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An era in which everybody wore (earth shoes), sat on (beanbag chairs), or watched (Chico and the Man) something embarrassing, the '70s were a heady mix of hedonism, fads, serious issues, and ridiculous excesses. Pagan Kennedy tackles the "Decade that Taste Forgot" with a loving and obsessive wit.

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Publishers Weekly: In this hilarious, highly personalized popular history of what may be the goofiest of modern decades, pop culture critic and fiction writer Kennedy offers her insightful version of "guerrilla nostalgia." Kennedy looks beyond the embarrassing clothes and haircuts to reclaim this important era during which the changes demanded by sixties' activists finally started to take effect. That television translated these social reforms into Charlie's Angels , Three's Company and Get Christie Love she attributes to newly sophisticated marketers who sold "hipness" as a commodity. ("Pop culture convinced Americans that Earth shoes had something to do with nature and that Studio 54 had nothing to do with homosexuality.") In a concise, engaging style she explains how the developing singles lifestyle led to the popularization of pornography, why blue-collar chic had everyone wearing designer denim and how Nixon's soft-pedaling of an unpopular war resulted in "peace vigilantes" like Billy Jack. Kennedy cites sources from Alvin Toffler to the fanzine 8-Track Mind but her personal observations ring truest of all. On growing up in a deadening suburban mall culture: "Everything felt so developed . . . you just wanted to smash it." Also contains suitably cheesy spot illustrations and appendices by various authors who celebrate '70s phenomena from Pong to P-Funk to "Zodiac Everything."
Booklist Review: Once considered a 10-year exercise in bad taste, the 1970s are now being rediscovered. Enthusiasts for the decade ("seventiesologists") debate the meaning and motivation of such things as earth shoes, blaxploitation movies, and the rise of mall culture. Kennedy's overview is serious enough to be vital, silly enough to entertain. She brings a fresh approach to many subjects. On the question of whether disco music deserves its retrospective status as fatuous trash, she posits that it engendered adverse reaction from some societal groups because of its origins in the gay and African American communities and its popularity with young proletarian ethnics. According to this reading, the fact that appearance and glitz were highly prized attributes within the disco world turned off aging members of the 1960s generation. Including sections on television, ecology, sex, and the cult of nostalgia, the book is an excellent starting-place for reexamining a decade many Americans seem to love and others, to hate. Equally valuable as a serious read or a coffee-table book, it's an item no popular culture collection should be without. (The section on P-Funk alone is well worth the purchase price.) Mike Tribby