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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


80s aren’t staying ‘Forever Young’

This summer has caught Pac-Man fever. The only thing missing from it is shoulder pads and Ronald Reagan.  There is the A-Team, Karate Kid, Predators and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Now comes The Expendables, starring old-timers Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke and Arnold Schwarzenegger, all in the same movie. The only thing that could make The Expendables more of an ’80s movie would be if they added Molly Ringwald. 

This summer is ripping off the decade that thought Soul Man, a movie where C. Thomas Howell takes tanning pills to change the color of his skin so he could go to Harvard Law School, was a good idea.

So, before we put our mullet into a side pony tale and runoff to fight communism, let’s take some time to remember just how bad the ’80s were and how we are now making it worse.

Yes, it’s embarrassing to be caught singing along to Alphaville’s “Forever Young.” However, it is even more embarrassing to be caught keeping up with the new Jay-Z, mainly because the people who know all of the words to “Forever Young” just look weird when trying to rap.  It is also because new wave and hair metal bands are just bad music to the people who didn’t grow up in the ’80s.

I am sure for those who grew up in the ’80s have found memories listening to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax.” It’s a terrible song, but the real tragedy is that lead singer Holly Johnson was diagnosed with HIV. Now Johnson is still alive, but it completely changes the feel of the song when learning that fact.  However, it only changes the meaning of the song for people who don’t have an emotional tie to the music. Instead of thinking about HIV, they think about how fun it was to dance to that song at prom.  They want a fake reality of what the ’80s was, and that is what this summer has to offer. A new version of the 1980s they want is to be just about the bad fashion, worse music and materials. 

They talk about parachute pants and bad hair. But they never talk about the reality of HIV and AIDS. There is a great social impact that resulted with this disease. There is a plastic feel to this era, but it also left scars from a disease that completely changed how everyone viewed sex. It is these challenges that make ’80s culture stick around, and it’s also these challenges that make the re-makes so bad.   There is no context, and without it, it only makes them seem like the most disposable movies and music.  This is the reason that next summer, when any time someone talks about the A-Team, they are going to talk about Mr. T and not Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.

Travis Hensley is a communications senior and may be reached at [email protected] 

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