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American Culture of the 1970s & 1980s

The decades of the seventies and eighties in the U.S. saw profound changes in the ways in which Americans perceived their government. The sixties, that tumultuous decade of social foment and altered consciousness, paved the way for the seventies culture to reevaluate our political system and its ability (or inability) to withstand constitutional crises such as Watergate. Socially, the seventies and eighties began to evolve away from "us thinking" toward "me thinking." In fact, the eighties have been dubbed the "me decade" by social critics such as journalist Tom Wolfe. Economically, the twenty years leading up to the present decade saw recession, tremendous inflation, and the self-serving economic policies labelled as "trickle down" by Reagan detractors and supporters alike.

The seventies culture has been resurrected recently in a short-lived recreation of the disco years. Part of the dusting off of KC and the Sunshine Band and Donna Summer has to do with the marketing of CD's, the original recordings of which have more than paid for themselves in the 70s. Now they can again be marketed to a new generation of slackers with ironic detachment. Seventies pop music culture is as ironically hip to today's grunge rockers as Sha Na Na were to the celebrants at the original Woodstock. Andrew Ferguson makes a razor-sharp observation about modern life when he says, "in the modern age nostalgia zips along so quickly you scarcely have time to feel nostalgic" (80). His point is well taken, especially since Sha Na Na were ironically performing fifties music just six years prior to Woodstock. At least the current (or recent) burst of disco fever allowed about twenty intervening years. Perhaps it was not nostalgia at all, but a shrewd marketing ploy by the record companies to resuscitate new life into old royalties.

Siskel and Ebert, the noted Chicago film critic-celebrities, have proclaimed that the seventies produced more good mov...

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American Culture of the 1970s & 1980s. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:00, August 06, 2020, from