The ’80s and the ’40s

A couple of timely items popped up out of my information stream recently: a book, and a game.

The blog GeekDad reviewed a book by David Sirota, Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now — Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything. As Jenny Williams writes:

Flip to any page in the book and some reference to pop culture in the 1980s will jump out at you. The introduction especially seems to be a long list of various ’80s things with a few other words in between to stitch them together. It is playful, but in the introduction it seems forced and not terribly informative. Sirota does make a good point, though, that many things from the ’80s are coming back. Our interest in things from that decade has resurged and we’re sharing them with our kids. The ’80s have suddenly become relevant again today. But why?

Sirota explores that “why” throughout the rest of the book. He tackles one topic at a time, starting with Michael J. Fox’s importance to the decade of the ’80s. Each chapter deals with much broader topics, not tossing quite as many pop culture references into each sentence. Other topics he covers include politics, advertising, and social movements. The chapters are filled with so much detail that it’s obvious that he either has a very good memory for the decade, or he has done his research. More bits of the 1980s than you need are continually tossed at you, but Sirota uses them to drive his points home.

If anyone picks up a copy of that book this month, mine some talking points from it for our forum discussion on 1986.

Looking in the other direction of the time arrow is an interesting Facebook game, America 2049, the first Facebook game to be completely narrative-driven. Run by transmedia designer Andrea Phillips and global human rights organization Breakthrough, the project netted some familiar faces to provide video content, including Victor Garber and Margaret Cho.

Has anyone played this game? Maybe you could share some of your thoughts about how it made you think about the future.

Join the forum discussion on this post

About Kevin Makice

Impoverished Ph.D. candidate at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, and a research consultant with SociaLens. Also wrote a Twitter book.
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One Response to The ’80s and the ’40s

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