looks like some old MTV music videos have been taped directly from TV and have been uploaded onto You Tube. I just found one of my favorite songs from when I was (much) younger: “Magic” by Olivia Newton-John. Ok, yes, I was a big fan – in fact, her “Making a Good Thing Better” album was the first album I ever owned as a kid. The next album I owned was the double album soundtrack for Grease, the movie in which – as we all know – she played the character Sandra Olsson. I lost count of how many times I watched that movie. I know. Go ahead and say it. I’m a total cheese puff.

When my family moved to Charlotte in the early 80s, I was still a devoted ONJ fan, and not long after we moved here the “Physical” album came out. Of course, the album was a must-have for me, and the controversy over the title song made it even more of a must-buy (BTW, I still have this one as well as “Making a Good Thing Better” on vinyl). As far as I know, that was and remains ONJ’s biggest album. Not long after I purchased the album, a People magazine came out with ONJ on the cover. At the time, I was in a 5th and 6th grade mixed class, and there was a young fellow from the 6th grade section whom I had a crush on. I thought if I got my hair cut like ONJ, he’d notice me as more than just the tomboy that I was. I mean, look at ONJ in this “Magic” video (which I believe was part of a videotape that was used to help promo the “Physical” album):

It was either that look, or this one, which my mom would have (rightly) ruled out. I was 11, afterall:

I figured my getting my hair cut like hers from the “Physical” album would be a sure-fire way to get the attentions of the 6th grade cutie I and several other gals in my class drooled over. Thinking like most girls at that age, I thought to myself I just needed the haircut to get the attention. I know better now, but then I was just as foolish and naive as other gals my age. So anyway, I went to a local salon here, and with mom’s permission, got my hair cut and styled like ONJ’s from the People magazine cover. I went into school the next day, thinking David would fall all over himself when he saw me. He didn’t, and I went through most of the day wondering if he’d even noticed my new look. Finally, at the end of the day, I got up the courage to ask him if he’d noticed I’d gotten my hair done. He said yes but didn’t elaborate (typical male!). I asked him “well what do you think?” His answer was that he thought I looked like the following male rock star:

The title of that song is “Some Guys Have All The Luck” – that particular day, this gal who was told she looked like a guy had no such luck :-<

Fast-forward a couple of years, and to another guy I had a crush on. This guy, unfortunately for me, had a crush on my older sister, who at the time looked like (who else?) ONJ. This video (also of the song “Magic”) has ONJ with a different hairstyle and overall look, and my sister easily could have passed for her stunt double:

Sis was just a bit shorter, though. Otherwise, they’d have been able to pass for twins. This is likely how my 7th grade crush looked at her as well. How did he view yours truly, OTOH? Overheard in the background of a phone convo with a mutual friend, he noted quite casually that he thought I was a dead ringer for the following Euro-pop star lead singer (the band is The Flock of Seagulls):

The name of the song is “I Ran” – needless to say, I ran that day … off the phone, and straight to my room to punch the bed pillows a few times! Those two instances in my early years of being told I look like a male singer spurred on my internal vow to never have my hair cut above shoulder length again ;)

Oh, did I mention that I have the soundtrack to the ONJ movie Xanadu, too? Here’s the title track to the movie:

Check out the hair! I have a salon appointment this weekend. Maybe that’s the look I’ll go for. No mistaking ST for a male with that one, eh? b-)

Make sure to check out YouTube some evening when you have some time on your hands. Eventually you’ll find a video or two there that will have you taking a trip down memory lane, too.


Juan Williams on the culture of failure in black America

Fox News political analyst and NPR correspondent Juan Williams has a must-read opinion piece in today’s Washington Post that addresses some of the problems faced in the black community today, like single-parenthood and failure to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them thanks to civil rights leaders from the past . He writes:

With 50 percent of Hispanic children and nearly 70 percent of black children born to single women today these young people too often come from fractured families where there is little time for parenting. Their search for identity and a sense of direction is undermined by a twisted popular culture that focuses on the “bling-bling” of fast money associated with famous basketball players, rap artists, drug dealers and the idea that women are at their best when flaunting their sexuality and having babies.

In Washington, where a crime wave is tied to these troubled young souls, the city reacts with a curfew. It is a band-aid. The real question is how one does battle with the culture of failure that is poisoning young people — and do so without incurring the wrath of critics who say we are closing our eyes to existing racial injustice and are “blaming the victim.”

Recently Bill Cosby has once again run up against these critics. In 2004, on the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Cosby took on that culture of failure in a speech that was a true successor to W.E.B. DuBois’s 1903 declaration that breaking the color line of segregation would be the main historical challenge for 20th-century America. In a nation where it is getting tougher and tougher to afford a house, health insurance and a college education — in other words, to attain solid middle-class status — Cosby decried the excuses for opting out of the competition altogether.

Cosby said that the quarter of black Americans still living in poverty are failing to hold up their end of a deal with history when they don’t take advantage of the opportunities created by the Supreme Court’s Brown decision and the sacrifices of civil rights leaders from Martin Luther King Jr. to Thurgood Marshall and Malcolm X. Those leaders in the 1950s and ’60s opened doors by winning passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and fair housing laws. Their triumphs led to the nationwide rise in black political power on school boards and in city halls and Congress.

While I take exception to him referring to Malcolm X as a ‘civil rights leader’ (even though MX did eventually renounce the Nation of Islam and see the error of his ways – which was, as Larry Elder described it, “knowingly signing his own death warrant”), that doesn’t detract from Williams points.

From what I understand, this article provides a sneak peek as to what Williams book Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It is supposed to be about. I’d read some favorable comments on the book recently from some other conservative blogs, and had considered buying it based on those comments, but reading this opinion peace seals the deal for me. I’ll be picking up my copy this weekend.

I’ve often said that white convservatives can talk about problems in the black community all day long – and believe me, I’ve spent a fair amount of time at this blog talking about them. But the people who stand the real chance of making a difference in the black community are people of influence in the black community themselves who rise above race pimps like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to discuss real solutions to the problems that plague black people in America, many of them self-imposed and embellished by the likes of Jackson and Sharpton. If they are willing to endure the labels from the usual suspects – who use racial slurs like “Oreo” and “Uncle Tom” and “house slave” towards any black person who doesn’t toe the “white man is oppressing you” line – in an effort to inspire real, radical change in the black community, more power to ’em.

Hat tip: Betsy Newmark

BTW, I’ll be guest blogging alongside Betsy, Mary Katharine Ham, and Danny Carlton — alias “Jack Lewis” later today at Right Wing News (having issues accessing RWN right now, though …).