Flashbacks: April 28, 2006

By EDITORIAL  |  January 28, 2010

“You looked down at your black opaque stockings and your little black pumps and you thought: ‘Huh?’

“Next, you started reading the fashion news, which made you gulp even harder. We’re in the middle of a recession, the reports read, so this is probably an ideal time to force everybody to wear Pucci prints and multi-colored leggings and swingy little baby-doll dresses that make you look like a grown woman who for some reason has developed a compulsion to impersonate a six-year-old.

“Of course, this logic totally eluded you, but the point was hard to miss: during the greedy, decadent ’80s, when everyone had scads of dough and spent their lunch hours snorting cocaine in the rest rooms of their health spa, it was perfectly fine to skulk around in a dark, stormy, bleak, black uniform. But now that everyone is poor and out of work, you have to put all those depressing outfits away and start spending small fortunes on bright, sunny-colored clothes that are covered with flowers and flashes of light and various ’60s-style doo-dads.”

Prince's penis |  20 years ago | April 29, 1986 | Jimmy Guterman considered the lyrics on Prince’s new album, Parade.

“Prince has never been a tidy wordsmith. His most carefully conceptualized pieces, the title tracks of 1999 and Purple Rain, were almost neutered by the lyrics. Listening to these summations of Prince’s ‘beliefs,’ you have to wonder whether the auteur doesn’t think that nuclear war is desirable if it gets people dancing or reunites estranged lovers. He also remains juvenile and selfish in his treatment of his favorite subject, sex. His attitudes were fine back on Dirty Mind when he offered some ambiguity and wry outrage to hang on to, but the literal-minded sexism that infects his work is disconcerting and distracting. There’s no edge here, and little more than fleeting excitement in the sex. ‘Kiss,’ which sounds so sumptuous, is merely a list of demands, even if they are covered by an attractive veneer. Listen to the words: he tells his inamorata to be ready from dusk to dawn, he tells her to let him show her what it’s all about, he tells her to talk dirty, he tells her not to be flirty. Cast as an imperative, the song will captivate only those used to taking orders. In ‘New Position,’ he whines for variety, as if that would solve the problems of the relationship he’s questioning. Only once on Parade, with someone named Tracy, does Prince enjoy a relationship that sends out feelers beyond sex. Tracy is the name of Prince’s character in Under a Cherry Moon. Blatant narcissism, anyone?”

Swimming 101 | 25 years ago | April 28, 1981 | Alma M. Souza discussed college course requirements.

“When I was pulled from the pool, bubbling chlorinated water through my nostrils, the two proctors-turned-lifeguards chuckled, ‘We’d better put your name down for swim class!’ If I’d had the breath, I would’ve reminded them that I’d said I couldn’t swim, and that they had insisted I try to pass the swimming test, which was mandatory to earn my degree, anyway. I suppose they needed a good laugh.

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