Sunday, May 31, 2020

Suburbutopia: George Floyd, the Pet Shop Boys and sanitized pop culture.

Bill Reed: 
Arraignment of 18 of 21 men implicated in the murder of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner
"President Bush announced tonight that he believes in democracy and that democracy can exist in Iraq. They can have a strong economy, they can have a good health care plan, and they can have a free and fair voting. Iraq? We can't even get this in Florida." -Jay Leno
I remember this old Jay Leno joke - back when LBC used to run his show. Pirated, I believe.
I am of the generation that grew up in the 80s, surrounded by - mostly American pop cultural items and social status elements. Think A Team, Dallas, Dynasty, Michael Jackson, Jeans, Sebago docksides and the list continues. The United States was aspirational.
Truth be told, the whole western world was - because added to the American pop culture, many "European" items/brands could easily be added: Duran Duran, Kim Wilde, Vanessa Paradis, Swatch, Benetton, Naf Naf, etc...
But naturally, that was an over-simplification.
I distinctly remember when the Pet Shop Boys came up with the Suburbia TV clip, we - by that I mean my peers and myself - "there's nothing wrong about living in such a place". We wanted to be there.
Little did we know that the partial inspiration of the song's video were the 1984 Los Angeles riots (the song came out in 1986). 
As the death/murder of George Floyd has set the United States ablaze with protests, TMZ (the site that specializes in what Kim Kardashian had for breakfast and ergo the most trusted gauge of the average American opinion) ran a survey - below are some of the answers:

Is America as racist as it was 50 years ago? 
57% Just As Racist As 50 Years Ago, 43% We've Gotten A Lot Better (74,451 total votes)

Do people trust the police?
43%Yes 57% No (74,078 total votes)

Is the country is heading toward a civil war?
55% Yes and 45% No (73,462 total votes).

To go back to the lyrics of Mr. Neil Tennant himself:
"Break the window by the town hall
Listen! A siren screams
there in the distance like a roll call
Of all the suburban dreams."