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"Weird Beliefs of the Seventies"

The Seventies saw the spread of California culture (or "life-style," as it
came to be called), oozing from the canyons and condos of that state and
slopping itself into the brainpans of previously rational and intelligent

Many among us began applying the words "therapy" and "training" to every
conceivable activity. And in fact much of the weirdness of the seventies
was simply ordinary everyday activities raised to the level of great
metaphysical significance.



Expending as much time, energy, money, and persistence on leaving this world as Jewish businessmen once spent on gaining admittance to exclusive golf clubs.
Feeling sad when someone dies.
Neurosis can be literally pummelled out of the body by intensive painful message.
Leave Sergeant Murphy alone with the guy in the back room and he'll talk.
The Unification Church
There is no god but the CIA, and Reverend Moon is its prophet.
High-level political corruption, bribery and arms smuggling.
The People's Temple
Kool-Aid, a sickly sweet kiddies' drink, is a dignified and courageous way to meet the afterlife.
Poor blacks and other disavantaged people band together for social justice.
Primal Scream Therapy
Reliving the trauma of one's birth and acting out the pain will produce happiness and material success.
Shelling out a a couple of bucks to some gypsy to have your fortune told.
Born-Again Christianity
The emotionally unstable ravings of a minor tribal deity from 5,000 years ago were dictated by him into Elizabethan English and are as American as Old Glory.
Being Stupid.
"Openness" (or, "Being Vulnerable")
Sexual self-stimulation provides a depth of release impossible with a partner.
Jerking Off.
"Honesty" (or, "Sharing")
Allowing a partner/parent/child to witness your sexual self-stimulation will uplift your relationship.
Jerking Off.
Mud Baths/Hot Tubs
Return to the primal elements water and fire removes the neurotic buildup of pressures caused by Western "civilization."
Taking some steam.
EST (Erhard Seminars Training)
Taking responsibility for everything that happens in your life. (For instance, being responsible for paying great dollops of money to brutal con men who deprive you of physical comforts while verbally abusing you.)
Being a boring, pathetic, but reliable volunteer campaign worker for the Republican party.
"Getting in touch with your anger"
Immediate release of pent-up anger may keep you from getting cancer. Or cure you if you have cancer.
Kicking the shit out of the family dog.
"Assertiveness Training"
No. I'm not going to write this entry. It violates my personal space, and I'm not going to make a firm contract with you to write it until my real-life needs are acknowledged. Give me a million dollars and make me president of the corporation. Then maybe I'll think about it. But I'm not making any commitments.
Being a pigheaded, loudmouthed asshole.
Risking bankruptcy and arrest in order to eat ground-up apricot pits will cure you of cancer.
Risking bankruptcy and arrest in order to eat ground-up apricot pits.
Allen Ginsberg
Wearing a suit and tie and shaving your beard make you as much a part of the decade as being a psychedelic bozo did in the sixties and wearing black-rimmed glasses and holding bongo drums did in the fifties.
Being an ambitious and highly adaptable poet from New Jersey.

- from National Lampoon, February, 1980.


Scandals, Urban Legends, and Other Brouhaha

1972 - Deep Throat Ordeal
What happens when a woman has a clitoris in the back of her throat? What
happens when a porn star (the infamous Linda Lovelace) claims she was coerced
into making the film? Simple, it becomes one of the greatest scandals of the
decade -- and one of the most popular porn movies ever.

1972 - Jane Fonda Goes Hanoi
Once a sex idol, Jane shocks many of her fans as she travels to Vietnam during
the height of the war and poses in an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down
American pilots.

1974 - Patty Hearst
Debutante makes waves as mesmerized, bank-robbing terrorist.

Mid-'70s - Candy Controversy
Urban myths abound as red M&Ms mysteriously disappear from candy store shelves.
Pop Rocks are rumored to explode, and word hits the streets that a kind of
bubble gum contains spider eggs. Looks like we never should have believed any
of it anyway.

1977 - Suicide of Freddie Prinze
Not heeding the advice of Jose Feliciano's title song, it seems Chico gets

1977 - Roman Polanski Splits
Roman becomes best known not for his movies, or for the fact that his wife,
actress Sharon Tate, was slain by the Manson clan, but for having to steer
clear of the U.S. because of his scandalous attraction to young girls.

1978 - Mommy Dearest
Joan Crawford's daughter, Christina, shocks with her controversial expose
detailing her mother's abuse of her.

1978 - Larry Flynt Shot

1978 - Jonestown: Who Spiked the Punch?
More than 900 commit mass suiced through cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.

Late '70s - Toxic Shock Syndrome: Killer Tampons Attack Menstruating Women

1978/79 - Death of Sid and Nancy

1979 - Skylab Is Falling
NASA's space station, Skylab, comes crashing back to earth while the world
waits breathlessly to see if it might fall on them.

1979-81 - Iranian Hostages
Americans held in the former American Embassy in Iran are released the day
Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the new president.

- from Retro Hell (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1997).


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