There is no doubt that things are different than they were some time ago. It was better, it was worse. It wasn't what it is now, and tomorrow will be another day.
Boys will be boys and girls should worry but don't. Left to our own devices we boys will find creative, mind boggling ways to destroy ourselves so as to leave big holes for other people to fall into. Our grandparents believed God realized the problem he'd caused creating beings who walk toward the big booms instead of away. They thought the theory was the girls would fuck some sense into us. Perhaps the theory was the girls would make us put down our mapp gas torches and gasoline cans by showing us what we could accomplish if we didn't always have blood and axle grease in our eyes.
But things are different now and those theories are gone along with the idea there has to be a theory. And girls who like explosions stand by their pyromaniacal bretheren with heads held high. This is why disco was allowed to flourish in the 70's, and were there no girls in Antarctica, why it would have remained extinct in the 21st century.
Disco in the 70's was stupidity supported by both sexes. There was nobody but Jimi Hendrix to riff sense into us, and he was too dead to help. It was silly; it was full of big hair and plastic clothes and white lipstick, all of which simply reinforces the point that when getting laid is involved people will abandon all sense of preservation and self-respect.
As if we just don't get the historical point, women have to prove time and time again they can be as destructive as men, which is why they charge ahead with things like disco and polar exploration. Without women the story of polar exploration would be as static and blue as the glacier ice, and there'd be a bunch of guys down there twirling to Dancing Queen and doing hideous things to each other in the name of fun.
Which brings us to Antarctica. There is disco in Antarctica, and there is disco dancing in Antarctica and since the early 1960's there have been human girls in Antarctica which wasn't always the case. Antarctic reality is distorted by its history. Somehow this distortion of physical reality persists on the seventh continent to this day. Things there are completely recognizable from afar, but alien up close, like the smell of squid and raw quail eggs on spaghetti and meatballs in Japan. And what better place to hide if you're disco?
The ice was disco's last planetary foothold. Like smallpox kept hidden in secret Russian labs, we were almost rid of K.C. and the Sunshine Band having effectively innoculated ourselves against boogying down with full-load doses of The Goo Goo Dolls and Bruce Springsteen. Just when our defenses had completely atrophied, a small outbreak was discovered on the Vinson Massif. A helicopter pilot caught a riff of Fernando from the CD player behind the camp radio operator.
Boys and girls, white lipstick and big hair, plastic clothes. It hits the pilot. Instead of dropping a fuel-air bomb on the remote antarctic camp and eradicating the disease forever the sick are allowed to associate. They go home. Disco comes back. John Travolta stays mercifully occupied by bad John Woo movies so we don't have to watch him dance.
So then why? Why is this evil allowed to persist in Antarctica? Haven't things changed there?
Things sure have.
For one thing, there's no packing anymore.
When the U.S. Navy turned over Antarctic control to the civilian population they took with them a deep and detailed knowledge of mob rule. They took two hundred years of Navy tradition.
They left disco. They took packing. Packing is hazing. Hazing is the potentially dangerous treatment of another human being with the purpose of creating a humiliating and therefore humorous near-death situation for a victim. This provides glee and morale. Morale is important, because without it boys burn things and girls cut satanic slogans into their own flesh with sharpened nail files. The civilian rulers of Antarctica don't completely understand the morale issue. It may be that nobody does, which is why there are so many tongue studs in Antarctica.
The hazings have stopped, partly because the Navy is gone but mostly because of the girls.
Under the Navy most of the Antarctic population was composed of a variety of men. There were civilians living under military rule, and there were uniformed military men living under military rule. But it was all men and it was all military and there just wasn't the idea it would be good to have girls there.
Back in the days when the Navy started hanging around in Antarctica, we boys were urged to be all we could be and if we weren't on our own the government would help us by diverting the course of our lives through boot camp and firing ranges (and though there hasn't been anyone drafted into the military in the U.S. since 1973, we boys still have to let the government know where we are after we turn 18 so if things get hot we can do push ups and learn to fire automatic weapons). Because that's what boys are supposed to do. So if you're going to draft boys and you're not going to bring along the girls, you might as well play the music we like.
Which brings us right back to disco, doesn't it? Now you understand. All roads lead here, and one reason is the U.S. wants its enemies to know it has disco and isn't afraid to use it. The other reason is last time the Antarctic military command investigated cool was in 1977, and the result of the study suggested Bee Gees music should be played in places where young people gather to keep them sated. The study was never updated, and then they left before that whole army of one campaign started.
Nobody knows who the first person was who got packed, but they know it was someone in the military, they know it was a boy, and it may have been someone traveling with an IGY survey team because there were no girls around. If Shackelton packed his men, the records don't survive. Nobody knows who was the last man packed. But up until him everybody going to the ice was packed once, at least.
They theory of the last man packed has to do less with disco directly than with girls and girls' reaction to the ice and boys acting silly and dangerous. The disco is in there because it serves as the catalyst to bring the girls and boys together. If the girls hadn't shown up, the disco might have gone with the Navy but something about a shapely woman squirming to You Can Ring My Bell in tight long underwear and bunny boots keeps the world spinning smoothly on its axis.
Because there they are, those Antarctic boys drinking beer and listening to government-supplied disco in the age of punk music, and then they have to include girls in the equation. Something about having girls around makes boys less likely to pay attention to torturing each other and more attention to determining best methods for mating. And then of course the OAE's (old antarctic explorers) got first picks and the FNG's (fucking new guys) hoped their inevitable packing wouldn't kill them before they'd had the chance to mate with one of the newly minted Antarctic babes. Because if boys will learn to dance disco for girls and country, then they'll stop burning things.
It probably happened something like this. Some of the icebabes saw the iceboys packing a FNG and decided they wouldn't sleep with any of the perpetrators. That's probably how it ended and indeed that's the best running theory: that and the possibility the men themselves lost interest in stripping a new guy, taking him outside when it's -50F, and burying him in a snowbank and sculpting a snow headstone after stuffing ice into every one of his bodily orifices.
Someone may have almost died, or maybe someone lost a limb due to frostbite. But it stopped and nobody heard about it ending the way nobody knew it was going on. The snow coffins and mock graveyards (complete with ice headstones) where the victims were buried and left are gone now. And very few people on the ice these days have survived packing or even know what it was.
Disco remains. And boys and girls who were disassociated gametes when their parents were getting into each other's pants doing the hustle will gyrate on worn out hardwood floors and burst out into perpetual Antarctic daylight, drunk and horny, leaning on each other to stay erect while they stumble over the volcanic rock of McMurdo, looking for somewhere to have sex and feel part of the big wheel of time that makes us human and keeps us connected.
Everything changes. And then it doesn't.