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Chastity Turns 40

Chas40 My parents are visiting for the first time in three years, first time since I've been living in sin with my bf--to help with wedding stuff. We're going to visit the place who may be selling us our program paper, visit the wedding site and getting the house fixed up a bit. So I'll be MIA here for the next two weeks. After that we have a store-load of links to catchup on.

It went virtually un-remarked on but Chastity celebrated her 40th birthday this past March 4. (I had to look that date up – for some reason I thought she was a April baby.) Like me, Chastity was born in 1969. I still recall how put-out I was the she was, in fact, older than me. I have no idea why that mattered to my 8-year old self. I must have felt she was America's little sister--since obviously Sonny & Cher were our fantasy hipper alt-parents.

Turning 40 is an awesome milestone--but even moreso if you were born in 1969. Myself, I always felt a bit charmed to have been born that magical year.Editor Kit Rachlis of LA Magazine in a recent "letter from the editor" spoke about what a historic year 1969 really was. She says

“2009 is the 40th anniversary of something significant...By any measure, 1969 was momentous. With Woodstock, the counterculture—a small bohemian movement scattered around the country—reached critical mass and found its emblem. The Tate-LaBianca murders  confirmed what everyone should have known: Violence and manipulation swam alongside all that peace and love.”

Kit catalogues the fury that was 1969: Woodstock, The Tate-LaBianca murders, first manned mission to land on the moon, the November march against the Vietnam War (more than 500,000—then the largest demonstration in U.S. capital history), and she even lists one of the most momentus but completely unreported events of that year – the invention of the Internet and the first message sent from a UCLA computer.

The company the coordinates the technical aspects of the Internet is my major employer right now; and the publishing revolution enables me to research news articles and encyclopedic entries on Armenia yesterday without going to a library, meet Cher fans for the last 10 years without having to wait for conventions, buy a new Cher CD release while sitting on my couch with my pajamas and slippers on, and blog about what I think of it to youse guys.

As Kit says “everyone on the planet has been affected by the Internet.”

And yet Kit tells the story of how disinterested the Smithsonian was in collecting that very first computer that sent that very first Internet communication-–for years the Smithsonian didn’t see its value!

Kit states: “In our mania to make predictions and sweeping pronouncements and top-ten come up with instant analysis, whether on TV or in blogs, we invariably reflect our blinkered view. We adhere to a conformity we’re not alert to.”

And then she quotes film critic Steve Erickson who says in the same LA Magazine issue

“…the most radical notion of all is that a great movie…is still great even if it has no audience.” 

We didn’t notice how great the invention of the Internet was and to some degree I don’t think we still fully grasp it even now. But in many ways, it is not our task to fully grasp it -- it’s just our task to playChubslut2 it out. 

My 40th birthday will arrive this summer. I am looking forward to it. I'm proud of my battle scars and I do feel wiser and stronger and happier and more appreciative of moments and less willing to put up with bullshit. I’m even more convinced today than I was when I was a little girl watching The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and thinking that Chastity was younger than me that Cher records are great, even though they don’t have a full-fledged audience yet and even though institutions and critics like the Smithsonian don't get it yet. ;-)

I’m 40 now. I know some things.



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