Our most revered icons of Pop Culture have been those who made the most shocking of first impressions while initially making their presences known to the public at the start of their careers. Just as shocking as those first impressions is the fact that a significant number of these “Icons of Culture Shock” share a common astrological thread.
Were they impulsive Fire signs, willing to act out the craziest of dares by behaving and dressing as far from the cultural norms of their time as artistically possible?
No. Despite these spitfire types drawing immediate attention to themselves for their spontaneous sense of wild abandon as well as benefiting from some last minute help from Lady Luck, their high powered, blow torch flames usually fizzled not too soon after their sparks of great timing ignited.
Were they brilliant Air signs whose streaks of cultural genius were so ahead of their time, they single-mindedly devised looks and trends which the rest of us mimicked and copied?
No, again. These mentally high flying types may have come up with ideas that ascended to the heavens, but more often than not their lofty thoughts of cultural inventiveness retained their Airy essence by never materializing into anything tangible or concrete.
These artists who many times left audiences simultaneously booing and applauding at full fevered pitch when first starting their careers not only were born under the element known for practicality, repetition, and financial shrewdness, but for the vast majority of them, sex and drugs had NOTHING to do with how they rock and rolled.
They were all born beneath the last of the Earth signs, Capricorn.
Regardless of gender or historical era, the artists which made the biggest cultural splashes when first gaining notoriety tended to be Capricorns that did so with the most fastidious of planning and full application of grounded practicality. Insanity, luck, and hallucinogens had nothing to do with their daunting debuts – good old fashioned Capricorn elbow grease was the root cause behind their success. Every icon’s look and sound varies as greatly as the changing times but make no mistake, the high level of culture shock associated with each Goat guy and girl’s entrance upon the world stage was devised as a means of reaching their individualized goals of Capricorn ambition.
But how could the sign associated with corporate culture, itself be a threat to any established societal structure? As with any sociological phenomenon, there is never ONE defined reason or absolute cultural determinant (except maybe having a middle name of “Mae” or being born on January 17th). However in order to begin grasping the shocking concept of the Capricorn cultural icon, we must first look to the opposite point of the astrological spectrum.
Cancerian Intuition & The Pulse of The Public
In astrology, each sign at any given point of the zodiac is counter-balanced by another sign placed at its polar opposite point. If we are to gain understanding of a particular sign, its polar opposite must always be considered. The polar opposite sign of earthy Capricorn is watery Cancer. The two astrological domains these signs oversee are the two areas of life most of the population of the Western World are actively participating in at any given moment in the 21st century – Home or Career.
The modern populace no longer divides its time with activities such as pilgrimages, initiation rites of passage, or colonizing unchartered lands; with the exception of being in a state of “to” or “from”, these days, we are either at home or at work.
Capricorn is the professional sign of one’s career and of the public and its polar opposite Cancer is the personal sign which concentrates on one’s home and family. Whereas those born beneath the sign of the Mountain Goat strive to elevate their status in life, their polar opposite’s natural turf yields things far less tangible but just as effective. For those born beneath the sign of the Crab success lies in security with the inner self and bonded emotional connections with others that are close to them. Cancer is a water sign and the element of water’s core foundation is emotion. Since the water signs are emotionally based and “feel” first before any other kind of human reaction, they inherently know that although we can’t necessarily measure or gauge emotional energy, its effects are powerful and potent none the less.
The polar opposition between two signs always has a “push me/pull you” effect through their opposing differences which usually stand out quite obviously, but also through the similarities they share which tend to be far more subtle. Let’s apply the optimal results from the environmental influence of the Cancerian at Home to the individual Capricorn in the early phase of his or her newly developing career.
“Security with the inner self” – Paying one’s bills on time or the ability to properly accrue interest rates, although beneficial in their own right, aren’t the things that gets one initially noticed, especially when the choice of vocation is in the arts and/or entertainment fields. Here is where the influence of its polar opposite of Cancer plays a critical role for the Capricorn to break from their inherently formal style and conservative decorum. Naturally demure and non-bombastic, the culture shocking Cappie must go against every fiber of their earthy self, by creating a first impression look and sound that shockingly draws the attention of as many as initially possible. Despite this “daring to be as different as they can” course of action getting the Capricorn first noticed, it often causes a substantial amount of inner angst by virtue of their approach veering perilously far from their naturally earthy proclivities. It is imperative the aspiring Cappie be secure from their emotional core with breaking from their natural goat grain. For if the public perceives any doubt or unsureness with their daunting debut, the result could backfire on the insecure Capricorn even more shockingly than their culture shocking first intentions.
“Bonded emotional connection with others that are close to them” – This is where the Capricorn borrows the influence from its polar opposite sign through similarity, but alters it in such an extremely subtle way that its effects are as far reaching as possible. When a Cancerian’s home environment makes them feel safe and secure, they develop bonds with those they are emotionally connected to that at their core are maternal in nature. Just as a mother can “sense” when her child is in trouble or is in need of her assistance, the emotionally secure Cancerian with a solid home base can intuit the needs of his or her loved ones. The Capricorn borrows this intuitive connection with others and applies it to the needs of the public at large at the advent of their careers.
Whereas Cancer’s intuitive connection to others is distinctly personal being stemmed in the very private 4th House of Home, the Capricorn’s sensors of emotional need are diffused, but reach a much larger audience since they are rooted in the very public and “seen by all” 10th House of Career. Although this faculty of emotional intuition is made less direct by departing from Cancer’s element of water, the lessening of focus on the individual gets transmuted to society at large, thus giving the Capricorn a natural ability to feel “the pulse of the public.”
Politics and Punks
Before music retrospectives became way too overdone, I remember watching an early one about the Punk Movement in both England and the US which left me thinking a great deal about astrology’s influence in Pop Culture. After every possible piece of Sex Pistol interview footage was shown, the retro documentary presented a sociologist who stated that whenever the political landscape changed in either Britain or America, the music trends of that time shifted into the opposite spectrum. Thus, the British Punk movement resulted from Margaret Thatcher’s years in political power and the American Punk movement emerging during the Reagan Era. This “Pop cultural reaction” to politics at large can best be observed when seen through the lens of the Capricorn pulse of the public.
Upon further review of my list of Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock, almost every one whose careers came into public prominence after 1975 did so during the Reagan and Bush years. The same cultural factor can be applied to those Cappies who came into the spotlight of yesteryear with Elvis Presley’s hips making the public swoon during the conservative Eisenhower years and Marlene Dietrich’s cross dressing occurring simultaneously as totalitarianism was on the rise in 1930’s Europe.
These iconic Capricorns are noteworthy not only by their active effort to consciously go against their inherently conservative and practical natures, it appears as if each were destined to serve as vessels of equilibrium to shake things up whenever societal trends leaned too far in any particular cultural direction.
The Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock
Based on what’s been discussed, here are Brad’s Top 10 (the sign of the Mountain Goat is the 10th sign of the Zodiac) Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock. The list barely scratches the surface of the many Goat Guys and Girls that pushed society’s artistic envelope to its limits but is shocking all the same when realizing a goodly number of the most notorious criminals of cultural conformity were born beneath the conservative sign of Capricorn.
Henri Matisse – Born December 31st, 1869, Matisse is considered one of the three seminal artists of the 20th century in spite of his raucous career beginnings. After going against his parents’ plans of becoming a lawyer, Henri the Capp-ie exhibited his first set of paintings with a group of artists called the “Fauves”, or “Wild Beasts” in 1905. Although most critics at the time bemoaned the entire exhibition which included Matisse’s iconic “Woman With A Hat”(seen above) by stating “A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public.”, a choice few clearly saw the young Capricorn’s artistic worth. American avant garde expatriate Gertrude Stein gave Matisse her stamp of culture shocking approval by purchasing the painting for display in her salon of artistic influence.
Matisse is a Capricorn Icon of High Art not only for his work’s initial shock factor but also for his ability to express his artistic insight well into old age. When Matisse’s hands could no longer maintain the ability to paint, they were used to produce paper cut out works of Capricorn aged art.
Marlene Dietrich – Think Madonna and Britney were the first to shock audiences with their girl on girl stage kiss? Try 75 years earlier and with a Capricorn Icon of Culture Shock dressed in a man’s tuxedo. Marie Magdalene Dietrich, born December 27th, 1901, was nominated for an Academy Award for her shocking appearance in the 1930 film, “Morocco”. Dressed in a man’s tuxedo as a nightclub performer, Dietrich the sassy Cappie gives a female patron a wet one smack on the lips. Eyebrows may raise when realizing Marlene is listed as the “first woman to wear pants in film” but what’s truly shocking is the German Goat Girl spoke next to no English for the one picture which brought her closest to Oscar – she performed her entire role phonetically.
Marlene Dietrich is truly exemplary as a Capricorn willing to work with a goal in mind no matter the immense effort. The legendary performer attained a level of status few have achieved. When Adolf Hitler summoned the Goat Girl back to Germany to be a Nazi icon of Aryan beauty and entertainment just before the start of World War II, Dietrich defiantly shocked the Fascist leader by becoming an American citizen and performing in enemy territory for Allied troops throughout the duration of the war. Marlene’s determination to work in the most dangerous of circumstances earned her the highest award of recognition given to a civilian by the United States government, the American Medal of Freedom. Among the many accolades bestowed for her service and bravery shown during the war which included France’s Legion of Honor and Israel’s Medallion of Honor, the Medal of Freedom was the status item Dietrich held in the highest regard since it tangibly represented her Capricorn work ethic that was like no other.
Elvis Presley – “The King” left many screaming whenever he performed but in the early days of Elvis’ career which coincided with television’s early days, many of those screams were anything BUT fan-based. Born January 8th, 1935, Elvis “the Pelvis” Presley made television history when he appeared on “The Milton Berle Show” on June 5th, 1956. The Capricorn southern boy from Tupelo Mississippi had an altogether different approach to Pop Music, which until that point in time was associated only with African American culture. The King’s soulful gyrations of his midsection left early television audiences either screaming for more or shocked in silent disbelief. Elvis’ fresh new sound and naturally sexy moves garnered so much concern, the Cappie King was brought to the attention of FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, a fellow Capricorn and culture shocker in his own right with his penchant for cross-dressing with a letter stating, “Presley is a definite danger to the security of the United States.” In true Capricorn formal fashion, when asked by the press about the criticism he generated, Elvis earnestly responded, “How would Rock n’ Roll music make anyone rebel against their parents?”
Such a nice Cappie that Elvis boy is.
Eartha Kitt– This Capricorn Icon of both Music and Television fits the formula of the Capricorn paying their dues early on during the first half of life far too well. Raised by a neighbor until the age of 8, then bounced between foster families after being ostracized for “lookin yella”, Eartha Mae Kitt’s incredibly harsh childhood years are shocking enough to consider in their own right. Born January 17th, 1927 on a cotton plantation in rural South Carolina, the Southern “mulatto” girl who began life impoverished and unwanted emerged into the public’s eye as an international chanteuse who was fluent in 4 languages and performed in 7! Kitt shocked audiences with her sultry voice and even sultrier looks but her words had the highest voltage of culture shock while attending a White House luncheon in 1968. When asked by fellow Capricorn “Lady Bird” Johnson about her stance on the Vietnam War, Kitt left the First Lady in a state of shock by responding: “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”
As a side note, I had the immense pleasure of seeing Ms. Kitt perform at the Carlisle Hotel in NYC when “Capricorn Cat Woman” was a mere 71 years young and to this day she stands out as one of the best live performances I have ever seen.
David Bowie – What does a Capricorn have to do to get noticed during a time period proceeding the tumultuous 1960’s – dress up like a space alien drag queen?
You do if your name is David Jones.
Born January 8th, 1947, David Bowie* roused the ire of many an NYC drag queen by supposedly copying their glamorous looks of fabulousness. Audiences in 1972 were utterly shocked none the less when androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust took to the stage, ushering in that o so unique period of Rock History known as “Glam Rock”. Bowie’s musical styles and looks have altered as often as Ziggy’s costume changes during those first Glam shows but this Capricorn proves that his artistry can outlast any passing trend given the Glam Goat and Grandfather of Goth has been an active artistic force in the music industry for the last FIVE decades.
*David Bowie not only made his entrance onto this plane of existence during the time of Capricorn, this greatest of culture shock icons and most revered of artists took leave of this world during the season of the Mystic Mountain Goat as well, 2 days following his birthday, on January 10th, 2016.
Sissy Spacek – My, my, my. How different things must look when a Goat girl goes from being the Prom Queen of her hometown in rural Texas to the Prom Queen…..IN HELL! Thus was the dilemma for 26 year old Capricorn Sissy Spacek, born December 25th, 1949, when she transitioned from being the honest and for true Prom Queen of Quitman, Texas to the Prom Queen whose special night turns into a bloody bad time in the classic horror flick, “Carrie”. Director and fellow Earth sign Brian de Palma had not the least bit of interest in casting Sissy but her determined Goat signed grit forced him to take a 2nd look.
That, along with showing up at the audition in Vaselined hair wearing a ripped sailor’s dress her mother made when she was 11 didn’t hurt either.
Sissy’s over the top dramatic portrayal of a psychic girl with some serious rage issues shocked movie audiences in 1976, garnering her the first of six Academy Award nominations which span the course of her long lived acting career. A career, which must be mentioned, that’s still very much in business in the present day.
Undoubtedly, the person left most shocked by this quintessential horror film has to be De Palma himself upon realizing just how willing this Goat girl was to play her part. Although her requests for real pig’s blood were turned down instead of the film’s actual use of syrup and food coloring, Sissy insisted the hand coming from the grave in the final scene be hers – requiring this Earth sign to get seriously earthy by being buried 3 feet under the Earth’s surface in a coffin-like box for the better part of an entire day’s filming.
We’re not dealing with a diva, Mr. Director. We’re dealing with a Capricorn.
Pat Benatar – Speaking of divas, imagine a town’s horrified shock when the local starlet of every high school play and musical that’s about to embark on a traditional path of coloratura soprano study at NYC’s Julliard School of Music suddenly halts teen dream production by telling all the world “I don’t think so.” So it was with Capricorn Patricia Mae Andrzejewski when she decided to ditch her plans of grand opera in order to marry her high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar in 1971. Born January 10th, 1953, young Pat Benatar decided to put singing on hold by working as a bank teller until she saw Liza Minelli perform live in concert in 1973.
The ambitious Capricorn sang her way up until landing a regular gig at Manhattan’s “Catch A Rising Star”, but it wasn’t until Benatar got held up in NYC’s West Village’s Halloween parade in 1977 that the world finally took notice of the classically trained, first lady of Hard Rock. Being uncharacteristically late for herself as an individual and a Capricorn, Pat had no time to change out of her Halloween costume, a vampire outfit consisting of spandex black tights, black silky top, and heavy Cleopatra-esque black eye liner.
Behold, the birthing of the Queen of Hard Rock!
Pat Benatar was a major player in the world of Hard Rock at a time when pretty much there were no other chicks playing in the sandbox. Her spandex wearing, eye-linered look was imitated by SO many young girls, it became immortalized in the 1982 cult classic film, “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”. After the camera pans on 3 teens dressed in the style of La Benatar in a high school cafeteria, Phoebe Cates’ character, “Linda” says to newly arrived high schooler “Stacy” played by Jennifer Jason Leigh: “There are three girls at Ridgemont who have cultivated the Pat Benatar look.”
Although Pat and her high school sweetheart of a first husband are no longer together, the Goat Girl found another partner with whom the Rock legend shares a lot in common, namely a musician of the Goat Guy variety – lead guitarist of her band and fellow Capricorn, Neil Giraldo.
Annie Lennox – When your birthday matches the biggest holiday in Christendom as well as all of commercialism and capitalism for that matter, you get used to being upstaged and going unnoticed. This could very well have been said of a Scottish girl named Ann Lennox born on Christmas Day, 1954. Annie Lennox grew up an only child in a small 2 bedroom apartment in a block of flats near the Aberdeen shipyard in the northeastern coast of Scotland. As a Goat kid, young Annie would sing Beatles songs to herself to pass the time during her lonely childhood years. A natural musician, Lennox was accepted into London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied the classical flute. Annie departed ways from this most hallowed of English music schools one year short of graduation, admitting later how lonely she was there. Multiple small jobs and one failed band later, Annie found the right artistic fit with former “Tourists” band member and fellow Earth sign Dave Stewart when they formed the pop duo “Eurythmics” in the early 1980’s. Eurythmics was instrumental both musically and culturally by ushering in that era of synth based quirky music better known as “Nu Wave“.
Annie’s look in the early 80’s was a radical departure from the mod style most English girls were trying to emulate at the time. Eurythmics drew the attention of British and American audiences alike, when both sides of the pond were put in a serious state of culture shock to see a strikingly beautiful Goat Girl dressed in a man’s Brooke Brothers suit donning a flaming clown red crew cut while singing in the most soulful of contralto overtones. Annie enjoyed her “androg” look so much that for a period of time after Eurythmics initial success, she took to dressing, looking, and acting like one of her music icons – fellow Capricorn Culture Shocker , Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley.
Marilyn Manson: The most modern of the Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock is no stranger to making and drawing attention from the masses by virtue of his look, sound, and natural sense of controversy. When Brian Hugh Warner, born January 5th, 1969 decided to front his newly formed band, “The Spooky Kids” in 1989, he and his band members re-christened themselves by taking the first name of a model or pretty girl with the surname of their favorite mass murderer.
Enter Marilyn Manson, the man, the band.
Marilyn Manson began to gain notoriety in Ft. Lauderdale’s underground scene in the late 80’s but things didn’t get seriously shocking until Nine Inch Nails lead singer and fellow Earth sign, Trent Reznor took notice of the band in 1993. And just as any decent dose of culture shock should do, Marilyn Manson soon enough became a household name to Goth and non-Goth fans alike. Manson the man truly terrified his audiences by taking androgyny to a whole new level of culture shock in both look, clothes,…..and body appendages.
This Cappie Icon of Shock Rock has paid both direct and indirect homage to earlier Cappie Icons of YesterYell by wearing milky colored contact lenses reminiscent of the naturally bi eye colored David Bowie and with the band’s first EP single where the androg lead singing Goat Guy gave tribute to the androg lead singing Goat Girl when Marilyn Manson covered Annie Lennox’s hit with Eurythmics,“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”.
Betty White – The final Capricorn of distinction is truly unique in that her shock factor may not have occurred at the dawn of her long, illustrious career in acting and entertainment, but is stupefying none the less when considering that life gets easier and funnier for the Capricorn as they age.
Betty Marion White born January 17th, 1922 began her professional acting career right after high school graduation in 1939. Betty not only acted in front of the camera, she also was one of a small handful of women who both wrote for and created those first programs when TV was still in its infancy in the 1950’s.
With her self named radio and TV shows, White gave the image of a wholesome, nice lady that you, too, would enjoy getting to know. This sweet, all be it saccharine persona was used as an auditioning standard for a newly written guest character named Sue Ann Nivens for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1973. During a production meeting for her self entitled show, MTM lead actress and fellow Goat Girl, herself, Mary Tyler Moore suggested, “We need somebody who can play sickeningly sweet, like Betty White.”
This might be a stretch, but how about Betty White?
In my Capricorn Moon’d opinion, Betty’s portrayal as Sue Ann Nivens on the MTM Show stands as one of the best examples of comic acting and timing in all of modern entertainment to this very day.
On May 8th, 2010 at the age of 88, Betty White became the oldest person to ever host “Saturday Night Live”, earning a Primetime Emmy Award for her performance. What truly shocked people the most that momentous night was not the fact that White was performing fast lined comedy with kids 50 years or more her junior in front of a live television audience. Nor was it that at that time Betty was a late octogenarian (the Golden Goat Girl is now a nonagenarian). What truly stunned viewers both at home and in the live studio audience that illustrious evening was Betty’s ability to render everyone speechless not only with her bone dry brand of wicked wit, White’s natural, dead pan delivery of her bawdy, naughty funniness supplied a jolt of shocking humor nobody saw coming.
My favorite goat guffaw from Betty’s gala comedic performance that night occurred during her opening monologue where she, who is old, addresses that which is new, by saying:
“Facebook? The only way I have of getting in touch with old friends is a Ouija board.”
To conclude, I have truly grown in wisdom by writing this article. For not only have I learned that the Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock play a vital role to society at large by shocking the rest of us into the reality of the present day, I also now am able to spot these special Goat Guys and Girls a mountain away, due to nearly every member of this special Club of Capricorns having kept their sense of grounded stability and hard working practicality fully in tact,
….along with their real first and last names.
Cover photo of Marilyn Manson: lyrics.songonlyrics.net
Woman in a Hat photo by Henri Matisse : Wikipedia.org
Marlene Dietrich in Morocco: isbeladrian.metromode.se
Elvis Presley appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show: elvisinfonet.com
Eartha Kitt at the microphone: telegraph.co.uk
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust: tron.wikia.com
Sissy Spacek as Carrie: carriemovies.wikia.com
Pat Benatar: listal.com
Annie Lennox: illintentcomics.tumblr.com
Betty White on SNL: sodahead.com
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.