The ’70s were a good time for feelings

22 Sep

For some reason the ’70s were a fertile breeding ground for black and white photography books about the realities of mostly middle class white kids. I myself used to spend HOURS pouring over The Blue Rose and How Does It Feel To be Adopted (both of which, thankfully, still stand up. I would feel like a real jerk making fun of a Holocaust survivor’s book about an austistic girl. Yeah, that’s a deserved one way ticket to Hell.) My theory is that the transition from the Vietnam War/Nixon era to Jimmy Carter’s hopeful, sweet (okay, even with the hostage and gas crisises) made it crucial and suddenly safe to bring painful, awkward, personal and defining situations into children’s books in a realistic way.

That said, some of these books do not share the fate of Jill Krementz’s beloved tomes. Nope, some of these books are ripe and ready to be plucked from the Unintentionally Funny Book Tree (you didn’t know that’s where I get them from?) Case in point: The books of Terry Berger, whose ouevre we shall explore and mock this week starting with I Have Feelings Too. This stuff just writes itself.

That's what my therapist says.

That's what my therapist says.

Here we meet some white girl who is so boring I cannot even remember her name. She looks pretty smug and satisfied about her self-awareness. I’m pretty sure she lives on the Upper West Side and that her parents are raising her democratically and she probably goes to a diverse school (with the good kind of minorities, of course). She grows up to be a lawyer for the ACLU, gets divorced twice and attends lots of retreats in rural Connecticut.
"Oh you know, not much. Just working towards self-actualization and taking responsibility for my emotions.Wassup with you?"

"Oh you know, not much. Just working towards self-actualization and taking responsibility for my emotions.Wassup with you?"

I’m pretty sure she and her aunt have the same conversation for the next 30 years.

 

This is me and my dad playing "Bergman Film," it's one of our favorite games.  I pretend to have an existential crisis and we pose all tragic and beautiful by the window. It's so much fun!

This is me and my dad playing "Bergman Film," it's one of our favorite games. I pretend to have an existential crisis and we pose all tragic and beautiful by the window. It's so much fun!

feelings window 2

Yep, they'll be having this conversation for the next 30 years.

Let’s give Dad props for preparing his daughter to have men disappoint her for the rest of her life. Now THAT’S a reality all straight girls should learn sooner rather than later (especially if it’s in a well-lit, interestingly photographed scene.)

 

Oh, Amy. You are no match for me. I am self-aware of my feelings, you child. I know ways to make you miserable that you won't understand until you've been in therapy for 20 years.

Oh, Amy. You are no match for me. I am self-aware of my feelings, you child. I know ways to make you miserable that you won't understand until you've been in therapy for 20 years.

Um, when did this turn into “Single White Female”? I’m not feeling so safe in this book anymore…

 

I'm just being honest about my feelings. This is inadmissable in court.

I'm just being honest about my feelings. This is inadmissable in court.

Run, Amy, run! She’s like “Carrie”! Don’t believe her when she says just THINKING about bad things won’t make them happen. This is the ’70s, girl! Soon she won’t be so scared about her feelings and she’ll start using her powers. Get out now. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, Amy. Don’t be a dumbass.

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2 Responses to “The ’70s were a good time for feelings”

  1. Devin September 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Tip o’ the hat and golf claps.

    I can’t wait to play “Bergman film!”

  2. mollyemurphy September 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    So freaking funny. Bergman film and such hateful ways…I’d watch this movie in a heartbeat!

    Keep ’em coming!

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