A Geek's Journal - 1976
July 15, 2011 3:48 AM   Subscribe

A Geek's Journal - 1976. What if there had been blogs in 1976? I would most definitely have had one and this might well have been it. This blog is based on my actual journal kept in 1976. Activities of a Geek in 1976 included: getting that week's comic books, going to the movies, attending a Paul McCartney and Wings concert, school pictures, and those freaks in Algebra class.
posted by marxchivist (28 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. Having been raised by '70s nerds, they were way more into outdoor concerts by obscure bands than pop music. Especially if it was free. I heard lots of prog rock, fusion jazz and post-political folk as a little guy. The way it worked was there'd always be one nerd in the nerd-herd who was Into Things, musically, and they'd hear about a free concert someplace in Upstate NY or someplace, and everyone would meet there with cabin tents and coolers of junk food and cheap wine and cheaper beer, the kids would riot, and the guys would talk about computers, sailing(technical, tho no-one had a sailboat), gliders and science fiction until their wives got mad about being left out of the discussion, and then everyone would talk about health food (new concept!), child psychology, sailing(practical, tho no-one had a sailboat), french and/or italian cuisine and the best cookbooks, and before long everyone was drunk, and then they'd just talk about the stupid things one person or another said or did the last time, laugh, and then say and do more stupid things to talk about next time.

Being a nerd seemed more social back then than it is today - this was also true in the early 90s, at the close of the BBS scene, when I came into my nerdly powers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:25 AM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

Blogging your daily life is sad. Blogging your imaginary 1976 life is sadder.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:26 AM on July 15, 2011

OK, not imaginary. But still.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:27 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Reading that, its really no wonder why geeks get beat up in high school.
posted by crunchland at 4:36 AM on July 15, 2011

These people who started blogging in 1976 are nothing new. Some people have been blogging since 1660.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:46 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ah, 1976... one year before I left my native Birmingham for Boston. On my own, in my own little apartment on Southside (the Greenwich Village of B'ham) and ready to make some MUSIC! And be with my GIRLFRIEND! And smoke a lot of... yeah, 1976, beautiful year.

I wasn't a Geek, though. I guess in modern-day terminology, I was a Hipster. That ain't exactly right, either, though. There weren't no hipsters in Alabama, really. Not then.

As the decades roll on, have to say I miss the 70s more and more. Some good times for sure.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:13 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think he might of been a nerd, not a geek.
posted by Bovine Love at 5:34 AM on July 15, 2011

I thought Wings was just Wings, not Paul McCartney and Wings. Am I mistaken?
posted by spicynuts at 5:43 AM on July 15, 2011

wikipedia says: "Wings (also known as Paul McCartney & Wings) were a rock group formed in 1971 by Paul McCartney, Denny Laine and Linda McCartney that remained active until 1981."
posted by crunchland at 5:49 AM on July 15, 2011

this (incl. twoleftfeet's link) is really more like journalling. A weblog is about logging things you've seen on the Interweb. Without hyperlinks, it's a diary.
posted by Eideteker at 5:55 AM on July 15, 2011

I also woke up early on the Bicentennial to watch the TV coverage. Though until now I assumed it was a 9 year old boy thing rather than a geek thing.
posted by Trurl at 6:07 AM on July 15, 2011

wikipedia says: "Wings (also known as Paul McCartney & Wings) were a rock group formed in 1971 by Paul McCartney, Denny Laine and Linda McCartney that remained active until 1981."

Huh. Well the ticket in the jpg just says Wings. What a douche (McCartney, not the blogger)...like people wouldn't know Wings was Paul McCartney from the institutionalized FM DJ worship?
posted by spicynuts at 6:09 AM on July 15, 2011

If you think that's douchey, you're lucky it wasn't Paul and Linda McCartney and Wings
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:22 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

one year before I left my native Birmingham for Boston. . .

Hell outa Bessemer, eh?

I hadn't yet given up on being a prog rocker with a PhD in physics (if I'd kept it up, I might've beat Brian May), but I did make a special effort to be out of the country for the Bicentennial (warning: angelfire dot com). Jeez was that annoying.

One of the best things about 1976 -- Bicentennial Minutes as seen on See B.S., many of which featured both nerdy and cool culture heroes we'd never otherwise see on teevy, such as Isaac Asimov and Herbie Hancock.

institutionalized FM DJ worship

Not in 1976. . . . Wings were popular but were never cool, and in 1976 FM radio still had a few cool months of life left in most of the country.
posted by Herodios at 6:32 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

My favorite anachro-blog (aka diary) is the Diary of a Resurrectionist from the early 1800s.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:25 AM on July 15, 2011

Oh, neat, I was just talking about the bicentennial last night!
posted by JanetLand at 7:25 AM on July 15, 2011

And I love all the tv references. I remember totally organizing my life based on what would be on tv that day.
posted by JanetLand at 7:27 AM on July 15, 2011

Reading that felt like reading my own journals from Junior High - not nearly as insightful as I hoped. Nice time capsule, but it's too much of the daily life that get left out of more interesting diaries.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:30 AM on July 15, 2011

This is pretty cool--I can identify with a lot of what he's talking about here, even though I'm about five or so years younger than he is. Man, getting to see Paul McCartney for $8.50 (at a time when I was really into the Beatles, including their post-Beatles careers) would have been incredible, although the festival seating could have been a really bad scene for a twelve-year-old.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:50 AM on July 15, 2011

I don't know - I think the saddest thing is the irresistible impulse to slam a totally harmless earnest guy with a neato time capsule who's willing and open enough to share it, warts and all.

But what do I know? I'm the nerd who slept overnight for that Wings show and saw all three nights at the Inglewood Forum.
posted by victors at 7:50 AM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

I had completely forgotten about Gus, the movie mentioned in this post, until this very moment. And now it seems I remember far more of it than I cared to.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:10 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Like victors said, I admire the guy for sharing this stuff. I know I look back at my nerdiness/geekiness as a kid through rose-colored glasses and also with the perspective of the whole current deal of nerds now being cool and everyone wearing glasses. But in truth, a lot of it was stumbling around, taking stuff in high school much too seriously, and a lot of fear and self-doubt.

I do think "nerd" would be a better description of what is going on here rather than geek. I'm sure there a whole great chain of being for nerd, dork, geek etc. somewhere that someone will point to, but I always thought of geeks as being more the electronics and computer guys when I was growing up. That and the biting heads off of chickens deal.
posted by marxchivist at 8:42 AM on July 15, 2011

Thanks for posting this. I love all the references to collecting comics in the 1970s... $5 Golden Age comics at a used bookstore! 10 cents for an Amazing Spider-man #8! Giant Size Man-Thing! Ripping off the covers and punching holes in your comics and putting them in three ring binders so you could read them!

I also enjoyed how he's able to look back at himself with 35 years of added wisdom and respond to and clarify what his teenage self wrote.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:49 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nerd. The daily pill, the one-day vacation to Columbus with his family (in which the great disappointment is that all the TV shows were the same) and the appalling pictures place him squarely in the nerd category.
posted by jrochest at 9:09 AM on July 15, 2011

A word about words in the 1970s.

The first time I ever heard the word 'nerd' was on "Happy Days", so no earlier than 1974. The popularity of the slang term grew with the popularity of that show. No one was quite sure how to spell it at the time. Wickuhpaedia sez it had been in use at MIT for years by that time, but most of us got it from the Fonz.

To most of us in the 1970s, nerd simply meant "socially awkward and square". There was no upside. Nerd pride, nerd culture, computer nerdism, etc. as we've come to know them were all underground at this time.

I don't recall people being called geeks for obsessing over details of non-mainstream culture, though someone might be geeked (out) about an upcoming concert or movie.

Earlier, I'd had it from no less authority than the senior class president that I was not of the caste of freaks as I'd thought, but of the caste of weirdos. There were no hipsters, and punks were hoods, not spikey haired, safety pinned anarchists. How these translate into modern caste terms, I cannot say.
posted by Herodios at 9:14 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Man, getting to see Paul McCartney for $8.50

Just moments ago, I was just talking with a co-worker about how it's almost impossible for me to justify paying $60-100 for a concert ticket these days when I still clearly remember paying single-digit dollars for tickets to national acts when I first started going to concerts in the 70s. It's one of those cranky-middle-aged guy rants, I know, but this one is justified, dammit.
posted by aught at 1:14 PM on July 15, 2011

It's weird - in the '80s, we were preconditioned to accept the '70s (which lasted until '82 or so) as tacky, tawdry and trite, completely lacking in substance and worthy of mockery and derision.

Then the '90s happened, and blew the lid off of the self-repressed chromed-plastic self-absorbtion of the Regan Era (which lasted right up until Ministry went from Europop to Industrial). And we Gen X'ers knew, just knew, that those who would come after us would accept '70s design and music as classic and timeless, but the '80s, man, the kids were gonna be brutal with it. Just dig up the worst of the worst, and run with it in a post-post-irony kind of way.

I am so pleased to have been proven right.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:56 PM on July 15, 2011

this (incl. twoleftfeet's link) is really more like journalling. A weblog is about logging things you've seen on the Interweb. Without hyperlinks, it's a diary.

I appreciate you showing us how it's done, by writing with the pedantic tone of a nerd circa 2002.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:53 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

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