Picks and Pans Main: Tube

updated 02/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Pop culture should have a crick in its neck from looking backward. The here and now is being swamped by benighted nostalgia. If someone had told me 20 years ago that in 1990 I would be listening to the radio in my car and the top rock station in the city would be playing "American Woman" by the Guess Who, I couldn't have summoned up the will to survive the '70s and '80s.

Television isn't innocent. (It never is.) When it comes to recycling yesterday's garbage, I can take the second coming of the Bradys. I won't watch it for a New York second, but I can live with the concept. What really galls me is the revival of "vintage" commercials, such as the McDonald's ad showing a young John Amos running around swabbing and singing, or the Coca-Cola spot that reunites the "I'd like to teach the world to sing" crew on a hilltop. Just how demented is Madison Avenue? Do they really think we're dying to reexperience this trash? And to think we used to worry about future shock.

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