History Color Me Impressed
posted by December 27 at 12:40 PMon
It bugs me that the picture on the front of today’s Seattle Times of Gerald Ford is in black and white. Yes, the 1970s were a stark, gloomy decade of malaise, but they were not in black and white. They were full color: Kiss, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Evil Knievel, Disco, Three’s Company, Jaws, Dr. J, Queen, Vietnam, Farrah Fawcett, Love American Style.
Black and white stops in 1965. And so, black and white is evocative of the mid-60s and earlier. It occasionally works to conjure late 60s stuff because most people still had black and white TVs up through the early 70s. (So, for example, LBJ works in black and white.) But the Ford era? 1974? 1975? 1976 (in particular)? They were gaudy color, man.
Sucking the color out of the ’70s bugs me because it’s an attempt to soften history. To make it quaint. To deny that it happened. To make it irrelevant. People were pissed when Turner Broadcasting started colorizing golden-era Hollywood movies. This is the same thing, in reverse.