Weird History looks back at the year 1980

Fortunately, what seems inconceivable in the moment, can be made more clear later… There was still a lot of structural issues with the economy that he couldn’t control, he had sent troops into try and rescue the hostage in Iran, which was a debacle, and then there was the malaise speech, which was initially popular, but he failed to follow up on, which hurt him in the long run:


Is it?


The people that felt maligned by that speech are the same type that are crying about having to wear masks now. Even at that age I was able to discern the fact that he was a person of principle, which bears out even to this day. And as much as Carter was a fall guy for the circumstances of the time, Reagan was quick to take credit for the hostage release that the Algerians negotiated and, aside from some saber rattling and calling the Iranians names, that he had little to do with. But that’s the kind of populism that got us to where we are today.


This… doesn’t seem like the weird bits of the '80s at all. I remember the '80s being far weirder than this, and at the time I didn’t know the half of it - though the weirdness of the current era puts it all to shame anyways…

Ronnie “started his campaign at an infamous lynching spot, talking about ‘state’s rights’” Reagan. Yeah. Well, I guess the racist dog whistles were so much more… genteel in those days.

To be fair, it turns out that Reagan did bribe the Iranians to hold onto the hostages a bit longer, so it’s not like he had nothing to do with it.


Seems more like the bribe didn’t go as planned, but still worked to his benefit when taking credit:


Yep… he pretty regularly deployed welfare queens and other racist stereotypes, too. And let’s not forget his administration intentionally let people die of a terrible disease, because it wasn’t people they cared about. Killer Mike has to the goods on him, though:

For some reason, reminds me of this SNL sketch, with the late, great Phil Hartman as Reagan:

“You changed, Dutch… you changed…”


1979-80 really was the start of so many negative trends in society. You had the bitter double dip recession that kicked off the industrial clearences, the decline of secularism and the rise of fundamentalism with the rise of Christian Conservatism in the US and UK, the theft of the Iranian revolution by Khomeini, Sadat killing off Nasserism and the tidal wave of guns and money funding murderous terrorism in Afghanistan. Then on top of all that you have the start of the bitter Iran-Iraq war, death squads and terror in Central America.

A truly fitting prelude to a terrible decade.


At the time the idea of a former actor becoming President seemed so weird and wacky that it became a staple of time travel movies like Back to the Future and Flight of the Navigator for one character to inform another that Ronald Reagan was President in the 1980s and the other to respond with incredulity.


I had not received a heads up and was absent the January day Ronald Reagan stopped by my Jr. High school on his way to catch a plane to DC to his inauguration. But I do remember one kid was carrying a good sized American flag hoisted on a hollow metal pole. With all the kids trying to get a glimpse, there was some jostling and the kid was pushed from behind, leading to the flagpole being tilted in the direction of the President-Elect. In the account I read at the time, a secret service agent grabbed the flagpole, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.

…and so it goes all the way back to the dawn of time. Just more brutal. Just more blatant. Just not live streamed on the internet.

I’m sure I’ve said it before on this forum: AT THE TIME, the leaders of the Republican Party thought he was a wacko, but they felt he was the most electable candidate in their stable at the time. 4 years later, he was practically a god to them, but in 1980 it was simply about having a Republican administration in charge.


You know, I think you just nicely summed up the major issue with the American brand of party politics…



Ladies and gentlepeople, The Aristocrats! The Republican Party!


I missed the start of 1980, only having been born in april…

Late to the party…

Ronald Reagan made the 80s.
My favorite quote:

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

August 11, 1984


As a traumatized punk teen survivor of that decade (born 1970), I got something to say!

Reagan FUCKED US UP man

You know that thing where you visualize yourself 5, 10, 20 years in the future?

Yeah, all I ever saw was NUCLEAR WINTER.

GenX is hopelessly damaged. Seriously, there should’ve been studies.


At least you got a good soundtrack out of it:


I think we would have preferred not being traumatized…


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