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 Culture of the 1980s

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PostSubject: Culture of the 1980s   10.01.09 18:07

In the 1980s culture became more homogenized, as mass media reached areas which had previously developed in isolation.

- In the early 1980s, the first generation of computer graphics in arcade games produced the popular Space Invaders arcade game (first released in 1978), followed by Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Frogger. Towards the end of the decade, home video game consoles began to outstrip the arcade game. The Japanese Famicom was released to the white public as the Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as the NES) in 1985 and renewed public interest in video games following a brief decline caused by the Video Game Crash of 1983.

- Computer technology began to enter mainstream culture and appeared in movies such as Tron (1982) and WarGames (1983), using then-state of the art special effects that would go on to have a major impact on movie making.

- Rubik's Cube, Cabbage Patch Kids, "Baby on Board" signs, Teddy Ruxpin, and Trivial Pursuit fads captured the interest of the American and British public.

- Many cartoon characters such as Smurfs, Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, My Little Pony, GI Joe, Garfield, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Voltron, and Transformers appeared in the media and on merchandise, becoming huge trends of the 1980s. Many of these reappeared about twenty years later in slightly updated versions.

- Martial arts and Ninja mania swept North America due to the popularity of Kung Fu Theater and ninja movies. The Karate Kid became a blockbuster hit film, and raised interest in karate. The emergence of self-styled martial arts experts gave rise to the so-called "McDojo" and "Bullshido" trends. The cartoon characters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a widely mass-marketed pop culture phenomenon in the late 1980s.

- "Raybans" or sunglasses became popular "must-wear" items, as well as Nike sneakers, Members Only jackets, men's shorts and other athletic wear such as sweats and jerseys for an active generation of young people.

- Aerobics surged in popularity. The fad reached across exercise videos, fashion, and music trends as seen in Olivia Newton-John's music video (Let's Get) Physical, the 1983 movie Flashdance that inspired legwarmers as a fashion trend, and the popular Jane Fonda workout videos.

- Americans became more health-conscious and sought a lighter diet, with "Lose weight", "Low-Cal", "Low-Salt", "Sugar-free", "No cholesterol" and other phrases becoming common buzzwords for modified foods and beverages. Fad diets became popular.

- MTV, an all-music television station, debuted in the United States in 1981.

- Australian pop culture introduced new trends in the U.S. throughout the 1980s to enhance the continent's cultural image. Examples include celebrities Olivia Newton-John, Jacko and Yahoo Serious, musicians INXS, Midnight Oil and Men at Work, the Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max movies, the Roos shoe brand and Koala Blue chain within the fashion segment, and tastes such as "shrimp on the barbie" and Foster's Lager.

- Rap music began to break into the mainstream, resulting in a string of breakdancing movies such as Beat Street, Breakin', and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Boom boxes became widespread among inner city music listeners and especially breakdancers, for which the device became a vital element to the ritual. "Breakdance battles" were a more peaceful alternative to gang fights and became popular in music videos.

- In the U.S., Spanish-language television and radio stations built two major networks (Univision — 1985 and Telemundo — 1986) to carry shows and music for the U.S. Latino audience, believed at the time to have been left out of the mainstream media.

- The De Lorean debuted in 1981, and was produced for three years before the company declared bankruptcy in 1983. The car was later popularized in the 1985 film Back to the Future.-

(from wikipedia)
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