The ’80s brought us the Iran-Contra Affair, AIDS, the Challenger disaster, New Coke, parachute pants and Rick Astley.
They also brought us the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial, the personal computer, cellphones and U2.
It was a decade of extremes, and we’re celebrating it – the good and the bad (and the very, very bad) with this issue of GO.
No other decade of the 20th century had such a polarizing effect as the 1980s. Mention it to someone, and you’ll either get fondly reminiscent jabbering or a roll of the eyes and a pained groan.
And it’s hard to argue with either side.
People tend to look at the ’80s as the spoiled brat of the family, the middle child sandwiched between the social revolution of the ’60s and ’70s and the information age of the ’90s.
It was an era when people proudly declared that “greed is good” but raised millions for famine relief in Ethiopia. When more millionaires were created than at any previous time in history while crushing inner-city poverty resulted in an explosion of gangs. When the kids of Generation X came of age surrounded by MTV and video games yet entered the ’90s with a world view focused on change.
In previous issues of GO, we gave nostalgic nods to the ’70s and ’90s, each anchored by an entertainment event iconic of its era. We’re doing the same this week by keying off of the hit Broadway musical “Rock of Ages” at Merrill Auditorium to take a look back at the days of big hair, spandex and stirrup pants.
We had a lot of fun putting this issue together, as those of us who grew up in the ’80s reminisced and those who came of age in other eras smiled at us bemusedly. There was even a discussion about the proper definition of a “power ballad.”
So we hope you enjoy this special issue of GO – whether you love the ’80s so much that you still keep a pair of leg warmers and pine for the day you can proudly wear them in public again, or you hate the decade so much that you’ve burned your old cassette tapes and ripped your high school prom photos with that mega-perm to bits.
Have a tubular time.
Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or: