The 1990s came back last night during the Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, and everybody was so happy to hear about “grunge” again. What else is from the 1990s? How about the 1991 Gulf War? It seemed stupid at the time, but in retrospect it was kind of nice to have a very short American war in the Middle East, and also to win that war. Now a living memory (in the form of an inanimate piece of weaponry) is back in the news, bombing people in Syria. It’s hard not to wonder if the return of the Scud missile will also mark the return of the “Scud Stud,” a Canadian television reporter named Arthur Kent.
The Scud Stud was a phenomenon of his big media time. Nobody cared about Arthur Kent besides some other media people, who decided what was talked about on the television shows, which were the only form of legal communication in that pre-World Wide Web era. This was also the first “CNN War,” and media people would also complain about the lack of access, and the fact that the only thing anybody knew about what was happening in Kuwait came from U.S. military propaganda.
Arthur Kent had a mullet and a shiny brown leather jacket in the late-1980s style still popular with journalists in 1991. (The coats were inspired by World War II bomber jackets; it was a confusing time.) Everyone had the 1980s style. It is amazing to watch this archival video, to watch the newscasters and the people interviewed on the street. We looked like that, without apparent long-term consequence beyond the usual consequence of time going by and death getting closer.
Arthur Kent has done other media work. He is from Canada, so he is “more serious” than American broadcast reporters. He even sued the makers of Charlie Wilson’s War because they allegedly used his mid-1980s documentary footage from Afghanistan without his permission. This proves he was a working reporter in Central Asia before he was briefly famous in America for doing live reports in Saudi Arabia while Scud missiles rained down upon the earth and he had a mullet.