An Historical Downpour: Fat Elvis rocks Wednesday June 22, 2005, 0 comments

An Historical Downpour is a new featurette of Rain. It won’t be common, but once in a while I will feature something I wrote on a different blog under a penname. I hope you enjoy.

Originally posted as “Fat Elvis rocks” at 10:14AM on April 23, 2004.

Say what you want, Fat Elvis was COOL.

For some of you, this might be a stretch, but travel back, if you will, to the 1970’s. The era of excess. The era of labels on Cheese Whiz proudly proclaiming “Another Edible Oil Product!” and cars with hoods bigger than a king size bed. A time of pants so flared that a simple recut would result in not two, but THREE pairs of straight-leggers. Nine inch platform shoes, occasionally with goldfish. A time of polyester. A time of funky soundtracks and hair too big for its own good. A time, above all else, of conspicuous consumption.

Enter Fat Elvis, as much a symptom of the times as an icon of them. Remembered for black-light velvet portraits and white sequined jumpsuits, Fat Elvis has become more than just a bloated rock star, he became a poster child for the 1970’s, and a grim reminder of the inevitable end that awaits the path of excess.

Elvis was eventually destroyed by the very decade he helped create. To forget him in his fat incarnation defiles the memory of him, and the sacrifice he made to show us that excess isn’t the way. It doesn’t matter that so few hear the message.

I don’t consider myself an Elvis fan. I doubt I’ll ever walk the gilded halls of Graceland. I don’t actually own any Elvis music, for that matter. But for me, Elvis will always be fat, a quivering Las Vegas personified, and a reminder to walk the middle path.


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