Sponge vs. Sunny Day Real Estate or An existential crisis on the meaning of the 90’s

I was talking to a college kid, he said the late 90’s/early 2000’s were probably weird.  He based it on this clip from the movie She’s All That.

So yeah, based just on this he was right.

We talked though.  It was interesting to get his perspective on things.  He said he didn’t really remember much before the year 2001.  I don’t remember much before 1990. We are 11 years apart in age.  It makes sense.

I went on a long rant in which I explained the positive nature of the 90’s, the optimism for the future, and the irrational fear of Y2K.  It helped me understand “the youth.” It helped him pass time as he performed his work study job of renting out film equipment at his college.

I continued my work day.

As the hours passed the splinter got deeper, the little thought on my mind that maybe I had spoken out of my ass on the 90’s.  The thought that the 90’s were nothing special, and I only remember them as being so because I was an optimistic young man living in the suburbs of a medium sized midwestern city and I didn’t know the reality of the world yet.

I started thinking about how many more records Sponge sold compared to Sunny Day Real Estate, and how anyone waxing nostalgic about 90’s music would go in depth to point out the importance of Sunny Day Real Estate while never mentioning The Flys, or Sponge, or any other crap L.A. band that sold millions of records and spent all their money on cocaine and impressing girls who were background actresses on Melrose Place, until they lost it all and had to manage a Guitar Center.

The truth is the truth.

According to the new truth, Wikipedia, Sunny Day real Estate’s Diary sold just over 231,000 copies.  According to this article Sponge’s Rotting Pinata sold over 1 million copies.

Yeah, one was corporate rock and the other was released on sub pop, i get it, but the point is the point.  In a capitalist world Sponge won.  In our nostalgic 90’s hearts Sunny Day Real Estate won.  So in the year 2016 who wins?  Who we want to be the winner or who made the most money?

And there you go, what was the reality of the 90’s?  Was it great?  Was it optimistic?  Do we remember it so fondly because we just really want to?

For every band barely scraping by, unwilling to bend on their artistic visions and values, that was inspired by Sunny Day Real Estate there is a band barely scraping by, trying their hardest to sell out as quickly as possible, who were inspired by Sponge.  In a world where everyone is equal, one is not better than the other.  However in the real world one is, and it is the band that was inspired by Sunny Day Real Estate.  Because corporate sell out music is for douchey hashtag visionaries and scarf wearers.

Hey pal, come see my band, we sound like #acraptakingacrap

Continue reading “Sponge vs. Sunny Day Real Estate or An existential crisis on the meaning of the 90’s”


{POLITICS} — An Open Letter To The Clinton Generation

An Open Letter to the Clinton Generation

By professional American Chaz Bolte

The two party system has failed us and cannot be fixed. The polarization of America is a byproduct of the callowness of those who sat through the decade of fear watching the Jersey Shore. With that said what chance is there to right the current situation? I propose to you a new American revolution, a centrist revolution that is likely to come from the left leaning Occupy Wall Street movement. A movement that claims to support the 99 percent cannot exist if it refuses to lean towards the center if that’s what the American people favor and I argue that it is in fact centrist ideals that the American people desire. According to some polls nearly 40 percent of Americans call themselves moderate, the same numbers show 40 consider themselves conservatives and only 20 percent considers themselves liberals.

Here’s the Rub:

Labeling yourself as one thing or another is dangerous. You should view each issue as separate and than make up your mind on where you stand. The people I most enjoy debating with follow this philosophy because in many ways certain seemingly opposing positions are linked. For example I would describe myself as leaning to the far right when it comes to gun issues and I would describe myself equally to the left of the spectrum when it comes to the environment. How do I vote Democrat than? Well, first off I do it because there are no “boutique” political parties. There are only two, blue or red, those are your options. Well, fuck those options. I agree that gun ownership is a constitutional right, but I would refuse to vote for most Republicans because they have an agenda of slowing the pace of scientific progress, and for a lack of a better word that can only be described as retarded. They often do it to prove their convictions to the religious right, but think outside of the box dummies, GOD IS SCIENCE. Not in a scientologist way. God is Science because god allows science to exist and he gave us the clues to figure out answers to the problems we are facing. Let’s go further into this issue, God is real but god is not real. It is unlikely there is a man sitting on a cloud with a full office staffed with angels who fill out G-10 forms about our day to day actions. It is also fairly unlikely that Jesus Christ was the son of god. But to say there is no God is dangerous and naïve. Because God is the overall element of the human experience that is unexplained and science’s biggest flaws is its refusal to accept the unexplained. Why can’t some things be miracles? Science fails us however, because those with the most knowledge go for the most money and that has lead to a generation of middle aged men with 4 hour erections and full heads of hair, but succeptable to global pandemics. OK OK. No writer gets very far bashing science so……

Back to guns and the environment. Let’s exist in a hypothetical moral world for a second; guns are for hunting not killing people right? Than who cares more about the environment than the hunters spending their weekends in the peaceful tranquility of nature with their sons and dog? They care more about a clean Earth than someone sipping Iced Americano’s in a coffee shop in SoHo.

Here are some other positions where I agree with both sides on the same issue. Welfare. Yes, welfare is necessary, moral and just. This nation has a moral responsibility to help its neighbors and provide a safety net to prevent the collapse of families undergoing temporary economic stress; it does not have the responsibility to support those who make no effort to get back on their feet. What is the lesson there?

Also here’s a point where I strongly, strongly disagree with the left. When I lived in Colorado in the height of the Great Recession I had to work at Target part-time to make ends meet. There I had to pass a drug test to be hired for a crappy job that paid $8.00 an hour (believe me working at the Glendale super Target totally sucks). Part of my paycheck went into paying for these social programs that I have never taken advantage of and hopefully never will. If you are going to take money out of a system that I had to pass a drug test to pay into although it doesn’t benefit me than you should have to take a drug test to collect the benefits. In reality neither of us should have to take a drug test to do anything, but if it’s going to happen it should happen to both sides.

Also, the current unemployment system allows a worker to receive benefits for up to 99 weeks with many on the left fighting for these so called ‘99ers to collect longer. I DECLARE BULLSHIT! In 99 weeks a person could be done with a community college training program that provided them new skills to help build a new career. If you work in a career field where you can go 99 weeks without finding employment than you’ve chosen the wrong profession my friend. What is a better investment of government money paying someone to not work or giving them a chance to start anew? America needs to get smarter; America needs to get a new skill set. Manufacturing is dead and those jobs weren’t sustainable anyway. In this global economy those jobs go to where labor is cheapest and that is not here.

This leads to Education. Our current education system is in shambles. Youth are more and more woefully unprepared for the reality of the world and that is likely because their educators do not exist in the real world. They exist in academia, a leftist thought collective that panders to the lowest common denominator, bad and good. No middle ground. America is bad or good. Not true, America is both bad and good and that is what makes America great. I respect teachers for their commitment to a broken system but many need to look in the mirror and realize that they, not the kids, are the problem.   Teachers complain they don’t make enough money but they also only work 9 months out of the year. Do what your students do and get a summer job only do it on a grander scale. Create a company and hire your students. Give them an opportunity to earn a buck in exchange for hard work and treat them fair. They will get more out of those lessons than your bullshit Columbus discovered America speeches. This is America, don’t cry about wanting more money, go make it for yourself. Make it and keep it. Give it to your kids or give it to a church it’s yours, you earned it, do what you want with it. If you make bad choices with it don’t come crying to the government wanting help. It’s called personal accountability and we as a nation have to look into it and it should start with ending the current two party system.

Here’s the thing a three party system wouldn’t work also. It would lead to a string of right wing presidents. So what I am proposing is a system where individual causes can create their own party and than those parties would have to work as coalitions to get anything passed through congress. I believe that this is the only way to achieve anything of meaning in the centrist or moderate political theatre. There are things that we Americans on both sides of the spectrum agree on. Like the fact that corporations have too much say in the political process. There are major reforms that we can make to our country if we move to a more moderate thought process. Issues such as Abortion which polarize America can have their say and those areas of the country that particularly care more than others will have their voices heard, but not to the detriment of the centrist majority. Because most pro-choicers will agree with my take on abortion: I am Pro-Choice because it is not my choice to make. If forced into a situation where I held some sway in a decision like that I would likely not favor an abortion, but I would also appreciate no one else enforcing their beliefs on me as I make that very personal choice. I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice.

So I guess what I’m asking is in a country where I can find a never-ending amount of choices of cold beverages why do I only get two choices when it comes to politics, something that actually matters?

There is change in the air, organic change. We need to start participating in government more and we need to be less dependent on our own government just as we need to be less dependent on Middle Eastern oil and Chinese money. We need changes and as a country we need to move to the center. At the basis of Christianity is the golden rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. Yet the religious right loses this simple allegory in translation. Instead they want to tell you have to live your life. And I don’t know about you but I am 28 and I am tired of others telling me how to live my life, from both ends of the spectrum. Don’t make choices for me and if you are going to give me more options of who represents me. The far right may be my enemy but the far left is in no way my friend.

Don’t sell me on hope and then give me forced Healthcare as reward for my support. Fix problems don’t create new ones. President Obama you are not doing a very good job. You bailed out Wall Street and that was complete bullshit, you bailed out GM and that was even more bullshit. Where is the change, sir? I don’t see it. I guess that means that we will have to make the changes ourselves, specifically changing the current aged system so that the moderate majority doesn’t get ignored in favor of the zealous fringe radicals.

Oh you poor Clinton Kids, the fate of humanity rests on your shoulders. No pressure.


Chaz Bolte

Chaz Bolte was born in Pittsburgh, Pa where he attended Slippery Rock University. In addition to being the political editor of Secret Party Room he contributes to Addictinginfo.org, WePartyPatriots, Steel Nation Magazine, and Football nation. When he grows up he wants to own a business specializing in organic iced tea and cookies and then retire at 40. He is everything that is right about America.