I was talking to some high schoolers the other day, and they asked me what I thought about Kanye West. He’s great, I said, and more enduring than I thought he’d be. Musically, I thought he would be the next P. Diddy what with his outlandish conceit and inability to dance. They looked at me. Kanye West had a reality show?
Apparently, these kids weren’t aware of P. Diddy’s early music career alongside the Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy Entertainment, and only recognized him from his reality show. It disappointed me. What’s the old adage? Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it?
No one wants another P. Diddy, so this is mainly for the kids. Know your history kids. Know that before your favorite fill-in-the-blank, there was a previous fill-in-the-blank. Just like No Doubt was the best thing since Blondie, Kobe and Lebron are the best things since Jordan, and Jordan was the best thing since Wilt, there has always been a “before there was” before there was… now.
Before there was Twilight and New Moon, there was The Lost Boys(1987). Yes, way back before Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart made it cool to be a vampire, Keifer Sutherland, Jason Patric, and the Corey’s(Haim and Feldman) made it cool first. Vampires were always played like Dracula: mean, misunderstood, villainesque. It was only a matter of time before someone set them to a cool soundtrack, gave them cool threads, and made them the hippest misunderstood villains since Bonnie and Clyde.
Before there was Wii, XBox, and Playstation 3, there was the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo was all the rage that started the rage. It was simple, yet high-tech: this magical box that played game cartridges but only after you blew into them a few hundred times. First, there was Super Mario Bros., then Duck Hunt(it even came with a gun). Then came games like Metroid, Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania, sending the electronic video game industry into a frenzy. Next thing you know, you now have online game “consoles” that are so advanced they make the NES’ two-button game controller look like Pong.
Before there was Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, there was Friendster. Friendster was the first real social networking site that took flight, and because of that many loyalists refuse to close their account and move on to the highly popular contemporaries. Despite page and tracking technical advances(both major and minor), the differences between Friendster and those more contemporary social sites are minimal at best. The soul of these sites is still all the same: add me, message me and look at my pictures. They are definitely the best social networking sites since and until the next one arises.
Before there was the iPhone, there was the Motorola Pager. Yes, that’s right, despite having zero app’s, no camera, and no way to communicate directly, the Motorola Pager was all the rage before cell phones. As neanderthilic as it sounds, it worked like this: 1)a person would wear the pager, 2)the person would get paged by someone wanting to talk to them, and 3)the person getting paged would have to stop and find the nearest payphone(yes, there once were things called payphones as well) and return the call to the number of the page. If you got creative enough, you starting using numbers as letters so as to nullify the need to return-call(i.e., a 12 would be an R, a 3 would be an E, a 7 would be a T, etc.,). Definitely the coolest thing since whoever figured out how to page 1-177155-400(“I-MISS-YOO”).
Before there was American Idol, there was Star Search. Star Search was like Idol, but instead of just singing, it also including categories like comedy and modeling. There was no fan vote, the results were left all in the hands of the judges, but it definitely made stars out of many its contestants– Sinbad, Howie Mandel, Arsenio Hall, and Drew Carey just to name a few. If you don’t know who they are, ask your parents. I’m sure your parents don’t know who Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, and David Archuleta are either.
Before there was Taylor Swift, there was Lisa Loeb. Before Taylor Swift became queen of the soft/rock heart-broken-but-still-gonna-rock-on-ballad genre, there was Lisa Loeb who Swift uncannily sounds a lot like. You wouldn’t be able to tell them apart by description: cute, female singers with equally as cute voices, lyrics resonating love, heartbreak, and redemption, catchy pop chords, and careers defined as being the overlooked beauty. The only real difference is in age and Loeb’s glasses. The cause for Loeb’s fade? Cuteness fades, especially when it’s overexposed. Good luck, Swifty.
Before there were the X-Games, there was… nothing of the sort. Before these events were all compiled into an actual, valid competition, events like BMX Dirt were going on behind vacant businesses on mountainous dirt lots by preteen boys whose parents had no idea what they were doing. Street skateboarding was going on(illegally) wherever a kid could manage to outride security, as he practiced moves learned in Thrasher Magazine, and half-pipe skateboarding was done strictly and sparsely in emptied-out swimming pools. There were no gold medals, corporate sponsors or accolades from anyone. There was nothing but public disapproval, fear, and adult demands to curtail these minors. No wonder the minors succeeded.