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The 80s

Done without bullet points, a subject of great internal debate but little consequence, just like this post.

I used to believe it was David Gergen, but no one is more responsible for regurgitating conventional wisdom on the public than former MTV turned ESPN correspondent  Christopher Connelly. Downtown Julie Brown tried, but she was black, female and British and couldn’t overcome less air time, less influence (no ESPN hot job) and Club MTV. Connelly is so predictable his Twitter home page banner features his poor test Algebra and Geometry test scores, reminding people that he’s a journalist — and not just because of his fawning profiles of Jim Carrey. He’s bad at math. Obviously you know what that means. Not strangely, Chris Connelly.has achieved Gravitas status, which tells you the media has just gotten lazier.

The narcissism of baby boomers was never on fuller display than the air time given Murphy Brown, a Hillary Clinton speech turned sitcom, with predictable results, and thirtysomething, a baby boomer narcissist’s take on narcissism. It also proves my theory of repeating decades (the good ones). The 60s wanted to be the 60s because they were baby boomers and no one was more important; The 70s aspired to the 20s, with a dash of the 50s to make up for all the debauchery; the 80s wanted to be the 50s, with drugs and cheap sex. A dash of media-generated 60s nostalgia intended as a mea culpa popped up late in the decade but, in typical baby boomer fashion, came off as overbearing and sad.

I may be hard on the Boomers, but as a member of the least consequential generation ever — I won’t offend you by naming that generation — who am I to rag? Bad enough this post was inspired by watching a late-night marathon of The 80s on CNN.

Lest you think I lack the feminist bona fides necessary for the modern man, sexism was still rampant in the 80s, more so than even today. (There go my bona fides.) Anyway, look no further than the media’s treatment of Leona Helmsley, a “mean old girl” with minimal impact, and Mike Milken, who destroyed thousands of lives but was lauded for his redemption and who just happened to be a Baby Boomer. And the shit Geraldine Ferraro had to deal with, rarely heard due in part I suspect by her support of Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama.

As inspiration for Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” and, consequently, American flag jackets, Ronald Reagan deserves any enmity he still receives. And yes, he was retrograde and driven by cliche and ignorant of that, for many minorities, the American experience was rated PC-17. But it’s impossible to debate that when he left the presidency the world was a far safer place than when he entered it — for about 13 years. Then the “freedom fighters” he armed decided to target America. It begs an academic question that’s probably already been asked: Were the scars inflicted by the Soviet Union’s loss in Afghanistan intrinsic to the socialist republic’s collapse, or would it have happened anyway? If the answer is the second part, it’s time to re-examine Reagan’s foreign policy record or at least reference the law of unintended consequences.

At the risk of sounding retrograde, I’d love to see a serious poll of American college students on their views of the collapse of communism: Good, bad or benign. If all Communist leaders were as physically striking as Che Guevara, the answer would be obvious. Whither the Gorbachev T-shirt.


80s, ATLmalcontent, CNN


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