2010-07-23 / Commentary

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

The 80s did it

By Mike Cox By Mike Cox Last week I watched

Hot Tub Time Machine, the most recent of many really bad decisions that initially seemed smart. I can’t describe my embarrassment.

The plot involved three friends whose lives didn’t resemble the ones they had imagined in their youth. After a personal crisis, they traveled to a ski resort they frequented in their glory days, hoping to get their mojo back. Our heroes encountered the hot tub time machine there, had a few sophomoric experiences, and then returned to the present safe, wiser, and better off.

The main purpose of the movie seemed to be comparing the 80s to today for comic relief. Most decent Americans found that decade horribly unfunny, and without merit. This movie confirms that attitude with an added twist. Much of today’s terrible trends originated then. Now I hate the 80s even more.

In 1980, after sobering up from the 60s and realizing that we only had one planet, many folks were involved in a movement to conserve our natural resources for future generations. Jimmy Carter even installed solar panels on the White House roof. During that presidential election, Ronald Reagan, like a lot of politicians before and since, told us what we wanted to hear rather than what we needed to hear. We believed him.

Within six years, we had loosened environmental and automobile emission standards, weakened restrictions on home loans, and incurred a $2 trillion deficit. Our new heroes were Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley. Today, we are struggling with a massive debt and trying to overcome the worst financial crisis since 1930. Greed is our ultimate family value.

In 1979, CNN was invented; ESPN the following year. Then Al Gore “developed the internet.” Communication nirvana had arrived. Instead, we have a big mess. National media has become nothing more than never ending gossip columns, concentrating on being first rather than right.

We have become a nation of unwavering, opposing viewpoints, none based on fact or rational thought. People would rather sit in mother’s basement and type messages to imaginary friends than go out for a beer and talk.

MTV and the synthesizer were brought into prominence in the 80s. They have ruined music. Words, talent, and sweaty guitar players fell by the wayside as pretty people with clever videos have taken over the industry.

Lady Gaga and American

Idol dominate the charts. Movies are formulaic messes with exposed boobs and car crashes. Coherent dialogue and real acting is an ancient memory.

Worst of all, in 1989 a show debuted on TV that featured losers without shirts or teeth exhibiting why they were losers in front of cameras. The show was called Cops. We loved it. Network executives soon realized we would watch anything they put on the air and hyped. We are lemmings.

Today, we have reality TV series about everything imaginable. There are people making a living on television who aren’t capable of any significant contribution to society. Kate Goslin and the Kardashians have become important.

Maybe someone from India or China can invent a real time machine and send Bruce Willis back a few decades to fix all this. It’s our only hope.

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