Flop Culture

by Mary Liza Hartong and Andrew Kingsley | 4/12/16 5:05pm

Today, we’re here to celebrate not pop culture, but flop culture. That is, long-lost fads that have been left in the past where they belong. Human history is filled with the what ifs and have nots. These are the trends that almost made it, but didn’t quite have the stuff. You won’t find these in the history books. Cute British accents during the Revolutionary War “Thanks love!” “Terribly sorry!” “Belt up ya barmy fizzog ya twit!” What do all these things have in common? They’ll make anyone swoon if said in a British accent. The cute British boy minstrels “The Judas Brothers” wooed all the American girls of the 1760s with their loose bloomers and lack of dysentery. Their hit songs “Best Hymn Ever” and “Love Yourself (But Not Indecently)” caused even the crotchety old miller, Sir Chester Miller, to go weak in the knees. Their accents could stop witch hunts and consumption in their tracks. That is, until the Revolutionary War began and “The Judas Brothers” had to flee for their lives. Their siren songs were never heard again. Hand Piercings, 0 C.E. Ear piercings were so 50 B.C.E. Tongue rings? Get out of here! The trendsetting Romans were looking for the next big thing and Pontius Pilates had run out of answers. After one too many Bacchanalia, daredevils Typhus and Lupus were playing gladiator, until Lupus accidentally skewered Typhus’ hand. The party screeched to a halt. But the famous fashionista, Pilates, declared the pierced hand the future of fashion. Boy, did he nail it! Soon, all the Romans were clamoring to pierce their paws. That is, until Jesus rolled into town and totally ruined it. Clifford the Big Red Dog during the Cold War Everyone remembers Clifford from their childhood. Who didn’t want a giant, crimson beast to ride around on in the late ’90s? Little do people know that Clifford originated in the ’50s as a symbol of national pride after World War II. That is, Russian national pride. Stalin chose the giant canine as the symbol for united workers, strong economy and borscht. Dogs of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your leashes! Eisenhower, however, put that dog down. Any American child seen idolizing the socialist monster was sent to the gulag and forced to eat borscht. Woof! The 2004 ‘Katrina Doll’ Picture this. It’s 2004. Barbie is dominating the doll market and nobody could compete. American Girl and their dolls were floundering. They needed the quintessential doll that would topple Barbie’s tyranny. So they came up with Katrina, the all American girl who loved everything hockey, especially the Carolina Hurricanes. She took the doll world by storm, and soon Katrina dolls were flooding the market. Mattel needed rescuing, but no one could save them. Even FEMA — Federal Emergency Mattel Aid — couldn’t help. Fortunately for Mattel, Hurricane Katrina swept the competition away the following year. Cremation in Pompeii Traditional burials were so blah. A wooden box for all of eternity? No thanks. Hip Pompeiians needed to die in style circa 78 CE. Sacrifices were all the rage. Fire was on fire. Soon, all the sexy teenagers wanted to be incinerated. Hot! Unfortunately, Mount Vesuvius really harshed the mellow on this one. Needless to say, the cremation business and everyone else were soon turned to dust. Flea Markets and Rat Races after the Black Plague We all love a good flea market. Antiques, vintage clothes and delightful old women. But did you know that flea markets originated in the Middle Ages, where they actually sold fleas to people? That’s right. Flea circuses were hotter than Satan’s wrath in 1320. And rat races. Everyone loved a good rat race. I always put my money on Seabiscuit, the fastest thoroughbred rat in town. Business was booming, that is, until people were dropping dead at the race track. Not because of the excitement, but because of the deadly pathogen that soon swept Europe faster than the flea market trend. Oh well, another pastime down the drain.