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RockEras - 1980s
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  • The Reagan years
    • The rise of conservatism
      1. New conservative attitude in much of the country
        • Also in popular culture
        • Reagan evoked images of America's idyllic past
      2. Reagan's economic policy was driven by "supply-side economics"
        • Lower taxes on wealthy Americans
        • Theory: everyone would work harder
    • U.S. foreign policy
      1. Reagan's foreign policy embraced building up American military
      2. Reagan believed that an arms race would cripple the Soviet Union
      3. Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Communist Party in 1985
        • Advocating policies of glasnost (openness)
        • Initiated perestroika (restructuring of Soviet government along Western lines)
        • Berlin wall fell in November 1989
    • The AIDS epidemic 1981—1989
      1. 150,000 cases diagnosed
      2. 90,000 AIDS-related deaths reported
      3. Increased awareness of the disease and its seriousness
    • The American economy
      1. High-tech industries advanced impressively
        • Development of smaller, more powerful computers
        • Home computers became affordable to most Americans
      2. In 1984, Apple Computers announced the arrival of the Macintosh computer
      3. By 1985, the first version of Windows was available for the PC
      4. The beginnings of Internet use by the general public
    • Cable television
      1. Dramatic growth during the decade
        • 24-hour availability categorized television programming
        • By mid-decade, many American homes subscribed to cable TV
        • Channels like HBO, CNN, and ESPN
      2. MTV was launched
        • Most important for the history of rock music
        • Created competition for FM radio
      3. FM lost sponsors to AM talk radio
        • Rush Limbaugh and others built up syndication networks
        • Reinvented the radio networks of the 1930s and 1940s
    • Prime time TV
      1. Dallas showed America's renewed fascination with money
        • Debuted in 1978
        • Rich Texas oil family led by the shifty J. R. Ewing
      2. Family Ties also reflected this new conservative trend
        • Showed changes taking place in the white middle class
        • Middle-aged liberal couple
        • Conservative and financially astute son, Alex
      3. The (Bill) Cosby Show
        • Cliff and Clare Huxtable were both professionals
        • He was a doctor, she was a lawyer
        • Comedy on family issues and never on issues of race
      4. The Simpsons
        • Debuted in 1989
        • Animated prime-time comedy
        • Irreverently lampooned almost every dimension of American life
    • 1980s Yuppies on film
      1. Young Urban Professionals
      2. Transformation from 1970s idealistic dreamers into well-appointed 1980s Yuppies
      3. The Big Chill
        • 1983 film set to the beat of late 1960s rock and soul
        • Characters consider the changes that have occurred in their lives
        • They'd lost touch with what originally inspired and motivated them
      4. Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street
        • Ruthless lust for money and power
        • Built around the phrase "greed is good"
        • A glimpse into the dark side of the Reagan years
        • Showed how the conservative 1980s appealed to 1960s thinkers' sensibilities
    • The general cultural overview
      1. Rock music benefited from the wealth and technology of the times
        • Cultural gaps continued to get wider
        • Rich and poor
        • Black and white
        • Straight and gay
        • Male and female
      2. These issues provided a stream of inspirations for musicians and songwriters


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