Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Framing of Decades

“I know it when I see it” is a joke saying that alludes to an old Supreme Court justice when he explained explicit pornography. The justices themselves had fun with that line when censorship cases came before them after that line was first uttered. I know it when I see it can apply to many things, and one that is a great concept is when a decade starts or ends. A decade is not just the simple years in the decade, but the “era”. Several years back, I recall some writers saying the ‘80s never ended. They did. There is something specific about an era and these lines can be buffered by transition periods. Looking back 50 years, it is fun to play the game of when the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s etc. all began and ended.

There is the real ‘60s and then “the ‘60s man”. The real ‘60s has had a nice rehab and shape up in the popular mind with Mad Men. The true ‘60s were a continuation of the Eisenhower era with a youth surge that would not hit critical mass until the Boomers hit young adulthood and Vietnam hit into gear. The anti-war, hippie garbage ‘60s did not start until ’68 and ended in ’74. The summer of love was in ’67, but it was a localized thing that had not spread nationwide. The epic year of ’68 is the start of "the ‘60s", and ’74 is a nice ending as Nixon (a leader ending an era) is booted out, the post-war Washington consensus is gone, inflation takes off, abortion is legalized and hitting the mainstream’s consciousness, and American troops are completely out of Vietnam. Steve Sailer has put forth a similar timeframe for publicly imagined “the ‘60s”.

Does that mean “the ‘70s” start right up there in ’75. No. Considering what the public envisions with the ‘70s is more of a polyester, disco, Star Wars funky time. Disco was a small phenomenon that was actually fading until Travolta sent it to the stratosphere and made it a nationwide trend. Saturday Night Fever, the quintessential ‘70s disco movie was released in December of ’77. Now it had to reflect something already evident and well enough known for it to succeed. That is what amounts to a ’78 film being the class ‘70s pop culture music movie. The original disco enthusiasts called the late comers who coked up and danced poorly disco zombies. The ‘70s do not end with Reagan’s election. The early Reagan years are stylistically, mood and economically more like the ‘70s. This era of is best captured in ’76-’82. The inflation worries were constant and still a factor into Reagan’s first two years in office. Paul Volcker had to kill inflation to help our economy switch to a FIRE based economy. Early ‘80s weddings still have the awful tuxedos of the ‘70s. Seriously, what the h3ll happened to men’s fashion in the ‘70s. It was the decade we lost our minds. It is okay because in the ‘80s we’d recover.

By 1984, the ‘80s are officially “the ‘80s” so hard that Reagan’s re-election is a conservakin, flag waving epic of awesomeness. The ‘80s become “the ‘80s” in 1983. A perfect example of the switch being ’83 and ’82 really being the ‘70s is to look at Rambo. Rambo is an ‘80s ass-kicking hero. Rambo was originally called “First Blood” and released in 1982. Watch it. That is a moody, Vietnam veteran trouble at home story. Rambo 2, which is actually called Rambo: First Blood part 2, is released in ’85 and dripping in ‘80s. Rambo goes back to ‘Nam to kill commies and free POWs like we should have done if we had been Reaganified in the ‘70s. Empire Strikes back is made i 1980, but a total '70s vibe, while 1983's Return of the Jedi is '80s. Look at a list of films from 1983; "the '80s" had begun. The year 1983 is when MTV reaches critical mass and effect with Michael Jackson’s trio of music videos, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” and “Thriller”. The medium could make a band, and would prove it with Madonna’s debut album coming out in ’83 but becoming huge in ’84 with the use of video for promotion. The “Morning in America” Reagan vibe was in reality an Indian Summer, and as all seasons do, it would come to an end.

The ‘80s were dragged into a field and shot in ’92. It was a good run from ’83-’92. The first clue was the fall of Russian aligned communism being complete. The other early clue is that we had a long delayed recession in ’91, but the recovery was our first FIRE economy recovery. It was not like old recoveries and took longer to get back to full employment even if the GDP was rising. Bill Clinton proved the Boomer ascendancy, as we finally had a president who openly was a draft dodging, cheating, p0t experimenting product of the New Left’s takeover of universities. Gary Hart’s career was crushed for a smidgeon of what Clinton was accused of. Funny thing is Guns n Roses Use Your Illusion double release was one week before Nirvana’s Nevermind, yet one is an ‘80s band while the other is the Grunge standard bearer. A similar changed happened with rap where MC Hammer went from big time and releasing an album in 1991 with Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens showing up in the music videos to the seismic change of gangsta rap and The Chronic in 1992. The ‘80s were dead.

The ‘90s did not kick off immediately. There is that depressing, downer period where people were still afraid of AIDS killing anyone (media/education scare) and wearing layers upon layers with thermal underwear and plaid. NAFTA and early globalization was fought incredibly hard. We’re hitting 20th anniversaries for Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and Chris Farley movies, and that is a good indicator of the ‘90s gaining steam, but not hitting critical mass until those types of movies automatically got bigger budgets, higher salaries for the stars and better production values. The ’94 Contract with America Gingrich sweep was a bit of a Reagan last gasp politically. I’ll settle on ’96 because of Clinton’s recovery politically, the Internet taking off, the Spice Girls, and the AIDS cocktail severely reducing deaths and making the Sexual Revolution hit a new gear after the brief HIV-AIDS forced restraint. There is no debate on the ending of the ‘90s. They ended September 11th, 2001.

The 2000s kick off with 9/11. That 2001 recession helps end the decade, too as the stock market bubble was done and the association of dot-com with bust was cemented. As much as the end of the Cold War, signified the end of the ‘80s and a beginning of an inward look and questioning of reality, the kick-off of the war on terror marks the start of the 2000s. That globalization has negatives was starting to dawn on people, not the elite, but the economic and security anxiety factor ticked up for normies. There is another factor at play that does not get much attention. The results of the 2000 census came in showing Hispanics higher than blacks. Pearls were clutched by blacks, and they even threw out the “add in multiracial that include black and we be bigger still”. The rise of Hispanics was finally recognized beyond California voters and Pat Buchanan. President Bush speaking español at events (stupid cowboy) is something no one ever would have expected from a prior president. The other rise was the rise of gay. Everyone politely forgot how HIV-AIDS would be a 3rd world problem if not for gay men, and the media pushed the fabulousness of gays. The global war on terror being a bad thing had media attention from what, January 2004 to January 2009.

The 2000s came crashing down in 2008. The American financial crisis, the rise of the Obama coalition (really the McGovern coalition, just in greater numbers), and the media black out, puff job on Iraq, Afghanistan and anything new war related signified a switch. I am not willing to say the 2010s started then, because there is something important that had to happen for a new realization to start to take hold. Voting had to fail. Obama was voted into office in ’08, and the masses expected change, jailed bankers and no more war. Didn’t happen. The Tea Party was a genuinely populist rise of the last remaining voters who can pool money to take on incumbents. They managed to peel back some minor subsidies and hold Congress hostage on spending with only one house of Congress. That is a small, small success, but they have been absorbed now into the establishment. Occupy lasted three months, and there was no lasting imprint on the nation except for the women raped at OWS events. Three people movements. Three failures. Voting is not going to change anything, and more people view DC as dysfunctional and impossible to change. The cap to this might be Obama’s re-election when, ahem, higher information voters looked around and said “WTF?”. Here is my idea for the 2010s. President Obama gave a speech about naysayers and fear-peddlers about the government in May of 2013 in Ohio.  Edward Snowden proved every tinfoil hat and conspiracy theorist correct in June of 2013. He proved Obama’s words outright lies even to the normies. If the 2010s started and will be defined by a nationwide disgust with the rotten institutions of America and possibly the globe, Edward Snowden’s revelations in June 2013 might be that turning point.

The 2000s are gone, and the 2010s have started. How long will they last, who knows? The surveillance state was born decades past, but mass awareness is now. Not just surveillance from the state but from each other. The rapid slide down the slippery slope after gay marriage will be an item for the 2010s. If it all feels collapsing, look at it as change and the rush by elites trying so hard and so fast to rip up every asset and push every bit of degeneracy before the wicked ship they built sinks. To borrow from Strauss and Howe, we’re definitely in a crisis period, and the long awaited Fourth Turning is here. It is early. We have not had to make any tough decisions yet, as we keep printing money to paper over any slight discomfort. It should get worse. This will be compounded since this is our global empire. We are the hegemon. Out of this crisis, there will be a different America. The journey changes you.


nikcrit said...

To borrow from Strauss and Howe, we’re definitely in a crisis period, and the long awaited Fourth Turning is here. It is early. We have not had to make any tough decisions yet, as we keep printing money to paper over any slight discomfort. It should get worse. This will be compounded since this is our global empire.

When would you specifically put the fatal turn that led to our current demise? I keep sticking to my daily meditative mantra on how the tech boom wasn't that long ago, along with its promise of a recession-proofed millionaire middle-class, etc. ----- but it's slowly starting to dawn on me: that was a pretty long time ago.

Lot of futurist pundits posit that 9-11 was the decisive moment ending 90s prosperity.... i really dunno; i get overwhelmed from these type of meta-forecasts.

kurt9 said...

The 70's were like 3 decades in one. The early 70's was the hippy era for the hippies, but still the straight-laced adult society (post WW2 industrial culture) for the rest of the Americans. This ended in '73. '74 through '76 was the mid-70's when the liberal culture was embraced by the main-stream society and people wore leisure-suits (remember those?). Then came the late 70's ('77 through '79) which was dicso music and polyester clothing.

My interpretation of the 80's is different from yours. 1980 itself was a transition. There were 70's aspects to it but the yuppie scene started that year. My experience is that the cultural 80's really did start around March or April of '81. The music was much softer that year and was "feel good" (remember the Gogo's?). The preppy handbook was published in spring of that year and the college scene (this was the year I entered college) was VERY 80's like starting that very fall of '81.

To me, the 80's was like one continuous decade (both in the Pacific Northwest and California) with 1989 being not that different from 1981. Yeah I agree things were more optimistic by '84 than in '81 (no inflation and the early 80's recession ended by spring of '83).

Both '89 and '90 were transition years. The feel good music was being replaced by rap and things were starting to get edgy again. The early 90's was edgy (the LA riots and the resulting cultural fallout), but not as edgy as the late 70's.

nikcrit said...

I think of the '60s in two parts: the Rat-Pack, black-and-white television, Flintstones in prime-time era from '60-'64, and the color, kodachrome, hippie-dippie, Jerry Rubin, Huey Newton, Mark Rudd Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in era from '66-'70.

'65 was the dividing line = "Batman": half-retro, half-hipster.

Portlander said...

The 80's ended with the Gulf War-Bush tax increase induced recession of '91. When graduating Gen X'ers couldn't find employment they found their voice in college band/grunge music like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day, and Smashing Pumpkins. Hey, Lollapalooza was a thing.

The Presidential election of '92 made it official.

As for the 60's being in the 70's, Steve Jobs said exactly that. I'd consider him a reasonable expert on the topic. So, I'm with SoBL on them starting in '68, and going until the Vietnam War-Oil embargo induced recession of '73-74.

peterike said...

"The 60s" start in 1968? Nah. Probably the advent of The Beatles.

But here's my own particular starting point for "The 60s." 1959, when Lenny Bruce appears on the Steve Allen show. His dreadful, cretinous routine introduces multiple progressive tropes that are still with us today and still causing trouble. It's a little masterpiece of the Jewish culture poison that would swamp the 60s and then overwhelm America entirely in the 70s and ever since. We forget how quickly basic decency and common sense unraveled in America, and Bruce was the tip of the spear.

Tucci said...

I'd say that the 2000's ended on 17 November 2009 when the Climategate files (archived as "") hit the net and confirmed suspicions that'd been brewing among scientists and other observers of the "climate catastrophe" crap that the politicians, bureaucrats, and quacks pushing the man-made global warming meme were not only hideously wrong but really had been conniving to conceal the fact that they were peddling nothing but pure "Cargo Cult Science."

Actually, the greatest single fraud this side of the Federal Reserve System.

But that's another matter.

Anybody want to discuss "Quantitative Easing," and how it's made the 2010 decade what it's already proving to be?

nikcrit said...

O.T.: Hey, I found some video proof that blacks as even as far back as the '70s, acknowledged aggregate ethnic-I.Q. differences as fact:

Go to 0:42 in clip:

PA said...

This is a great post. My suggestion would be that there is no break between the 2000s and the 2010s -- its a long, continuous malaise. In terms of pop culture, I don't see much of a change, or even a defining style.

peterike said...

In think more about my own comments, I think there's a difference about when did the 60s start in political terms and when in cultural terms. The two weren't in synch.

I maintain that the 60s started culturally with Lenny Bruce or the Beatles, but politically 1968 is reasonable. It took some time for the culture to shake the old political alliances. But since then, with the Left totally taking over the culture, the political/cultural shifts have been in closer synch. Though I suppose you could take a careful look and draw different lines.

Also, while the 80s were indeed a good time, it was also the last chance to save the nation on immigration, and that failed miserably. And in the 80s the go-go "profits are the only thing that matter" ethos took hold, leading to the massive outsourcing disasters of the 90s and the ultimate ruination of America.

Many don't remember but the press hostility to Reagan was intense. And so the 80s also was the time when the media lost even a pretense of being non-partisan, and when PC began to seriously infest media and entertainment, and anti-white/anti-man started to get up a head of steam.

The robust white people economy of the 80s meant that white people were so busy enjoying the good life that they didn't see or care about how furiously the termites were chewing at the foundations. Things unraveled with remarkable speed and continue to unravel still.

The one exception was probably crime, which got much better in the 90s, but will probably continue to get worse as the third world hordes stream in faster than ever and the media gins up black resentment more than ever before.

PA said...

"when PC began to seriously infest media and entertainment, and anti-white/anti-man started to get up a head of steam."

I noticed the advent of PC around 1991. I was aware of it as a teenager in the 80s but to me that had seemed a fringe phenomenon or just "niceness"related; eg., Dear Abby lecturing readers that homosexuals shouldn't be made fun of.

As to crime getting better in the 90s, that isn't truly an improvement; crime dropped because people adjusted to crime and ceded public spaces that were previously theirs. The muzzled dogs (whites) outrunning the unmuzled hyenas (criminal blacks).

PA said...

Maybe I can identify the break between 2000s and 2010s after all, and this is tangentially related to SOBL's Snowden marker: the explosion of social media.

Prior to circa 2008, Facebook or twitter were nascent and smartphones too. Relatedly, alt-right blogging arguably started infiltrating upper layers of media consciousness. Roissy and Game theory, and Sailed being quietly read by politicians and pundits.

Portlander said...

The 00's and the 10's are definitely different decades.

What they have in common, however, is that for those paying attention the FIRE economy is pretty clearly burning through our nation's seed-corn. The 1% are getting incomprehensibly richer, all of it on the backs of a dwindling middle-class.

The Great Recession seemed a chance to break from that trajectory, but alas it was for naught. Chits were called in and Congress folded.

Short of the Iraq War, everything Sailer was writing about in '04 is as true and pertinent today as it was then. Nothing's changed in that regard and so, yes, it feels like there is not much difference for those paying attention. But Sailer's topics were totally off the radar to the vast majority of people in '04. That's changed now, but as I've written previously it's too late to matter (nb. Great Recession). The ballot box has been stuffed, and the posterity of those that built this nation and made it great have had their birth-right stolen.

Toddy Cat said...

'65 was the dividing line = "Batman": half-retro, half-hipster"

I can remember 1965, and yes, there was a definite threshold of some kind that year. I noticed it even a kid. But in small-town red-state America, where I grew up, there's no doubt that some aspects of the 50's lingered on into the late 60's and even the early 70's.

It's complicated. These thing seem to happen in stages, with culture outpacing politics by a couple of years. Lenny Bruce precedes the Days of Rage, Cobain precedes Clinton.

nikcrit said...

It's a little masterpiece of the Jewish culture poison that would swamp the 60s and then overwhelm America entirely in the 70s and ever since. We forget how quickly basic decency and common sense unraveled in America, and Bruce was the tip of the spear.

This got me thinking about Bruce and the American cultural backdrop that he debuted against: there really was nothing like him when he first appeared; i can't cite a tradtion or movement he came out of and/or 'made mainstream.' He was truly radical and revolutionary in the literal sense of the term; i mean, stuff he did in that monologue would've even caused a stir, albeit a minor one, on the Smothers Brothers show, which came a decade laterwhich, as you know, was considered America's official mainstream entrance portal for '60s entertainment rebels and upstarts.

sidenote: you ever read the Albert Goldman biography of Bruce? Very funny, IMO; Goldman is a real-life parody of the whiney jewish NY critic; a guilty pleasure in his own way.... perhaps you (peterike) read him from time to time when he was the rock critic for the NY Times in the 80s, no?

nikcrit said...

"I noticed the advent of PC around 1991."

Ok, but i recall as an underground coming across a seminar held in the student union by the Black Student Union titled "Architectural Racism," in which a kid, without a trace of humor or irony, went into a spirited rant about how Greco-Roman columns were a tool to signify caucasian imperialism and dominance.
But this was Madison we are talking about, and that town usually got a two or three year jump on everything progressive and morally edifying...lolz.

nikcrit said...

forgot to note that the Black Student Union speech i noted occurred in '89 or so, to contrast with PA's citing '91 as the dawning of p.c.

Anonymous said...

'91 was the peak of the dawn of p.c.
my first year in college was in the fall of '89--p.c. was evident, but nothing like what it had transformed into by '91-2.
I cannot even imagine how bad it is now, and that's coming from someone who taught HS as recently as last year.