We're Going Back in Time

Back to the Future

By now it should be obvious to everyone that we are all, in a real and quantifiable sense, going back. Even a mainstream media organ as lost in the fog of Current Year chronological snobbery as the New York Times is now forced to admit that American culture has regressed as hard and as far as the 1980s.
I have spent the last month trapped in a wrinkle in time. Not the film, mind you, though that was quite the fashion moment, and not the book. Rather, sitting by the runways, hour after hour, day after day, city after city between Feb. 7 and March 7, I could feel myself slipping further down a wormhole into the past. One moment it was 2018; the next it was 1981 (or ’85, or ’88).
But here’s the thing: I have been there before. I’m not sure I want to go back.
You have to go back.
This time round it was the 1980s, a decade that has been making a comeback of sorts around the aesthetic edges for the last few years. But while in previous seasons, its re-emergence was tempered by assorted other decades and influences, it has now reached critical mass.
It's not just the fashion world. The resurgence of eight-bit video games, the rise of retrowave music, and the astonishing return of The Karate Kid are all signs to be read by those who know what to look for.
And it was all set to an ’80s soundtrack: Terence Trent D’Arby and Sade at Ferragamo, “Tainted Love” and“Take On Me” at Balmain, Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” from “Working Girl” at Thom Browne. Julie de Libran, the creative director of Sonia Rykiel, even reconstituted Bananarama (live!) for her label’s 50th-anniversary show. With the requisite stonewashed denim (Miu Miu), lots of neon (Prada, Versace) and stirrup pants (Tom Ford) to match.
I guess we should have expected it, given the current conjunction of political and cultural events, all of which seem to steer a designer’s thoughts naturally to the go-go decade.
Is that a tacit admission by the NYT that the culture as a whole has decided to start making progress by turning back from the edge of the abyss? Yes. Yes, it is.
Given the ascension of Donald Trump, with his suit and big red tie uniform (with its nod to Gordon Gekko and Ronald Reagan) and his unabashed love of gilding not just the lily, but every surface under the sun, the better to convey aesthetic bombast: big hair, big gems, big belts. Bigly! O.K., big league. (Also, for that matter, his past connection to Blaine Trump, his former sister-in-law and the erstwhile socialite who put the pouf in pouf skirt.)
Go back and reread that paragraph. Does anything jump out at you? Sure, a New York Times writer just acknowledged that Donald Trump is taking us back. But notice what the NYT reporter--and a fashion reporter at that--didn't do. He didn't call the President a Nazi, try to pin Obama-era scandals on him, or even call him fat! The GE would probably take that paragraph as a compliment.

This is more than a mere fashion article. It's another signal from the less rabid Leftists among the cultural elite that their resistance to MAGA is nearing exhaustion. That's how Trump operates. He wears his opponents down with steady, relentless pressure. After three years of being constantly outmaneuvered, the #fakenews media are feeling the squeeze.
There is always a certain fascination, I know, with the style of decades one has missed, and fashion is nothing if not obsessed with the generation of consumers that missed the ’80s, or were too young to remember them — the millennials and Gen Z. So maybe designers are simply offering them what they want (or don’t yet know they want, but actually do).
And those generations may well embrace all this ’80s muchness; may wear it with the dose of irony and glee that the artifacts of the past always seems to give those who experience them for the first time, even if it’s in an ersatz fashion (pun intended). Certainly, the bunch of millennial celebs in the front row at Miu Miu — Stacy Martin, Zoe Kazan, Rowan Blanchard and Lucy Boynton, among them — hooting and hollering with glee as they watched Elle Fanning, 19, open the show in a big suede jacket and big bouffant, a scarf knotted just so around her neck, seemed to think it was a hell of a fun idea.
Gen Z and the millennials aren't embracing the 80s resurgence as a bit of cosplay frippery. They didn't just miss out on big suede jackets, neon leotards, and frizzy hair. They missed out on living in the country that every generation of Americans since 1776 got to live in but their parents tossed away instead of handing on. Generations Y and X are eager to go back because we were there, and yes, it was better by every metric imaginable.
But speaking as someone who is old enough to have actually lived through it — I was in high school and college in the 1980s; my mother was one of the ceiling-cracking women in those big-shouldered suits — I confess to having mixed feelings about the resurgence. Admittedly, it could be because I have mixed feelings about many of my adolescent choices, and the clothes I wore simply suffer by association, but I think it goes beyond that. I want to believe we are moving forward, and this feels like moving back.
A feminist Boomer-worshiping Gen Xer. Is there any sadder sight? He's like the battered spouse who keeps crawling back for more because "I love him! I know he can change."

The fact that chronological snob NYT fashion writer has misgivings about the 80s resurgence should tell you everything you need to know. It's not Trump's fault this dude spent every single weekend of the 80s trolling sex clubs on a coke and Heineken-fueled search for rough trade.

Buckle in. Because we're all going back. And the last stop isn't the 80s. We're going all the way back to before the cynical push to "break the glass ceiling" broke the family and created two generations of latchkey kids; to a time before "realism" and outright Marxism ruined science fiction.

To sate your hunger for science fiction that draws on vintage 80s D&D and anime, plus SFF influences dating back to Frank Herbert and A. Merritt, pick up my breakout adventure novel Nethereal, now just 99 cents!

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier


  1. I'll be skeptical of this 80s fashion resurgence until we see the return of high cut leotards, and swimsuits. Sweat bands and leg warmers are optional, but would be appreciated.

    1. The first two are already back. They've been on prominent display at my local mall for a while, now.

      Not a moment too soon, if you ask me. Ladies: if you must wear yoga pants that are essentially paint, at least take a page from 80s athleisure fashion and wear a leotard over them. Pretend you're doing a Cammy cosplay or something. Rationalize it however you need to so the rest of us don't have to run the risk of seeing your junk.

  2. 80s resurgence has been around since the mid-00s. It started ironically, but it hasn't been ironic for a decade now.

    It was the last decade of any real innovation or new ideas that weren't subversive or superior-irony (superirony?) posturing. The better half of the 90s was running off the fumes of that decade.

    Because she was in the minority of having a bad time, we should all think twice about going back and starting from a better place? Yeah, right.

    The only thing worse than Boomers are the hipsters and lapdogs that still swallows everything that generation says wholesale.

    No one hated the 80s more than Boomers.

    1. Yup. So much so that they made sure that the Gen x er would enter the workforce 10 years later. I lived through the 80s and what struck me was the optimism. The company Peter revolution was starting so it was fascinating to see leaps in real time. The changes came between the 1st Gulf War and culminated in the Asian final crisis of 96


    2. Look at Japan. They were supposed to pass us... now that I think about it I think some shangins were afoot to knee cap them. They have been stuck in 30 YEARS of stagflation like some held them their or they have been fighting someone to get out of it....

    3. Black Pigeon Speaks has done some interesting videos on Japan's culture and economy. He predicts they'll survive the current global crisis while the US, Canada, and Europe probably won't.

      Of particular note is the novel way Japan is wiping out its national debt. If memory, serves, the Japanese legislature is selling their debt to the Bank of Japan in the form of bonds. Being the same bank that services Japan's debt, the BoJ then simply writes the debt down.

      This method is perfectly legal and fiscally sound. Congress could pull the same trick with the Federal Reserve. It's telling that they don't.

  3. Brian,

    I respectfully disagree with Black pigeon somewhat. The stumbling block is kids. Unless Japan has suddenly changed and has families of 8-10 kids, they're dead nation functioning.

    That's the main reason for their deflationary stagnation. No kids.
    Our stupidity lies in the embrace of unreason as well bringing millions of moslems into the limes. We'll be chastised for those decisions and so many others.


    1. BP could be wrong. He does specifically address Japan's low birthrates by pointing out that a) unlike the rest of the developed world, which also suffers from demographic decline, the Japanese aren't importing their own replacements, b) Japan is tackling the problems arising from their aging population with new technological and economic techniques, and c) Japan's population today is still bigger than it was when they mobilized for WWII.

      You and I agree they need to have more children, though.

    2. Declining birth rates fix themselves Xavier if you have a closed border. What happens is your less fruitful or outright sterile population members die off and what is left is your more fruitful members, who then pass on the traits both genetic and environmentally that lead to a resurgence in family oriented, multi-kid families.

      That’s why the left wants to import the dirt world into the West, they don’t want the religious Euros to inherit Christendom.

    3. But Japan is so outlier as to be unique. And there simply aren't enough couples who show up

      The problems
      1) the rancid patriarchy that regards a pregnant worker as an loss of face and an afront to corporate harmony
      2) the abuse of male bonding where the men are required to carouse until early in the morning after work thus becoming a stranger to kids
      3) the societal pressure of mom's to totally abnégation hems elves to their husbands and kids.
      4) no possibility to explain entrepreneurs let alone a mompreneur
      I'don't very much the west to remembrance motherhood and dad hood as fundamental values and cut off I migration for 50 years.
      Japan needs to allow mom's to find an outlet while they raise kids with the dadsubject. So find some way to encourage mom entrepreneurs


    4. I’d talk to some one is Japanese/Nipponese or is Western but has lived there for a very long time. I will say that my time living in Tokyo and living with a Japanese family does not match up to what you described above. They have their peculiarities, but family is still a very important part of their culture. I’d say much of their dysfunction comes from embracing Western ideas, like feminism, and the loss of their traditional masculine culture in the face of it. In many ways, the shadow of WWII still hangs over them just as it does on the Germans.

    5. Typos curtesy of iPad. The first sentence should read “I’d talk to someone who is Jap/Nippon, etc.”

  4. Brian -

    This is very off-topic, so please delete if necessary:

    Steve Ditko, creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, as passed at 90 years of age.
    Working to the very end: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1704592942/something-big-by-snyder-and-ditko

    A master of the craft of comic books is gone.

    I am saddened.

  5. I would love to see a movie or a tv series that is scifi, far future, where feminism, socialism, multiculturalism, relativism, Liberalism, and pluralism are considered horrible mistakes of the distant pass. Where the men are masculine and the women are feminine, Christ is King, and there is evil in galaxy that deserves a righteous arse kicking. I’m over the whole feminist, globalist future garbage.

    Do you know if any author ever tackled the idea that should Man colonize the galaxy, he’d likely do so as ethnic groups rather than earth’s global melange, and thus, the human race further diverges from each other with planets and space being between them instead of borders both manmade and natural?

    1. Welcome to Galactic Christendom.

      That EXACT thing is my setting's backstory.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. @Bradford - awesome! Look forward to reading it. Btw, fan of your blogs.

    4. My own Galactic christendom story will have mixing as well ethnic grouping among the Christains. The bad guys it depends the outrage/fad du jour.
      I'm still working out the reasons :)