Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Representation of Yuppie

For this week’s contribution to the blog, I found an interesting article that connects the term Yuppie as being a self image and how this image is portrayed to greater ones look. The article is interesting because it links the concept that many create a false image for themselves in order to appear more successful and create a sense of self worth.

The article opens with how many can create an image for themselves to help portray a certain look that helps to improve their appeal to their sexual opposite. The author however attempts to make the point that confidence in the key when attracting the opposite sex, however this too is a trait of the term Yuppie. People create an image to look successful, important, rich, etc. The term Yuppie comes into discussion as these are often found within affluent youthful professionals. Some strive to become Yuppies, thus alter their lifestyle to meet the credentials needed to pull of the look. Those that are not faking the look often have well paid, middle class professional jobs and have luxurious lifestyles. This is a lifestyle with its origins linking to the 1980’s, as seen in movies like Wall Street and American Psycho.

Both set in the 1980’s we see a lifestyle change in young professional who seek to be the best and portray a look of being successful. In the 1980’s with the invention of the mobile phone or cell phone, we see that these are used to portray a level of importance; other mobile devises were used in this era as we see a shift into the digital world of computers, mobile phones and laptops.

Below is a clip from American Psycho, showing four suited, young professionals, showing off their business cards.

80s yuppies

whilst researching about yuppies in the 80s, I came across this blog, 80s Actual. The article I have chosen concentrates on the word yuppie, when it was first used and, of course, what it really means.
The word was first used in the beginning of the 80s, as the author of the blog points out, there are debates concerning the exact date. However, the term shifted from being applied to anyone seekign to make money to a whole identity which was more than just about money, although it was a centre aspect.
The fact that the term was first coined in the 80s already shows how attached it is to that era. You cannot really say that there were many yuppies in the 90s, it really was an 80s phenomenon.
And of course, to know that a book was written in the mid-eighties with a title such as "Diary of a Yuppie" simply proves how popular and recognised the trend was.

Yuppies of the 80's

The term yuppie can be translated as a young urban professional. In other words the character Bud Fox that is played by Charlie Sheen is a perfect example of just what a yuppie is. I really did enjoy the movie as it was interesting how people can manipulate the market to their own personal gains. Gordon Gekko is a perfect example of a man that does that, and does it well. He finds ways to make money through the information that he somehow conjures that makes him millions of dollars in the stock exchange market. Most of what does is, however illegal. Bud Fox finds this out the hard way and is forced to cross him and pin the crimes that Gekko commits. Gekko finally pays for his manipulation of the market that has made him very successful. Gekko is a modern day shark in terms of money, in the way that he is almost willing to do anything to make a profit. That meant cutting up the airplane company piece by piece and selling it off.

The following link directs us towards a great example of what a yuppie was and how they can be defined, as well as posing the question are you a yuppie? I read the article and it does explain just what a yuppie is and all the aspects that come with being one. Charlie Sheen's character again fits this very nicely because, well he is a yuppie after all. Also is is important to remember that Gordon Gekko was also a yuppie when he first began in the business. Coming from nothing to make millions of dollars and living a lavish life style, doesnt sound too bad to me, perhaps the "might go to jail" could be left out.

Other People's Money (1991)

A corporate raider states his philosophy

Yuppie Culture.

Yuppies-Young Urban Professionals or Young Upwardly mobile Professionals – are considered to be a combination of “hippies” and “preppies”. While they have the materialism of preppies, they share the self absorbed perfectionism of hippies minus the anti-establishment attitude.
The relation between yuppies and hippies is particularly significant as yuppies are in fact the baby boom generation coming of age. The poor economic and moral state of the United States after the 1970s led people, more so young people, to reconsider their views, and look at what they wanted. This resulted in people realising they wanted financial power and economic security, opposed to the hippie lifestyle they once adopted. The Times article about the fall of the yuppie raised significant points about the feelings and general reaction to yuppies during the 80s:

“Back then everyone hated them – even Yuppies felt obliged to hate yuppies. They were the confident and uncaring face of the new capitalism.”

Yuppies were most defiantly the beginning of mass materialism, and even though everyone disliked them, everyone wanted to be one. This desire to be one stems from the visual aspect. Everything they had you could see, unlike the hippies based themselves on particular values. But while they were greatly disliked, they opened doors for many, and changed the ways from only those of privileged backgrounds being able to make it in big business in the cities to people of any background getting a chance. The times also point out that the yuppie culture broke the English hypocrisy and embarrassment about the creation and spending of wealth. They made materialism an acceptable culture.

Despite the huge impact yuppie culture had on the world, it is hard to exactly distinguish the number of yuppies that there actually were. To fit into this category you had to have been born between 1946 and 1959, earn over $40,000 a year through a business occupation and live in an urban area. Mightystudents essay predicts this to be about 1.5 million during the 1980s.
The number of yuppies was relatively minor compared to the influence and affect they had. It is confusing to determine the exact amount because the image was copied by many who did not work in business. In many ways, the yuppie became less about businessmen and women, and more about a fashion style. Although the stereotypical yuppie is no longer a social type, their legacy still lives on in our generation, as materialism is still growing strong.

Other links used.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BRASH with the CASH to FLASH: The 80's Yuppie

For a world I knew little about watching WALL STREET has given me a new insight or Ive seen this kind of thing before but was less obvious in a subconcious kind of way. The film itself is not usually my cup of tie, having said that I found it rather interesting and amusing.

This image above is the example of an 80's yuppie, it is evidence of a lifestyle that has been written about for example, Louis Auchincloss's Diary of a yuppie, what's more it has also been adapted on to screen for example, thirtysomething, the late 80's tv show based on yuppies. Coincidentally both of these examples are published or screened in 1987 the year the Stock Market collapsed.

The image is evidence along with the examples above that represents the yuppie culture, a "socioeconomic" culture that belongs to the 1980's. The role is that of a city bussiness man/woman who chase the skewed version of the American dream by becoming a 'player' or 'big shot'. Its a notion where success is measured by what you have and who you are in a self gratifying manner that gives you status with wealth. Furthermore it is achieved by any means neccessary such is the nature of their working environment. But it's not just of their work but of their living environment as a whole. Thinking back to WALL STREET, it's the callous, treacherous manner of the dog eat dog, big fish little fish world. Perhaps thats a little dramatic but its icon and the stereotype. But they have their image to help define them, the car and driver or their not so mobile phone that is the size of a combat field radio, or their Gordon Gekko house by the sea. The fat shoulder padded, tailored suits with a fully Mod Cons gadget briefcase, it's all a statement of their achievement. Even better it does the bragging about it too so they dont have to, although you get know it wont stop them. Yuppie is the terminology for the 80's baby boomers the equivelent of the Generation X of the 90's that was mentioned last lecture.

However I think the image compliments the link for the examples quite nicely and helps me describe my understanding of the nature of the iconic lifestyle and the materialist world of the yuppie culture. Hopefully this has looked at the meaning behind the image.

'The Year of the Yuppie'


A Young Urban Professional or a Yuppie, was someone who was wealthy and not incredibly modest about it. This image was entrenched into 1980's American culture. It was a symbol of achievement, and this cartoon shows the statement that being a Yuppie represents. Success. Although, on the other hand, the two people who represent the Yuppies are not in limosines, but instead are either walking or cycling, which suggests a Yuppie image, a bit like the less wealthy carrying fake Louis Vuitton handbags, the average Joe or Jane in the community can put forward the imagery of a Yuppie and so be transformed into one. It seems to me that to be a child of the 80's was to dress in a certain way, whether it be in the refined suits with shoulder pads for women and for a man to have more grease in his hair than in a frying pan, or to dress in a more Madonna way. The style of clothing represented the type of person that you were trying to be, and by dressing as a Yuppie, it was an expression of success and a drive for power.
The image from Newsweek also puts Yuppies with the height of technology, the tape player! Although it now appears to us to be archaic, the tape player was a symbol or forward thinking and prestige, I suppose it now is held in the same esteem as the Apple Ipod Touch was a couple of years ago, if you did not have one, then you haven't quite got there yet.
The system of transport within this image also suggests the average Yuppie, those who couldnt afford the limo, so either walked or cycled. The trainers also bring the tone of the style down, as a true Yuppie would most likely take image over comfort and wear their heels to walk to work, as the dampen a business suit with Nikes, although stylish I am sure, does not put across the total image. However, as the majority of the style is put forward, the idea of it is brought across. In a way, this image of afluent business people has progressed further than the 80's, for without the shoulder pads and the tape-player, the image is still used in order to look powerful and successful. The 1980's culture of the Yuppie lives on...

Steely Dan - 'Deacon Blues': the Soundtrack to the Yuppie

"This is the day of the expanding man"

From the very first line of this song, we can't help but think to ourselves about the yuppie listener cruising in a big city automobile and revelling in his materialistic lifestyle.
The song itself 'Deacon Blues' was recorded by Steely Dan off their 1977 jazz/rock album 'Aja'. Although one may view this song as an example of pre-80s 'age of mellow' youth culture a term coined by Philip Jenkins, where many young Americans perhaps born in the 40s and 50s listened to post-60s rockers and 'mature' rock bands such as Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. There is no doubt that the song's lyrics suggest a sign of the times for the hippies, now older, richer and relaxed, adapting to their current hedonistic lifestyles. The line 'I bought the dream' conjures up an image of Gordon Gekko buying profitable shares and subtly stealing peoples money as he drinks 'scotch whiskey all night long'. The lyrics in the chorus itself seems to symbolise the white middle/upper classes of the 80s, recklessly flaunting their financial muscle and throwing caution to the wind, like Bud Fox, 'They got a name for the winners of the world' and that is the Yuppie.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yuppies 1980's in American Culture

This weeks post is about a representation of what a Yuppie was. One definition is someone who is young, possibly just out of college, and who has a high-paying job and an affluent lifestyle. Can now be used to describe any rich person who is not modest about their financial status. The representation that I have picked is a series of comic style called 'Yuppies from hell' produced by marvel comics designed and created by Barbara Slate. the cartoons are examples of how in the 1980's the cartoonist thought and felt that the stereotype know as yuppies where like. Some of the example are buying a new house and only buying it because it had a fireplace and their friends did not so it put them above their friends, or meeting a girl for the first time, trying to get their child in to the best school before its even born and saying things like ' junior scored high on his pre-birth english scores' were as a normal parents to be would try to get the best school but when the child has been born at least.

After watching the film WallStreet I agree with some of the characteristic that have been presented int he cartoons are also present in the film such as the taste in art just because it expensive and is better that a friends, but not because they like it. I feel from looking at both of these examples that the yuppies are what the description iI gave at the beginning they are notmodest about their financial status that these example have shown me that they were out to be the best and they would get there any way possible no matter what or whom might have stood in their way. That their main focus, aim and ambition revolved around money and how much they could make of it to tell other about.

Yuppie Handbook

This website reviews the book the 'Yuppie Handbook', it describes it a satirical look at the role of a 1980's Yuppie in America. As we can see from the front cover of the book it tells of all the criteria that make a Yuppie. They are described as young professionals between 20-30 who live for their careers, and consumerism as they are only interested in material possessions and their own image. They have no time for relationships or to cook food, so they go to expensive restaurants everyday. They are smartly dressed and have the latest gadgets and technology. In the 1980's Yuppies were the first to get mobile phones, which we all now think are huge bricks, but were in fact state of the art in those days. As well as careers they wanted to be in fit physical condition so any time not at the office they were in the gym, we see this from the running shoes and racket in the picture.

They had a major impact on American Culture as they moved into urban neighbourhoods and transformed them into chic fashionable places to live. They also changed the culture as they brought in mass consumerism, and the need for new technologies that advanced America, such as Cappuccino makers and trouser presses. They also influenced a new age of music which incorporated jazz, acoustic and classical styles. Also a literary explosion occurred with writers such as Bret Easton Ellis who wrote about the fast lives of Yuppies.

The article ends with the line "today many Americans still live the yuppie lifestyle, or wish they did." This shows that there are still academic types following the American Dream who still aspire to the same goals as the 1980's Yuppies did, showing that the idea has not subsided in the past 30 years.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Invasion of the Yuppie Snatchers: OBEY. CONFORM. CONSUME.

There have been many notable depictions of the Yuppie in 1980s American culture, my favourite being Bret Easton Ellis' darkly satirical novel American Psycho. I've decided to focus on something a little bit more oscure however, as the clip I have posted (amusingly) highlights a number of aspects of American culture in the 80s. Directed by John Carpenter (famous for directing Halloween) in 1988, They Live follows "Nada", a working class man who comes into possession of wayfarer sunglasses that reveal yuppies as predatory aliens. A laughable concept maybe, but the film fascinated me when I watched it a few years ago; not only does it reflect on the power of advertising - an area which I am particularly interested in - but also everything about it is so positively 80s! From former World Wrestling Federation wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper starring as the lead role to the iconic wayfarers revealing hidden secrets and of course the innate American fear of "the other" secretly controlling all epitomises its very American sci-fi nature.

Falling into the genres of science-fiction horror and dark comedy, the film echoed contemporary fears of a declining economy within a culture of greedy consumption, something common among Americans in the 1980s. So Yuppies were in fact concealed aliens controlling humans through the use of subliminal messages in TV broadcasting and other mass media... I knew it.

The story behind Carpenter's inspiration for making the film is particularly interesting as its political elements derived from his growing distaste with the rapidly increasing commercialisation of the 1980s, remarking in science-fiction film magazine Starlog that "I began watching TV again. I quickly realized that everything we see is designed to sell us something... It's all about wanting us to buy something. The only thing they want to do is take our money." But where's the threat in that? If this is the case I guess we all "sell out" every day. Perhaps we are constantly being corrupted with subliminal "OBEY", "CONFORM", "MARRY AND REPRODUCE", "CONSUME", "WATCH TV" and "SLEEP" messages, but we don't really need a pair of funky Ray-Bans to realise that.

The Yuppie- An 80's Icon

The post this week is difficult for me as I already jumped the gun slightly and chose the Yuppie as my iconic image in week one. However, Wall Street is not the only example of 'Yuppiness' to be found, so I looked a little further and went back to basics to choose a book (remember them?). My example this week is the Tom Wolfe novel 'Bonfire of The Vanities' and the film that was made in 1991. Having studied the film extensively for a class last year, I can confidently say that it is the epitome of 'yupiness'. Greed, lavishness, arrogance, betrayal; they all make up the Yuppie lifestyle. The strange thing is, you would only ever really find it in two places in the entire world; New York and London. Conveniently, this is where two of the worlds financial hubs are located, and where there were hedge funds to be found, so were Yuppies.

The Yuppie was to the 80s was what the Hippie was to the 60s. Almost a quintessential part of the decade, if you weren't a Yuppie, you were no one. Represented in a wide range of films in the 80s and early 90s, the general opinion of the 'Young Urban Professional' was that they had more money than they knew what to do with, and as a consequence, they became more greedy and it usually ended in corruption or in some other disastrous way.

Which brings me to the protagonist of 'Bonfire of the Vanities', Sherman McCoy. 'Master of the Universe' and a whizz-kid on Wall Street (much like Bud Fox), he had everything. A million dollar apartment, a beautiful wife and daughter, a flashy car and a great job. But he also had a mistress who one night when they took a wrong turn in the Bronx, ran over an underprivileged black teenage boy. Everything spirals out of control from there as Sherman's lies begin to pile up and unravel and a British journalist who was originally assigned to write a series of stories about the young black boy starts to snoop around and pieces things together.

The book was critically acclaimed whilst the filmed was panned both critically and commercially. Aside from it focusing on the Yuppie lifestyle, it also had political and racial undertones that contributed to the story and made it more about holding up a mirror to society on both sides and not just a look at how the rich and famous behave.
To be a Yuppie is all about consumerism. Fast cars, expensive clothes, the latest gadgets, designer hair cuts, lavish food and an impressive physique to boot. Wall Street 'fat cats' are anything but fat. Which is why they were somewhat idolised and looked up to. Who wouldn't want their life? I know I would. I haven't the brains for Wall Street or Fleet Street for that matter, but to bag a husband who did and live that lifestyle? Hardly the American Dream I wanted, but it would be nice! But this is 2011 and our attitudes towards the Yuppie have changed. They still exist, even after several stock market crashes and they still rake it in. Except now we call them pariahs.

Week 2’s Contribution - Ronald Reagan - Love or Loath?

After watching the documentary on Ronald Reagan, supplied by the BBC and its heavily left leaning agenda, it was important to see that although Reagan had many supporters he also had those that opposed him. The two websites chosen are examples of those that support Reagan and those that were against his presidency. Borth are influential to those that seek the country to follow in Reagan’s footsteps or to those that take the view that Regan crippled the country and left a heavy footprint leaving his successes much work to regain the United States of America to its former glory.

‘Ronald Regan Conservative Society’ The society was created in an effort to preserve the legacy of R.R and make sure that Americans knew that the R.R they all know and loved has still left something for them. They feel as though R.R. demonstrated to America that having vision and principles can help not only win the election but also the hearts of the Americans. The website shows Regan in good light, thus aims to continue the legacy left by their hero; lower taxes, smaller government, pro-life/family policies and legislation and supporting a war on terror. However many of these statements or claims being suggested by the society can actually be held at great debate over whether or not these helped America or just added to a problem.

The second website is an article written by Fred Kaplan in 2004, at a time where he was commenting frequently about the life of the late Ronald Reagan. Fred takes on a view that not only did Reagan help bring the fall of the Soviet Union but also helped add a second threat to the world stage, Bin Laden and the Taliban. It seemed that during the Soviets occupation of Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan’s administration was helping arm the Afghani Rebels known today as the Taliban. The article points out that Regan could have help Afghanistan become more of an independent nation if he had agreed with Gorbachev to stop funding the Rebels. However, according to the article, Regan refused, causing the Soviets to heighten their efforts, causing more unrest in Afghanistan after they pulled out which eventually led to a Taliban takeover by 1996. Initially Gorbachev wanted the Soviets to pull out in 1986 but said that he wanted to help the country get back to their feet and promised to leave within 18 months. If 10 years earlier Regan had taken the deal, Afghanistan might not have precluded to a Taliban takeover, and if the Soviets pulled out earlier, if Regan had embraced the withdrawal as he did that summer on the cutback of nuclear weapons the world might never have seen or heard of Osama Bin Laden.

Reagan-UFOs and "aides"

This article is from, which is the internet's oldest online-only magazine. It was founded in 1995, and tends to lean towards the political left. This article is critique of Ronald Reagan's priorities, specifically when it came to the aids crisis that swept the United States during hiss presidency. Alex Pareene, the articles author, puts forward the argument that Reagan was much more concerned about UFOs and potential alien invasion, citing several examples of Reagan discussing on several occasions, both in private and during his speeches, the possible danger of an alien invasion. Reagan even went as far as to discuss it with then president of Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev. The articles main critique comes in the fact that despite Reagan constantly discussing this hypothetical threat, he very rarely discussed the very real problem of aids. Reagan, in fact, did not make any kind of public statement on the aids until 1987, well into his second term and by then, up to thirty thousand people had died from the epidemic. The article speculates that this could be to do with Reagan's spiritual beliefs and political allignments, having famously courted right wing Christians during his election campaigns, but ultimately concludes that regardless of the reason, many Americans died because the Reagan administration did not make the aids epidemic a priority.

A record of Ronald Reagan's UFO sightings.

Positives and negatives of Reagan

I may be the only one that may have done this but instead of looking up Reagan hatred I decided to look up Reagan fan club. It was an interesting choice of words that I put in the search engine, but I assumed there is a fan club for everyone and there existed one for Reagan just I assumed there would be. Now, in the blog/website there are many different pictures and comments and I believe videos as well. All of which dipict the former president in a very stately and statuesque pose. Which each president should be in anyway. One particular thing that I enjoyed was the videos that were linked to the page. They are both informative and enjoyable. They truely dipict what type of president he was, as well as what type of man he was. However, there is one that states that he is giving a speech on aliens or a possible alien invasion. I only got to watch one of the videos because my internet conection was so slow. In all this webpage does a good job of dipicting the president as a great man and great leader. hence the name Ronald Reagan fan club, I at least found that funny that there could be a fan club for a former president, due to the fact that I did not know too much about the man in general or what his accomplishments are. It is important to look that the bright side of people as well as what they are liked for, not what they are hated for. This is because I like to think of myself as an optimist.

Now, to look at Reagan hatred. I found a list of why one person dislikes Reagan as well. With every matter you are always likely to find someone on both sides of the arguement. However, this person does raise some good points to why he thinks that Reagan ain't all that. he gives viable "excuses" perhaps they could be seen as for most of his accomplishments. The person states that he was the most beloved president since FDR is a myth. Now this is one persons opinion, which they are entitled to. He states that Reagan cut taxes, won the cold war, shrank the governement (not too sure what that means), and saved the economy. These are the positives, however the person offers logical explanations of how this came to be. Firstly, the cold war apparently fizzled out because the Soviet economy was too wobbly. Second it is stated that Reagan only cut taxes just once. But, really how many times can one cut taxes before it gets a little rediculous. He vastly expanded the government and also buredened the economy with massive deficits, also his ratings were only just average. I still am not sure what political party this person follows but I think it might be conservative or democratic. It is tough for me to tell partly because I do not follow politics that closely, although I probably should. This webpage is clearly a page that is dedicated to the dislike of Reagan, there are good points and some points that may be a bit dodgy. I guess for every positive there must be a negative this webpage is quite negative and really does knock who Reagan is as a leader.


Everyone Loves Reagan.(?)

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

With their strongly principled undertones, Ronald Reagan quotes such as this one reflect how the 40th president of the United States restored American spirit and optimism at a time when the economy was troubled and Americans were questioning their place in the world. By reminding the nation of their history, Reagan rekindled a sense of ambition among Americans and undoubtedly left a political legacy in which remnants have began to re-emerge in recent years.

Embodying the conservative movement as a leader of strong principles, the name-dropping of Reagan has proved to be a popular tactic for current Republican White House contenders yet the president's beliefs still resonate with Americans from across the political spectrum as he is often ranked among the most popular presidents in history. This invoking of Reagan is discussed by Jim Malone in his article Ronald Reagan Remains Potent Republican Icon. He mentions how the unpopular Sarah Palin said "I probably consider myself a Western conservative in the spirit of Ronald Reagan, in that tradition, because I know that he understood the small town pioneering spirit and values of hard work and rugged individualism and love thy neighbor", homing in on Reagan's values. However, Malone also acknowledges how Democratic President Barack Obama has referred to Reagan on occasion, most significantly while running for president in 2008 stating that he "tapped into what people were already feeling, which is, 'we want clarity, we want optimism'". The article ultimately conveys Reagan as a political icon who established a "legacy" as Malone describes the "Reagan Revolution" of the 1980s that placed an emphasis on smaller government, lower taxes and perhaps most attractively restoring America's pride.

This month Time magazine published an article The Role Model: What Obama Sees In Reagan as the cover photo depicts Reagan's arm draped over a cheeky Obama with the title "Why Obama ♥ Reagan". Although this suggests that the article would be about the similarities between the two presidents, it in fact does the opposite. The article is arguably the liberal mainstream media's attempt to associate Obama with Reagan in order to increase Obama's popularity with the vast amount of Reagan supporters. It is however interesting to make comparisons between Obama and Reagan. Like Obama, Reagan was elected during a deep recession and a time in which the United States’ world image and Americans needed someone to believe in; to be reminded of American strength. Reagan was an ideal candidate for conservative white Americans being a white, 69-year-old, former movie actor who conjured more nostalgia than reality. A man who struck many ironies, Reagan admirers did not see beyond this comfortable image; a man who was able to decry taxes on the one hand, but end up raising them on the other hand. In stark contrast, Obama represents a future that frightens these very same Americans as Latinos and African Americans are predicted to make up the majority of the population since the white birthrate is declining. This feeling of outrage among some white Americans is especially apparent when considering that their taxes may be used to help people who they believe have stolen their country from them. Though it is no wonder that those disgruntled Americans do not take into account how their hero Reagan signed a sweeping law that granted amnesty to nearly three million illegal immigrants in 1986.

Democracy Now! explores this issue in the article Regan and Race: He Maintained A System Of Rich And Poor, A System Of Black And White. Here, the former president is described as disregarding racial minorities and women; while white conservatives spoke about him as if he was a saint, the reality is that everything he represented was the old white racist ideology of the nation. The article negatively reflects on Reagan's 8 years in office, from "Iran-Contra, to the bloody US-fuelled conflicts in Central America, to his administration’s arming of both Iran and Iraq, to his invasion of Grenada and the nuclear arms race" while he is also described as having an "assault on affirmative actions and social welfare programs", cracking down on "organized labor" while "America’s homeless population grew to over 2 million people".

Considering these articles, it is clear that Reagan did and continues to saturate the media with more legend than truth. To echo Willy's theory in Arthur Miller's classic play Death of a Salesman, if a man is well liked then all the doors will automatically be opened for him; when it comes to politics, Reagan can certainly be applied to this theory for he was a man of much style and little substance. But isn't that the case with most politicians?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ronald Reagan the anti-communist lifeguard

My first chosen site focuses on the issues conveyed by Communism in the 1940s particularly the threat imposed upon American Hollywood Cinema. The article highlights the beginnings of Reagan’s transformation from Liberal Democrat to fierce Republican as he turns to the frontline of opposition to Communism. To Reagan this threat was very real and he carried this belief into his presidency. Marxists also posed a threat, with the inherent belief that the working classes should rise up against the government. Indeed Reagan’s economic plan: ‘Reaganomics’ offered major money to heads of the companies, the top 2% of the population, in the belief that the money would trickle down to give employee’s better opportunities. If we see the results of this for working Americans today it is debatable to whether ‘Reaganomics’ was beneficial to Americans.

My second chosen website is interesting as it highlights the Iran-Contra affair that lead to scandal during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It is ironic enough that the President had to break the laws of the constitution and barter with another country to help the American hostages being held, when in fact his strong speeches strongly opposed submission and dealings with opposing (evil) forces. Yet the main interesting notion for the reason that Reagan traded in the guns, is in keeping with the notion that he was a life-saver still very much the heroic young man who used to save lives as a lifeguard. Him stepping in to help the hostages as he vowed to their loved ones, was a heroic act that ultimately had consequences for him and to the nation as a whole.

Reagan Love him or hate him, the remarkable man

Lou Cannon was a Washington Post correspondant for the White House during the Reagan presidency, he writes "Why Reagan was the great ommunicator" this obituary style piece in commemoration of the late president in an article days after his passing in 2004.

Now Im not a fan of Reagan for his policies, whats more Im not much of a republican fan. However I admire him for his ability to gain the confidence of voters and their respect. The former president is so highly regarded by Americans' that By California Law there is now, as of 2010 on Febuary 6th, a Ronald Reagan day. See below.

At the top the pro Reagan article Touches on his success in confrontation with Gorbachev over the Berlin wall. But mainly this article focuses on the part of Ronald Reagan that I admire, for his effort that earned him the nickname the "Great Communicator".

Reaganomics was not economically sound. Reagan legislation gambled with the American economy, legislature that encouraged large companies to buy or merge with other stale but valued bussinesses. Furthermore these purchases were funded by gambling in bonds, potentially high return bonds that are sold at cheap prices.
Low taxes that created a short lived economic recovery on top of a spiraling deficit. Finaly there was the embarrasing saga that was the Iran-Contra.

However Cannon uses this article to remember the Ronald Reagan character, a B rated Hollywood actor who entered politics and became renouned for a warming spirit and optomistic and contagious outlook on tomorrow. The notion of the great communicator who dumbed down politics to explain it in simple terms that voters could understand, capturing the Imagination of the voters' and showing an interest in them. Cannon pays a wonderful tribute to a former president, known for his annecdotes and humour. The article looks back at these examples of How Reagan captured the attention of a nation for a decade, and who left behind the image of being a people's president, the tone & style of his speeches made him seem to the voter/audience, as one of them.

This link is the website of the same titled book, The clothes have no emperor by Paul Slansky published in 1989. Slansky has been a regular writer for The New Yorker and co-author of My Bad: The Apology Anthology.
The websites home page gives a brief overview on the book being reissued as an E-book for the anniversary of what would be Reagan's 100th birthday, and why.

Now I havent read this book of which we can apparently read the first chapter, (not entirely sure, as there was a security download error when i tried), but I will be investigating with scepticism to see how good a read it is. However you only need to read this quick overview to notice that there is a scathing attack launched at the highly thought of former president. I know Paul Slansky is a satirist, but he is quite heavy handed in his choice of words and this is only in provoking you into reading.

The overview claims that the book (if you havent read) is for those critics of the time who stood by & gritted their teeth or weathered the storm of excitement that surrounded Reagan's presidency. But it also claims to be for the younger generation who can learn about Reagan and his presidency without being sucked in by the status quo, and "to save them from buying into a myth". However the overview does start by warning us that the book is not for republican fans in general, fans of Sarah Palin or of Reagan himself.

Ronald Reagan? The Actor!?

I have a confession...I am a Reaganite! That's right, the girl who considers herself to be a Democrat in every sense of the word is a fan of the Republican President Ronald Reagan. He is truly one of the most popular and well respected Presidents of all time despite hiccups such as the Oliver North scandal during his Presidency and the best part is, he was an Actor! Only in America!

My example of 'Reagan Hatred' is an article from a LGBT friendly magazine called 'The Advocate'. The article was published shortly after Reagan's death in 2004 and is entitled Adolf Reagan.

Written by Playwright/Novelist/Screenwriter/Activist Larry Kramer, he refers to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s as the 'second Holocaust' and Reagan as the Hitler of the 80s because he could have done something about the millions of people dying from the terminal disease and chose not to. He makes a point of saying that Reagan did not mention the word AIDS until his seventh year in office. His opinion is that if Reagan had done something, then millions of lives could have been saved, but he chose to ignore it because he is homophobic, despite wife Nancy supposedly having many gay friends at the time. He goes on to also blame former President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the holocaust in 1940s Germany as he refused to ask the 'Jewish question' and put a stop to the travesty. Referring to Reagan as a 'mass murderer', Kramer was asked by People Magazine to give them a quote on Reagan's death to which he replied “I wish he had died before he was elected”. Well, he gets 10 points for shock factor there. My own personal opinion about Kramer's piece is that he is bitter and taking pot-shots at a man who had the highest approval ratings since Franklin D. Roosevelt (albeit after he left office) and quite honestly, he uses it to plug his own material. He also suggests that Reagan should be ashamed of himself for being homophobic as his own son, Ron Reagan Jr. has had gay experiences and may in fact be gay. Personally, if I were Nancy Reagan and had read this, I would have sued for slander. I found this piece an interesting one since it has been mentioned in some of the previous post that Reagan was famed for making people aware of the AIDS epidemic and was praised for his charity work and his help to fight both AIDS and HIV.

Guess what? Palin still has nothing of value to say. But many others do in this tribute to Reagan who would have celebrated his 100th birthday last week.
USA Today published a selection of testimonies about Reagan is honour of what would have been his birthday and as well as being a touching piece, it shows how well respected he is to this day. This website has printed some extracts of the testimonies which talk about the man, the kind of President he was and what he did for his country. I personally liked Obama's, Romney's and Donaldson's pieces, all contributing different kinds of opinions about the 40th President of the United States. His legacy will last a lifetime, despite not being as popular as he is today during his two terms, he is one of a few number of President's that people remember fondly.

80s America - Ray Ban Vision

For me the image that epitomises 80’s America would Ray Ban sunglasses. Originally introduced in the 50s, Ray Bans have enjoyed a lasting and successful relationship with culture and its consumers throughout the last half century in America. For me, it was the 80s that really allowed this product to shine. Ray Bans were frequently worn and advertised by celebs at that time, most notably Tom Cruise in Risky Business (1983) and Top Gun (1986) and even Madonna, Michael Jackson and The Blues Brothers (above) with their Ray Ban Wayfarers. On wearing this product, young people could look like their cultural idols and look cool, the coolness enhanced by the sheer size of these sunglasses that would hide the eyes, covering up human expression and emotion. In Ray Bans you were untouchable and culturally fashionable at the same time.

Ronald Reagan

Reagan hatred

When it came to finding hatred about Reagan as a person or even just as a president i found that it was not to hard to find as so as you typed it in I was over welled by the amount of hatred that is on the internet about the achievements that you made and the mistake that people feel he made and were just down to him. I have chosen to this photograph as it demonstrates the lengths that some bloggers went to by making their own captions and even cartoons based around what they classified as failures of Ronald Reagan. this particular image shows him have a meeting with men who are assumed to be terrorists. The caption "These gentleman are the equivalents of america's founding fathers" is meant as an insult towards the president for meeting them and trying to make peace with the enemy in many american opinions judging from this image. But this is not an opinion of all the general public of america as there is also examples of positive views and opinions on the achievements of what Ronald Reagan achieved during his two terms in office as the american president during the 80's.

Reagan Hagiography

My chosen source for Reagan hagiography is an article from an canadian newspaper in Calgary written to celebrate Reagan's 100th birthday. The writer Gerry Nicholls opens with the achievements that he feels were Reagan's greatest such as by turning a sour U.S economy around, by helping win the cold war, assembling a winning political coalition and restoring American pride. But the most important was that conservative consider him as one of the american's greatest all time presidents and the writer feels that this is down to the fact that he rebranded conservatism as they say before reagan came along it was basically a dour lot. Throughout the article there is not one bad word said against the former president and this could be one of two things that its because it a memorial peace on a dead presidents life or because the writer is a fan of the president maybe. It then goes on to mention that in the words of reagan "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are I'm from the government and i'm here to help" which portrays the former president in a more positive light as it shows him as being understanding of the general public and how they might feel and look at the government as being like. And to finish the argument the writer mentions that conservatism went from being a philosophy for capital killjoys to a force for optimism.


This is basically a mini biography of Reagan, showing his achievements throughout his life time, before, during and after his presidency. His greatest achievement is seemingly the end to the Cold War during his presidency. This website outlines the fact that he was a controversial president, that some of his policies were risky. However he served the maximum of two terms, Reagan
put forward many social issues during the 80's. The increase of drug abuse and an epidemic of HIV in mainstream american society meant that action needed to be taken. His wife Nancy's "Just Say No" campaign swept the nation and according to this website showed the strength of the relationship between the president and the first lady. Reagan also instated a policy of 'affirmative action' seeking to inject racial and gender equality into everyday life, especially colleges and the workplace. These views of Reagan are mostly positive, the Iran-Contra scandal is only mentioned, and the writer even managed to place a good spin on that, showing how amazingly well Nancy supported his husband through such a difficult time. The article shows how a presidency can be looked at in a positive light no matter the scandals that occurred during it.

This is an E-book i found called 'The Clothes Have No Emperor.' The book was first published in 1989 and has recently been re-released online. I found out about it from a post on an anti political blog that basically continuously criticises the workings of Washington. The blog calls this book 'Histories only accurate Reagan book' and the only 'Honest history' of Reagans presidency.It calls comparisons between Reagan and Obama as figures brought in to bring hope after recession, lost wars and defeat in the middle east. Perhaps the reason the book was re released and the hatred of Reagan policy revamped is because of the parallels they draw in this blog. The book itself gives a blow by blow account of Reagans presidency and the mistakes he made along the way. It is a satirical criticism of every single aspect of Reagan, not only his political life, but his personal life as well. This contrasts so hugely to the first article, when i was looking for articles expressing their Hate for Reagan I was by no means struggling. The wealth and variety of criticism of Reagan on the internet is overwhelming, whereas trying to find positive views of him seemed to be a lot more challenging. The articles i found, including the one I used tended to be short and mostly ignoring the iran contra scandal, whereas the negative views where very opinionated and tended to come from the left side of political views.

This article was written in 2004, so is a fairly recent view of Reagan. This shows that the image of the former President today is still positive after many years, and that he made a lasting impression on the American public. It was written just after his death and tells of all the achievements in his career and throughout his lifetime including the way he handled the threat of Soviet power by strengthening and increasing the size of America’s military. It outlines not only his foreign policy achievements, but his domestic successes including the increase in the American economy despite increasing the taxes for 8 years in a row. The article also commends his work towards increasing funding towards AIDS and HIV research. The most outstanding part of the President’s career according to this article was his personality, described as “rather unique for a President” as, unlike most Presidents he was honest and admitted to his mistakes and apologised for them. For example, he did a televised response and accepted responsibility for the failure of the Iran Contra Arms deal. His honesty made him respected, and the article shows how he won re-election in 49 States showing that he was a much loved and respected President. The article ends with the words “the world was a better place because Reagan was in it” which sums up that the author thinks Reagan was vital to improving America.

This article was also written recently, in 2009 so both are a contemporary retrospective view of Reagan. It is titled ‘Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?’ which immediately shows the view that some people hold of him, that he destroyed America and was their worst President. The article expresses how Reagan used his personality as a facade when he was really a “pied piper luring the American people.” He defends the view that people have that Reagan won the Cold War for America by saying that the Soviet Union was already failing when he became President and it was not the strong power that Reagan made it out to be. It says that the CIA Spies in the Soviet Union in the 1980s agreed with this point which shows that Reagan’s victory could have been less successful than Americans thought. The article also blames the rise of Al-Qaeda terrorism on Reagan, as he turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear bomb in return for its help in shipping weapons to the Afghan jihadists, including Osama Bin Laden, which lead to tensions between America and the Afghans creating enemies which would impact America in the future. What makes it more interesting are the comments underneath the article, some of which passionately defend Reagan as the the best President America has ever had, this shows that the debate is still alive today.

Both articles are similar as they only tell one side of the argument. The first makes Reagan out to be a Saint and the second only tell of his downfalls showing that neither have a balanced argument of the debate.

Ronald Reagan!

Ronald Reagan ... 40th president of the United States of America, served as president between 81 and 89. A president you either love or hate. And that is probably why, on the internet, the debate will still live on with websites and pages either stating how amazing a president he was, or how awful he really was.
I personally would have to say I did not believe he was that great of a president, but I acknowledge that everyone has a different opinion on the matter.

So this week, we had to identify two web pages that dealt with Reagan admiration and Reagan hatred. So my first pick, which is clearly an example of hagiography, comes from conservapedia. When I came across the website, I knew I had found my holy grail in terms of Reagan hagiography!! Let's face it, if you are a conservative, chances are you will like Reagan. So a whole website that has a clear conservative tendency, I could only find what I was looking for.
The page is constructed like any other page on a wiki-type website, so if you are unfamiliar, a good example of that type of website is wikipedia. There is a brief summary of who Reagan was, his life in big lines, and then a series of subparts detailing certain aspects of his life, such as his childhood, family background, etc...
The view on Reagan, his life and his presidency are clearly biased right from the start. Indeed, instead of detailing his life in an objective, descriptive way; words such as "universally hailed" and "one of the greatest presidents" appear early on. The only reason the website seem to give for such greatness is his conservatism. Indeed, let me bet that if Reagan had been a democrat and things had he done the same things (well, there would have been a slight difference if his political inclination had been different, but well..), conservatives would dis him simply for being a liberal. It is as simple as that apparently.
So from this website, I did learn things about his life which I did not know beforehand, such as his career in television and film, and I also learned that "his success became the model for Republicans into the 21st century".

my second link is to a blog and the blogpost is very simply entitled "I hate Ronald Reagan". Can't really get any simpler than that. And to find it, I simply googled Ronald Reagan hate haha.
The blogpost dates back from 2005, thus under the Bush presidency. The blogger lists reason why she hates Ronald Reagan. Most of his reasons have to do with taxes and how corporations are taxed at a lower rate than individuals and, of course, the difference is paid by individuals' tax money.
He also talks about the similarities between George W. Bush's president and Reagan's. Are also mentioned, the tax diminution for the rich and how unjust that is for the rest of the citizens. And both presidents also increased government spending through the increase of military spending. 
At the end of the argument, the author concludes that all of the things both presidents have done, Reagan as well as Bush, is weaken the government and give more power to the corporations.
The fact that I agree with most things mentioned here is irrelevant (or is it?), but this proves that hatred for Reagan is still running deep in today's America, and that he is even being compared to George W. Bush. I am not sure other presidents have provoked such vivid debates, especially still years after their presidency. 
So, love or hate, the Reagan debate has yet to die off.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Different views of Reagan

Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989; he was also an actor and a Republican. During his administration employment increased, inflation was curbed, and the strengthened national defences. But as with everything in this era, there are different opinions on the subject that are broadcasted on the internet, just waiting to be read by those who take the time to search for them. There are websites that express a hagiography of sorts, which is defined as a critical study on the lives of saints. is one such website, that sees the glory of Ronald Reagan and shines a light on it. In the opening sentence of the About Reagan 2020 page, there is the sentence 'the first and last modern Conservative President of the United States.' It is proclaimed that he brought down the Iron Curtain making the world a safer place. This entirely places complete credit onto Reagan, it was under his administration, with other individuals down the line being involved and yet completely forgotton under the famous name that is Reagan. The website Reagan 2020, in their own words, represents the 'permanent campaign advocating individual, family and community rights and responsibilities in acts of self-governance, as set forth by our founders.' They appear to believe that Reagan encompases everything that the 'Republic's Constitution' put forward and acts for the freedom of the individual. There are no criticisms of him as an individual, or his administration, the writers of the website view him through rose tinted glasses. The representation of Reagan is a bias view that does not allow for a more negative opinion, it creates an image that idolises him and places him on a political pedestal of fighting off the left.
This view of course is not universally accepted, for on the Website Slate, that is known for its critical viewpoints of politicians, including scathing cartoons. There is an article on Ronald Reagan that holds him in very low regard. The author Christopher Hitchens writes the Stupidity of Ronald Reagan as the sub-heading. In the first paragraph he states that he himself is a 'lefty', and although the end of the Soviet Union occured during the Reagan administration to which all were glad, the Reagan years were not all they were cracked up to be. He was historically inaccurate, stating that South Africa had stood beside America in every war, this was incorrect for they had sided with the Germans during the world war. This statement Hitchens appears to take as an insult, for as President it is assumed that there would be a source of knowledge behind him that woud point him on the right path, or atleast give him the correct information. To have a President who makes mistakes such as thins does not lend confidence to the nation, and it adds fuel to the fire of those on the Left who do not politically agree with him. Such as Hitchens. There may be a political ideology vendetta against Reagan, which is evident in the words and the way that he forms his argument that it is apparent that there is certainly a case for this, he overstates things, and so bitterness can be seen. In this way this article is the opposite of the rose tinted glasses, but it assumes that a Democratic administration would have been a better one, however, it is easy for this to be said, for hindsight allows for alot of things, things which cannot be changed.
The medium between these two examples would be a balanced argument that states both his failures and his achievements, however, there is always a sense of ideology that does not allow for a completely objective account. There will always be either a rose tinted view, or a damned view. I read both and I find them to be well written, but unrealistic. They are a portion of a society that hold a similar view and have decided to place their thoughts on the internet, they have put forward their arguments and they have used evidence that suits them. But those opinions matter to those that they are writing for, in this case either supporters of Reagan, or critics of him.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nintendo: Icon of the 80s Inner Child

I've always wanted to be an 80s kid. The revolutionary technology of video games, fantasy films and even toys... it was definitely a great time to be a kid. Several icons come to mind when I think of the decade: Michael Jackson, Back to the Future, Transformers, Hulk Hogan, Labyrinth... the list is endless. The influence of the 80s is certainly apparent today; the introduction of MTV and the music video in 1981 has had much significance in youth culture which is still prevalent. 80s nostalgia has rapidly began to saturate our screens in advertising and the rebooting of several film franchises including Transformers and The Nightmare on Elm Street in particular. Some may argue the creative industries are just running out of fresh ideas but I really do believe the allure of the 80s has one simple yet brilliant association: fun! Which leads me to the iconic image of the 80s I have chosen that embodies the ideology of fun perfecly... the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Who hasn't had fun "getting to know their mushrooms" in Super Mario Bros., slaying demons in The Legend of Zelda, or even saving kidnapped children in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (interesting...). And where else can you roam around as a terribly pixellated Marty McFly on a terribly pixellated screen to the terribly monotone drone of the Back to the Future theme tune. You will find such a retro console still sitting in 30-somethings' living rooms, tween college dorms and university halls because of the sheer fun and nostalgia it provides. By all means, Nintendo did come up with some less than stellar advancements (the Power Glove being a good example), but such accessories still foreshadowed the Nintendo Wii techology which was to become dominant within popular culture almost 20 years later. I own a Wii and find my only reason for keeping it is for the Virtual Console, an application that allows people to download and play classic games from retro game systems including Nintendo, Sega and several others.

So in 10 years - if I'm still here - I'll probably still be embracing my inner child playing 80s games on some brand new Nintendo system, anticipating a reboot of The Goonies while my children play with brand new Transformers toys, everything tracing back to the fun decade that was the 80s.

Michael Jackson's Thriller

Thriller was Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album, released in 1982.While had received much success and critical acclaim for his previous works, it was Thriller that perhaps cemented him as the biggest pop star of his generation. Thriller contained many of Jackson’s most iconic hits, such as Billie Jean, Beat It, Human Nature and of course the title track. Thriller became not just the best selling album of the 1980’s, but still remains the best selling album of all time today. Even the video for the title track is preserved in the Library of Congress, having been deemed “culturally significant.

But, perhaps the most important thing about Thriller and it’s effect on Jackson’s career and the music industry is that it signified two major changes. The first major change is that it helped to break down racial barriers in music, as it proved that an African American man could become perhaps the biggest star of his generation. Through Thriller, Jackson became perhaps the first African American star who as instantly recognisable as other American music icons like Elvis and Frank Sinatra, as well as creating an album that outsold both of them. This perhaps signifies the changing racial attitudes of the 1980’s.

Thriller is also significant in how it used music videos. Via heavy rotation on MTV, Jackson was able to bolster his success and the Thriller album provided many iconic video moments, such as the light up pavement in Billie Jean or the subway scene in Beat It. Most important is perhaps the video for the title track, that also served as short film, and demonstrated how music videos could be both promotional gimmicks and art. These videos also helped to cement Jackson’s title as the most iconic male pop star of the 1980s.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When I think of 1980s America, one of the first things I think of is Hands Across America.

On May 25th 1986 almost seven million people joined hands with each other in an attempt to form a single unbroken chain stretching accross the entire United States of America, from New York in the east, to Long Beach, California in the west. A lot of famous people took part in Hands Across America, Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson, and Bill Clinton included - and while there were some breaks in the chain, it still managed to raise approximately $34 million, and then a further $800 million in aid from the Government, all towards the aim of fighting hunger and homelessness.

However, despite all this money raised, it was largely regarded as unsuccessful in achieving what it was supposed to. Even months after the money had been raised, for many homeless people in America, it was as if it had never happened. The USA for Africa Foundation - the company that staged the event - first decided to pay off approximately $17 million in expenses out of the money raised.

MTV and the "MTV Generation"

MTV was launched on the 1st August, 1981 as a new channel playing music videos. The first video played was the prophetic choice "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. It became a major presence in the TV industry but perhaps more importantly in the overall American landscape.
As radio before it, MTV became of great commercial importance for rising stars and was soon recognised in the industry as a key method to increase a musician’s commercial success. This is true for artists including Madonna and Michael Jackson; however it is perhaps best illustrated by the transformation of the fortunes of British band Duran Duran who, until their video was repeatedly played on MTV, were struggling to “break” America. A similar phenomenon was seen with New York Band “Talking Heads”.
The reasons I chose MTV are twofold. Firstly MTV’s reflection of the changing attitudes of Americans over the decade, illustrated by the move from focussing on rock to a wider music variety and by the eventual inclusion of black artists to the line up (reflecting possibly the acceptance of an African American Miss World as discussed earlier in this blog). Secondly, the significance and influence of this music channel on teen America.
MTV became such a powerful symbol of American Youth in the 1980s that they soon became referred to as the “MTV Generation”. This phrase was coined to describe the demographic of MTV viewers from as early as 1983 and by 1985 was used to describe Brett Easton Ellis as the “voice of the MTV generation”.
MTV now faces great criticism for no longer showing music videos, but instead focussing on programmes such as “My Sweet 16” and “The Real “World”. It could be observed that as MTV and video killed the radio star, the internet is now killing off the music channels. As discussed in Miles Clements’ article, perhaps MTV is just doing what it does best and simply moving with the times.

Women in the 80's

For many feminists the 1980's is the end of second wave feminism, the outcry of the 60's and 70's is abated. However the 1980's shows some of the biggest achievements for women in American History. With the ERA accepted in 22 states women are getting more rights than ever before, however men are still, to this day the more dominant sex in high paying careers.

In 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female member of the Supreme Court. In doing so he gave Women a place in the judicial system of the United states that they had not had previously. The 1980's showed a lot a progress in Womens rights in America. After the huge amounts of progress made in the 1960's and 70's and Kennedy's equal rights movement, women were now finding there way into politics more comfortably and without the previous criticism.

Not only was a women appointed into the Supreme Court, many more were members of the Reagan government and in the 1984 elections the first woman was put forward as a vice presidential candidate. The 1980's held a lot of firsts for American women and not only in politics. The first American Woman Astronaut rocketed into space in the 80's, showing that in the 80's, an ambitious American women can hold her own in a mans world.

RAMBO: First Blood, In particular.

Rambo is an Icon that burst on to the screen in 1982, adapted from the David Morrell novel Rambo: First Blood published ten years earlier. Rambo is a series of books and films that has recently been adapted to four parts. But the Focus here is on John Rambo as an Icon and in particular Rambo: First Blood. Without referencing too much, the film shows the significance of the first story - First Blood and its difference from the later storys. This is due to the political message in the film that resonated the feelings of a nation that was characteristic to the 1980's.

In First Blood Rambo represents the Vietnam vets' that came home, & shared in common a similar experience to that of Rambo. Many Vietnam vets' returned home to find an anti war movement had turned the public against them for the attrocities comitted by U.S. troops in the war. Furthermore many of the returning veterans' suffered from posttraumitic stress disorder.
The disillusioned veterans were apart of a larger feeling that was characteristic to the darker side of American culture of the 1980's, stories like Rambo: First Blood became a genre that represented a period for America, a period of soulsearching and underlying reflection.

America needed to show compassion to it's veterans, also captured in the story. "All we want is for America to love us as much as we love it."

Rambo the character became the all American Hero, the story personified the feelings of a Nation. What is key to remember is that, although Rambo is a four novel and four film series, the significance is Rambo: First Blood. The sequels are a story of one man versus an army, generic, shoot'em up. First Blood is the thriller with an Icon that represents a deeper meaning, it tell's us something about 1980's America and it's culture.

Sylvestre Stallone plays the Icon Rambo who captures an era.

Miracle on Ice

In the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, the USA Ice Hockey Team became known as the "miracle on ice".
A team made up of collefe hockey players, instead of the obvious choice of NHL players gave America something to feel good about. After the Vietnam War, The Watergate scandal, and rising unemployment of the 1970s, things were not looking good at the turn of the century. To make things more difficult for the USA, the year of the olympics, the USSR had just invaded Afghanistan, and as the games opened there were still 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran.
America did not have much, if anything, to be hopeful for. This was the attitude people felt towards the USA hockey team going into the Olympics. The year before the Soviets had crushed the NHL All Stars 6-0 and the team had lost 10-3 to the Soviets during a pre-Olympic exhibition game. The USA couldnt beat the Europeans on skill alone, but with a hard year and a half of practice and building, Brooks put together a team that emphasized on speed, conditioning, and displine.
The team met the Soviets in the semi final which to everyones suprise resulted in a 4-3 win for the USA. This success alone uplifted the spirits of Americans after a decade of doom and despair. It created a renewal of patriotism before the team had even played the final. They went on to defeat Finland 4-2, and won the gold medal.
The line most commonly associated with the Miracle on Ice is "it gace the country a reason to feel good again". Once again Americans had reason to be proud to be Americans. Although it was only a sporting event, the defeat of the Soviets was hugely symbolic, and gave the USA the boost it needed.

Olympic Boycott 1980

The 1980 Olympic Games took place in Moscow, where a number of countries, including Japan, West Germany, Philippines and America chose to Boycott the Games as a sign of protest against the Soviet War in Afghanistan. The Americans, led by President Jimmy Carter, made an ultimatum that America would boycott the games unless the Soviet troops left Afghanistan. They refused to leave, so the countries went ahead with the Boycott. We can see how many countries agreed with America, and were against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan as only 80 countries participated in the Moscow Olympics, with 65 countries choosing to Boycott the event.

The Americans not only boycotted the games, but set up a rival event called the 'Liberty Bell Classic' which was help at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1980. Some of the times in the Olympic Boycott were in fact better than those in the official games.

I think this shows America as a country with strong principles, and one who is not afraid to do something different and change events if it doesn't agree with issues. Many countries may not have boycotted the Moscow Olympics if it wasn't for the strong, leading influence of America. We have seen this influence prior to the 1980's and up to the present day, and it is what makes America exceptional and different to many other countries which are more submissive.

I also think this is ironic, as America thought strongly enough to protest against the war in Afghanistan, however they themselves went to war with them only 21 years later. This also shows that America has many enemies and how quickly it can go from being protective and defensive of a country, to becoming the opposite and invading them in a War that has lasted for 10 years, and is still going on.

World's top-selling female recording artist of all time... Madonna

I have spent mow many days searching google, hoping to find something interesting to post on this blog. But let's face it, I don't know nearly enough about the Eighties to make a surprising choice. Indeed, all that came to mind were the clothing, the drug problems and a few names of the music industry. All very common, bordering stereotypical, images that we have from that period.
But maybe that is it, maybe what defines the 80s really is the stereotypes, and not just the wars, the natural disasters, the invention of the IBM 5150 which would lead to personal computers as we know them. Maybe looking for something no one had heard before was not the right path.
And thus I chose Madonna.

Madonna has been around for quite some time now and is truly a musical icon. Born in 1958, she made her debut in New York in 1982 with the album "Everybody". Ever since, she has been accumulating albums and dominated the top of the charts. Songs such as Holiday and Like a Virgin are known by people who weren't even born back then!
The iconic status comes probably from her cutting edge lyrics, provocative outfits and sexually charged image. Indeed, Madonna is not only a music icon, she is also, or at least was back in the 80s, a fashion icon. How many girls did not go for the same, bouffant hair and the provocative, sexy clothing? She influenced a generation and gave out a strong, positive image for women to look up to (or frown upon, as not everyone is of the same opinion concerning her).

Wall Street Yuppies

My blog this week is not directly about the 1987 film Wall Street but rather what the film represents. The iconic image of Michael Douglas sneering over Charlie Sheen's shoulder can be compared to those in power in New York City's financial district who pulled the puppet strings of those struggling to break through in such a competitive market. Young Urban Professionals or 'Yuppies' as they are more commonly known were an 80's phenomenon and referred to those people (usually men) in their 20s and 30s who were characteristically in a professional career and abused their position and income as such that they began to garner a reputation in American culture. This was apparent in the early 80s, but when the stock market crashed in 1987 the term 'Yuppie' died out with their frivolous spending. Patrick Bateman, the main protagonist in 'American Psycho', another of Brett Easton Ellis's great novels, was also a 'Yuppie', thus cementing it's place in 1980s American Culture. The term even managed to find it's way across the pond and influenced one of Britain's greatest TV sitcoms, Only Fools and Horses. Del Boy famously dons his 'D' pendant on the gold chain around his neck and wears his camel skin coat around his shoulders on top of his 3-piece suit whilst splashing the cash (albeit cash he didn't actually have). But the most likely place to find a 'Yuppie' would be in New York City, and more likely on Wall Street.

So why is the Yuppie such a significant part of 80s American culture and why do we reminisce and laugh today? Schadenfreude, that's why. Laughing at how the mighty have fallen. Just like Gordon Gekko, who started out as top dog, his scheming ways caught up with him and he was locked up on a fraud charge. Not surprisingly, a lot of seemingly legitimate businessman were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering, rendering some peoples vision of a 'Yuppie' as nothing but a no good crook. It would explain the lifestyles they had....

But now, the Yuppie era is dead, never to be revived. The clothes, the cars, the labels, the huge amounts of money, the snobbery...if we learnt anything from the 80s, it's that the higher you build yourself up, the harder you fall. The 1987 stock market crash was swiftly followed by a devastating recession in the early 1990s which we managed to recover from and we vowed never to spend again like we did in the 80s...if only that were true.