Comment of the day: "I pity the foo!"
David Sirota may have an ironic side -- his new book Back to Our Future, an examination of how '80s pop culture influenced the politics of today, has plenty of smirking affection for the cultural detritus of the past -- but he's still at heart a pundit, and as such, the book's nostalgia is ultimately about the distinctly leftist argument it serves.
That much was clear in my interview with Sirota last week, and it was also clear in some of the responses it garnered from those not so in-line with Sirota's politics, like this one from a reader calling himself oddsox.
If you remember only one thing about David Sirota, let it be this: He views the entire universe ("Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything") through the lens of far-left ideology.
His new book, Back to Our Future, then, is a predictably revisionist retrospective, with palpable anger and resentment towards the decade's Republican administrations. The entire book is devoted to showing that the pop culture of the '80's was largely contrived to edify conservative values of the 1950s and to vilify the liberal resurgence during the '60s. And how it all links to today.
Here, the author unleashes the full fury of his "Shock-and-awe" vocabulary in dealing with an "Aw-Shucks" subject.
However, he salts the narrative with constant references to '80s pop culture icons and enough profanities ("William ****ing Shatner!") to hold the attention of his reader-followers.
Through the liberal looking glass, the cross-marketing of E.T. products appears to be part of an anti-government propaganda machine.
Sirota grouses that the era's popular movies (Ghostbusters, Back to the Future) and prime-time TV shows (A-Team, Dukes of Hazard) improperly portray government authority figures as incompetent buffoons.
To the far-left, the racial glass is always half empty. So, the Cosby Show is paid lip service for its ground-breaking portrayals of Blacks as respected, affluent professionals. But it's seen more as a condescending "post-racial" branding of the "transcendent" Cosby (paving the way for Barack Obama) and a paean to the greed and materialism of the times.
Sirota scores a single point in describing Atari games as training mechanisms for techno-militarism.
Ha -- even Reagan himself agreed with him on that one.
But to the author, even Saturday morning cartoons appear as vehicles of indoctrination corrupted by Reagan-inspired manipulations.
So when Sirota takes a nostalgic stroll down the memory lane of his Gen-X youth, what does he see?
Not visions of sugar plums, but of neo-con psy-ops.
In the words of the great '80s philosopher, Clubber Lang: "I pity the foo'!"
Get the Arts and Theater Newsletter
Weekly information keeping you in the know when it comes to the art and theater scene. Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events.