Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Upside Of The Downturn

As the world falls apart around us, or so the newspapers and television pundits claim, perhaps there is some upside to the downturn. My hope is that it will be better art, music and writing.

The 1980s (the late Cold War Era, the Reagan years) brought with them a treasure trove of angry punk rock (which started to rear its wonderfully ugly head in the mid 1970s, during the post-Viet Nam Ford and then Carter years), and literary and cinematic dissections of the "me generation" and the ever-present Cold War. During the Clinton Years, however, anti-establishment culture got co-opted and eliminated by mainstream media. Some of it survived, but its prominence has been nothing like it was in the 70s and 80s.

Maybe now that we're on the brink of economic cataclysm, we'll see not only a less poppy reinvention of punk rock and other 1970s-80s counterculture, but also a return of 1930s era artistic trends as well. The 30s of the Great Depression also brought with them a lot of great culture including: films like Duck Soup, literature by folks such as John Steinbeck, and in the art world, late Surrealism.

Great struggles often lead to great art. While I'm not exactly thrilled about the struggle part, perhaps at least we can enjoy the side benefit of some great art.