Stuart Goldman is an investigative reporter, living in France. Visit his website, The Tongue.
“I can’t dance … I wish I could …”
–Tom T. Hall
Why is it that people are constantly haranguing me with that most
asinine of questions? “Isn’t there anything you like?” Frankly I
don’t get it. What is this nauseating obsession with liking
everything? Why this incessant need to make nice-nice? What with the
abundance of wimped-out, bought-and-paid-for journalism out there, I
should think that a highly intelligent, incredibly witty, wisecracking
warrior of truth like myself would be welcomed with open arms by the
masses. But I guess you Pods don’t like being woken up, do you?
Nevertheless, in answer to this tiresome query, yes, there are a few
things which I “like” (happy now?), not that it’s any of your bloody
business. But I’m in a generous mood today. The one that I’ll “share”
with you (employing your “fave” New Age terminology) just happens to be
a particular TV show. Not only that, it happens to be an incredibly stupid TV show — one which (despite my generally excellent
taste) I readily admit to having become hopelessly addicted to.
That’s right folks. Every day at 4:30 p.m. — that dull, ugly hour
when the rest of the world is stuck on the freeways in their horrid
little compact cars — I am splayed out in front of my big screen TV
blissfully watching (oh God, this is embarrassing) … “Dance Fever!”
“Dance Fever” (which airs out of someplace on the East Coast), takes
me back to the days when, as a kid, I used to sit in front of the tube
watching “American Bandstand.” The kids on this show have that same
Jersey/Philly swagger (which I find much preferable to their
bland-Aryan, flared-nostril counterparts on the West Coast).
So, does my addiction to “Dance Fever” indicate that I’ve regressed
to childhood? Or, am I just getting off on watching the wonderfully
wriggling behinds of the dancers on this show? Or, do I truly have a
more, ah, noble purpose?
I have no idea … and what’s more, I couldn’t be less interested in
I will make one observation, however: in addition to the pleasures of
the flesh, as it were, for me — watching this show (a daily ritual) has become a true anthropological
study. (Though to be honest, I rarely take notes.)
Most journalists are professional observers. Which is to say that we
don’t ever simply “watch” anything. Rather we observe — with a profound
and never-ending curiosity — our fellow humans and their many highly
bizarre customs as if we were scientists. We regard our fellow man much
as an alien would observe some strange species on a far and distant
Actually I don’t know about other journalists (a pathetic,
slothful lot, for the most part), but I can say with accuracy that it is
from this vantage point that I make my daily trek through the world.
That said, I still find it rather perplexing that I would choose
“Dance Fever” as my current subject for “scientific study.” For the fact
is, I have always been of the mind that dancing is a completely stupid
and pointless ritual. A ritual in which (with the exception of one
particularly drunken night in a Lake Arthur, La., bar) I have never
taken part. Moreover, I contend that — with the exception of selected
members of the Negro persuasion — dancing is clearly an act which is
totally unnatural to the human species. If you doubt the truth of these
words, I suggest you try this little experiment. Simply turn on “Dance
Fever,” “Soul Train” or any one of these shows (they’re all the same),
then proceed to turn off the volume on your TV. I guarantee that you
will, within a matter of moments, be rolling on the floor, convulsed
with laughter at the machinations of the “regulars” on whichever one of
these shows you’ve chosen.
Ah yes, the regulars. I’ve even come to know almost every one of them
by name now. Let’s see there’s Michelle, Joe with the big ears, Li’l
Earl, Billy Gargle, the lovely Gina, Holly, Spatula, The Boom Boom Twins
… to name just a few.
“Hiya kids! Hiya, hiya!” (uttered in Froggyesque tone).
Here’s the thing about the “regulars.” With the exception of a few
strategically-placed fatties, bucktoothed, acne-ridden and otherwise
unattractive slouches (all ringers no doubt), the most notable feature
about these kids is that they are all exceptionally good looking.
The guys seem to have been cut from the (pre-fatso) John Travolta
mold — you know, thin, lanky bodies, flashing white teeth, olive skin,
and eyebrows that grow together in the middle.
Italian Stallions all, one and all.
As for the gals, well, what can I say? I mean, when I was 16, did
girls actually look like this? I’m talking beautiful,
stunning, gorgeous, knockouts! Girls with perfect alabaster skin. Girls
with butts you can’t take your eyes off of. Girls with wonderful,
perfectly shaped breasts. Girls that … well, you get the picture.
I’ll admit it. In the beginning, it was this
glorious abundance of teenage pulchritude that caused me to stop doing
whatever one does at 4:00 p.m. and to flounce down — mesmerized — in
front of the tube. And you can bet your sweet bippy that it is for this
same reason that any seriously addicted watcher tunes in. It’s a
friggin’ voyeurs paradise! And trust me — the show’s producers are well
aware of this fact.
Clearly, the cameramen have been instructed to zoom in on only the
most perfect behinds, the jiggliest bosoms, et al. (Keep up the great
Still and all, one can only maintain an interest in the pleasures of
the flesh for so long. After a few weeks of “drool-watching,” the
ever-inquisitive Goldman brain kicked into gear, whereupon I began to
ponder the more intricate subtleties of this purportedly typical group
of fun-loving American teenagers.
Of first interest were the clothes. God, what costumery! What
wonderful inventiveness! No matter that most of the girls look like
they’ve just raided their mommies closets and jewelry boxes. No matter
that they look like their heads got caught in a mixmaster. Nosirree,
these kids are to be commended for their sheer creativity — not to
mention the bravery they evidence for appearing in public in the
ridiculous clothing that passes for “style”.
The guys are no less inventive. Just the other day my eyes fell upon
a Dylan Kleboldish looking lad. The boy was outfitted in massively baggy
Bermuda shorts which kept slipping off, revealing his bare buttocks,
plaid knee socks, and two different colored tennis shoes (laces
fashionably untied). Over a hairless bare chest, he wore a fringe vest
(the ’60s refuse to die!). An amazing array of cheesy jewelry dangled
from his neck, ears, et al. What had once probably been a nice normal
head of curly Jewish hair was now twisted and tortured into ugly looking
dreadlocks. I couldn’t count the number of facial piercings, but let us
say that virtually no orifice was left untouched. The outfit was capped
off by Superfly shades, a vomit bag (worn around the kid’s neck) and a
stethoscope! (And he was the most normal looking guy on the show!)
As we all know, the prime need of the teenager is to feel accepted.
He will go to virtually any length in order to be part of the group.
This is sometimes called “being cool.”
The “Dance Fever” regulars are all extremely cool. They engage
in many highly bizarre customs, folkways and rituals — all in the name
This is both typical and healthy. However, the “Dance Fever” regulars
seem to have gone a bit overboard as regards another quality common to
the typical American teenager. The quality we are speaking of is narcissism.
Talk about attention-junkies! Never do these kids miss a chance to
get their mugs or their tusheys — something, anything! — in
front of that camera. They mug, they flex, they wink. They mince, they
fawn, they vamp. They pose, preen and pout.
Initially, I found myself somewhat charmed by this seemingly innocent
hamminess. Unfortunately, when it came time for the kids to be
interviewed, another facet of their personalities — of which I had
heretofore been unaware — took the foreground.
I don’t know quite how else to put it. Never have I seen such a
brainless bunch of morons in my entire life!
I’m talkin’ Retard City, folks.
This is sad. In fact, it’s more than sad. It is no doubt one
of the major cruelties of life that just when our bodies are most
perfect — when the flesh is so ripe, when those hormones are flowing –
that our brains are more or less dysfunctional. And later on in life,
when we’ve finally reached the stage when we might conceivably be able
to enjoy and appreciate the “finer” things in life — the subtleties of
human nature — we’ve now been beseiged with the horrors of veiny legs,
sagging breasts and bulging buttocks.
It ain’t fair!
Whether this teenage lunkheadedness on the part of the “Dance Fever”
regulars is due to some sort of genetic defect is not yet clear. What is clear is that these kids seem to have been bred from a stock
of people with brains the size of LeSeur peas. The only possible
explanation must be that there is an inversely proportional ratio of
brain damage incurred relative to the amount of dancing one does.
That’s it, by jove! For every minute you dance, you lose a point of
By the way, I could be wrong. Perhaps these kids will all grow
up to be brain surgeons (though somehow I doubt it). Rather, I picture
them becoming … well, after a couple years, the guys will wind up
working in places like Chippendales. Some of them may become budding
porn stars. Then, after their bodies begin to go to pot, they’ll become
butchers or shoe salesmen. Many of them will join bowling leagues.
Right, I’m talkin’ Al Bundy. …
The girls will likely become beauty shop operators and/or dental
hygienists. As for the kids that wind up marrying one another (a highly
probable occurrence on this type of show) — if you keep your eyes
peeled, in about 10 years you’ll probably spot the happy twosome on some
TV gameshow. They’ll have turned into one of those constantly-smiling,
glassy-eyed couples who jump up and down and clap like chimpanzees when
they win a trip to Disney World and a year’s supply of Neutrogena soap.
But back to the subject at hand. Dancing. It’s really quite odd if
you stop and think about it. Many times I find myself staring
hypnotically at the kids on “Dance Fever” as they leap about and thrash
away to their little hearts’ delight.
Then suddenly I’ll think to myself: “I wonder what’s going on in
their heads. What are they trying to say? After all, if
dancing is more than mere aerobics, then it follows that it is some form
of expression. But an expression of what?
I’m afraid the answer is slightly disheartening. Let me put it
thusly: My belief is that people will do virtually anything to
keep from thinking. And what better way to achieve total brain-numbness
than to twist and turn and squiggle and squirm and writhe around to
hideous, overly amplified hypnosis-producing trance music?
The scariest part of it is that, today, everyone seems to be
boogying. Wherever you go, people have “the beat.” On the street. In
the supermarket. At the gym. Everywhere you go people are bobbing their
heads, slapping their dashboards … singing along with some inane pop
song … grooving to that non-stop drum kit that’s located somewhere
within the recesses of their tiny brains.
Of course if you’re dumb enough to attend a live music concert,
you’ll soon encounter that most noxious breed known as “The Idiot
Dancer.” (Idiot Dancers have no particular age boundaries). This is a
person (I use the term loosely) who without warning, stands up during a
gig and begins flailing away, thrashing his arms, twisting and spinning
like some whacked-out dervish, often causing severe damage to the people
My research shows that this species originated during the ’60s and
was most prominent at concerts by the Grateful Dead and equally
obnoxious, non-musical San Francisco bands. Today, Idiot Dancers still
exist in large numbers. Many of them attend concerts by
demon-worshipping metal and Goth bands. Others attend Ricky Martin
concerts and/or Jewel concerts. In other words — watch it. They’re
The dances popular with the kids on “Dance Fever” are basically
variations on the same old steps that have been around ever since
dancing ceased to be an “art form” and turned into an outlet for
aggression, stupidity, and all that is rank and vile in the human beast.
These new dances are, of course, constantly embellished by the
ever-creative minds of the “younger generation.” Some of the current
favorites include The Wop Hop, The Jewish Jump, The Exorcist Twist, The
Bullethead Bounce, The Imbecile Wiggle, The Retard Rumble, The Pinhead
Ping-Pong, The Trenchcoat Twitch, The Aryan Goosestep, The Wild Negro
Flail, The White Boy Spaz-Out. The Beaner Bunny Hop, The Tar-Baby Twist,
The Nellybelle Flounce, The Unexpected Erection Hop, and of course –
the favorite of the “Dance Fever” gang — the Exposed Armpit Boogie
Bounce. (This last dance originated during the “Madonna” era, when the
Queen of schlock pop made a habit of exposing her armpits approximately
23-1/4 times per song. (At least, unlike the ever-toothy Julia Roberts,
she shaved ‘em).
Another amazing talent displayed by the “Dance Fever” regulars is
their ability to smile without letup for the entire duration of the
show. This is no small feat, people! If you’ve ever tried to keep a
stupid smile plastered on your puss while embroiled in meaningless
physical activity, you’ll know how difficult this is. The scary part is,
it means they “practice” (smiling, that is).
Before we move on to other things, in the segment of “Dance Fever”
that I’m watching while typing this very column, the show’s host — (an
unctuous Brad Pitt lookalike named “Dani”) informed the viewers that out
of the “thousands of letters” the show’s producers receive each week,
only three (count em!) letters have ever said anything negative.
Dani was even thoughtful enough to say that if he ever did happen
to receive a negative letter or review, he’d be happy to read it –
right on the air and everything! So I’m sure that Dani will welcome this
column — a copy of which I’m personally sending to the producers of
“Dance Fever.” I just can’t wait for him to read it aloud — just like
Stay tuned. …
Goldman Hoo Hah! Uh uh. Sorry. You’re not getting out
of here until I get in my weekly dose of Stu hype. So here goes. I’ve
literally been swamped by a massive amount of letters asking how to join
The Stu Cult. It’s simple. Send me money! Right now $20 measly
bucks mailed to Harsh Reality Productions, PO Box 8268, Calabasas,
CA, 91372 will buy you a trial (three-month) membership. And what
do I get for my trial membership you ask? Well, it wouldn’t be a trial
if I told you, now would it? (Actually, I’m trying to figure it out as
A few of the many benefits of Stu Cult membership will be free access
to The Tongue
— which makes its return
as a “Members Only” site this week — and discounts on all the items in
our online store.
That means that
you’ll be able to lay your sweaty little hands on the largest
stock of “counter-culture” books and videos on the web (everything from
spy stuff, to computer hacking, to changing your ID to weaponry … and
also do well to check out my award-winning fiction collection, “Excitable Boy”
(however, if you’re
disturbed by scenes depicting graphic violence, you’d be advised to pass
this one up). And, if you haven’t ever perused the amazing array of crap
I hawk in my Garage Sale,
you need to check
that out as well. Where else are you gonna find a taped interview of
Clint Eastwood for seven bucks? (Incidentally, the items in the Garage
Sale are ONLY available to Stu Cult Members.)
Also, as we’re about to release “Son Of SuperSnoopers” (the sequel to
the best-selling original how-to-do-your own spying manual), we’re
having an amazing sale
on the original
“Secrets Of The SuperSnoopers” (which has sold out three times), as well
as the “SuperSnooper Internet Guides,” volumes 1 and 2. This is one you
information junkies simply can’t afford to pass up … and this is the
“last” time it’s going to be offered!
More Goldman News: My spies at Phoenix Films tell me
that principal photography is about to begin on “Spy vs. Spies”,
the Oliver Stone directed film which is
based upon my undercover expose of the tabloid industry. Additionally,
my current project, “Littleton: The Ultimate Evil”
has recently been
picked up by a major publishing house, and is currently at the center of
a very heated bidding war for the rights to film it as a television
mini-series. And ya know what? I’ll believe it when I cash the check!