Well, Disco is Back, Too, Sort Of

Tim Cavanaugh explores the 1970s, and we learn that instead of a shag-carpet, C.W. McCall, John Travolta cultural wasteland, they were a drastically important formative period. But the horror, the horror:

A nation of latchkey kids was being either driven mad by Angel Dust or abducted by brainwashing cults. Intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic were mutilating cattle in the countryside, while in urban areas the sixties problem of "white flight" had escalated into a vision of American cities in violent, unmanageable, apocalyptic decline. Iranian maniacs were not just keeping 52 U.S. citizens in captivity: They were, in a hysterical phrase that made the career of the supposedly unruffleable Ted Koppel, holding America hostage. More Americans remained in dank prisons in communist Vietnam, despite having been repeatedly rescued by Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, and other Hollywood stars. Americans at home were not safe either.

Then there were the two-inch platform shoes and green corduroy pants. Is it any wonder the country decided to change directions? (And perhaps the persistence of disco -- thinly disgused in Daft Punk form -- in France explains the cultural rift there, too.)

Who is the C.W. McCall of our age?



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