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What was it about the early 1980's?

What was it about the early 1980's that seemed so full of despair in light of making snowballs during a nuclear winter, and yet brought us MTV and silly TV shows that we are embarrassed to have even watched? Growing up during this time I, like many of my school-mates felt the awesome sense of the futility of life after we saw The Day After. And if Ronald Reagan and the Soviets didn't blow us up, well then we always had to look forward to computers doing it for us like in Wargames. So many of us developed the attitude that if the world was going to blow up, why were we wasting our time at school? It's not like things got better the next year with the first (big) PG-13 movie Red Dawn, even less of a reason to be at school. Especially if our hopes of freedom lay in the hands of Patrick Swayze.

However we had New Wave music, the growth of Rap (remember the Fat Boys?), The Brat Pack, oh I could go on. Throughout this time there was a general sense of the world being chaotic and disaster looming overhead. But I also remember this sense of innocence and silliness that I don't see today. Being a kid back then, tattoos, piercings, and sexual openness were very rare things. Look at the youth of today and they have been exposed to so much more that affects them and their thinking in a more direct way. I suppose one could argue that everything is relative, but if that's the case how much farther will kids go twenty years from now? In the 80's parents worried about their daughters being influenced by Madonna -- look back at how girls who loved Madonna dressed -- Now compare that with how mom's dress and how their daughters emulate Christina, Brittany, Jessica & Paris.

Ah, the innocence of the 80's gave us such sophisticated TV shows as Square Pegs, to help us deal with the Fast Times. Or Whiz Kids for those of us who were afraid of the War Games being played by the politicians. Technology was continuing to grow and this weird Science would even give birth to the Misfits of Science. I couldn't even imagine such TV shows being given the green light these days.

Maybe it was that overwhelming sense of dread that allowed us to more fully enjoy the 80's in an innocent way that compared to today makes the 80's look like the 1950's. Oh and just in case you doubt that some shows made back then would never be made today, I present my last piece of evidence, the smoking gun if you will (and a show I did watch and enjoy) perhaps you also watched it?

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