Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Oh, the '80s!

I just cut this from an article I wrote for dlair/net about the Tales From the Loop RPG. It was extraneous there, but I liked it so much, I'm dropping it here:


Being a child in the ‘80s was something of a surreal experience. This was due, I think, to so many things no being what they were supposed to be.

Europe experienced a long run of peace thanks to the insanity of Mutually Assured Destruction. Nuclear power went from the salvation of civilization to a curse. We stopped talking about the impending new ice age and started talking about the greenhouse effect. Future Shock transformed into VCRs, digital watches and Teddy Ruxpin. “Wholesome” Afterschool Specials taught us to question the authority of our teachers while children’s entertainment turned gory with Gremlins and Watership Down. Rated R movies like Robocop had action figures in the toy aisle. Iron Maiden became the most amazing false-flag educational program in the history of ever. (Seriously, check out the lyrics to their song Alexander the Great and tell me that’s not AP test prep disguised as popular entertainment.)

People on TV said D&D was satanic.

So the nostalgia of GenXers tends to be laced with weirdness. Whether it’s the bittersweet psychodrama of emotional issues we didn’t have names for in Ready Player One or the nostalgia and paranoia mix strained through Stephen King that is Stranger Things, ‘80s nostalgia tends to be, well, surreal and fantastical. And before there was Stranger Things, there was the art of StÃ¥lenhag.

2 comments:

JB said...

It was certainly an interesting decade. I'd say the 90s were a direct response to them (and not necessarily a wholly positive response).

Not sure what I'd say about the last 20 years.

Venger Satanis said...

There's an apparent darkness to 80s pop-culture. That's what made it awesome!