Ed Driscoll

The Naked Zoo

Two videos, 14 years apart, as found by James Lileks, encapsulate the Swift Descent of Man:

Two different approaches to society: the self-organized, self-selecting group operating along a set of inherited values that had survived a tremendous economic dislocation and a world-wide war, and the hedonistic individual. Of course the latter culture was present during the manifestation of the former one, and vice versa – but one was dominant, the other underground, and once the right people started to applaud anything that busted up the constraints of ticky-tacky Dad Land, well, the Great Unraveling was underway. Midcentury nostalgia is permitted only if you lay on the snark, revise it to your modern specifications, or preface your appreciation with caveats. You can enjoy the era’s remnants if they’re suitably transgressive, or consumed with a glaze of irony, or as a backdrop for your dress-up games, or divorced from their context and sanctified with the holy water of Pure Aesthetics.

The “Naked Zoo” movie, on the other hand, is Bold and Vibrant, its artless mess a sign of an unintentional auteur, right? I mean, c’mon – there’s an outside-the-studio-system vibe there. It’s something you’d see in a grindhouse that played to the raincoat crowd, and Quentin Tarantino would dig it completely and seek to reproduce its style as an homage to an era when all the rules were being rewritten. I mean, Rita Hayworth in a sex pic – how cool is that?

Says one of two reviews on imdb:

Much of it is completely random footage of people partying, smoking pot, drinking, having sex and acting like total idiots. None of it is very coherent and it truly looks like Grefe simply took two or three projects he was working on and spliced them all together to make a film or just went to a wild party and filmed everyone acting like idiots. Seriously. And it all comes off as very pathetic and sad.

But it was now, baby, and it made the squares uptight, if they still said that in 1971. Three years later the director would take another star down on his luck – and here the 70s, the natural and curdled apotheosis of the worst elements of the 60s, are on display for all to enjoy.

I won’t even tell you who that star is; you’ve got to see it for yourself — “I think I’ll do OK here; I think I’ve come to the right place.”

Shudder.