Everything Changed in the 80's

Kenneth B. Covington By Kenneth B. Covington, 18th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1jccwgu9/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

How it started and where will it end......we only realize the importance of a particular period of time in history long after its influence is felt. That isn't true with the 80's decade. We are still feeling and seeing its influences and that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

Where we were.......

I remember it clearly. The 1980's were ten years of rebellion and arguably responsible for more changes in our society than any other in history. Excluding a major war earlier or midway through the century, and the turmoil that came with it, the 80's had it all. It just took us a few extra decades to realize it.
We had the beginning of a major medical crisis. We had not one but two assassination attempts on the president. We had a change in pop culture based largely on music and the people who performed it. We had major changes in the fashion industry. Technological advances that we see now as the beginning of the technological based world we live in now. And it all began without much notice or fanfare. At least until we became old enough or wise enough to remember.

Big Disease, Little Name.......a Moonwalk goes a long way

AIDS is to my generation what polio and small pox were to those who came before us. Only now, the uneasiness came from who initially got it and how it happened. Over the course of the next few decades we have seen AIDS come full circle. Advanced treatments have made living with the disease less of a death sentence and more of a controlled medical issue much like diabetes or high blood pressure.
There were actually two attempts on President Reagan's life but only one actually saw a life threatening issue. Two things came from this incident, we as a society learned a little more about mental illness and this was the real beginning of the gun control debate. Both issues were visited earlier after the assassination of John Lennon, however another issue about American society was also first noticed: how soon we forget.
Michael Jackson was the headliner. Everyone else in the music industry rode on his coattails or moonwalked on them as I probably should say. This was a new generations introduction to what previously had only been seen with the Beatles and Elvis Presley. We also were able to see just how much affect the public can have on the life of the rich and famous. When Michael Jackson died a few years ago I candidly acknowledged "MJ died years ago, he was finally put out of his misery." Thriller was his greatest work and he foolishly allowed himself to believe he could do better. This was simply a case where not only did he set himself up for failure but he allowed his critics along for the ride.
Speaking of moonwalks, our space odyssey took a major hit back in the 80's when the Space Shuttle blew up shortly after lift off. In our country's past we have had catastrophes such as this before. But this time it was different because there was a regular person, a school teacher as a matter of fact, on board that shuttle. When bad things happen it is tragic but whenever you are able to put a face with such tragedies, that makes them appear even worse.

Now that's a lot of hair.......

The bigger the hair the better. The more plastic bracelets the better. Boat shoes, mullet hair cuts, penny loafers, faded blue jeans, baggy pants with rolled up cuffs, and the more eye liner the better. No color was too loud. No color was off limits. Parachute pants. Men wearing makeup, Men without Hats, Men at Work, it's a man's world, at least until the women arrived.
Music videos spoke to us and changed our fashion sense. Duran Duran and a TV channel called MTV had a lot to say about what we wore and how we wore it. Madonna look a-likes abound. If you saw it on TV then you knew it had to be important. Sounds kind of familiar doesn't it?

Speaking of television.......

It was during this time we were introduced to reality television. "The Real World" aired on MTV and became an instant hit. VCR's became common place and movie rental stores popped up everywhere. We went from 8-track to Cassette to CD's seemingly overnight.
If you couldn't reach someone at home there was a good chance you would reach their answering machine on their telephone. Call waiting was the cure for a busy signal and touch tone became the new rage. Longer extension cords or handheld phones were common place and neither required the phone to be attached to the wall.
We began looking for ways to do things easier and if it was easier then it had to be better. In only a few more decades would we realize that a newer way of doing things is not always the best way.

So how did we end up here......

Here we are some 30 plus years later and guess what? The 80's are more popular now than they were back in the real 80's. But if you look around you will see that now is simply an advanced model for what was created back then. The things we are doing are considered new by a younger generation that is unaware of what used to be.
But maybe that is the attraction of that period of time. There was so much wrapped into those ten short years. How could we have realized it all back then any way? Besides, to the majority of society, remembering then is much better than living in the now.


Aids, Fashion, Mtv, Music, Space Travel, The Real World

Meet the author

author avatar Kenneth B. Covington
An educator, writer, and a fisherman. But not necessarily in the correct order.

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