Here's my Letter to the Editor in NBC News THINK's newsletter today, June 5, in response to: We were supposed to be over the 1980s by now. Why we're still not. Bryan Reesman: The Decade of Decadence was a time of excess, for sure, but its brash attitudes, bold colors and cultural icons resonate because of the artistic forces it unleashed.
What do you THINK? Erin Mantz of Potomac, Maryland, responds: Bryan Reesman got it right in his recent THINK piece — the '80s are having a moment right now. The pop culture Generation X grew up with is coming back, from television show reboots like “Punky Brewster” to TV versions of movies like the “The Karate Kid.” In some cases, beloved icons of our decade never left but have grown with us; just look at Rob Lowe (and listen to him on his podcast). But the celebrity and cultural touch points we're celebrating like it's 1999 aren't just because we love it all. Gen X is getting older, and this '80s pop culture explosion is helping us hang on to our past. All the '80s songs and stars remind us who we were back then — likely hopeful and often happy. Even if those were carefree times, they were certainly less convenient times (we had to carry cash, didn't have cellphones, had to wait in line for concert and movie tickets, the list goes on) — but they were our times. We felt so alive! Now, as our parents grow old and our kids grow up, we're in a strange new "middle age" world. But the '80s? We knew how to navigate that — the latchkey afternoons, the independence in the neighborhood until dark. We were strong and resilient. And the pop culture comebacks remind us we will navigate and survive — maybe even thrive — in these current times, too. We need something to hold tight to, because AARP is courting us with a new ad campaign.