Saturday 10 July 2010

Quotes about the 80s

When I was at university in the 1980s everyone (on the Left at least) measured their worth by the quantity of pious opinions they could produce, on the Third World, on women’s rights, on class exploitation – you name it. (Tim Lott Evening Standard February 26, 2004)

More Quotes About the Eighties here.

BBC4 is showing a trilogy of documentaries made by Vanessa Engle entitled Lefties. According to the programme notes, the films "look back at a time when left-wing ideas occupied the moral and political high ground of our intellectual lives . . . revisiting a passionate and turbulent era when the extreme Left believed it could change the world for the better and many people lived out their profound commitment to a political cause". When was this - 1926, 1931, 1945? No, more or less 20 years ago. ... The shock, perhaps, is the hammer-blow of realisation that these ways of thinking and living have walked out of the door, and yet they were there, somewhere at the edge of the room with their coat on, only a moment ago. (Ian Jack, Guardian February 4, 2006)

Heady mix of affectation and farce…. Engle’s documentary teases out how staggering incompetence was a direct result of ideological pretension. (David Thompson’s blog)

Humourless cultural studies waffle
… like some literary equivalent of the Eighties revival shows on our television screens this spring, Mort’s book often reads like a throwback to some terrifying textbook from 1984, in which space is always contested, identities are always in flux and chapters have titles like “Pathologies” and “Governance”. So when a policeman tells the Wolfenden Committee about cottaging ... He is “promoting a cognitive shift” and “encouraging them to see urinals as liminal spaces”. Later, discussing the Profumo affair, Mort announces that he will pay “attention to the scandal’s urban locatedness” and “complex negotiation of the themes of sexual and cultural modernity”, and claims that the affair “generated a dynamic and unresolved atmosphere of cultural and geographical disturbance”. This sort of stuff was bad enough twenty years ago. These days, it is not only ugly and frustrating but downright dated. Academics often complain that too much attention is paid to “popular” histories rather than their own works. But if they continue to write like this, can they really be surprised? (Dominic Sandbrook on Capital Affairs, Literary Review July 2010)

During the decades that the concept of human nature was taboo in academia, many scholars claimed that romantic love was a recent social construction. (Steven Pinker, Time January 2008)

This reminds me of my own indifference to the business world when I was a graduate student, and thought I was well informed on everything important—you know, semiotic theories of gender and decentered subjectivities in 18th century novels and that sort of thing. My arguments about these subjects with my peers were so VITAL. (Rob Horning,

My social life was lived entirely through politics. (Margaret Sandra, Guardian, 2007. She dropped her surname – because surnames descend through the male line – thinking everyone would follow. She spent the next few decades explaining herself to bank managers.)

Theories of the malleability and cultural construction of gender identity, already falling out of academic fashion in the 1990s, became harder to defend, as the case was used by many to argue that "nature" trumped "nurture". (Wikipedia on unwilling transexual David Reimer)

Ah yes, the old “powerful women” chestnut. (Hadley Freeman, Guardian, 2007) 

Much of the heady idealism of the time has since drained away. (Fortean Times, 2009)

A workshop is a place for sawing up wood. (John Peel)

Eighties Relationships
The Eighties Continued
Eighties Decor
The 10 80s Commandments
More Quotes About the Eighties

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