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Editor's Notes: Robin says relax

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Robin Doussard
Monday, August 24, 2009

I am facing the horrifying realization that 1980s fashion is back with a vengeance this season: big shoulders, leggings, oversized knits, MC Hammer pants (ask an old person), zippered ankle boots. I was just as hooked on Dallas and Dynasty as the next sap, but I really hate the idea of dressing like Joan Collins again. What next? Mall bangs?

Flash, trash and cash pretty much summed up the decade and once around was enough for me, so it is really disturbing to see signs that the ’80s are infiltrating other areas:

Eighties flashback: The early 1980s saw the country in a deep recession. Bankruptcies spiked 50% from 1981 to 1982; ag exports declined; crop prices fell. By mid-1982, the number of bank failures was rising steadily; by the end of the year, the FDIC had spent $870 million to purchase bad loans to keep banks afloat.

Now: The country is in a deep recession, with spiking bankruptcies, and falling crop prices and ag exports. Bank failures are rising steadily. Pricetag: We’ll have to get back to you.

Eighties flashback: The 1987 movie Wall Street immortalized the phrase, “Greed is good,” uttered by the ultimate slimy Wall Street bad guy, Gordon Gekko (played with perfect slick-hair villainy by Michael Douglas).

Now: Casting has begun for Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. Douglas again will play Gordon Gekko. The entire U.S. banking and financial industry gets a starring role. Greed never sleeps.

Eighties flashback: Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was at the top of the 1982 charts.

Now: Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is at the top of the You Tube views.

Eighties flashback: The first DeLorean sports cars rolled off the assembly line in 1981. DeLorean Motor Company goes bankrupt in 1982.

Now: The U.S. car industry goes bankrupt. And there's no supermodel wife to spice up things this time.

Eighties flashback: Apple Computer released the Macintosh PC in 1984.

Now: In 2015, Apple releases the iPhone93s, which beams you to other planets while it makes you bacon and eggs for breakfast and massages your feet. Oh, wait. Hold that for the Flashforward column.

Eighties flashback On Oct. 19, 1987, the Dow plunged 508 points, losing 22.6% of its total value, surpassing the one-day loss of 12.9% that began the stock market crash of 1929 and foreshadowed the Great Depression.

Now: Wash, rinse, repeat.

Eighties flashback: Throughout the decade, Michael Milken rode high as the junk bond king and was eventually sent to prison for multiple violations of U.S. security laws.

Now: Oh, so many choices, but let’s go with Bernie Madoff for $65 billion.

I have to stop before I get depressed and resort to listening to the Go-Gos to cheer me up. (Note to 2009 self: They're touring again!) But maybe that’s not a bad thing, considering what we’re dealing with. But in the immortal words of Veronica in the 1988 movie Heathers, still the best and meanest of all mean-girls films: If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game-show host.

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