It is a truth universally acknowledged that the best person to describe the historical significance of an event is someone who was not alive at the time and has very little knowledge of details or cultural context. Just like ABBA gave Napoleon’s most infamous battle an unimaginable level of grace and reverence in the song “Waterloo,” or how hipsters who wear feathered headdresses truly capture the essence of the victims of the Trail of Tears, or how I referenced the shit out of Jane Austen in the opening line of this article, people who were born years after a historical era or event are really the only ones with the proper perspective on that historical era or event. Which is why I, being born in 1992, am the obvious expert on the 1980s.
Firstly, the eighties were very famous for being the only period of history in which time travel was not only acceptable party conversation, but (probably) an actual thing. Now, whenever I try to talk about time travel at the many parties I go to because I’m very desirable and not uncomfortable at all in social situations and don’t ever seek out the apartment’s cat to sit with in the corner and tell concerned partygoers is my boyfriend trapped in an animal’s body, I usually get asked to leave. This wasn’t the case in the 1980s. There are two separate reports of excellent, adventurous teenage boys going to the future, and then to the past, and then, surprisingly, back to the future. Two! The closest thing my generation has to actual time travel was balloon boy, and that was a total bust.
The 1980s was also a watershed decade for society and politics. Our fearless leader, President Jelly Belly, had a bizarre affair with a lady who looked kinda like Meryl Streep if she was trying to win an undeserved Oscar, and then used time travel (which, as you may remember, was incredibly common in the eighties) to find 2010’s Vampire Weekend and play their album Contra in Iran, thus bringing peace and prosperity to all. With the help of Ally Sheedy going against-type as a non-troubled teen, and Matthew Broderick going against-type as a heterosexual, President Jelly Belly then invented the computer and played war games. This led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. When the wall fell, however, it freed a tribe of half-bodybuilder, half-robot Austro-Germans.
Although the timeline is very messy, the robo-Germans either went to the past or the future or a not-too-distant future that’s actually the present in an alternate universe (note, again, the nonchalance with which the technology of time travel is utilized), and then went on a violent rampage, shooting J.R. Ewing, the Pope, and even President Jelly Belly. All three survived, and then invented rap music and spent the next few decades berating new artists for not being “hard” enough (because getting shot by a robo-German makes you harder than Saddam Hussein at a Kurdish funeral – yeah, that’s right, I just made a joke about erections and a vastly underreported genocide. Suck on that, People With Consciences).
So, in conclusion, the 1980s were a special and exciting time, with time travel and robots and neoconservatives running rampant. Nerds exacted their revenge, Andrew McCarthy was considered attractive, and Tom Cruise was approximately seven inches taller than he is today. I believe it is obvious that my knowledge on the decade requires no fact-checking, and that anyone who disagrees with that sentiment is probably a commie spy (Cold War mentality for the win.)
Megan Lent is a wonderfully unsuccessful blogger who likes to whine about literature at http://apostrophetothestars.blogspot.com/, and occasionally contributes to the steamy world of small-press fiction at Metazen and Housefire. She was the 62nd best speller in California in eighth grade, and used to run a brothel out of her parents’ house in Chicago. She lives in LA.