1980s – History and SPL Programs



In one sense nothing distinguished the 1980s as a decade; instead, its cultural preoccupations and political symbols were borrowed from other decades. Little during the time was original or new: almost universally the art and literature of the period required some sense of precedent in order to be under-stood; politics and culture seemed locked into agendas set prior to the decade. The dominant political figure of the era, President Ronald Reagan, expressed an economic philosophy derived from the 1920s (or, perhaps, from the 1890s), a populist rhetoric borrowed from the 1930s, the can-do optimism of the 1940s, and an anticommunism straight out of the 1950s. His political opponents at-tacked him via the liberalism of the 1930s and 1940s or through the social radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s. The arts and fashion in the 1980s were dominated by stylistic borrowings: Art Deco from the 1930s, Abstract Expressionism and film noir from the 1940s, commercial kitsch from the 1950s, rock music and countercultural experimentalism from the 1960s. American lifestyle during the decade witnessed a continuing clash between the Reagan generation, who derived their sense of the “normal” or “natural” from the 1940s and 1950s, and the baby boomers, who challenged these norms in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1980s, in other words, contained the volatile historical forces and cultural conflicts of much of twentieth-century America. –Read More Here.

Source: “Introduction.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 9: 1980-1989. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 23 July 2012.

Join us this week for these “Between the Decades” Programs.

Decades Documentaries – Ronald Reagan: An American Journey (1980s)- Tuesday, July 24 @ 2PM – Experience the astonishing political career of one of the most influential and popular political figures of the past three decades with this in-depth look at Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Now you can relive the historical milestones that shaped him including his early political career as governor, his debates with Carter and Mondale, the assassination attempt, his trailblazing relations with major international leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev, and his relationship with his wife, Nancy. This remarkable, feature-length look at Reagan’s achievements is packed with incredible archival footage including highlights and news coverage from his groundbreaking speeches and debates as well as the major world events he faced in office. From his early political career to his eight years leading his country, Reagan changed the face of modern American politics and became immediately recognized as a statesman and speaker like no other, and now his legacy continues with this essential portrait of one of America’s most important leaders.

Decades Movies: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1980) – Friday, July 27 @ 2PM – “Bueller? Bueller??” Sorry, not here! Instead, high-schooler Ferris Bueller (Mathew Broderick), his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), and his best bud Cameron (Alan Ruck) are off on the spontaneous romp through Chicago known as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (1986, 107min, PG-13)