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The Capricorn Icons of Art & Culture Shock

The Capricorn Icons Of Art & Culture Shock
By Brad Kronen

Henri Matisse, Woman In A Hat, 1905
Think twice before assuming the sign of Capricorn is only just about materialism and skin care products

A Piece written while the planet of conservatism, structure, and Capricorns, Saturn, is currently in mutual reception with the planet of Culture Shock, Pluto.

Our most revered icons of Pop Culture tend to be those who made some of THE most shocking 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 amongst most of these “Icons of Culture Shock” from the fields of Art, Entertainment, and Music, there is a unifying 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 artisticaly possible? No, those types usually would get noticed for their spontaneous sense of wild abandon, along with a massive amount of assistance from Lady Luck, but their high powered, blow torch flames usually fizzled just as quickly as their sparks of great timing ignited.

Were they brilliant Air signs whose streaks of cultural genius were SO ahead of their time that they single mindedly devised looks and trends which the rest of us mental midgets mimicked and copied; transforming their avant garde expressions of rationality into popular fads of conformity? No, again! These types usually do have ideas that ascend to the heavens, but most of the time, their lofty thoughts of cultural inventiveness retained their “pie in the sky” Airy essence by never materializing into anything too tangibly real or concrete.

These artists, who many times left audiences simultaneously booing and applauding at full fevered pitch when they first began ascending their individualized mountains of ambition, not only were born under the element known for practicality, repetition, and financial shrewdness, but for most of them, sex and drugs had NOTHING to do with how they rock and rolled.

They were all Capricorns.

No matter which gender nor which era of history, 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. Each of their looks and sounds vary as greatly as the changing times, but make no mistake, ALL of them were devised as a means of ascent to reach their individualized goals of Capricorn ambition.

But how could the sign associated with a De Keynesian self work ethic and most readily identifiable with corporate culture, itself, be a threat to any established societal culture of the popular? As with any sociological phenomenon, there is never ONE defined reason or absolute cultural determinant. (Except, perhaps, for 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 modern moment – 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.

While the Capricorn’s optimal functioning environment is the workplace, where the material plane is its most readily apparent through such “obvious to the senses” results as a pay check or reduced work pile, the Cancerian’s natural turf yields things far less tangible but equally effective – security with the inner self and bonded emotional connections with others that are close to them. The Cancerian influence reflects its watery essence, which at its core is emotional. 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 2 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, are not the things that first get one noticed, especially when the choice of vocation is in the arts and/or entertainment fields. Here is where the Cancerian influence boldly and strongly opposes the Capricorn’s natural sense of formality and conservative decorum. The Cappie must go against every fiber of his earthy self, which naturally is demure and non-bombastic at its core, by creating an initial look and sound that will shockingly draw the attention of as many as initially possible. Although this “daring to be as different as possible” course of action gets the Capricorn noticed, the shock factor must inarguably cause them a substantial amount of inner angst, since the inner self must be at the height of its insecurities by going so far from the earth sign’s natural proclivities.

“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 are intuitively maternal. 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 when they decide what course of action they would like to take at the advent of their careers. Whereas Cancer’s intuitive connection to others is distinctly personal since it is 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 an 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 this Gemini thinking a great deal about astrology’s influence in Pop Culture. Before the credits started rolling and after every possible piece of interview footage with Sid Vicious was shown, the film presented a sociologist who observationally commented to no one in particular that whenever the political landscape changed in either Britain or America, the music trends of that time veered into the opposite spectrum. Thus, the British Punk movement was a result of Margaret Thatcher in political power and the American Punk movement derived from the Reagan Era. This “Pop cultural reaction” to politics at large can best be observed when seen through the lens of the Capricornian 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.

The Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock are noteworthy not only by the individual Goat Guys and Girls who went against their inherently conservative and practical inner selves, it also appears as if they were vessels of equilibrium chosen by the Universe whenever societal trends leaned all together too far in one cultural direction.

The Capricorn Icons of Art & Culture Shock

Based on what I’ve stated above, here are Brad’s Top 10 (Capricorn is the 10th sign of the Zodiac) choices of Capricorn Icons of Culture Shock which obviously barely scratches the surface of every child of Saturn who pushed the artistic envelope of society to its limits, but at least makes one realize that many, if not most, of the criminals of cultural conformity are born under the conservative sign of Capricorn.

Henri Matisse – A Capricorn born on 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 his becoming a lawyer, Henri the Capp-ie exhibited his first works of creative self expression with a group of artists called the “Fauves”, or “Wild Beasts”. Although most critics at the time bemoaned the entire exhibition which included Matisse’s iconic “Woman With A Hat” (Slide 1 of Slideshow) by stating “A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public.”, a choice few saw the young Cappie's artistic worth as when American avant garde expatriate Gertrude Stein purchased the painting to 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 no longer could maintain the ability to paint, they were used to produce paper cut out works of Capricorn aged art.

Marlene Dietrich (Slide 2 of Slideshow) Think Madonna and Britney were the first to shock audiences with their girl on girl stage kiss? Try about 70 years earlier and with a Capricorn Icon of Culture Shock dressed in a man’s tuxedo. Marie Magdalene Dietrich, born on December 27th, 1901, was nominated for an Academy Award for her shocking appearance in the 1930 film, “Morocco”, where dressed in a man’s tuxedo as a nightclub performer, the sassy Cappie gives a female patron a wet one smack on the lips. Dietrich is listed as the “first woman to wear pants” in film but what is truly shocking is Marlene spoke next to no English for the one vehicle of celluloid which brought her closest to Oscar – she performed her entire role phonetically.

Elvis Presley – “The King” left many screaming whenever he performed, but in his early career which took place during the days of early television, many 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. (Slide 3 of Slideshow) The southern Capricorn boy from Mississippi had an altogether different approach to Popular Music, which until that point in time was associated only with African American culture. The King's soulful gyrations of his midsection while performing left early television audiences either screaming for more, or silenced to shocked 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 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 Television and Music’s early years extend far beyond the formula of the Capricorn paying their dues in the first half of life. Raised by a neighbor until the age of 8, but then bounced between foster families after being ostracized for “lookin yella”, it is shocking enough to think how African American, Eartha Mae Kitt transformed as far away from her incredibly harsh childhood years, which began on 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! (Slide 4 of Slideshow) Kitt shocked audiences with her sultry voice and even sultrier looks, but her words had the biggest shock factor when at a White House luncheon in 1968, she responded to fellow Capricorn, First “Lady Bird” Johnson’s inquiry about her stance on the Vietnam War by saying: “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 old, 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 on January 8th, 1947. Although many a New York City drag queen accused David Bowie of copying their look, audiences in 1972 were utterly shocked none the less when androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust took to the stage, thus ushering in that o so unique period of Rock History known as “Glam Rock”. (Slide 5 of Slideshow) Bowie’s musical styles and looks have altered as often as Ziggy’s costume changes during those first Glam shows, but this Capricorn shows that his artistry can outlast any trend, given this Goat d'Glam has been an active artistic force in the music industry for the last FIVE decades.

Sissy Spacek - My, how very different things must look when one goes from being the Prom Queen of one’s hometown in rural Texas to the Prom Queen…..IN HELL! Thus was the dilemma for 26 year old Capricorn Sissy Spacek, born on December 25th, 1949, as she transitioned herself from the memory of being her town’s honest and for true Prom Queen in Quitman, Texas, to Telekinetic Reactionary Carrie White, the Prom Queen who ends up having a seriously, bloody bad time on her special night in the now classic horror flick, “Carrie”. (Slide 6 of Slideshow)

Director Brian de Palma had not the least bit of interest in casting Sissy, but her unstoppable, Goat signed goal achieving grit forced him to take a 2nd look...(that, along with her coming to the audition in Vaselined hair wearing a ripped sailor’s dress her mother made for her when she was 11 didn’t hurt either). Sissy’s over the top,dramatic portrayal of a psychic girl with serious rage issues stupefied movie audiences in 1976 and garnered 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 is still very much in business in the present day.

Undoubtedly, the person left most shocked by this quintessential horror film has to be DePalma himself, upon realizing just how willing Spacek was to become the part. Although Sissy’s requests for real pig’s blood instead of the film’s actual use of syrup and food coloring were turned down, Spacek adamently insisted that 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 of filming.

We’re not dealing with a diva, Mr. Director. We’re dealing with a Capricorn.

Pat Benatar – Imagine a town's horrified shock when the local starlet of every high school play and musical who is expected to be a coloratura soprano studying at the Juliard School of Music at the last minute halts teen dream production by vocally announcing to everyone “I don’t think so.” So it was with Capricorn Patricia Mae Andrzejewski in Lindenhurst, NY in 1971 when she decided to marry her high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar, who was then stationed in the army in Richmond, Virginia. Young Pat Benatar, born January 10th, 1953, decided to put singing on hold and worked as a bank teller until she saw Liza Minelli in concert in ’73.

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 spandexed black tights, black 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 and Classic Rock at a time when pretty much there were no other chicks playing in the sandbox. Her spandexed, eye linered look (Slide 7 of Slideshow) was imitated by SO many young girls, it was 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.”

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 can very well be said of a Scottish girl born on Christmas Day, 1954 who was christened Ann Lennox. Growing 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, little Capricorn Annie Lennox, although shy and introverted, would sing Beatles songs to herself to pass the time during her lonely childhood years. A natural musician, she was accepted into London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied the classical flute. Cappie girls must have a natural allergy to any kind of classical music Conservatory since I personally have heard that story more than a few times, 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 Dave Stewart when they formed the great synth pop duo “Eurythmics” in the early 1980’s, a foundational band that ushered in the Nu Wave Era.

Annie’s look in the early 80’s was a radical departure from the mod style most English girls were trying to emulate then. Eurythmics drew the attention of British and American audiences alike since all were shocked to see this strikingly beautiful Capricorn Scotsgirl dressed in a man’s Brooke Brothers suit with a crewcut of hair dyed flaming clown red singing in the most soulful of contralto deep overtones. (Slide 8 of Slideshow) 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 and Icon of Cultural Shock , 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 from his look, sound, and natural sense of controversy. When Capricorn Brian Hugh Warner, born on 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.

The band gained local underground notoriety but it wasn’t until they were noticed by Nine Inch Nails lead singer, Trent Reznor in 1993 that Marilyn Manson became a household name to Goth and non Goth fans alike. Manson the man both shocked and scared audiences by taking androgyny to a whole new terrifying level in both look, clothes, and body appendages! This Cappie Icon of Rock Shock pays direct and indirect homage to earlier Cappie Icons of YesterYell by wearing milky, different colored contact lenses, reminiscent of the naturally bi eye colored David Bowie, (Title Picture & Slide 9 of Slideshow) and through the band’s first EP single, a re-make of fellow scary androg singer Annie Lennox’s hit, “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, but this was put on immediate hold with the outbreak of World War II. 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. 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 in 1973, when fellow Capricorn, Mary Tyler Moore suggested during a production meeting for her own self named show, “We need somebody who can play sickeningly sweet, like Betty White.”

How about Betty White?

In this astrologer's opinion, White’s portrayal as Sue Ann Nivens on the MTM Show is one of the greatest examples of comic acting and timing in modern entertainment. On May 8th, 2010 at the age of 88, Betty became the oldest person to ever host “Saturday Night Live”, (Slide 10 of Slideshow) receiving a Primetime Emmy Award for her performance. What truly shocked audiences 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 studio audience, nor was it that at the time Betty was a late octogenarian (this Cappie is now an early nonagenarian), rather, that Ms. Capricorn could stop you dead in your tracks with her shocking brand of Earth Sign'd Humor that you simply didn’t see coming (forcefullycoughingMUFFINJOKEforcefullycoughing).

My favorite guffaw d'Goat from Betty's gala comedic performance that evening occurred during her opening monologue in which 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.”

In conclusion folks, this astrologer with a Capricorn Moon has learned that not only do the Capricorn Icons of Art and Culture Shock play a vital role to society by keeping the rest of us on our toes, they are so easy to spot now, since nearly every member of this special Goat Club ended up keeping their earthy sense of grounded stability and no frills practicality fully in tact, well as their real first and last names.


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