After finishing our last class on dancing through the decades, my mind kept going back to the discussion of relating the decades to the type of music and dance that existed. I'm not sure whether music is simply another form of expression of if music is the catalyst for change. One thing that caught me off guard though was the prevalence of the President of the United States of America as an archetype for the decade in general. The president though seems to be a few years behind the general population, but in the end remains a symbol of the values that the people held dear.

In the 1940's the United States entered and ended the second World War. They became the world's predominant power (along with the Soviet Union) and the succession of presidents from FDR to Truman was a symbol of prosperity, nationalism, comfort, solidarity, contentedness. The country was happy with their choices, and most of all with the fact that women went back to the homes after having gone out to work.

In the 1950's the United States was the predominant power in the world, prosperity reigned, the only threat was the communists and their empire in the East. Dwight Eisenhower, powerful commander, symbol of success, imposing handshake, and an impressive three letter nickname, he was the symbol of all that is good in the United States of America (the USA loved IKE).

JFK epitomized the 60's. Trouble was on the horizon, but for now, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, maybe we could put off confrontation for another few years. He was hostile, volatile, and charismatic, and the last untouchable President. His assassination ushered in a new era of politics of distrust and a degradation of nationalism.

No one embodied this distrust for the nation more so than Richard Nixon and his epic fall from the office of the President. Just like the presidency, the 70s were filled with people living lies hoping to put off facing the truth of drugs and violence, just long enough to get out of the way.

Reagan, and his unending enthusiasm, his hope of one day finally accomplishing all that Reaganomics claimed to be, epitomized the 80s. They were the party, bright colors, the king of pop, everyone having a good time and trying to forget the previous decade.

Clinton, the 90s, a new hope for a new world order, lies, deceit, the elimination of morals from mainstream America, boy bands.

And now, in the last decade we've gone from patriotic fervor to the old levels of distrust with Bush, and finally Obama has shown that the subcultures rule in the new millennium. There no longer is a dominant fashion, music, dance, food, culture, but rather the eclectic, the new, the modern, the departure from the troubled past, that's what will define this decade.

Maybe if I want to be elected President one day, I just need to pay attention to dress and music. Then again, if I wanted to be elected President, I probably shouldn't post this.


  1. Interesting thoughts, I had had some similar thoughts about JFK while watching Mad Men this last season. Seemed as if the lifestyle he lived and his force of character really embodied the 60's. I hadn't ever thought to extend that to other president's since FDR but it definitely makes sense when laid out this way. It'll be interesting to look back 15 years from now and see how this past decade is defined considering Bush was the president for most of it.

  2. Along with this, it is interesting to think of the style of clothes lately. It will be interesting to see how 2010 is classified fifty years from now, because walking around campus, I sometimes feel like I am living in completely different eras.

  3. reading this post reminds me of our discussion from the first day of class on why we read. Literature, like music, is a reflection of the direction our society takes. I just think its interesting to consider that we make music for the same reasons we read. Both lead us to a world that stretches our own realities

  4. You could turn your thoughts on Presidents as archetypes for their times into an essay. Are they a product of their times, or in their desire for political success become archetypes to be elected?