October, 1984: A Material World

A glistening new mall elevates atop what was once a corn field, and before that sacred native land. Madonna slinks across the MTV screen, her dress looks like it cost a million bucks as she preaches the gospel of neo materialism as Material Girl. Coke or Pepsi is the choice of the new generation, not political activism. Straight, pin-stripe lines are in and and straying from the course is out. Keggers have replaced demonstrations. Izods replaced peace symbols. How does Alex on Family Read more […]

January, 1984: The End of Big Brother

The Raiders are up against the favored Washington Redskins, but the Redskins are losing this Super Bowl. During a two-minute timeout, the most amazing ad comes on TV. For months there’s been heavy coverage of George Orwell’s book 1984. Orwell’s book is about a world ruled by “Big Brother,” who controls every aspects of public and private life in a hyper-modern society Big Brother videotapes people’s lives to ensure their conformity, and at the same time broadcasts his mind-control messages Read more […]

April, 1983: Letter from the Iron Curtain

Nuclear fear reached into the collective soul. A girl on the East Coast, two years younger than me, writes a letter to the new Soviet President Yuri Andropov expressing fear about a nuclear holocaust. Her letter is actually published in the Russian paper Pravda: “Dear Mr. Andropov, “My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If Read more […]

August, 1981: Video Kills the Radio Star

There’s a renewed American confidence in bloom. Even John Hinkley’s bullet into Reagan himself could not stop this new world unfolding: a company called IBM rolls out personal computers, private companies are given the OK to fly satellites, and a brand new TV station debuted with Video Jockey’s playing music videos. The first video MTV plays is “Video Killed the Radio Star” – a symbol of new ideas and technologies bringing a new world. PacMan Fever enflamed young brains. Read more […]

September, 1980: The New Confidence

American presidential elections: a bloodless revolution every four years. The incumbent Jimmy Carter is challenged by a seemingly doomed Independent candidate John Anderson and Republican Ronald Reagan. There was a debate for the candidates, but for some reason Carter didn’t show, so it was just Reagan verses Anderson. The usual topics of the day are covered: nuclear annihilation, middle east unrest, the economy. But something magic happens at the end of the debate. Reagan delivers Read more […]