President Obama. Governor Romney. Your electorate can often feel like the political process is something that is happening outside of them. That decisions are made behind closed doors by private interests and that the common man has very little say in the larger affairs of the state. But perhaps one of you can lead the way. Perhaps one of you can show us that if you will stand up for a small but really irritating blight on the media landscape then you may, in fact, be counted upon to stand up for even more once you are elected.
Will you do something about the obnoxious overuse of 70s music in movie trailers?
I think I have heard KC & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" in the background of about fifty-five trailers in the last three years. Last time, if I remember correctly, it accompanied a break-dancing animated rodent.
The otherwise quite enjoyable "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" by Barry White has also been puked up onto countless coming attractions to create that knee-jerk nostalgia response in the parents of the kids with whom they will be forced to attend these movies.
The Carl Douglas chestnut "Kung Fu Fighting" seems to turn up whenever a crazy brawl montage occurs in any trailer, animated or otherwise. The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" never disappoints in the hackneyed department, and even the iconoclastic Ramones get to lend an air of punk-edged rebellion to otherwise vapid subject matter with "I Wanna Be Sedated." Oh, and Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" may be the granddaddy of them all.
Romantic comedies yank out Katrina and the Waves doing "Walking on Sunshine" at every available opportunity. Technically, that's not a 1970's song, nor is "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, but both have just as much potential for attracting desperate, visionless marketers who can't think of any other way to get somebody jazzed for a movie with no story or character development. Ditto a song from the previous decade, "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown, perhaps the most egregiously co-opted hit of all, unless you count Aretha Franklin's "Respect."
I supposed I cannot begrudge hard-working songwriters who can use the extra cash that comes from sync rights on a trailer. But this selling of the past to add oomph to the present has gotten out of hand. Especially since in most cases the oomph is there to create a Pavlovian response designed to misdirect us from the mediocrity of the motion picture product on offer.
Oh, President Obama, oh Governor Romney, can either of you do anything about an ongoing assault on our intelligence? Actually, never mind. Given the negative campaign ads, I think I already know the answer to that question.
James Napoli is an author and humorist. More of his comedy content for the Web can be found here.
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