The 80s are the New 60s

Everyone talks about the 60s, though most talk about the 60s is about the early 70s, but now there’s evidence the 80s are becoming the new 60s!

What is your favorite thing about the 80s?

From the bad hair and loud clothing to the politicians and leaders — a new survey shows that three-quarters of Americans believe the country was better off in the ’80s than now.

“The ’80s is the first time when we were exposed to the kind of mass media immersion that we now take for granted — we were a blank slate,” said David Sirota, author of Back to Our Future. ”The ’80s is the first time cultural messages were able to be sent in ubiquitous and powerful ways and to be repeated over and over and over again.”

So what defined the beloved ’80s?

Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Cabbage Patch Kids, Rubik’s Cubes, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Reese’s Pieces and dance moves like the Robot and Moonwalk.

As for the decade’s most significant moment, about 37% of those surveyed listed the fall of the Berlin Wall, 24% said the identification of AIDS, and 17% said the Challenger explosion.

When asked if a presidential election were held today, 58% said they would vote for Reagan over Barack Obama.

The online survey of 1,000 adults by Kelton Research for National Geographic Channel also found that Back to the Future was the ’80s’ defining film.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • brkev

    Before the 80s if you wanted to see a movie, you pretty much had to wait till it came on TV again. With the 80s you could go to Blockbuster, or your local video rental store, and rent it to see on your VCR.

    The fall of communism, at least in Eastern Europe was probably the greatest worldwide event of the 80s.

    Sports also had some great moments. Larry and Magic in the NBA, as well as the rising star of the Bulls named Jordan. Baseball seemed to have had a lot more parity, as different teams contended each year. NFL had a lot of great moments and players….Montana, Marino, Lawrence Taylor, plus the emergence of John Elway and Jerry Rice, and Sweet Walter breaking Jim Brown’s record, and speaking of the Bears, who could forget the 46 defense in 85.

    Live Aid (We Are The World) also stands out as it brought attention to world hunger, even though its effects proved to be minimal.

    Sad moments include of course the Challenger explosion, the shooting down of KAL 007 by the Soviets, various terrorist attacks and on a personal level my granddad (dad’s dad) passed away in 1988 at the age of 68 (my other 3 grandparents lived into their 80s).

    Other than Walter Mondale the biggest flop of the 80s was New Coke.

    My favorite tv show from the 80s is the Dukes of Hazzard (though it started in the late 70s). My favorite 80s movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Airwolf is in my opinion the most unappreciated show from that decade.

    Well, I’ve talked enough so time for me to BEAT IT.

  • Drane

    What is your favorite thing about the 80s?
    Nuthin’. In fact, I found myself being pulled away from my spiritual roots by the secularist, capitalist, values of the 80s. Frankly, the 80s, including most of the music of the decade, sucked.

  • Rick

    I enjoyed the 80s. The late 60s and the decade of the 70s seemed so dark (Watergate, Vietnam, oil crisis, Iran Hostage Crisis, disco, etc…), and the 80s seemed like a more positive time (although not perfect by any means).

  • Kenton

    One of my biggest guilty pleasures: Duran Duran. That’s what represents the 80′s for me.

  • Diane

    I find that many people, including my college students, as well as some novels I read–Eugenides The Marriage Plot, eg–look back to the 80s. However, I found the article linked to about the era comically inane. To reduce the decade to Cabbage Patch kids and Rubik’s Cubes is entirely to miss the point, descending to something that actually makes kitsch look vital.

    In fact, the 80s was the last gasp of the 60s, the last time anything happened, really, (with a few exceptions, of course) in the culture. It was the age of punk and New Wave, music still tied to protest, the age when a post structuralist tidal wave still slammed across college English departments, a time when people were still alive to a wild churn of possibility beyond the one-note corporate/fascist onsumerist state we live under today. Why is the fall of the Berlin Wall important? Not just as another “pop” event like the introduction of the New Coke, but because it represented the end of a powerful ideology that competed with Western industrial fascism. Without the fear–for the first time since 1917–that the communists would murder them in their beds or Russian money seed the revolution in the US or Western Europe–the ruling class went crazy, the results of which we see today. Of course, this started before the fall of communism, with Reaganism and Thatcherism, but state communism’s collapse was what opened the floodgates–the working and middle class here became like Berlin in 1945–no air defense, so the bombing of us could go on round the clock. In the 80s, we still had hopes and dreams of building a better world in which corporate fascism was just one of a number of competing narratives. We even hoped that letting the private sector run institutions like medicine would lower costs (that was the promise, now conveniently forgotten in favor of “skin in the game”!) and improve the life of the average person! Now, since the 80s, we have simply been feeding on ourselves, eating out our once vital culture with endless pale, nostalgic, profit-driven derivatives, a symptom of our lack of vision: “Without a vision, the people perish.” Clearly, I’m overstating the case, but I think people are interested in the 80s for reasons that are deeper than Michael Jackson. :)

  • Brian Roden

    My favorite part of the 80s? Petra and WhiteHeart!