Saturday, April 23, 2011

Idea Fashions of the Eighties: America in the Year 2000

From a 1984 speech by Tom Wolfe:

The 1960s fashion I have called radical chic actually continued well into the 1970s; it didn't die with the end of the war in Vietnam. In 1974 I attended a conference at a university in the Great Plains, a conference called "America in the Year 2000." It was held in a typical student activity center, one of these great butter-almond colored buildings with expando-flex interior walls like accordions that are pulled back and forth by a night watchman in green balloon-seat twill pants. Here come the students in for the conference on "America in the Year 2000." They seem to me very lively, they are laughing, they are chattering to one another. Their veins are pumping with Shasta and Seven-Up. They are wearing bluejeans and bursting out of their down-filled Squaw Valley ski jackets. And no sooner do they settle down into their seats, than the keynote speaker of the conference, a young historian in a calfskin jacket and hair like Felix Mendelssohn's, looks down, and he says: "America is a leaden, life-denying society."

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