"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

You With the Stars in Your Eyes

Saturday Night Fever was based on a New York Magazine story by Nik Cohn called Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night (It appeared in July, 1976):

Within the closed circuits of rock & roll fashion, it is assumed that New York means Manhattan. The center is everything, all the rest irrelevant. If the other boroughs exist at all, it is merely as a camp joke—Bronx-Brooklyn-Queens, monstrous urban limbo, filled with everyone who is no one.

In reality, however, almost the reverse is true. While Manhattan remains firmly rooted in the sixties, still caught up in faction and fad and the dreary games of decadence, a whole new generation has been growing up around it, virtually unrecognized. Kids of sixteen to twenty, full of energy, urgency, hunger. All the things, in fact, that the Manhattan circuit, in its smugness, has lost.

They are not so chic, these kids. They don’t haunt press receptions or opening nights; they don’t pose as street punks in the style of Bruce Springsteen, or prate of rock & Rimbaud. Indeed, the cults of recent years seem to have passed them by entirely. They know nothing of flower power or meditation, pansexuality, or mind expansion. No waterbeds or Moroccan cushions, no hand-thrown pottery, for them. No hep jargon either, and no Pepsi revolutions. In many cases, they genuinely can’t remember who Bob Dylan was, let alone Ken Kesey or Timothy Leary. Haight Ashbury, Woodstock, Altamont—all of them draw a blank. Instead, this generation’s real roots lie further back, in the fifties, the golden age of Saturday nights.

The cause of this reversion is not hard to spot. The sixties, unlike previous decades, seemed full of teenage money. No recession, no sense of danger. The young could run free, indulge themselves in whatever treats they wished. But now there is shortage once more, just as there was in the fifties. Attrition, continual pressure. So the new generation takes few risks. It goes through high school, obedient; graduates, looks for a job, saves and plans. Endures. And once a week, on Saturday night, its one great moment of release, it explodes.


1 YankeeAbby   ~  Sep 13, 2010 1:46 pm

"Would ya just watch the hair. Ya know, I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair."

Great article. As I was reading it, the movie was playing in my head!

2 omarcoming   ~  Sep 13, 2010 6:08 pm

"Four dollars don't even buy two dollars"
I knew you'd piss on it, I don't see your getting a raise down at unemployment.

"A raise says like your good."

One of the best movies ever!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver