I just posted this because I got curious what happened during the year that I was born and I want to share it with you notwithstanding that I’d be revealing my real age. Anyway, if you want to try it yourself you can click it here.
In 1979, the world was a different place.
There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo.
In 1979, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Kramer vs Kramer. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.
“Remember, that was before there were DVDs. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.
Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Kramer vs. Kramer. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to The Tin Drum. The top actor was Dustin Hoffman for his role as Ted Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer. The top actress was Sally Field for her role as Norma Rae Webster in Norma Rae. The best director? Robert Benton for Kramer vs. Kramer.
In the year 1979, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum. Oh, that’s many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it? Look at the cover!
“In 1979… The State of Ohio agrees to pay $675,000 to families of the dead and injured in the Kent State shootings. Vietnam and Vietnam-backed Cambodian insurgents announce the fall of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the collapse of the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge retreat west to an area along the Thai border. The United States and the People’s Republic of China establish full diplomatic relations. Pluto moves inside Neptune’s orbit for the first time since either was known to science. Khomeini creates the Council of the Islamic Revolution. The first British nudist beach is established in Brighton. Voyager I makes its closest approach to Jupiter at 172,000 miles. America’s most serious nuclear power plant accident, at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania. A Unabomber bomb injures Northwestern University graduate student John Harris. The Nickelodeon Television Channel, a children’s cartoon channel, launches as The Pinwheel Network. The Albert Einstein Memorial is unveiled at The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Joe Clark becomes Canada’s 16th and youngest Prime Minister. Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement in Vienna. The Entertainment Sports Programming Network, known as ESPN, debuts. Black Monday events, in which members of a political group sack a newspaper office, unfold in Malta. The first European Ariane rocket is launched. The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. The One Child Policy is implemented in China. The long-running comic strip For Better or For Worse begins its run. The video game of the day was Lunar Lander.
That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.
The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Odysseas Elytis. The Nobel Peace prize went to Mother Teresa. The Nobel prize for physics went to Sheldon Lee Glashow, Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam from the United States and Pakistan for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current. The sensation this created was big. But it didn’t stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn’t it?
The 1970s were indeed a special decade. Women’s liberation continued. The hippie culture faded. There was an opposition to the Vietnam war, and nuclear weapons. The environmentalist movement began. Tom Wolfe coined the decade the “Me decade” due to a new self-awareness. Mao Zedong died and the market began to liberate in China. There was an oil crisis. After the first oil shock, gasoline was rationed in many countries. In Eastern Europe, Soviet-style command economies begin showing signs of stagnation. The Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, witness the kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian Arab terrorists. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Who, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Bee Gees, Abba and others play their music. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all die at the age of 27. The space mission Apollo 13 nearly ends in disaster. Egypt signed the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. There was a revolution in Iran. The world sees its first general microprocessor. The C programming language makes its debut. Consumer video games show up on the scene. Microwave ovens become commercially available. Margaret Thatcher was victorious in the UK elections.
Do you know what was on the cover of Life that year?
Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Pulp Fiction. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was The Sign by Ace of Base. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?
In 1979, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song My Sharona by The Knack topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.
Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin’ off the line Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up.
There’s a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn’t care about time. It doesn’t know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.
When you were 9, the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit was playing. When you were 8, there was Masters of the Universe. When you were 7, there was a Disney movie out called The Great Mouse Detective. Does this ring a bell?
“6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… it’s 1979. There’s TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is Supertrain . The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century on now. That’s the world you were born in.
Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1979. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born? The Walkman. The Solid State Digital Audio Player.
1979 that’s when my momma had me
2006, her oldest son is a daddy
Check it, I got two daughters of my own
They say I degrade women
But they degrade themself
That’s from the song Family by Ying Yang Twins.
In 1979, a new character entered the world of comic books: Shaman. Bang! Boom! But that’s just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1979, Mena Suvari was born. And Zhang Ziyi. Jennifer Love Hewitt, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
The world is a different place.
What path have you taken?