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Back to Our Future

ISBN: 9780345518781 | 0345518780
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pub. Date: 3/15/2011

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Wall Street scandals. Fights over taxes. Racial resentments. A Lakers-Celtics championship.The Karate Kidtopping the box-office charts. Bon Jovi touring the country. These words could describe our current moment-or the vaunted iconography of three decades past. In this wide-ranging and wickedly entertaining book,New York Timesbestselling journalist David Sirota takes readers on a rollicking DeLorean ride back in time to reveal how so many of our present-day conflicts are rooted in the larger-than-life pop culture of the 1980s-from the "Greed is good" ethos of Gordon Gekko (and Bernie Madoff) to the "Make my day" foreign policy of Ronald Reagan (and George W. Bush) to the "transcendence" of Cliff Huxtable (and Barack Obama). Todayrs"s mindless militarism and hypernarcissism, Sirota argues, first became the norm when an rs"80s generation weaned on Rambo one-liners and "Just Do It" exhortations embraced a new religion-with comic books, cartoons, sneaker commercials, videogames, and even childrenrs"s toys serving as the key instruments of cultural indoctrination. Meanwhile, in productions such asBack to the Future, Family Ties,andThe Big Chill, a campaign was launched to reimagine the 1950s as Americars"s lost golden age and vilify the 1960s as the source of all our troubles. That 1980s revisionism, Sirota shows, still rages today, with Barack Obama cast as the 60s hippie being assailed by Alex P. Keatonesque Republicans who long for a return to Eisenhower-era conservatism. "The past is never dead," William Faulkner wrote. "Itrs"s not even past." The 1980s-even more so. With the native dexterity only a child of the Atari Age could possess, David Sirota twists and turns this multicolored Rubikrs"s Cube of a decade, exposing it as a warning for our own troubled present-and possible future.

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