Yesterday afternoon, we watched Pump Up the Volume. I had "Everybody Knows," the Leonard Cohen song, in my head and since I first became familiar with that song through the movie, I had this strong urge to see the movie.
I dug the tape out of the cabinet and was struck by how representative it was of so many things, media and otherwise, that had passed away. My husband bought the tape after a video store was done with it. The video store was on the site of a building that had been a famous landmark before it became a video store: Zesto's, in Five Points, in Columbia, South Carolina. Now, there are no signs of any past owners--the site is something else altogether (a parking lot? hard to remember, and by now, it's probably something else again).
Videotape itself is an outmoded medium--at work, we've just been informed that Technology will no longer provide support services for VHS. My first question: what support, exactly, does videotape require, now that we've bought all the VCRs?
My husband bought the tape to celebrate the fact that I had just won my first teaching job at a community college in Charleston, S.C. I no longer have that job, and I'm moving ever more and more into administration.
And then we watched the movie, which revolves around a teen radio pirate. Lots of music of a different time--what seemed radical then is now seeped in nostalgia (an early Beastie Boys song! the Pixies!). And to think of a time when everyone would be glued to their radios instead of listening to podcasts, a time when a teen radio pirate would be seen as so threatening that the FCC would go all the way to Arizona to hunt him down.
Is there a modern counterpoint? What would a disaffected youth use today? A podcast? A blog? Hmmm.
It's still a great movie of disaffected youth, and many of the radio monologues about a wasted culture still ring true. As with Footloose, I watch and find myself more sympathetic to the views of the adults in the movie than I once was (although in Pump Up the Volume, some of the adults are evil in a one-dimensional way--the high school principal and her assistant principal). It's a great movie, and I think I'd think that even if I didn't have an already existing affection for it.
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