Rejecting what we once were, like a snake sloughing off its skin, is a rite of passage for many of us humans. We get a little education under our belts – we grow a little older and allegedly wiser, and we see more of the world around us – and one day we realize that everything we used to like and be is utterly, devastatingly lame. The kind of lame that could crush planets. The lame Galactus. The lame New England Awesomes*.
This is a shame. That little guy or gal you used to be was probably pretty decent, probably pretty smart and cool and good-looking. And if not, at least that little guy or gal wasn’t a self-conscious image-obsessed twerp.
I’m not arguing that you should go back to watching “Muppet Babies” and drinking Kool-Aid like it prevents cancer. Some things from your youth really were worth discarding. But what about all that nerdy stuff you left behind when you realize that hotter chicks and cooler guys were listening to The Shins, or watching Woody Allen movies (the older, better ones)? What about all that stuff that used to make you truly happy?
What about Conan the Fucking Barbarian?
If you’re like me, Diane – and I know you are – you had a number of years (from approximately ages 15-21) which involved a lot of swords and sorcery. You played D&D. You watched “Conan” movies and “Conan”-like movies, and non-ironically enjoyed muscular, shirtless men doing battle with old timey weapon props. You freely admitted to knowing what a bastard sword was. You liked Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, even the ridiculous songs about Mordor. You knew guys who smoked a lot of pot, and maybe you smoked some too, but it wasn’t key to your enjoyment of all this awesome stuff. You appreciated the majesty and mystery of black lights and lava lamps. You thought role-playing had the capacity to be creatively equal to more respectable endeavors like creative writing and playing in a band, and you thought maybe the social element actually elevated it above some of those pursuits.
You were the lame Galactus.
Well, this is a call to fucking arms. Conan the Fucking Barbarian needs you back. The Age of Irony has ruined a lot of things**, but let it not ruin the purest, sweetest joys of growing up in the 70s and 80s. Don’t let Curt Kobain win! He wants to win, he needs to, but Diane – we need it worse. This is a fucking Cause with a capital C now.
Here’s what I’m going to be non-ironically enjoying the coming months, and I hope you will join me:
~ High On Fire’s new album “Death Is This Communion.” It’s the perfect soundtrack for a night of weed-smoking and playing D&D.
~ “Dragonslayer.” Anybody who says “Beastmaster” is the better movie is a dirty liar. But “Beastmaster” is OK too.
~ Perhaps a nice haunted house. It’s almost Halloween, ferchrissakes.
~ White Castle hamburgers. I can’t enjoy them any more, but you people out there who still eat red meat, go get a sack and think of me while you’re making yourself fat and sick.
~ Any TV show, movie, or song lyrics that involve vampires, werewolves, dragons, chainmail, magicians, or bosomy women in tiny outfits chained to things.
~ Def Fucking Leppard.
~ Car wrecks.
~ Rolling a 20 sided dice.
It’s not too late for us. Chucky K. already reclaimed hair metal as not (entirely) the province of burnouts and idiots; why can’t we have the rest of it back? I hope this weekend you’ll turn your back on that hip local coffee house and its tempting array of scones, and instead watch Arnold whack off James Earl Jones’s head with his mighty bastard sword. Do it for the little guy you used to be. That guy was awesome.
* This is not a footnote.
** Like jam bands and prog rock. I’m afraid no matter how hard anyone tries, the closest we’ll ever again come to honestly appreciating 15 minute songs with eight solos in them is the Flaming Lips. And really, that’s not at all close. Backlash on the Mars Volta is already underway, and I sense a backlash on Animal Collective is sitting right around the corner, sharpening its claws.