His hair was gelled -- nay, shellacked -- into hundreds of minihorns across his head, his sleeveless T-shirt read "Take Me for a Ride," and we were standing in line at a weekly club spot called "The Crib," aptly named for the fact that it caters to baby dykes and homos of every stripe. I had pulled on my reporter shoes and headed out to the venue dubbed 715 Harrison to stick my finger in the fetid waters of youth and take a political reading of the night's earlier presidential event. Granted, showing up at a gay club in San Francisco to gauge how the youth of today will be voting ain't exactly a random sample. But I wanted to go to an 18-and-over club, because we all know that 18-and-over means the people there will be between 18 and 21 years old. MTV is trying to get 20 million people in that age range to vote this year, even going as far as recruiting savvy politicos like Christina Aguilera and Drew Barrymore to tout the virtues of democracy.
Speaking of MTV, gazing out over the line to get in, it was hard not to wonder which of these revelers could be chosen by the network to be the token gay kid on The Real World. Answer: none of 'em. This crowd was exceedingly normal looking, just not gay enough. Sorry.
"Some people think this place is too ghetto," said another guy in line, referring, I suppose, to the mixed crowd. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "a social conservative." I asked him about the debates.
"Wouldn't miss 'em for anything," he said jovially, pushing up his shades. (Yes, this was a guy who wore his sunglasses at night.) "Bush killed it." By "killed it," one assumed he meant "his political career," but no, this clubgoer thought Bush won the debate. "He has a firm resolve, and he really proved that."
Other than those two guys, no one seemed to know that a debate had been on TV earlier, and no one really seemed to give a shit one way or the other anyway.
They say we all get more conservative with age, which is directly attributed to either our increased earning power or the same chemicals that enlarge the prostate. I think folks get more conservative over time because they stop giving a shit about other people and they stop giving a shit what people think about that fact. And some of them have never given a shit. They just don't care. Especially this generation, which means that once these kids decide to vote we're gonna have a big crop of default right-wingers. Why on earth would MTV want to encourage them?
Not that I can really lambaste anyone for not giving a shit. I too am more conservative than I have ever been -- especially about change -- and hold fast to a past I see slipping away. It's the same reverence that longtime S.F. residents have for those giant doggy heads. Bring on all the new culture you want, get freaky, but don't mess with what's already there. I am, of course, referring to the relocation of radio station KABL, which has moved from the city over to freaking Walnut Creek. Now Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" can be heard only in crackled snow west of the Bay Bridge. KABL, the station so Frisco it was named for cable cars, the station that plays Engelbert Humperdinck and Frank Sinatra, the station whose star voice is Jim Lange from The Dating Game, has switched its frequency to the FM dial (92.1). And get this: The station's former AM slot has been taken over by none other than Al Franken's Air America. On this issue, I am Rush Limbaugh: Don't mess with my radio station, especially if you are a tree-hugging, Odwalla-chugging, Spearhead-loving pinko. Is nothing sacred? At 15, I would have rejoiced in the fact that a stodgy old radio station had been replaced with a long-awaited liberal talk-radio format. Now I don't care that the liberals finally have a voice. Not when it means I can't hear "Old Cape Cod" five times a day.
It comes as no surprise that none of the kids I spoke to at "The Crib" had heard of KABL (which I can't fault them for; I think its only listeners were some lady in Brisbane named Madge, the residents of the Cedar Pines Home for the Aged, and me). Or maybe they just didn't want to be followed around anymore by a bee-atch with a propensity for probing them with idiotic questions about petrified trees like Frank Sinatra and George Bush.
Inside the club, the main room was blasting Top 40 hits. Screens flanked three sides, and a steady stream of Britney, Janet, and Beyoncé videos pounded over the full dance floor. It always surprises me when people over the age of 12 listen to this crap, but I digress. The room was huge, bordered by steel beams and faux-gothic gimcracks that bespoke "a big room that can be used as a dance club a few times a week."
"Jenny From the Block" came on, J-Lo's offensive number about how success ain't spoiled her. (She is keepin' it real, you know what I'm saying?) As Ben Affleck snapped the bottom of Lopez's bikini in the video, the dancers waved their hands in the air. And yes, gentle reader, they waved them like they just didn't care.