That title (“The Party’s Over”) says a lot, don’t you think? In some ways it says it all, I suppose, conveying in a few words that the great era of American hedonism is pretty well done, or should be. Remember jetsetters who once skittered over the planet in search of fun?
Well “jetsetters” is a now musty term for a mostly bygone phenomenon. Really, it’s the millennials who’ve been most frequently carrying the hedonistic ball in recent times. But when they try and whoop it up again at post-Covid restaurants and/or watering holes in tony places like Charleston, Nashville, Vegas, or even NT, will things ever be the same? And maybe more to the point, should they be?
Of course “The Party’s Over” is already an old song title some would remember. It kind of conveyed a hung-over, morning-after feel. Here, however, I’m talking about a much bigger, more enduring national hangover or sobering, something far more extensive.
Does all this simply imply that it’s time to get more serious? Throw away the stimulants and amusements and face the proverbial music? Well it’s true that there’s been much handwriting on the walls and figuratively speaking, in places where fun was once supposed to keep reigning supreme.
Lest you think I’m sounding like a human wet blanket, it wasn’t really that long ago when immigrant dads would ask the Yogis and such why they wanted to go out and constantly play ball. Didn’t they realize that life was serious? You worked hard all day, maybe then (as an adult) had a beer, a good Italian dinner, you worshiped on Sunday, on Christmas you enjoyed some fruit and nuts and a card game; but mainly, life was indeed, getting down to business and from early on.
And that mindset isn’t at all ancient history, nor simply relevant to the early Puritans. Not so far back, this is the way it was for many Americans, outside of certain members of the better, more cosseted classes.
Well, you might retort, what ever happened to songs like the Beach Boys’ “Fun Fun Fun” and other ditties celebrating the virtues of drag racing and surfing, girls on the beach and endless summers? Fact of the matter (inconveniently so): these now musty oldies are over 50 years behind us. They’ve had their day, too? I’m sorry to break the news, but they have. The age of innocence is done…
So (in another retort I can hear) you just want a lot of recorded dirges to get us through our bleak days? Telling us the party’s over: who are you to convey such a thing?
And you have a point. Jeremiah or Ezekiel I ain’t! I don’t have the ethical cred to assume such a mantle.
Speaking of a “mantle,” I’d like to emphasize as well in my cold water fashion that the Mick’s gone, too! And of course Yogi… Now we have athletes who in their self-centered way want to earn customary millions, even as pro sports crawl back with fewer fans (and much less revenue) toward uncertain futures.
You mean all that’s also become tarnished? As watched stuff, I’d answer, somewhat. More than somewhat... To get out on our own and procure fresh air and exercise? Never a bad idea. But yes, I’d include the current, post-Covid sports scene in this less than cheery scenario. Intensified of course by riots and destruction that have made many of these cities where enjoyment was once supposed to be a given less livable, too.
Moving from sports, there’s a little matter called national indebtedness, again indicating how we’ve all wanted too much gravy without paying for it. In some ways also part of a hedonistic outlook, or a spoiled one, it seems. As all know, the country’s now in the red to the tune of what ... 25 trillion or so? And you think reality hasn’t set in to overtrump the amusement ethic, or non-ethic? We’re mucho broke and in a parlous world with plenty of grim competitors, some barbarously tough, organized and the rest. Those who want to keep frittering away days and nights in Margaritaville will pay a price for sure.
So: the party’s over? You know it … even if you (and I) really don’t want to!
B.B. Singer has taught at several area colleges including Niagara University.