Thursday, 30 January 2014


The young professional city worker was not a new concept in the 1980s when they adopted the name "yuppies". This gives the impression that the 80's had become the era for highly paid workaholics. By researching 1980's yuppies I discovered that the so call "yuppies" were actually a very small proportion of American society. I found an article entitled 'Yuppie culture' which give to vastly different figures regarding the amount of 'yuppies' populating america in the 1980s. The figures ranged from 1.2 million to 4.2 million. This staggering range appears to be based on how one classifies a "yuppie" one article describes them as individuals who ' made $40,000 or more a year in the 1980s, and were a baby boomer (born between 1946 and 1964), chances are you were a yuppie,'. This article suggest those who were yuppies 'might not have admitted it' suggesting that the term yuppie is perhaps a word adopted by the next generation looking back with nostalgia. The article says how  'Yuppies melded what they deemed the best of both worlds -- the materialism of the preppies absent the snobbery and the self-absorbed perfectionism of the hippie without the anti-establishment mindset'. 
This term "yuppie' does therefore mean different things to different individuals and can depend of what one views as wealth to what era they are viewing the 'yuppie' from. For instances a persons description of a yuppie is very different in today's society then it was in the 1980's, this can be seen when a person may look back at their 1980's lifestyle; with hindsight one may now consider themselves a 'yuppie' but perhaps would not have thought this when living through the era.

The 1980's 'Yuppie' and The 2010's 'Hipster'

'The Hipster is the Reincarnation of the Yuppie - Gone Wrong'

In today's society, the idea of 'social groups' has been narrowed down to a very small few. Once upon a time, there was a vast range of groups - we have the stereotypical high school cliques such as jock/popular, nerd, skater, really just watch fifteen minutes of Disney's 'High School Musical' and you have your main groups there. Interestingly, high school movies still hold this same basic status quo, though in reality young adult/teenage social groups have been narrowed down into one giant class of stupidity - hipsters. It is very easy to spot a hipster nowadays; a hipster will wear skinny jeans that roll up a bit at the bottom, platform trainers, if they're a girl, they will very likely have long hair with a bright dip dye at the ends and a large swooping fringe that covers half their face, not to mention the ridiculous 'nerd' glasses, commonly worn without lenses. These are just a few factors of 'hipsterism' along with the idea of being forever young, an infinity tattoo and a nebula iPhone case. The key slogan for being a hipster is also the perfect summary of what it means to be one and that is "I liked something before it was cool." and they are greatly known for liking whatever no one else has ever heard of. Though, there are many different 'sub-genres' of hipsterism, some of the most popular are the gangster/chavy types and the hippy kind and everything in between.
                        Hipsters are mocked for their desperate need to be cool by being vintage and unique. Similarly, if we were to take a step back a few years to the 80s and the age of the yuppie, something similar could be said for the youth of then. Yuppies, just as hipsters, had a bad reputation in society that was mostly based off of annoyance and potentially envy, though hipsters face little envy. Personally, I would prefer to have yuppies around today rather than hipsters. In contrast to the hipsters, yuppies were mocked for their overtly 'self-absorbed' manners and hunger for social status among peers. They are an example of socially acceptable snobbery. According to author and political commentator Victor David Hanson:

"Yuppism... is not definable entirely by income or class. Rather, it is a late-20th-century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with, indeed antithetical to, most of the challenges and concerns of a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America. For the yuppie male a well-paying job in law, finance, academia, or consulting in a cultural hub, hip fashion, cool appearance, studied poise, elite education, proper recreation and fitness, and general proximity to liberal-thinking elites, especially of the more rarefied sort in the arts, are the mark of a real man."

For the hipster and the yuppie, their reputation and status in society share a similar rank. In favour of the yuppie, it could still be said that at least they represented a group of sophisticated, ambitious, successful and well educated young adults - could that really be said for today's young adults? Yuppies are shunned and criticised for their obnoxious and self-absorbed attitudes but by those who have a considerably lower income. So the hatred or dislike for this group was based off of jealously at the end of the day. Hipsters are like a modern day take on the yuppie and a modern day fail. Hipsters try to appear sophisticated with their 19th-20th century prose that half of them probably can't even read. Their Starbucks latte, their type writers, their classical music, their 'philosphical' Tumblr posts quoting songs with space or a young couple with beanie hats and glasses kissing in the background. Hipsters are the reincarnation of yuppies gone wrong.

The Yuppie Handbook 1980s

"The Yuppie Handbook," was published on the 1st of January 1984, which makes it prominent to what was happening within the 80's. It's by Marissa Piesman and MArliee Hartley. The book "Provides a satirical view of the life styles of well- educated affluent young people, who try to have all the best possessions."

The front cover of "The Yuppie Handbook" represents  role and representation of a Yuppie. For instance the cover portrays the role of a Yuppie ring young  middle class professionals. Who works in the city and lives a very lavishness lifestyle.

The representation of yuppies shown within this handbook and images above, not only represents a guideline for individuals within the 1980's or contemporary America today. But also represents an image a identity of what a yuppie entails. For instance the young man and female is wearing clothes that fits within their social status, as the role of yuppies includes being within a middle class profession. Looking at the details within the male outfit, portrays very luxury brans items, such as a trench coach with  Burberry patterns, a Rolex on his wrists a Gucci briefcase. However the women has on a formal suit by Ralph Lauren, a Cartier tank watch, coach bag and a Sony Walk-man headset.

What so interesting about this cover and the representation of a yuppie is the lines pointing to the items, labelling the information of where these items are purchased, in which is deemed to be very luxury expensive brands, the information provides to the readers of the book, why yuppies choose these certain clothes and it is important to make this known to others. It's evident that the brands yuppies wear plays a role within a yuppie identify and outfit

Yuppies Real and Represented

Young Urban Professionals known as Yuppies were easily distinguished in the 1980s by their overly lavish lifestyles. Yuppies were represented in films of the 80s, Fatal Attraction (1987), Cocktail (1988) and Bright Lights, Big City (1988) but many more films that were released after the 1980's used yuppies as their main characters. In film critic Dominic Corry's list of 'Yuppies in Peril', 8/10 films were released in or after 1990.

Recently, the film The Wolf of Wall Street depicted the life of Jordan Belfort, the real stock broker in the 1980's. This film shows yuppies as drug obsessed, money obsessed and material objects obsessed. Perhaps the most unsurprising representation of these people were re-enacted in The Wolf of Wall Street to reinstate the idea of how yuppies operated in the 1980s, giving a new face of the Yuppie to a new generation.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Jordan Belfort- the real Wolf of Wall Street
Jordan Belfort wrote two books on his life as a broker and frauder, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. Accurately describing the details of all his fraudulent activity. He stole around $200 million of stock owners money by stock fraud in his mid twenties to mid thirties. Holding the definition of Yuppie to heart, Belfort managed to create a successful (illegal) business in his young age that had everyone in awe.References

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Newsweek - The year of the yuppie

In 1984 Newsweek magazine used 'the year of the yuppie' as their cover page and included a 2 page article about the representations of yuppies during the 1980s.

The representation of the yuppie highlighted in this magazine suggests that the young professionals and their lives are aspirational. The illustration of the front cover suggests an element of anybody can become a yuppie by following certain steps and developing particular qualities.

The fact that Newsweek has pages dedicated to yuppies shows how important this year was. Almost half way through the 80s yuppies seemed to be taking over and were noticable in American society.

Although it may not necessarily show yuppies in a completely positive light by being able to criticise elements of their lifestyle it still presents what it is to be a yuppie and how influential this group has become in society. 

This magazine using this theme links to a book which was published in the same year called 'The Yuppie Handbook: The state-of-the-art Manual for Young Urban Professionals'. The book basically shows how people can become yuppies and how this lifestyle is looked up to during the 1980s.

Link to book:


Yuppies in Eden

Jay McInerney makes a fascinating statement about three quarters of the way through his New York magazine article "Yuppies in Eden," in which he compares yuppies to hippies. While this may seem to be a completely ludicrous claim, at first glance they seem like polar opposites, but both groups were baby boomers (the post World-War II baby boom lasted from 1946 to 1964 in the United States) and both were rebelling against their parents, except instead of challenging their parents political beliefs they were challenging their tastes and budget constraints. They were both born as a reaction to growing up in suburbia. This particular statement summed up the whole article for me, it illuminated aspects of yuppie life and culture that I never realised were important. Perhaps the best example in pop culture of this is the character of Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties, played by Michael J. Fox, a proto-yuppie, who's quest for wealth and success clashes with his hippie parents beliefs. 

The article also highlights fitness as being an integral part of yuppie culture, which I'd never realised before, with McInerney stating that "it's hard to believe, but there weren't all that many gyms in Manhattan in 1979," which is crazy to think because sitting here in 2014 it's weird to imagine a world that fitness isn't an important part of life and culture. He states that achieving perfection through physical fitness and making piles of money were the twin goals of the yuppies, they wanted to be better than everyone else is his suggestion. These goals, according to McInerney, were embodied in the baby jogger, an invention of the 80s that combined spending quality time with children, fitness and having a technologically advanced, ridiculously expensive thing everyone else could admire. 


While this is a modern article, written in 2008 as part of the 40th anniversary of New York magazine, the fact that McInerney was living in New York City during the invasion of the Yuppies, he at one point recalls his first sighting of a "yuppie," and the fact that his 1984 novel Bright Lights, Big City depicts yuppie life, means that the article is able to retrospectively analyse yuppie culture, and McInerney is able to describe the good, as well as the bad of this culture. 

More often than not yuppies have been portrayed in a negative light, as consumed by greed and morally corrupt, but McInerney does highlight the positive impact that the yuppies had on NYC in the 1980s, with his description of 70s NYC coming across as an almost dystopian, nightmare city, with muggings being seen as a right of passage, but with the economic boom of the early 80s, which brought the flood of yuppies into the city, who intern brought gentrification to NYC, redeveloping once dangerous and forgotten neighbourhoods, and probably saving the city from a painfully slow death, reinvigorating it with new life. Aside from the visions of the city portrayed in films like Taxi Driver, its hard for me to imagine what the city that McInerney described was like considering the booming metropolis NYC has become.  

While the yuppie of the 1980s has long since died, their culture has lived on, in McInerney's words "the pods have taken over the world" and the worship of designer brands and labels, connoissuership and the pursuit of physical perfection through fitness have become hallmarks of our society, the legacy of the yuppies. 

The Secret Of My Success (Representation of the Yuppie)

This 1987 film 'The secret of my Success' starring Michael J. Fox represented the role and lifestyle of the typical 'yuppies' of New York City in the 1980's. The film centres on a young male character from Kansas who moves to New York to pursue a career, whilst climbing the social ladder. The film then highlights the reality that many young white, college men found at the time, just how difficult it was to even get a foot in the door, let alone climb the financial ladder. Fox finds it hard at first to get a job, until he uses his Uncle, to help get him started.
Eventually he is able to climb the financial ladder and takes over the company; however it is made clear that this wouldn't have happened if Fox had not changed his character. Posing as a different person with better experience and aspects, Fox secures himself a higher position at the same company. Brantley also then engages in an intimate relationship with the boss's wife, despite also liking another female character that also works for the company (Christie). However Christie is also having an affair with the boss and therefore the four characters are engaged in a complicated scenario that ironically works out better for Brantley at the end of the film. The laid-back, very relaxed approach that the film has on relationships such as this, was said to have correctly demonstrated the more casual nature that people in the 80's particularly 'yuppies' supposedly had at the time regarding relationships.

The film offers an elevated idea of the young successful yuppie, many people considered the film to be representative of the era, as well as being well regarded as a well portrayed, realistic perception. Writer Nathan Rabin stated in an article that;

‘The film posits its hero as a capitalist Clark Kent straight out of the heartland, who transforms into an economic Superman not through some strange trick of destiny, but through subterfuge and canny manipulation. Both Superman and Brantley Foster have double identities, but Brantley is mainly out to enrich himself, which represents an extremely 1980s, Ronald Reagan-inspired, Alex P. Keatonish conception of superheroism.’ However some also disagreed with the idea that the ‘yuppie’ era was good.Particularly their lifestyle will always be a contested subject, despite this the Yuppie generation did have a massive impact on the future decades of America.


1980's: The Yuppie. Thirtysomething


Cast of thirtysomething

An example of how the 'yuppie' was represented in American culture during the 1980's is exhibited in the popular TV series 'thirtysomething' which ran from 1987-1991, airing 85 episodes during that period.In 2002, Thirtysomething was ranked #19 on TV Guide′s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time which showed it's popularity during the last 15 years.

The TV series depicts the lives of a group of 'baby boomer' 'yuppies' during the mid-late 1980's. They are connected by their involvement with the peace movement and counterculture of the 1960's when they were younger. Which is a stark contrast to their current, middle class lives in Pennsylvania.

An article published by Michael Hill in the Baltimore Sun states that the program 'got it right' when attempting to depict life for 'baby boomer yuppies' during the 1980's, when other shows were 'well wide of the mark'. When attempting to describe why the show was so popular for members of the 1960 generation, he stated; ''it was a perfect mirror on our lives that added the depth and nuance possible with drama, added dimensions that allow for increased insight and understanding''.

The show represented a drive (from the characters) to succeed, both financially and professionally, which is a hallmark of the definition of a 'yuppie'. Living in an urban environment (Philadelphia) and being 20-30 something individuals it also encompasses the definition of 'yuppie' as a 'young, urban professional' giving an accurate representation of what a 'yuppie' actually was.

The impact of the show did not end when it was cancelled in 1991. Thirtysomething inspired the creation of other series with ideals based on feminine sensibilities and preoccupations with the transition from childhood, to maturity (Sisters) and comedies about groups of friends, working in major cities and communicating (Seinfeld, Friends). The show's popularity and 'cult following' shows the accuracy of the representation of the 'yuppie' during the 1980's, as so many American's could relate to the characters portrayed in the show. The show also allowed the role of the 'yuppie' to be defined and explained thoroughly to members of the population who did not know what the term entailed.



Monday, 27 January 2014

The Yuppie | The Elite of the 1980s

Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989) - Barbara Ehrenreich

A Yuppie? What is a Yuppie? For me and others of the 21st Century a Yuppie is a word that has never crossed our vocabulary and if it did, the first thing I would think is that the word resembled some kind of breed of dog. Where in actuality the word is highly representative of America in the 1980's, for it portrayed the Young Urban Professionals aka YUP's that were out earning a living in this decade. The people that were categorised in this term were those who had either just left high school or just were about to, for whether male or female, their lifestyles and attitude echoed the 1980’s and Reagan's America. For then the Yuppie dressed, acted and seemed to encompass all that was considered to strive and be successful during that decade. Despite yuppies-defined by lifestyle and income, they actually only made up about 5 percent of their generation as stated in my chosen article.

In the article, Barbara Ehrenreich explained that the yuppie were not like other people, specifically “the children of blue collar workers”, for they “did not waste time "finding themselves" or joining radical movements. They plunged directly into the economic mainstream, earning and spending with equal zest”.  Just as much the article comments on a statement from Newsweek that saw the yuppie as emerging during the 1980’s for they, “saw yuppies as the "vanguard of the baby-boom generation, which had ‘marched through the '60s’ and was now speed[ing] toward the airport, advancing on the 1980s in the back seat of a limousine."

However for the main point the article argues that they actually were not as intelligent in their everyday living, considering they were meant to be these highly promising businessmen, for instance Ehrenreich states that; “they did not study; they ‘networked’. They did not save; they spent. And they did not spend on houses or station wagons, but on Rolex watches, Porsches, quick trips to Aruba, and, most notoriously, high-status foods.”

Coinciding with their lifestyles the yuppie thought of themselves as members the elite. They lived in gentrified neighbourhoods from which the working class, poor citizens had been freshly cleared; they worked for firms intent on minimizing the "labour costs" of blue- and pink-collar workers; in effect “their lifestyle was supported by the labour of poorly paid, often immigrant, service workers- housekeepers, restaurant employees, messengers, and delivery "boys." All of which mirrored the intentions of the Right Wing, Republicans.

To contend, yuppies were not as much discovered during the 1980s but rather invented and in turn were used as much to belittle someone’s status than to define them; and as the article points out, “what started as a neutral demographic category evolved with alarming speed into a social slur”. And equally Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in Esquire that the “Yuppie is now understood almost universally as a term of abuse...... You're a yuppie" is taken to mean not "you're a young urban professional" but rather "you have lousy values."


Bret Easton Ellis and Yuppie Culture

Bret Easton Ellis
An embodiment of the yuppie culture of the 1980's can be seen to exist in the work of author Bret Easton Ellis. Throughout the 80's, Ellis wrote books that expressed the vapid, self-obsessed, consumer drive of the selective class of the young wealthy professional. 

Ellis's novels were particularly important in creating an ideology of the yuppie, as his books presented an exaggerated image that became a cult symbol that simultaneously represented the image whilst also subverted it to expose a critique of both society and culture at the time. 

In turn, the books Ellis wrote became a retrospective presentation of the yuppie in the 1980's. Not necessarily accurate or factual, the novels exposed the sentiments that arose as a consequence of the selfish, consumerist attitude associated with the yuppie. Thus illustrating a divide in 1980's culture between the wealthy (the yuppie) and the rest of society. 

The extreme exaggeration that takes place within the novels conveys this sense of cultural representation, as through these amoral, deprived situations the societal opinion of the yuppie is represented. That is not to say the Ellis' work is simply a critique of the yuppie culture, this is not the case, his exploration of the cultural practice is at times flattering in its societal ennui and voyeristic appraisal of iniquitous acts.

Bret Easton Ellis' novels also convey just how relevant to 1980's culture the yuppie was, this is event in the enduring awareness of the novels themselves and the ideology they represent.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The 1980's Yuppie

"First there came the hippies, politically and culturally rebellious participants in the counterculture of the Sixties. And then there were the preppies, materialistic and upscale, obsessed with status, who believed the privileges they took for granted were due them thanks to an accident of birth. Yuppies melded what they deemed the best of both worlds -- the materialism of the preppies absent the snobbery and the self-absorbed perfectionism of the hippie without the anti-establishment mindset. The term "Yuppie" was first used in print by Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene in a March 1983 piece on Jerry Rubin, a hippie-turned-yuppie, and was bandied about extensively in the 1984 presidential campaign in which Colorado senator Gary Hart, a contender for the Democratic nomination, seemed tailor-made to appeal to the fiscally conservative but socially liberal yuppie voter."
"According to Newsweek, 1984 was the "Year of the Yuppie" -- the young urban professional whose lifestyle and outlook made him/her a synecdoche of Reagan's America. Yuppies were, according to leftist Fredric Jameson, "a new petit bourgeoisie [whose] cultural practices and values . . . have articulated a useful dominant ideological and cultural paradigm" for American society in the 1980s. Yuppies were lambasted as excessively consumptive in their pursuit of the American Dream without much regard for those left behind. The yuppie heyday was short-lived; critics gleefully described the stock market crash of October 1987 as the consequence of yuppie folly -- and the beginning of the yuppie's end. On November 11, 1987, 20,000 attended a "Save the Yuppie" concert given (tongue in cheek) by U2 at Justin Herman Plaza in the heart of San Francisco's financial district. After the crash, a popular joke was that the difference between a pigeon and a yuppie stockbroker was that the pigeon could still make a deposit on a new Mercedes. "Yuppie" quickly became a derogatory term, but there can be little doubt that the yuppie phenomenon had a lasting cultural impact."

"Nearly three-fourths of yuppie households were headed by couples, and a yuppie sub-set called DINKS -- double-income, no-kids couples -- was identified. Married or not, DINKS worked long hours at professional/managerial jobs, postponed having children for the sake of their careers, and had lots of discretionary income which they used in consuming conspicuously, like good yuppies did. Yuppies often worked so hard that they had little time for sex; more than one DINK couple admitted that they had an answering machine at home just so they could talk to each other at least once a day."

"Obsession with career was a hallmark of yuppie culture. As The Yuppie Handbook (1984) pointed out, work had to be personally meaningful, emotionally satisfying, and a vehicle for self-expression. Since staying busy was de rigueur for a yuppie, advertisers targeting them found the print media more effective than television -- a yuppie was likely to record China Beach or Moonlighting for later viewing and fast-forward through the commercials anyway. Metropolitan Home and New Yorker magazines were authentic yuppie publications. Meanwhile, upscale mail-order catalogs proliferated. Richard Thalheimer's San Francisco-based The Sharper Image earned a whopping $78 million in 1983 as the "ultimate toy store for yuppies." From espresso-cappucino makers and the Corby trouser press to a bathtub hydrospa and a $5,000 tanning bed, the most popular yuppie items had to be useful as well as fun to own. A definite yuppie decor developed -- postmodern art, tile bathrooms, wood floors, bare brick walls, pastel colors, glass bricks, potted plants and stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerators were in vogue. Yuppies led the way in gentrifying urban neighborhoods, turning warehouse lofts and run-down brownstones into valuable real estate."

"The work of talented young writers like Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis and Jill Eisenstadt created a yuppie literary explosion, McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City was a huge success in 1984 and became a hit movie starring Michael J. Fox, Phoebe Cates and Kiefer Sutherland. With witty and fast-paced writing, McInerney subtly portrayed the downside of frenetic yuppie existence through a protagonist who resorts to "Bolivian marching powder" (cocaine) to help him keep up with a life in the fast lane. Bret Easton Ellis explored the foibles of the "New Lost Generation" in his bestseller, Less Than Zero (1985), while Eisenstadt scored big with From Rockaway in 1987. In Diary of a Yuppie (1986), Louis Auchincloss, though not one himself, explored yuppie morality. Some critics sniped that yuppie fiction was too trendy and superficial. While skeptics agreed that McInerney and other members of the literary "brat pack" were fresh and talented voices, they complained that these chroniclers of Eighties lifestyle fiction had very little to say of lasting worth. Yet their work endures as a window into the yuppie phenomenon."
"It seemed that many yuppies suffered pangs of guilt for being so obsessed with status. Some were ex-hippies, and the passage from hippie to yuppie was perfectly illustrated in the film The Big Chill, whose characters mourn their compromised values and missed opportunities for love and parenthood. The reconstructed yuppie was represented by the lead character in the hit television series Northern Exposure, which premiered in 1990; Dr. Joel Fleischman reluctantly embraces the abundantly anti-materialist values held by the eccentric but happy residents of Cicely, Alaska. As the decade came to a close, the term yuppie became synonymous with greed, self-absorption and a lack of social conscience, and no one would admit to being one. But in hindsight yuppies weren't all bad. As Hendrik Hertzberg, editor of the New Republic wrote, "The fact is that . . . yuppies have better taste than yesterday's well-off young adult Americans, are less ostentatious in their display of wealth, . . . set a far better example of healthful living, and are more tolerant." Here's the bottom line -- today many Americans still live the yuppie lifestyle, or wish they did."

A 1986 survey by Louis Harris and Associates found the following:

73% of Americans believed that yuppies were primarily intent on making more money; 81% of yuppies agreed that they were.

72% of the public believed that yuppies were more concerned with their own needs than with the needs of others; the same percentage of yuppies agreed.

70% of those surveyed thought yuppies bought flashy cars and clothes in order to set themselves apart from others; 81% of yuppies said this was so.
Overall, the article views Yuppies as career driven, money obsessed, materialistic and self-absorbed individuals who dominated the 1980's. In the article the author quotes an idea from the New Republic, stating the healthier lifestyle of yuppies and expresses the difference between them and today's young adult. However, in the trailer for Bright Lights, Big City we see a more extravaggant lifestyle being lead, involving drugs and alcohol.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Ronald Reagan

This article originally written in 2009 is an example of hatred towards Ronald Regan the 40th president of the United States of America.  It clearly shows its hatred toward Regan implying that he may be ‘one of the worst presidents ever’.

However according to some records Reagan has a fairly positive job approval rating through his presidency.

This article supports highlights some of the areas of Reagan’s failures as well as criticising and questioning some of his achievements, which would therefore challenge records such as the records previously mentioned. . For example the article strongly suggests that Regan should not have received the praise he had obtained for the ending of the Cold War. It argues that the ‘Cold war was won before Reagan arrived in the White House’, as it was a common perception in the US intelligence community that the Cold war between the USA and the Soviet Union was winding down, a large part being that the USSR’s economic model had failed to keep up with the technological race with the West. It therefore strongly implies that due to the USSR’s failings the Cold War was expected to end in the near future, thus Reagan shouldn’t have received the praise he got for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The article also argues that Reagan ignored many factors that could hinder the USA ‘all issues that Reagan….ignored…now threaten America’s future’.  The article states ‘However, powerful vested interests’ both domestic and foreign [Reagan] managed to exploit the shortcomings of these three presidents’. It therefore suggests that Reagan had dragged the American people in the wrong direction from the tough choices that Nixon, Ford and Carter had done.

An example of this would be American’s oil dependence, the article highlights that Carter pushed a comprehensive energy policy and warned Americans that their growing dependence on foreign oil represented a national security threat (what he called “the moral equivalent of war”).

The article then moves on critisising Reagan as CEO’s wages significantly rose compared to those of the typical worker, which prevented the American middle class from progressing. This is supported in the article as it states that  ‘Before Reagan, corporate CEOs earned less than 50 times the salary of an average worker’ but by the end of the Reagan-Bush-I administrations in 1993, the average CEO salary ‘was more than 100 times that of a typical worker.’


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Regan Hated

The article entitled 'Ronald Reagan De-Mythologised' written by Juan Cole in 2004 examines Reagan's sense of 'meanness' towards people during his time as president. Within the article, Cole recalls a speech where Reagan shrugged off that there was hunger in America and blamed it on 'dieting'. He also " tried to cut federal funding for school lunches for the poor. He tried to have ketchup reclassified as a vegetable to save money." (Cole, 2004) Reagan's inability to understand how the other half lived was a major mistake on his part. As the president, it is a duty to protect all Americans which Reagan unfortunately did not uphold as Cole examines in this article.

Within the LGBT community, Reagan possessed a small minded approach to the AIDS crisis that was raging through the United States in the 1980s, "his inability to come to terms with the horrible human tragedy here, or with the emerging science on it, made his health policies ineffective and even destructive" (Cole, 2004) It seems like Reagan was not sympathetic to the people who were affected by AIDS and was not able to protect these people for the way he thought.

Cole explains in his article how he viewed one of Reagan's speeches about religious freedom, "I had a sense that 'religious freedom' was being used as a stick to beat those regimes the Reagan administration did not like." The policies that Reagan had during his time led to more extreme issues that the United States were involved in due to some of the policies Reagan backed, for example the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were encouraged by Reagan for short term policy reasons which led to a more dramatic turn of events later on in the United States.

Hatred for Reagan

Political Cartoon on Ronald Reagan

Former President Ronald Reagan has been criticised over the years and deemed an inadequate leader of the United States of America. In an article by Dr. Susmit Kumar, the reader is introduced to debate over how Reagan should be perceived as a President. The author recalls results from a poll in 1996 where "Ronald Reagan came in 25th out of 39 presidents, putting him in the “low average” category". In addition, the language used by Kumar implies that often it was not Reagan's actions that lead to improvements and triumphs for America, but luck and the help of others, for example, the fall of Soviet communism was more due to economic issues overseas not because of steps taken by Reagan and Japan who financed most of the United States debt. One critic of Reagan is Henry Kissinger, who stated "Reagan knew next to no history. He treated biblical references to Armageddon as operational predictions. Many of the historical anecdotes he was so fond of recounting had no basis in fact, as facts are generally understood. In a private conversation, he once equated Gorbachev with Bismarck, arguing that both had overcome identical domestic obstacles by moving away from a centrally planned economy toward the free market. I advised a mutual friend that Reagan should be warned never to repeat this preposterous proposition to a German interlocutor". To add Kissinger said, "The details of foreign policy bored Reagan. He had absorbed a few basic ideas about the dangers of appeasement, the evils of communism, and the greatness of his own country, but analysis of substantive issues was not his forte. All of this caused me to remark, during what I thought was an off-the-record talk before a conference of historians at the Library of Congress: 'When you talk to Reagan, you sometimes wonder why it occurred to anyone that he should be president, or even governor. But what you historians have to explain is how so unintellectual a man could have dominated California for eight years, and Washington already for nearly seven.' [3]" 

Ronald Reagan: inspiring a generation of punk

The picture above is from the website the caption below it reads 'Classic 80s theme updated for 2011 & Reagan’s 100th birthday. Juvenile, but effective'
Having already confessed in our last meeting that I know little about the 1980's, my knowledge of Ronald Reagan is unfortunately not much better! I understand this mans name immediately creates controversy but I was unaware this was because of his tax cuts for the rich and yet tax rises for the middle class. This president tripled the national debt and effectively made the rich richer and strengthened the class divide. When I googled the phrase 'Reagan hatred' the first website to appear was entitled "fuck Ronald Reagan" › Discuss.
I discovered how Reagan's presidency inspired punk bands such as D.O.A to write songs such as 'fucked up Ronnie'. This song I found on a blog called 'hey Ronnie! 10 best punks songs about Ronald Reagan'  This site and several others describe Reagan as 'the best punk icon of the 80s'. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


The above website, although mainly dedicated to personal opinion and blogging, shows examples of why 'No president of the 20th century had a more positive and enduring influence than Ronald Reagan'.

From this webpage the main points are that:
- Reagan won the Cold War
- Relieved the American economy by cutting tax rates
- He was successful both in America and with foreign policy.
- He believed that no president could spend it's way into prosperity
-  The author suggests that 'From 1982 to 2007, the U. S. economy more than doubled in economic growth, and we led the world with an ever increasing standard of living and relatively low unemployment.' and that Reagan was responsible for this.

It is evident that it is incredibly easy to find critics of Reagan and his presidency but the author states that,
'At the end of his presidency, his critics—from Sam Donaldson to Ted Kennedy—admitted that Reagan had changed the world and had done so with candor and honesty.' This may show how opinions of a Reagan's presidency have changed after his time in office due to the public's reflection on who he was as a president.

It is important to put this webpage into context as it is representing the views of a particular group of people. The free republic website "is the premier online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web".

Also this opinion was published online in 2010 reflecting back on the presidency of Reagan while Obama is president today. The webpage below supports the above views by firstly, stating that Reagan is the best president that ever lived, voted in the YouGov/Economist survey (of 2013) by 1000 voters but secondly, by comparing Reagan's successes to Obama's failures today.

The LGBTQ Community and Ronald Reagan

The Failure to Act: Discrimination, Death and AIDS

Personally, I know very little in terms of politics and law. However, in terms of politics and presidency, I find it interesting to delve into the views and opinions of certain communities when it comes to something important that strongly effected that community. In this case, I looked up the AIDS epidemic that spread across the US during the 1980s, killing thousands of people in the process and how because of President Reagan's stubborn morals (and likely religious views) the disease was ignored for 5 years. 
                  The AIDS virus was first recognised 1981 by a health centre reporting a strange immune system disorder to five homosexual men in Los Angeles, CA. By the end of that year, 422 cases of the illness had been reported, 159 of those cases had resulted in death. Despite the rising number of deaths due to the disease, Reagen still denied the danger that Americans could face and refused to acknowledge there was any
issue. AIDS had become a deadly disease associated with the gay community and because of this, many strongly religious communities decided to overlook the illness, brush it under the rug and deemed it as a punishment to those who committed sodomy and behaved immorally. 
                   In 1982, it was made known that AIDS could be passed through heterosexual relations as well, though this didn't chance the public's view that connected the disease to the gay community. The US government continued to ignore the growing threat of AIDS. Help for those diagnosed with the disease didn't arrive until 1985 when the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved AIDS testing, but which point 22,996 cases of AIDS had been diagnosed and 12, 592 had ended in death. It's disgusting to think that thousands upon thousands of Americans were happy to let their fellow American die purely because a book told them that his or her sexual orientation was wrong. 
                    AIDS had swept the nation and the Reagan administration recognised that they could no longer go without addressing the epidemic. Reagan finally acknowledged it and for the first time used the word 'AIDS' in a speech given in 1987. And so the journey of picking up the pieces after years of doing nothing began, though the help given was still very limited. By the end of that year, 71,176 people had been diagnosed with AIDS - 41,027 had died.

Ronald Reagan, The Greatest President Who Ever Lived

Turns out the title of Sean Beaudoin's article is completely ironic. Mr Beaudoin, a young adult fiction writer who grew up during the Reagan era, in fact believes he "was the worst president we've ever had," because in his eyes Reagan is responsible for the idea that it was better to feed the population "shallow simplistic and even demonstrably false statements" instead of the more painful and complex truth. Which has led, in Mr Beaudoin's opinion, to a political system in 2013 where politicians seem allergic to telling the truth, a fact that is hard to dispute, just watch any interview with a politician and notice how they refuse to answer the question they are being asked. I actually remember watching an episode of the Daily Show during the 2012 election when an interviewer asked Mitt Romney what his favourite book was, to which he responded, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I've read a good one recently, but I'm not going to say which." Unfortunately I couldn't find the clip on the internet. Mr Beaudoin also charges Reagan with dragging "gibbering evangelism" into the realm of national politics. 

Mr Beaudoin's article is certainly a much more emotive and opinionated article, than an academic one, with little evidence given to support his statements, he never gives an example of the "shallow simplistic and... false statements" he claims to be Reagan's legacy. While he claims that Nancy Reagan was actually pulling the strings and calling the shots in the White House, he fails again to provide any evidence or examples, causing this argument to come across more as a conspiracy theory than a valid point of grievance against Reagan. 

However his charging of Reagan with leading us to "consume without ethics" that came as a result of Reaganomics and the economic boom, which I highlighted last week with the Air Jordans, because spending that much money on a pair of shoes is honestly hard to justify ethically, is most definitely a valid criticism of the Reagan era and the rampant greed it festered.  

While I personally disagree with his assessment of Reagan, I believe he was far from the worst President and nowhere near as awful as Mr. Beaudoin makes him out to be, it was an extremely interesting article to read simply because of how much Mr Beaudoin seems to hate Ronald Reagan, it reminded me a lot of the way people back home talk about Margaret Thatcher, based mostly off emotions, or in the case of my friends their parents emotions, and are deeply rooted, unwilling to move in their opinions. In admitting that his opinion of Reagan hasn't changed "since high school," he is basing his opinion upon adolescence angst, and isn't really willing to reflect upon it.   

The article does have one major flaw, in that Mr Beaudoin repeatedly launches into snarky, personal attacks on supports of Reagan and members of his staff, making it come across as smug and childish. He calls Arthur Laffer, a "demented toad," James Watt, "truly certifiable" and Pat Buchanan a "race-baiting neo-Fascist buffoon." He also rather distastefully ridiculous Reagan getting shot in an assassination attempt, proclaiming "he really knew how to get shot," which seems rather irrelevant to a debate over Reagan's presidency. 

Linking in with the Brat Pack post from last week, Mr Beaudoin discusses the film St. Elmo's Fire, a film he calls a "turdlet," and how each of the respective characters represent the negative qualities of the Reagan era. 

He declares that they are all "self-centered, morally adrift, penny deep, full of greed, unearned certainty and a complete lack of style," and all totally capturing and reflecting Reaganology, before declaring that St Elmo's Fire is the legacy Ronald Reagan should be eternally condemned for. Whether or not this is supposed to be a serious claim or an attempt at wit and satire, it is certainly an interesting idea, which perhaps sums up the whole article. It is a useful but flawed text reflecting on the Reagan era and presents a view of Reagan that is not normally seen. 

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?


Pres. R.Reagan 1981.

The article chosen as an example of hatred towards the presidency of Ronald Reagan was written in 2009. This shows that the information portrayed is given as a form of hindsight, rather than being written at the time when Reagan was actually in office. The article is written by an independent journalist (Robert Parry) so it's validity and ability to be generalised to the public (their opinion of Reagan) has to be questioned. Having been written after Reagan left office, it allows for comparisons between other (more recent) presidents and allows for a complete overview of his two terms in office (1981-1989), rather than what he has/has not accomplished (if it was written during these years).

The article describes how Reagan essentially reversed the progress made by Nixon, Carter and Ford during the 1970's of oil dependence, environmental degradation, the arms race and nuclear proliferation by ignoring these issues, which now plague the country once again, today. An example shown when attempting to deal with Detroit's manufacturing of cars, not encouraging them to build fuel efficient types, but rather declaring that Washington would not 'nag them'. This was summed up during the first inaugural address in 1981; "Government is not the solution, government is the problem".

The article also describes that Reagan received too much credit for the ending of the cold war. Members of the CIA (not named) maintain that the progress made by both Nixon and Ford essentially ended the cold war for Reagan. I think this has a degree of accuracy, as anyone that knows anything about the cold war naturally assumes that Reagan was responsible for the end of the cold war as it fell during his tenure as president, something which may not be wholly accurate.

Reagan was also responsible for placing the United States into an even more precarious situation economically which is represented in the following finding: The federal debt was $994 billion when Reagan took office in 1981, and grew to $2.9 trillion when his second term ended in 1989.

Lastly, the article explains how the concept of the 'American Dream' was negated during Reagan's administration, citing how CEOs now earned double what they had earned during previous administrations when compared to the salaries of their workers. Drug use among the poor soared, although this cannot be placed directly on Reagan's presidency as availability and production of drugs had increased dramatically compared to previous years. During his tenure it's described that 'white men were encouraged to see themselves as victims of ''reverse discrimination'' and ''political correctness'' which would explain his resounding victory over Carter and Mondale, winning with 489 and 525 electoral votes respectively in each of the elections (1980 & 1984).

Having looked at examples of more positive articles relating to Reagan's presidency, my opinion is not completely one sided when believing if Reagan's presidency was negative or positive, an opinion obviously supported by the American public during Reagan's terms when his approval rating fluctuated significantly (35%-70%) during his first and second terms as shown in the graph below:

Reagan in Contemporary America

‘Why is it so hard for pundits to admit that Reagan was just as unpopular in 1982 as Obama is in 2010?’

This contemporary article is a reflective one, That possibly disagrees with many contemporary views on the Reagan era today.  It makes comparisons with the Obama administration, suggesting that now 30 years on Reagan is seen in a different light particularly after his death in 2004. (Starts to be acknowledged for his achievements).
In this article it is argues that Reagan was just as unpopular as Obama is today. It quotes;

‘Reagan, as president, was not some magical political super-being who was immune to sagging public confidence, poor midterm election prospects, and intraparty dissent and second-guessing that Obama is now faced with.’

Similarly it states that a Presidents success can often rely on the state of the economy, if steady then the President has the job of keeping it steady. If unstable the President is criticised for not doing enough to fix it. 
Similar economic and Political downturn existed in both Presidents terms in office; high rising unemployment, and involved in conflict, contesting powers/emerging powers. These are all similarities that both Obama and Reagan faced.

However the article then presents an alternative viewpoint that suggests the similarities are only slight, and often differ. Arguing that Americans in 1982 had more confidence in Reagan’s economic program than they have today in Obama’s;

‘Contrast Obama’s attempt to develop a politics to justify his economic program with what Reagan did in 1982. Faced with steadily rising unemployment, which went from 8.6 percent in January to 10.4 percent in November, Reagan and his political staff, forged a strategy early that year calling for voters to “stay the course” and blaming the current economic troubles on Democratic profligacy. “We are clearing away the economic wreckage that was dumped in our laps,” Reagan declared. Democrats accused them of playing “the blame game,” but the strategy, followed to the letter by the White House for ten months, worked. The Republicans were predicted to lose as many as 50 House seats, but they lost only 26 and broke even in the Senate.’

However this view is then criticised heavily, for its suggestive nature regarding the prediction of seats lost. It is then argued that only losing ’26 seats’ as oppose to 50 seats, does not suggest that there was more confidence in Reagan than there Is in The Obama administration.
For example where was the confidence in the 1982 mid-terms;

‘when double-digit unemployment prompted voters to toss 26 of Reagan’s Republican allies out of Congress and to hand seven new governorship to Democrats and 11 state legislative chambers to the Democrats?’

By the summer of 1992, just 24 percent of Americans said their country was better off because of the Reagan years, while 40 percent said it was worse off — and that more Americans (48 percent) viewed Reagan unfavorable than favorable (46 percent).
Similarly just 49% of Americans say they trust Obama, and 48% believe he is not a strong leader.

Thus the article concludes that Reagan was just as unpopular in 1982, it wasn’t until after this that polls and employment rates started to take a turn for the better- ‘His personality amounted for nothing’.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ronald Reagan | The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan - October 1988

The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, 1981 - 1989

After browsing the web for numerous hours I finally came across an article that was from the era in which Ronald Reagan sat in office. I thought that by finding an article from the 1980’s it would give us with an opinion whether positive or negative on President Reagan because it would be a contemporary article from the era. Therefore it can provide us with opinions that were felt about him during his presidency rather than those that were formed after he left his legacy and retrospectively the ways that he may have affected the US economy and politics.

The article is from The Mises Institute monthly and was written in October 1988; what must be known is that this would be written at the point where Reagan’s presidency was coming to an end, therefore most of his impact in politics would have been felt and likewise scrutinised by those who did not necessarily support him, and so looking towards the upcoming candidates campaigning to become the new president of the United States.

The article titled The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan by Sheldon L. Richman comments on the after effects of the eight years in which he was President, also labelled as Reaganism. Richman looks back and subdivided his argument into five areas that Reagan has failed to improve; Spending, Taxes, Regulation, Bureaucracy and Trade. The two areas that are most densely written about are Spending and Taxes so these are the two that I will summerise; if you want to read about the other then click on this link.

Spending – Richman highlights that even from the previous president Jimmy Carter the federal government spent 27.9% of the "national income", but this has however increased with the Reagan administration as at the end of the first quarter of 1988, federal spending accounted for 28.7% of "national income."

Here are some more statistics that Richman uses to verify his argument; Social Security spending has increased from $179 billion in 1981 to $269 billion in 1986, Medicare spending in 1981 was $43.5 billion and in 1987 it was $80 billion. Federal entitlements cost $197.1 billion in 1981 and $477 billion in 1987. Conclusively in spending, Reagan’s impact in 1988 had been disastrous and Richman wants to make this known. And so the Gross Federal Debt proves just this because in his eight years as President it went from $900 billion to $2.7 billion.

Taxes – According to Richman, Reagan came into office proposing to cut personal income and business taxes. In 1982 Reagan supported a five-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax and higher taxes on the trucking industry. This had a total increase of $5.5 billion a year. In 1983, Reagan called for, and received, Social Security tax increases of $165 billion over seven years. A year later came Reagan's Deficit Reduction Act to raise $50 billion. Again to Richman’s statistics, which in effect provide us with an easier understanding of visual impact Reagan had over his Presidency. Richman shows that the taxes by the end of the Reagan era will be as large a chunk of GNP (Gross National Product) as when he took office, if not larger at 19.4%, but the country’s historic average is 18.3%.

What to take away from all the evidence that Richman provides is that this is the impact of Reagan’s legacy. As Richman finalises, “he [Reagan] was to be the man who would turn things around. But he didn't even try. As he so dramatically illustrated when he accepted the plant-closing bill, there has been no sea-change in thinking about the role of government”.

Link to Article Website:

Reagan Hated  Through looking at variety of examples of Ronald Reagan hagiography or Regan hatred. I came across an online website called "" Displayed an article called "10 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime."  Published on December 3rd 2011. Evidently indicating it's a contemporary source. The article presents a hatred tone, towards Past president Ronald Reagan of the 1980s. Notably through the nature of the article, indicating a long- lasting hatred that still exists today. Through pin pointing examples he had made within his time in office and leadership within america that made him an unsuccessful hated president to majority of Americans. 

The ten reason are:
 - Reagan cut taxes for the rich, increased taxes on the middle class.
- Tripling  The National Debt 
- Iran/ contra
- Reagan Funded Terrorists 
- Unemployment issues
- Ignoring AIDS
- Regan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants
- His attacks on unions and the middle class.
- Reagan raided  the social security trust fund
- and Endless worship and never Ending Praise. 

The article could be seemed as biased, taken into consideration that it is published within the Democratic political news section. In other words this article could be seen as an outline of Democrats  hatred of Reagan  decisions, that was within beneficial of people who supported conservative party and were rich. As they clearly stated within the beginning of the article that 

" If you ever happen to come across a Republican on television these days, chances are that you will hear the name Ronald Reagan. Recent Republican debates are the perfect example of the love fest that the current Republican party has for Reagan as each candidate name drops the former president at every turn. If you only listened to conservatives you would think that Jesus Christ was the only person above Reagan on the totem pole of conservative love. They talk about his love of low taxes, less government and conservative family values" :  But then reading an article by political writer Steve Kornacki, who is in favour of Republican Party, writes an article about Reagan Hagiography that was published in August 2010, explaining that " Reagan was just as un popular in 1982 as Obama Is in 2010." His argument went along the lines that if you want to continue blaming Reagan for human  mistakes he made as president  for example  " the arms-for-hostages trade, the Iran-Contra affair, nearly wrecked his presidency. But he recovered, the nation rallied around him and carried him across the finish line, his bond with the electorate deep and true." that Obama should be be held responsible as much as Reagan was as Obama " some magical political super-being who was immune to sagging public confidence, poor midterm election prospects, and intraparty dissent and second-guessing that Obama is now faced with." 

However his post is also biased and could be seen as a rebellion to the morals and views he valued and think should be applied to Americans that Obama and democrats has changed e.g Obama taxing the rich more, and decreasing the amount of tax working class Americans pay. Which in modern society is seems as a complete opposite to what Reagan had put into process within the 1980s.