Cosmic Slop #81: In defence of Corey Feldman

By Shaun Ponsonby
Thu 22 September, 2016

Originally posted on Getintothis

As the world trolls Corey Feldman, Shaun Ponsonby asks if his performance was really that bad. 

There’s an interesting cultural theory about nostalgia that I certainly subscribe to, and it has become known as the “20 year cycle”, and it is pretty much what you would expect with its title. Namely, that the cultural fads of particular decades become relevant again after two decades. Think of the 70s and movies like Grease and American Graffiti, TV shows like Happy Days, groups like Showaddywaddy.

Now think back to the 90s, when Happy Days started re-running in heavy rotation, Grease was re-released and Weezer released Buddy Holly. This was basically nostalgia for 70s nostalgia of the 50s. Even now, what are the big, nostalgic TV shows and movies that are being cited, the kind that Buzzfeed won’t shut up about; Friends, The Simpsons, Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Ripped jeans are nothing new, they were big in the early 90s (see: Wayne’s World). If there is a major resurgence of a style of music right now, you would probably say soul and funk, which is distinctly 70s, which also had a major resurgence in the 90s thanks to the records being sampled in every single hip hop song that was released.

But there are exceptions, of course. Whilst we are knee deep in our adoration of the actually quite shit 90s, a child of the 80s tried to promote his music career on TV this week and the reaction was unanticipated.

Corey Feldman, star of The Goonies, Gremlins, The Lost Boys, Stand By Me and, of course, Meatballs 4 – not to mention the surviving Corey – made an appearance on some lameoid American breakfast show and performed his latest non-hit Go 4 It. Twitter went into meltdown about how terrible it supposedly was, so I settled down to watch, expecting non-stop hilarity and a Tommy Wiseau-esque ironic appreciation. But I was kind of disappointed to find that it wasn’t really that bad.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good. I don’t think anyone saw the performance and decided to run to their iTunes and download every single piece of music with Corey Feldman’s voice as a result, and it does suffer the classic curse of the actor-turned-musician, something Johnny Depp called “sickening” last year before releasing his own musical project with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry. And yes, the whole thing looks like it is happening in Charlie Sheen’s head, down to the angels performing behind him.

But even by batshit crazy standards, it was pretty low down the chain. If you want real batshit crazy, check out the kind of performances that made its way to prime time television in the 1970’s.

Feldman said that the theme of his work right now is heaven and hell, so let us compare to this performance from Cher’s 1978 TV special. It is a medley that sees Cher stuck in some kind of weird limbo and being either lured into hell by The Tubes, or ascending into heaven with Dolly Parton as an angel with a gospel choir. If that doesn’t sound weird enough, don’t worry, that’s only the beginning. This is the kind of shit that needs to be seen to be believed.

Yeah. Corey Feldman doesn’t seem quite so batshit crazy now, does he?

Anyhow, personally I think that part of the reason for the backlash is that everything is so homogenised now that any real eccentricity is beaten out of you when you sign to a label. Da Kidz are no longer used to people actually being eccentric like this. Sure, there’s the odd Lady GaGa around, but GaGa’s eccentricities are very carefully calculated. She will never do anything too “out there”, because she keeps it in a digestible pop formula. Compare her to Kate Bush, for example (not that I am saying Feldman’s music is anywhere near Kate Bush, of course).

The other charge levied at Feldman was that he was mimicking Michael Jackson.

Huh? Are you actually freakin’ kidding me? From Usher, to Timberlake, to Chris Brown, to Bieber, could you please name for me one single male pop star that doesn’t mimic Michael Jackson in some way? Please, if you find one, I am all ears.

Frankly, I preferred Feldman’s performance to any of Bieber’s. It was less painful. Do you know why? Because he was in the fucking room. When have you ever watched Justin Bieber perform and feel like he was even there? He never is. It comes across more like he does this for a living because he has been prepped to do it for the majority of his life and he doesn’t know any different. Feldman at least came across like he wanted to be doing this.

When Twitter lit up and bashed Feldman, it appeared to affect him quite badly. He posted a teary eyed video to Facebook, in which he reportedly said; “We just wanted to tell everybody that, like, it’s been really painful. We put ourselves out there and we did the best that we could. And, like, I’ve never had such mean things said about me. Like, constantly.”

It might seem hypocritical for me to call out such trolls on the pages of Cosmic Slop, but I would argue there is a difference between what I do here and the witless shit people write on Twitter; I understand that it isn’t funny to go after underdogs, I try to find balance and reason and, most importantly, I write in a persona that makes clear what a loser I am. Twitter trolls are just snarky bastards.

Feldman did find love from some famous friends, such as P!nk, Ke$ha and other people with punctuation in their names (nothing from yet).

So, whilst I won’t concede that I actively enjoyed the performance, I will insist that people get more in touch with their weird side. Hopefully when this is as old as the Cher/Dolly Parton/Tubes performance is now, we can hold our heads up high and say “Isn’t it great that people are so fucking weird?


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