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Scoot: The Passing of Disco Queen Donna Summer Made Me Think!

5.18.12 -  It was sad to hear about the passing of Donna Summer, who was given the title of the “Queen of Disco.” Recalling the popularity of her music in the 70’s and 80’s on radio and on the dance floors of discos in New Orleans and across the country, brought back fond memories of an era that has since been the target of much ridicule.
I have always recognized that music is the soundtrack of our lives and that social trends and politics often inspire trends in music.  The “Disco Era” followed a dark period for a young American generation.

The Watergate Scandal, which involved a sitting president’s staff breaking into the national headquarters of his Democratic opponent, George McGovern, rocked the foundation of trust in politics in America. The sitting president, Richard Nixon, resigned the presidency in disgrace in 1974.

The Vietnam War inflicted a deep scar on our country.  Many young people were drafted and forced to fight in a war they didn’t believe in or maybe didn’t even understand.  Over 50,000 were killed. Opposition to the war forced a young generation to become, at least emotionally, involved in politics. That painful chapter in American history ended in 1975.

America responded with a new genre of music – disco!  Disco was upbeat and fun and America began dancing again!  Looking back, it seems like it was the ultimate collective celebration of a new time.  That generation had fun - lots of fun!  I remember nights in the French Quarter and Fat City when I danced (not that it was a pretty sight) until the sun came up.
With the death of Donna Summer bringing back memories of the “Disco Era,” I realized something in our country has changed dramatically.  When disco was just becoming the new craze with songs like, “Love To Love You, Baby” by Donna Summer and “Fly Robin Fly” by The Silver Convention, I remember my wife and I, along with friends, would go to the gay clubs in the Quarter on weekends.  The Bourbon Pub and The Parade and Pete’s (now OZ) on the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann were the hottest clubs for dancing to the newest disco music.

We never thought of judging or being judged by going to gay clubs to dance.  The generation that casually went dancing in gay clubs in the Quarter without fear of being criticized is now the very generation that is highly critical, and even suspicious, of straight people who go to gay clubs today.  What changed?  Has the religious and political right’s condemnation of homosexuality become an epidemic in our society?

There was a time when going to a gay club didn’t mean you were gay or supported controversial political issues.  That generation that went to gay clubs, when disco was born, was just out having a good time. There was nothing social or political about it.

In many ways, I guess I’m still the same person I was in the mid-70’s, when disco became an American music and dance craze.  I still go to gay bars and so do some of my dearest friends – and we’re all straight!  We haven’t changed – have you?

Tags :  
Topics : Social Issues
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Locations : New Orleans
People : Disco QueenDonna SummerGeorge McGovernRichard NixonRobin Fly

05/18/2012 3:58PM
Scoot: The Passing of Disco Queen Donna Summer Made Me Think!
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05/19/2012 7:04AM
What Watergate Scandal? More like a Set-up.
Nixon's visit to China 40 years ago 'changed the world'. It may be the time to re-examine what actually happened at Watergate and re-evaluate Nixon’s contributions. He was re-elected with 60.7 per cent of the vote beating Senator McGovern by 18 million votes. He was the first president to have won all the southern states at a single election. Yet he had to resign two years later. The recent doubts about the veracity of the book and film “All the Presidet’s Men” are not the only problems. Was Watergate any worse or out of character with the actions of Presidents before and after? If we are to get at the truth we must have answers to the following questions: Why were the culprits arrested at the THIRD attempt to break into Watergate? Why did the $100 dollar bills have consecutive serial numbers? Why were Howard Hunt’s details in the address books of TWO of the four arrested Cubans? There was a coup attempt in China to prevent the rapprochement. Could the same have happened in the US? What has Richard Dawkin’s memes got to do with Watergate? Why would Nixon pass the FEC Act if he was such a bad egg? Why would Nixon order the Watergate raid when he was already 26 points ahead of Senator McGovern? Was Watergate a set-up? Why was the press out to crucify him? The enormity of Nixon’s achievement indicates that it had to be a set-up by those who opposed his policy which had to be secret to succeed.
05/19/2012 1:20PM
Donna Summer will live on in our memories
I remember being insulted by my classmates for liking disco music and Donna Summer. She is and will be always remembered for making our lives brighter through her music and what I admired for her personality was her honesty and her desire to make us better persons. Like Lou Gehrig's farewell speech to New York Yankees fans when he to say goodbye to baseball when he said he was the luckiest person on the face of the Earth, Donna would tell us her fans she considered herself the luckiest woman on the face of the Earth. Goodbye Donna say hello to Neil Bogart, Paul Jabara, your mom and your sister and brother in law who left us before you did. Viva la Diva.
05/22/2012 3:40AM
Well Said, Scoot!
Well said, Scoot! It's true... things are a lot different now... and not in a good way... Thanks for bringing some important insights to light.
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