cover image Platforms: A Microwaved Cultural Chronocle of the 1970s

Platforms: A Microwaved Cultural Chronocle of the 1970s

Pagan Kennedy. St. Martin's Press, $13.95 (182pp) ISBN 978-0-312-10525-9

In this hilarious, highly personalized popular history of what may be the goofiest of modern decades, pop culture critic and fiction writer Kennedy ( Stripping and Other Stories ) 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.'' (Apr.)