Sunday, 1 November 2009

How will the media view the Nineties?

In dissecting Jonathan Leaf's The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties, I have noticed how commentators note here that
The media has always seemed to look down its collective nose at the Fifties, and the Seventies, and even the Eighties. (How could the media, with its usual biases, not despise a decade dominated by Reagan - and at its end - by the collapse of communism?)
What I have been thinking about lately is the question of how the media will come to view the Nineties.

The first thing I considered analysing this question is whether the media will support the Nineties simply because for most of the decade a Democrat was President - something that occurred in the Sixties but not in any of the decades said to be criticised by the left-wing media. The spread of democracy in poorer nations and the end of (at least outside the Middle East) US-sponsored overthrows of governments for moving too close to Communism is another reason for praising the Nineties. The efforts to deal with the ecological crisis (though Mariana Trench-level petrol prices prevented anything from being done in the US at least) are another reason for praising the 1990s. The related Kyoto Protocol and successful phase-out of CFCs and halons will make the 1990s, despite the radical climate changes which are too little-known outside Australia's scientific community, possibly further praised.

Although Nirvana and other grunge bands have not maintained the critical reputation they once had, there remains the popular viewpoint that the 1990s saw the demise of many of the worst moments in music history, such as the middle-of-the-road muzak that dominated 1980s America.

There is also the point of the PMRC being largely overthrown and bans on politically correct rap and metal being eliminated.

On the other hand, there are many serious issues about the Nineties that would make support for it difficult. One of course is the fact that teen pop and nu-metal, which the fashionable hate. I would also say that the Nineties stand as the only decade since 1950 where, in Jonathan Leaf's words,
the most important (new) intellectuals were on the political Right.
The Nineties saw a major reaction to the radicalism of the Bush Senior era. Even though it was led by Silent like Pat Buchanan, Robert Bork, Peter Kreeft, Donna Steichen and Judith Reisman, it soon grew to encompass younger writers like E. Michael Jones, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Rush Limbaugh, Roger Kimball and Dinesh D'Souza. Another big conservative moment in the Nineties was the publication in 1996 of Michael J. Behe's Darwin's Black Box, whose theory of "intelligent design" has become a clarion call for many people who find Darwinism inherently radically nihilistic. I must say that "intelligent design" is a less convincing argument that most things coming from Regnery.

All in all, it is hard to tell if the Nineties will be remembered more favourably by "politically correct" media than the Seventies or Eighties. My brother has even said that it is unlikely there will be such strong emotions about the Nineties as exist about the Sixties and even the Eighties (both of which are actually similar in that they began conservative and ended with a radical cultural revolution).

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