It’s my birthday this week, so we thought I'd take you back — way back — to the year of my birth, and see what everyone was drinking, reading and thinking in 1975.
And we’ll get to that, but first Bar\Heart editor Caitlin Cruz, who reports on women's reproductive rights, has a dispatch from Texas.
This week, the Supreme Court refused to block Texas’s near total abortion ban as it makes it way through the court system. So, abortions after six weeks into pregnancy are illegal in Texas. I spent a few days feeling pretty numb after the law went into effect, but I’m starting to report and write again.
The last decade has felt like a movie I’m watching, instead of something I experienced and researched every day.
I still remember watching then-Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibuster for 13 hours to defeat an abortion bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, along with other provisions that seemed like a legal strategy from another century. I was finishing up college in Arizona. I was reporting on military sexual trauma among post-9/11 veterans who had been raped and assaulted by their fellow enlistees and superiors. That was summer 2013.
I still remember what it felt like to walk on the Supreme Court steps in Washington, D.C. as anti-abortion activists held a dueling rally against the pro-abortion activists who were supporting Hope Medical Group for Women, which had challenged a Louisiana law nearly identical to Texas’ abortion law. That was 2020, before the world descended into masks and ivermectin.
And now we're here.
If you’re also feeling frustrated, I have some advice: Be discerning about your news sources and donate to groups on the ground in Texas (or your state) who are working to help people access healthcare. moneyforabortions.com and http://donatetoabortionfunds.com will split your donation among these Texas organizations: Texas Equal Access Fund, the Lilith Fund, Whole Woman's Health Alliance, Inc., The Bridge Collective, Jane's Due Process, Support Your Sistah at the Afiya Center, West Fund, Fund Texas Choice, Clinic Access Support Network, and Frontera Fund.
It is bleak out there, but there are people already doing the work who could use your support. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Thanks to Amy for letting me start to unpack these thoughts.— Caitlin
Thank you, Caitlin. I am unabashedly pro-choice, but I have friends, good friends, who are pro-life. We’ve found common ground by talking respectfully and vulnerably with each other, and also engaging in nuance rather than blanket statements.
And from our conversations, I understand that they don’t necessarily support laws like these. They want to bring an end to the need for abortion by bringing more support to women and children.
There is room for us to find common ground. And so I ask that any comments on this come from a place of empathy and assumed respect.
Now we all need a cocktail. So with no further ado… your weekly Cocktail Hour.
The Los Angeles Times declared the French 75 “an appropriate ambrosia for welcoming in 1975,” so I figured we’d usher in Cocktail Hour with one.
Today it’s served almost everywhere, including at the Muddy Waters Oyster Bar in Pittsburgh, where this week’s photograph comes from.
For me, the French 75 will always evoke boozy nights with friends at The Good Fork in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I drank way too many of them in that isolated outpost.
The winter nights get dark early there, and the light from the Fork glowed out onto the street like a beacon. If you peered in through the steamy windows, you might have seen me and Lovey and The Bestie™ and a rotating cast of friends and neighbors toasting each other, laughing and basking in the warmth of feeling like you utterly belong in the moment and place.
So I think I’d like to start my 46th year with a French 75. Cheers.
WHAT DAD WAS DRINKING IN 1975: Olympia beer & Wild Turkey
WHAT MOM WAS DRINKING IN 1975: Tab, of course.
Morrison’s second novel, Sula, was published in 1973, but it was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1975. However, the judges snubbed Morrison and instead gave the honors, in a tie, to Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers and The Thomas Williams by Hair of Harold Roux.
This was also the year that Robert Caro won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Robert Moses. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York clocks in at 1,336 pages, and very few people who say they’ve read it really have — but during the pandemic it’s been many politicians’ prop of choice for their Zoom backgrounds.
The first PC, the Altair 8800, came out this year and sold for $500. But Steve Wozniak couldn’t afford one, so he and his buddy Steve Jobs built their own and started selling them. We know how that turned out.
If you’re interested in a fictionalized saga of the start of the PC wars, I highly recommend AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. Season 1 is excellent; season 2 is 🔥 and centers the stories of the two female protagonists. This is definitely not the last you’ll hear about HACF because I binge it once a year and always wish I’d written it.
Well, there was no Interwebz. I’m 50-50 on whether we’re better off with or without it. But if we didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be writing to you and I couldn’t give you these great reads.
And all hell broke loose.
Let's set the music scene: In 1975 both the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin are on tour. Elvis and John Lennon are still alive! Glam rock is on the way out, disco is heating up — Donna Summer will bless us with “Love to Love You Baby” in December — and country rock is still very much a thing. Funk isn't getting as much attention as it should. The Sex Pistols play their first show before the year is out — the punks are coming.
While they didn't put out any notable releases that year, Fleetwood Mac added Lindsay Buckingham and (absolute goddess) Stevie Nicks to the band. To put it mildly, shit is about to go down.
I spent some time with the 1975 Billboard Hot 100 charts and put together a playlist for the year. Things I'm skipping include the Hustle and James Taylor. Because it's my list.So let's listen to some stuff that might promote dancing around the living room with a cocktail and provide the beat to your Labor Day weekend.
Killer Queen — Queen
Some Kind of Wonderful — Grand Funk Railroad
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire
Jive Talkin' — Bee Gees
Fame — David Bowie
Loving You — Minnie Riperton
When Will I Be Loved — Linda Ronstadt
You're No Good — Linda Ronstadt (There were two solid Eagles songs on the charts that year, but listen: Linda is also an absolute goddess. And to quote the Dude, I hate the Eagles, man.)
Boogie On Reggae Woman — Stevie Wonder (Somehow I had not heard this. Guaranteed to get you shaking your ass. )
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet — Bachman Turner Overdrive
Get Down Tonight — KC and the Sunshine Band
Thank God I'm a Country Boy — John Denver (This might be my list, but it's Amy's newsletter and her birthday! I wasn't super excited when she asked me to add this one. But it's because she remembers it from being in the car with her mom. Since all my love for Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt comes directly from my dad, I could not say no. This one is for you, Laurelle!)
I admit it, I have a deep affinity for lists of things that were popular the year you were born. I click on every single one that comes through my Facebook feed. So I thought I’d collect them all right here:
Hair: The choppy shag, a la Joan Jett. (Tho, to be honest, my mom was rocking more of a 1976 wedge.)
And Dianne von Furstenberg introduced the wrap dress the year before, forever changing women’s fashion.
Hank graciously stepped aside this week and allowed me to post something other than his slobbering, snoring, adorbs self. Instead, I give you baby Amy. Well, not exactly baby. But these are my favorite photos of me with each of my parents.
That’s all for this week, friends. See you next Friday for Cocktail Hour. Have a great Labor Day weekend!