5/18/10

JCPenney Room Fresheners - Freshen with the color of bile.

The seventies get criticized all the time. It's the decade that has been the butt of more jokes than any other that springs to mind. Sure, the eighties made fun of the seventies, but they were arguably the virtual antithesis of everything the seventies stood for. The hate endures, even now, over thirty years later. Yeah, we've timidly re-embraced some of the clothes (boot cut jeans, giant aviator sunglasses), but this hardly counts as a wholesale seventies revival. For sheer visual crimes against humanity, the hideous, embarrassing seventies will live forever. The P.A.G. Temporal Research team will check back in twenty years to verify.

JCPenney Room Fresheners. Yes, fresh like the color of bile. Fresh like sparkling beer vomit. Fresh like the sclera of a jaundiced eyeball. Fresh like the color of pork rinds.

One of the trends to be found in the seventies was sort of a "rustic chic" or "cocaine cowboy". In 1973, the Urban Cowboy craze had yet to sweep the nation, but the groundwork had been laid by Elton John, who had already built a career doing his best to imitate the sound of a southern American twang on albums like Tumbleweed Connection. Because he was from England,  this resulted in an incomprehensible language all his own called "Eltonese" that made possible such lyrics as "Too big to weep and get their hawk on elderberry wine-ah!" (song not found on Tumbleweed Connection, but still an excellent example of Eltonese).

And so it was that JCPenney offered their line of affordable decorating materials to cash in on the national error in judgment now known as "making any decisions at all in the 70's". The outdoors were very popular at that time. "Free love" had run it's course, and 92% of Americans over the age of six now had some form of venereal disease, but Americans still had fond memories of having sex in mud puddles at Skynard concerts, and so there was a strong urge to bring the textures and shapes of the great outdoors to the interior of the home. This gave rise to ideas like re-purposing planks from old tugboats as paneling, to get that "I live in a barrel" look. People found great comfort in such textures, which recalled the dirtiness and violence of the old west, so any woodwork that hadn't spent it's life underwater was made to resemble saloon doors, like the headboard seen here.

Patterns and texture were very popular. The only rule was freedom. If a homeowner found a vinyl tile with a pattern that he or she really liked, it could easily wind up on the walls, as seen in this ad. "Too much" was never enough. If a flower arrangement looked good on the floor, a painting of the same flower arrangement would be fantastic over the bed, which in this example enjoys a luxurious bed spread in the color "Golden Infected Bladder".

In June of 1981, JCPenney was hit with a series of class action lawsuits filed by customers suing for emotional damages resulting from the realization that a room that cost $12.00 to deface in 1973 using JCPenney's ads as a guide would cost $1500.00 to put right just eight years later. The JCPenney corporation counter sued, claiming that the customers were just as high as they were, and that Elton John's romanticization of a generally deprived and ignorant period of U.S. history deserved as much blame as they did. Despite being named, but not charged with wrongdoing in the U.S. case, Elton John counter sued both parties, taking advantage of Britain's irrational libel laws. He spent the settlement on a pair of hydraulic platform shoes.

3 comments:

Craig F. said...

Thank you, Mr. Phil-Are-Go for finally explaining the 1970s. I lived through the horror of that decade, and I've never been able to sufficiently explain why someone would walk into a Pontiac dealer, lay down $4500 smackeroos and say "I want that Trans Am, but I want it in Turd Metallic."

Now I understand that it was the mud sex.

Bowler said...

Excuse me a second, I have to go freshen the toilet.

Phil Are Go! said...

Thanks for the commentos, gents!

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