Dissing Disco

In the wake of the demise of Donna Summers and the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb, Joe Cardona of the Miami Hurled penned quite possibly the single most ignorant and poorly reasoned commentary on disco….ever! Fortunately, very few people even bother to this turdhammer anyway.

Disco was a patchwork quilt of the disenfranchised — it was “blacker,” “gayer,” more Latino and more Jewish than any other American pop culture movement….For many Americans, disco was more than upbeat dance tunes with catchy hooks, it became a symbol of their cultural presence. This is not to say that disco — like most other pop genres — wasn’t musically, artistically and culturally flawed; however, it was undeniably more representative of the country’s distinct flavors.

And yet sadly, by the late 1970s after revolutionizing the popular landscape and dominating the music charts for the latter half of the decade, disco was being scorned and assailed. I am hard pressed to remember any other musical or cultural movement that suffered the virulent backlash that was thrust upon the genre. —Miami Hurled

If you can stomach the entire essay, you’ll see that his argument boils down to a bizarre  accusation of bias and racism.  Disco was dissed because minorities liked it.

Most folks I hung out with at the time hated disco  — not just the music, which we found repetitive, unimaginative, shallow, and just plain obnoxious — but the whole greasy scene.  It struck me as a return to the 1950s, a deplorable era of conformity, anti-intellectualism, and cliques.  The one notable difference was that there was a wider variety of available drugs, although the two of choice — cocaine and Quaaludes — never appealed to me.

But by and large, we hated disco on its musical merits.  It was lame music with a mechanical beat and by-the-numbers lyrics.  It had a beat — you could dance to it  — and nothing else.  Send the musicians home.  We have a drum machine and big speakers.  Lights!!  Drinks!! Drugs!!

But Cardona wants to make this a moral issue.  He thinks we hated disco because Black, Latin, and gay artists (like the Bee Gees?) celebrated it.  And this was before Disco King John Travolta  earned a reputation for grabbing masseurs’ asses.

The Miami Hurled is famous for the imbeciles it awards opinion columns.  Cardona and Glenn Garvin — ferchrissake, Garvin made his living reviewing teevee shows before somebody thought he should write political commentary  —  merely continue the tradition that brought us Dorothy Gaiter, Daffy McCollum, and Buckwheat Steinback.  Writers with little wit or wisdom to spare, they occupy a netherworld of opinion devoid of genuine earthly experience, not quite intelligence, but brimming with  over-intellectualized dander.

Late in the 70s, my cousin took over a south Jersey club and turned it into a Disco.  His timing was poor — disco was just starting its well-deserved decline.  And he wasn’t a disco guy to begin with.  One Saturday night somebody spray-painted DISCO SUCKS on the pristine white wall of the building.  Observing it the next morning, he just sighed.  “Can’t argue that,” he said.

Cardona says that makes him a bigot or racist or something.

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9 Responses to Dissing Disco

  1. Flaming Yon says:

    Hey it was a gay thing. You wouldn’t understand.

  2. Piles says:

    I love disco. But I hate music.

  3. disco duck says:

    I miss disco.

  4. Stan Garde says:

    I’m okay with disco, but that really is a stupid essay. Disco wasn’t any blacker than blues and jazz, for example, and there was plenty of popular Latin music around before disco popped up. I remember discos filled with mostly white people anyway. There’s no question in my mind that disco was practically invented for gay men, and just about every gay guy I’ve talked to who went through that era has told me how much he loved those disco years.

  5. Lois Terms says:

    Disco was fun. End of story.

  6. Merkin Way says:

    Yeah this guy’s a a buffoon. But Carl Hiaason and Leonard Pitts both write for the Herald, and they’ve both been terrific for a long time.

  7. Dawgbowl says:

    Among the dumb things Cardona writes is that somehow Disco was for “the disenfranchised.” What, like glitzy Studio 54 and its rope lines? And all the wannabes that sprung up everywhere? He remembers wrong, and/or he remembers selectively.

  8. Rena Massey says:

    I loved disco and the times it was in-it was fun, happy, and lighthearted. And the dance moves were fun!

    • Stan Garde says:

      Sure, no problem. See comments above re gay men and disco. Happy Leo Sayers’ birthday, by the way. Last week.

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