August 06, 2011

Seventies I've been reading a couple of books about the 70s. It seems like the decade that destroys the organized political power of the working class in the US. Reagan and the air traffic controllers were the result, not the cause. Cultural politics blows everything apart--particularly insofar as Nixon exploits it in his attempt to attract unions to the Republican Party, again, more with symbolic politics than with actual material benefits. And so the decade disintegrates into identity fragments and individualism, Tom Wolfe's "the Me decade" triumphing over previous decades characterized more in terms of collectivity. What's striking about the US since 2000: there has been no upswing, no good news, no improvement, no optimism (a couple of weeks of "hope and change" notwithstanding). It continues to get worse--more inequality, more debt, more collapse, more insanity from the right and incapacity from the mainstream. We've been in a decade of despair and things continue in this direction. I wonder if there are some media resonances with the 70s. The keystone beer "Keith Stone"commercials and the "most interesting man in the world" Dos Equis commercials have a 70s visual feel. Mainstream television is, I think,pretty different: seventies tv had a lot more working class people in it than we have. I don't watch much tv, so I'm not even sure if we have many middle class people facing middle class problems on it. But, there is YouTube and reality television. Maybe these are the analogous images of something like the life of...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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