Comic Talk and General Discussion *

The influence of 1930s aesthetics (future Quackcast)
Ozoneocean at 8:11PM, Nov. 27, 2022
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This is a pet topic of mine and I'd like to do a Quackcast on it.
I don't know if anyone would be interested though XD

I grew up during the late 70s and 80s.
The 1970s had a bit of a revival of the 1920s going on with art and aesthetics as well as TV show, movie, and stories reviving 1920s things.

In the 1980s that rolled over into 1930s revivals.

In the 1980s, 30s stuff was everywhere- in font styles, pastel colours, art decco revival, neon, the revival of modernism, in fashion and hairstyles (the high fashion), in the aethetic of the New Romantic movement of British pop-music, and especially in movies and TV.

Things like Indiana Jones were set directly during this time and that wasn't alone.
-Not to mention 1930s stuff being replayed on TV.

Since I was at the age when I voraciously consumed media at this time I absorbed a lot of that 30's style.

——

It was an interesting time. It represented the end of the British empire as the most powerful nation and the rise of the US.
The rise of fascism in Europe and Japan, the beginning of the creation of China as the country we know today. the Soviet Union coming into it's own, all the classic espionage of the cold war beginning. the lasts gasps of the explorers and adventurers, the old colonial way of things still being a thing…
As well as the Scifi genre taking off, futurism in architecture and product design, cars becoming streamlined and universal with cities being designed around them, roads taking over the world. air travel connecting the world with flying boats and Zeppelins… the last days of ocean liners as a regular means of travel before they devolved into cruise ships…

Lots of romanticism and style from this period and hope for a great futures as well as many nasty things like fascism, cold war, colonialism, and the impending global disaster of WW2.



-I've commented on this before, haha but now I'd like to Quackcast about it XD
 
bravo1102 at 3:08AM, Nov. 28, 2022
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Nothing epitomizes it better than Fritz Lang's masterpiece Metropolis.

There are also the incredible designs in William Cameron Menzies' Things to Come.

Even the cinematography of Orson Welles ' Citizen Kane is evocative of the age with its simple light and shadow and deep focus.

Then there is the beauty of the Technicolor of Gone With the Wind ( Menzies again) and Wizard of Oz The Emerald City is especially based on the period designs.

From a far different place there is also the Soviet space fantasy Aleita : Queen of Mars

Even the Flash Gordon serials were a great representation of the style being based on the deco designs used by Alex Raymond in the strips.

Fantastic cinema of the period is a good place to start and readily accessible.
last edited on Nov. 28, 2022 3:09AM
Ozoneocean at 11:17AM, Dec. 10, 2022
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Modern Gangsta rap and even the idea of the “gangsta” owes it's existence to the 1930s

The 1930s was where the gangster movies were at their apex, people got to see the style as well as the violence and the ambition.
Years later violent youth gangs in Jamaica called themselves Rude boys, they idolised the gangsters in those films and tried to dress like them and thought they WERE gangsters.

That influenced music and when some of those musicians came to the USA they kept the gangster name. US rappers simply copied and adopted it, gangs did the same.
So this is why you have people called “gansta” who have no relationship to the original concept at all and probably don't know where it came from.
 
Ironscarf at 5:11PM, Dec. 10, 2022
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It's true that the aesthetics of the 1930s had a profound influence on music which lasts to this day (in filtered form as you describe), but don't forget the actual popular music of the period. The songs written then by the likes of cole porter, Gershwin and many more reached a high level of harmonic sophistication while also achieving lasting popularity. They are still regularly performed and recorded nearly 100 years later and not just as nostalgia. I can't imagine anything we hear today having that same longevity.

I read an interview with performer and musicologist Bob Brozman, who said that science, technology, art and music all came together in perfect balance during this period and since then, we've been on a gradual downward path.
 
Ozoneocean at 5:14PM, Dec. 11, 2022
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Ironscarf wrote:
I read an interview with performer and musicologist Bob Brozman, who said that science, technology, art and music all came together in perfect balance during this period and since then, we've been on a gradual downward path.
I don't know about a decline, since in a lot of ways we're accelerating, at least with technology.
But yes, music was amazing.We just did the Quackcast on Saturday and had a bit of a mention of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Shostakovitch, Copland etc and how they created a lot of the signature sounds we still base audio aesthetics on today.
We wouldn't have the cowboy sound if it wasn't for Copeland.

Of course the Blues and Jazz were the other titanic influential genres but none of us really know enough about the key performer in the early days so they weren't mentioned… But without them a lot of the most popular music today wouldn't exist.
There's definitely been a decline from the musical sophistication back then, you are 100% correct.
 
Ironscarf at 9:28PM, Dec. 11, 2022
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Ozoneocean wrote:
I don't know about a decline, since in a lot of ways we're accelerating, at least with technology.

What he meant was that all those disciplines worked together to produce things that were not only technologically advanced, but also were well built to last and were beautiful to look at. A radio of the time would be a good example: the technology is built into what amounts to a solid piece of furniture with an attractive design and all those elements are given equal weight. It was a completely different philosophy of what an object should be. Technology has advanced by light years since then, but the quality of the things around us has declined.
 
last edited on Dec. 11, 2022 9:29PM
Ozoneocean at 6:31AM, Dec. 12, 2022
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You're quite right in that Ironscarf.

There are other factors like the pace of tech progression and the fast production/development cycle meaning hat things are so quickly “obsolete” that there's no point in building them to really last.

Mainly though the seeds were sewn in the 1930s that led to what we have now with product design:
Streamline modern, art deco, and modernism had totally taken over by the 1930s. They eschewed the old style of flourishes and superfluous decoration in favour of something more streamlined and futuristic.

Art Deco added its own geometric flourishes but modernism got rid of even those in favour of a sort of psuedo-functional decoration- in that it still had decoration but it all had to “look” like it did something.

That type of modernist minimal design became the standard because it was cheap and basic. It's what we've had ever since with everything: The simplest shapes and fake functionality.

Modernism at its heart is a truly fascist deign philosophy.
Post Modernism was a breath of fresh air because it finally broke away from the stranglehold of a single vision and instead embraced ALL visions, so it brought back the old decorative design and allowed it to co-exist with modernist simplicity.

But that didn't last and the old fascist modernism has reasserted itself again.
 
bravo1102 at 7:01AM, Dec. 12, 2022
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Much of the ethic of built in obsolescence developed out of World War 2 when things didn't need to be built to last, but only to be built quickly. Henry J. Kaiser was the one who applied it even to ships with the Liberty ships.
It already existed in part in the US auto industry but it entered into all other fields after WW2 with the rise of mass consumerism and the relative wealth of the workers.
Recommend David Halberstam's book The Fifties

Remember a large part of modern planned obsolescence for electronics is transistors and then digital circuits versus tubes. Those solid state tubes would last forever and were easily repaired. Compare that 1970s car to the modern computerized one. You could pull it into the driveway and do all your own maintenance. Though not all circuit boards are equal. You get what you pay for.

Now? There are all kinds of sensors and integrated systems no DIY can hope to fix. First ran into that when I had a 2000 model year car whose oil filter was inside the engine. Can't drop the whole pan on my driveway. That's when I stopped doing my own maintenance.
last edited on Dec. 12, 2022 7:03AM
Ozoneocean at 8:39AM, Dec. 12, 2022
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bravo1102 wrote:
Remember a large part of modern planned obsolescence for electronics is transistors and then digital circuits versus tubes. Those solid state tubes would last forever and were easily repaired.
Not quite true actually… those vacuum tubes were burn out all the time. They were big and bulky, expensive to make and easily damaged.
It's one of the reasons they thought there could never be satellites, because you'd need astronauts to be permanently stationed there so they could change the tubes. I remember Arthur C. Clarke talking about that in an interview.

Sure, nowadays transistors are too small to bother repairing but they ARE a better technology in every way. The main reason tubes still have their mythos is magical thinking by sound engineers.

 
sleeping_gorilla at 10:05AM, Dec. 12, 2022
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In the movie “Iron Sky” the Moon Nazis have an impressive fleet built entirely on vacuum tubes, the technology they had when they fled earth. At one point an iPhone gets plugged into their mother ship, and they are shocked to see that it powered everything for a few seconds.

This of course leads to the epic space battle between the Space Derrigibles and the secretly armed UN satellites (except for North Korea because they are full of it.)
bravo1102 at 10:32AM, Dec. 12, 2022
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sleeping_gorilla wrote:
In the movie “Iron Sky” the Moon Nazis have an impressive fleet built entirely on vacuum tubes, the technology they had when they fled earth. At one point an iPhone gets plugged into their mother ship, and they are shocked to see that it powered everything for a few seconds.

This of course leads to the epic space battle between the Space Derrigibles and the secretly armed UN satellites (except for North Korea because they are full of it.)

Actually it was the Finnish ship that was unarmed while the remainder were all secretly armed. Turned out one smartphone had more computing power than all the Nazi gear combined.

Should be pointed out that all the great pulp fiction of the 1930s and 40s often overlooked computers for calculations. They'd have an electronic brain but the ship crews would still use slide rules and star maps for navigation. So the 1930s-40s future aesthetic included bulbs and tubes. The set of the 1930s Frankenstein movies owed much to futurism. Son of Frankenstein in fact that very modernistic designs.
Ozoneocean at 8:38PM, Dec. 12, 2022
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Haha, slide rules were a thing till the 70s, though yeah in fiction they'd started using computers by at least the 1950s.

A lot of 80s stuff has hidden but direct connections to the 1930s.
-Scarface was a remake of a famous 1930s movie with James Cagney, plus being set in Miami meant that they used buildings with art deco architecture, built in the 1930s.
-Miami Vice was again set in Miami and featured the same buildings, but also the style of the clothes that Crockett wore were a stylesd version of 30s summer clothes
-The Star Wars franchise (though it started in the late 70s) had a lot of 30s influence - scenes taken from Triumph of the Will, as well as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon reels and of course the text crawl/episode stuff was just taken direct from those reels…
-Indiana Jones was of course set back then.
Many of Michael Jackson's dance moves and fashion styles came from then.
-The Dick Tracey movie had its origin then, and Madonna started doing a 1930s fashion style after that due to her role and relationship with Warren Beaty.
-The Flash Gordon movie was based on the old 30s reels.
-The Batman movie came from a character created in the 30s and the movie had a lot of 30s influence.
-Similarly with Superman…

-I could go on but I better not hahaha
 
Ironscarf at 8:48PM, Dec. 12, 2022
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Ozoneocean wrote:
The main reason tubes still have their mythos is magical thinking by sound engineers.

Don't forget guitarists! Allegedly there are factories in Russia that should have closed down in the fifties, but are still cranking out valves because guitarists insist on cranking up their tube amps.
If Putin decides to stop the flow of valves I dread to think what the future might hold.
 
last edited on Dec. 12, 2022 8:49PM
bravo1102 at 4:37AM, Dec. 13, 2022
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Ironscarf wrote:
Ozoneocean wrote:
The main reason tubes still have their mythos is magical thinking by sound engineers.

Don't forget guitarists! Allegedly there are factories in Russia that should have closed down in the fifties, but are still cranking out valves because guitarists insist on cranking up their tube amps.
If Putin decides to stop the flow of valves I dread to think what the future might hold.
It's the resonance. Something about how it echoes and throbs. They used to still make crystal radio sets because they're hardened against ECM that transistors and digital couldn't be until recently. Some people like to think that all tge nice digital stuff on the battlefield could be blanked out by electromagnetic pulse and it's just not true anymore amd that tech is seeping into the civilian side.
Ozoneocean at 6:22AM, Dec. 13, 2022
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I've got some things with vacuum tubes in at home… an old Bakelite radio and a synthesizer. Both of them in working condition.
The radio had to have the tubes replaced in order to work though.

The synthesizer is more modern. It's one of those things that really SHOULD have transistors but has tubes instead because it's “better” XD
It's SUPER heavy, even though it's not that big. The radio too come to think of it.
 
Ironscarf at 9:52AM, Dec. 13, 2022
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The damn things weigh a ton, which is one reason why I've never owned a tube amp. My friend had a Fender Twin Reverb, a terrifying weight and his hernia was much more serious than mine. He still believes tubes sound better, even though you can now digitally model the exact sound a certain amp made in a certain hall on a certain night in 1967, adjusted for ambient temperature and the number of people in the room. It's magical thinking.(Don't mention germanium transistors).
 
last edited on Dec. 13, 2022 9:53AM

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