Sunday, March 30, 2003


My father was the one who first explained to me the concept of the fad. He used the word in a discussion we were having about the musical merits of M.C. Hammer. I had never heard the word before and he explained its meaning to me. He then reiterated his point, which is that the affection much of America's youth held for the musical stylings of M.C. Hammer, an affection that was quite widespread at the time, was simply an example of a fad and that it would pass in time. History was to ultimately (and quickly) prove him correct, although I did not believe him at the time. After all, this was the man who had tried to tell me that Superman would be able to beat He-man in a fight, should the two heroes ever have reason to quarrel. I found both these notions, that M.C. Hammer was anything but timeless and that He-man was anything but invincible, to be laughable. I argued with him on both counts and attempted to make him see reason. He would not. We agreed to disagree and remained amicable despite our differences of opinion. I now see, as I have already stated, that he was correct regarding M.C. Hammer (later known as "Hammer", later known as "who?"). I see it as a sign of my growth and maturity, an indication of just how far I have come from that foolish youth I was, that I now also understand that Superman's ability to fly and to shoot lasers from his eyes would give him a clear advantage over He-man, whose sole talents lie in his incredible strength and massive sword.

Fads are a funny thing, though (and I don't just mean right after they collapse when everyone cool is mocking everyone else for their blind participation, forgetting that just months before, they too, were sporting about six neon snap-bracelets on each arm). They burst brightly onto the scene, burn intensely, and then flicker and crumble to ash. Wait long enough, however, and they shall rise again. People with bad memories decide that things were better "back then" and in a fit of misplaced nostalgia attempt to recreate the atmosphere. Witness the resurgence in the platform shoes and even, briefly, bell-bottoms that one saw not too long ago. Now, 80's trends are starting to reappear. That 70's Show has spawned That 80's Show. Jean Jackets are showing up in malls. A new He-man cartoon has appeared on cartoon network. In the cycle of fads, a cycle that is sped up when reapplied as "retro", we could soon be seeing the time when M.C. Hammer and his amazing pants could make a return.

Did I say fads are a funny thing? I meant fads are a scary thing. I buried my hammer-pants a long time ago. Do not make me take them out again.

Oh, and for the record, yes The Man of Steel could defeat The (misnamed) Most Powerful Man in the Universe, but I think Prince Adam could take Clark Kent pretty handily and I KNOW Princess Teela could lay a serious smackdown on Lois Lane.