Friday, 29 January 2016

Race and its representation of the 1980s


Glory (1989)
This film is about an African-American who is a Col. and gets the chance to become command of the United States' very first African-American regiment. The film is about the Civil War and it gives an interesting representation of race in the 1980s. 

This clip demonstrates how African Americans were treated by other races. What is interesting is that despite the African-American getting whipped, one white man within the clip believes that the African-American should not be whipped, but perhaps something less humiliating. This indicates that during the 1980s, people's attitudes towards African-Americans were changing, and they did not want to treat them any differently to their own race. At the same time, the main man in charge goes ahead with the whipping, although his facial expressions suggest that he did not want to, but felt that he had to. The man whipping, represents the people in the United States whose attitudes had not changed a lot during the 1980s.

Black America in the 1980s: Theoretical and practical implication by Graham C. Kinloch
This journal relates to the film Glory as well as American culture in the 1980s. It examines whether the representation of race within the United States has actually improved, become worse or whether it has remained the same. It highlights that although there has been some progress, there is still African-American deprivation. It suggests that this is because of the white race consistently being prejudice and self-interested. This, as a result, is why the negative status of African-Americans has remained during the 1980s.

Yuppie Racism: Race Relations in the 1980s by Richard Lowy
This journal article also relates to the film Glory as well as to American culture of the 1980s. It describes the representation of race in the United States as being negative, and not having a good image of African-Americans during the 1980s, despite the civil rights act 20 years earlier. It comments that racial violence in on the rise and that a lot of racial incidents happened during the 1980s. This indicates that the representation of race in the 1980s was not positive, and people's attitudes has remained the same from previous years.



These two film covers are from the same film but from different years. It demonstrates how the representation of race is viewed differently in different decades. The image on the right is the least recent film cover, and this suggests that the representation of race within the United States had not changed that much from previous decades. Although on this particular film cover, there are the faces of the main characters, the main image is of soldiers whose faces are not recognisable. This provides viewers with the ability to decide for themselves what race the soldiers are, and could also be seen as an attempt of a bad representation of race within the United States during the 1980s.

Although, on the other hand, this image suggests that your race does not matter when fighting, what matters is that you are all fighting for the same country; the United States. This is shown through the American flag at the top of the cover, and the soldiers fighting beneath it. Therefore, this indicates that the image on the right is a good representation of race in the United States during the 1980s, whereas the image on the left is not. This is because the most recent film cover, suggests that race does matter, as the image shows different races.

The one of the left is a more recent cover, of the 1989 film. This has the African-Americans in the centre of the image, alongside the white man. This indicates that there has been progress in regard to race, because unlike the 1989 version, the two races have equal representation on the front of the cover. This also illustrates that many attitudes have changed from the 1980s, and as a result, the representation of African-Americans has improved over the years.

Grace La Traille


Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Role and Representation of the Yuppie

The Yuppie Rap

This 'Yuppie Rap' music video was created in 1989 and it presents some of the typical characteristics of the yuppie culture. Some of the lyrics in this rap are "It's what you have not what you are" and "acquisition and power are the drugs I'm on" suggesting that money and position are the most important things in life to yuppies and they would rather be rich than be happy. The rap also talks about keeping physically fit and brags about all of the expensive things yuppies tend to own such as Louis Vuitton clothing.

This rap seems to be making fun of the yuppie culture, showing the stereotype of yuppies as being stuck up and self obsessed. The music video for this rap is also mocking the culture as the main character of the male yuppie is overly happy showing his whole day as perfect so that it is purposefully unrealistic. All of the background characters all tend to be on phones, making fun of how yuppies always prioritise business and are always working.

At the end of the music video we find out that the main character was in fact dreaming of being a yuppie the whole time but instead works in a kitchen. This shows us that the culture was idolised and looked up on by those who are poorer. Although this is still portrayed in a comedic way.



The Yuppie is a young college-educated adult who has a job that pays a lot of money and who lives and works in or near a large city. The definition came out during the 80's and was a large part of the cultural norms of that decade. The label has branched out to all areas of life, influencing Film, Art, Literature. The Yuppie is still a part of pop-culture today, being mentioned in an episode of the 2012 show Duck Dynasty where they use the term Yuppie to refer the "urban lifestyle or a city slicker, and could not hold their own if they were to have to go into survival mode." there was also a blog called "Stuff White People Like" that pokes fun of the Yuppie lifestyle. 

During the early 80's the Yuppie lifestyle was desirable and often sorted after by the youth. In modern films such as the 2013 Wolf of Wall Street (Based on a true story) you can see that people are actively sorting after the life style that the main character, Jordan Belfort is offering to people. However, this label did come with negative views. in a 1885 issue of The Wall Street Journal Theressa Kersten stated that "To be a Yuppie is to be a loathsome undesirable creature". When the 1987 Stock Market Crash hit, the Yuppie was announced dead. it was no longer seen as a positive thing and became a term that had a lot of negative connotations to it as it promoted egotistical tendencies.

The term Yuppie is apparently making a comeback although I have never actually heard the term until this class. This article talks about the new age of the Yuppie and compares it to what it once stood for and how it's made full circle from being desired, to being despised to now being resurrected from the dead. 

The Yuppie

Yuppies were 'young urban professionals' many of which seemed self- absorbed and only interested in moving up in the world, having the latest gadgets, meeting the most important people and most importantly earning the most money - even if that meant participating in illegal or the most illicit activity to do so.

The video I chose seems to perfectly sum up the stereotypes surrounding the yuppie culture in the 1980's, commenting on the 'champagne lifestyle, flash cars and beautiful women' that men in the eighties aspired to attain. However this particular video, unlike many popular films such as 'The Wolf of Wall Street' or 'American Psycho' which  further popular and glamorise the yuppie, this video slates them. Possibly due to the fact that this video was set after the eighties in the period where yuppie culture was in demise so being classed as a 'yuppie' was seen as a derogatory term and the blame of the stock market crash had fallen upon them also.

Image: American Psycho - 

The Yuppie in 80's culture

An article found on a website named 'The Eighties Club' does a decent job at representing and stereotyping the yuppies and their culture. The article points out that the term yuppie stands for 'Young Urban Professional', the description itself gives a feel of the type of person you'd expect, a young college graduate in a high paid city job who's main aim is to blow all their money. 

The article referred to earlier goes into far more detail about the stereotypes of yuppies and references things such as "Were L.A. Law and thirtysomething two of your favorite television shows?  Did you prefer wine over beer, pasta over Big Macs, designer ice cream (or yogurt) over the supermarket brands?  Did you read the Wall Street Journal and USA Today more often than the local newspaper?"..."chances are you were a yuppie, even though you might not have admitted it." 

From just those simple stereotypes it is easy to see that these yuppies had a taste for the good life, even something as simple as preferring pasta over big macs shows a cultural difference between the yuppie and working classes. That isn't to say all the working classes preferred big macs but it was often the cheaper and easier to obtain meal, especially on a lunch break. 

Don't be fooled though it isn't all rainbows and roses for the yuppies, they did have a demise. Following the stock market crash of October 1987, the blame mostly fell on "Yuppie folly" and soon enough the term yuppie became derogatory. It seemed that such young and inexperienced workers were being allowed to gamble with more than they should and soon enough they began their downfall. 

There was also a special type of yuppie known as DINKS, these were double-income, no kids, couples. DINKS often worked such long hours that they rarely saw one another and rarely had time for sex. Some couples married and eventually settled down but usually due to their high earnings the time they spent together they would spend a vast amount of their money whilst not saving much. The article describes how one DINK couple even bought and answering machine for their home so they could speak to each other at least once a day because they were both so busy.

A quick mention of the picture; what is so interesting about this picture is that the man looks so uninterested and bored. Obviously the picture is staged and appears to be from a TV show or film but I'm not sure which. In any case, it can be representative of the DINK couple and how they were more interested in earning money than being with their partner.

To wrap this up, the yuppie is still alive today. 30 years on and there is no doubt that we still live in an age with yuppies, some may save a little more or earn a little less, but the obsession with spending and love for money is still alive in many university graduates. This means that the yuppie has had cultural resonance for he best part of 3 decades.


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The 'Yuppie' era

One of the most easily recognisable tropes of 1980s culture is that of the Yuppie, and most particularly, we associate them with the US money market, high fashion of the time, mobile phones and cocaine.  Where do these notions of the Yuppie come from?  Are they accurate?

Few films speak to the Yuppie era in a more all-encompassing way than Wall Street.  It tells the story of Bud Fox, a young stockbroker who wants success (measured by the amount of money he has).  Fox has no scruples in how his money is made. He meets an older version of himself Gordon Gekko, a greedy, selfish user of people, and becomes his protégé.  Gekko is a corporate raider, described by as ‘An investor who seeks to take control of a publicly traded company by acquiring a controlling interest of the company's stock and then replacing the board of directors and/or the Corporate Officers.’

This film came to be synonymous with the term ‘Yuppie’ (short for “young upwardly mobile”) because the characters in it seemed to be only interested in making huge amounts of money without any conscience as to how this was achieved. Yuppies were perceived to be sharply dressed go-getters who didn’t care who they stepped on as they were on the way up nor did they care about morals and ethics.

The Yuppie Handbook by Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley (1984) shows the stereotypical Yuppie male and female on the front cover:

The aspirational Yuppie would wear similar clothing and carry the latest gadgetry, including later in the 80s the cellphone, which was closer to the size of a house brick than to a modern mobile telephone!

As the decade progressed those Yuppies who were the prototypes for the characters in Wall Street were having such success with their illegal activities that they became careless. A good example is that of Levine, Siegel, Boesky and Milken.

Boesky was in arbitrage, put simply this is looking out for stocks which are simultaneously listed on more than one stock exchange at different prices.  The arbitrageur would buy at the lower price while at the same time selling the same number of shares at the higher price. This is known as short selling – the stocks being sold are not actually in the ownership of the seller at the time of the sale.  (This practice was most recently memorialised in the Oscar winning film, the Wolf of Wall Street.) Boesky appeared to have amazing powers of premonition in respect of takeover potential of companies. He would buy shares of companies at rock bottom prices and they would shortly thereafter reach high prices and he would sell.

Boesky had Levine and Siegel both of whom were in mergers and acquisitions in the major banks, giving him pre-takeover information to which they were privy. He paid them for the information and they each made a great deal of money.  The carelessness set in and Boesky became involved in huge deals.  With each deal he was amazingly fortunate in buying and selling at the right time.  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) became suspicious about the transactions.

A tipoff at one of the banks led to the discovery of Levine’s Swiss bank account.  They questioned him and he named Boesky who was then kept under surveillance.  This led to the capture of Siegel.  Milken was also under suspicion and the SEC kept watch on him and on Boesky.  As a result Milken and Boesky were given record fines and prison sentences for their crimes.

The impact of Yuppie style was definitely felt even in the UK. As a teenager in the 1980s I was greatly influenced by the Yuppie style being shown in the cinemas and on television! Even though I was still at school, I wore pin striped pencil skirts with white shirts underneath waistcoats, and had a selection of tie pins!  On other occasions I and my friends would wear jackets with enormous shoulder pads over a t-shirt and completed our pseudo-Yuppie look with essential espadrilles! This style in particular was influenced by US television series, Miami Vice, a television cop show reflecting the cocaine boom of the 1980s.

This programme closely linked business with the drugs world. The films and television programmes depicting the Yuppies of the 1980s often showed them as partying very hard and taking cocaine, snorting it using rolled up hundred dollar bills. This was accepted as a true reflection of the times although it was greatly exaggerated in films and on televison.

Yuppies and Film

  Coined by Joseph Epstein in 1982 (although it also appeared in a 1980 article), A Yuppie is defined as "a well-paid young middle-class professional who works in a city job and has a luxurious lifestyle." The term originated in the 1980's to describe the up and coming young, highly educated workers that were involved in Banking and other White Collar careers. In many films, they have been a key character, such as American Psycho (2000) and more recently the Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Jordan Belfort starts on Wall Street in 1986 and as a Broker in 1987, the same day as the Wall Street Crash, also known as Black Monday. 
  Fight Club (1999) also tells the story of a "disenchanted Yuppie." It is clear to see that in many well-received films Yuppie's have a character involved. 
  The stereotype of the Yuppie is of someone who is obsessed with earning money and bettering themselves, and in the case of the Wolf of Wall Street, even acting highly illegally to achieve said goals. This shows the drive and passion that they have for money, and also illicit substances, as it is clear in American Psycho and the Wolf of Wall Street, that Cocaine is a necessary part of a Yuppie's diet. Although it is not the most powerful drug used in that culture. Money was the worst, and drove people to do horrific things to others, robbing people of money, all to make themselves richer, as Jordan Belfort put it, "the way I saw it, the money was better in my pocket, I knew how to spend it better." The lack of care or emotion that he shows about ripping people off is one of the reasons why many did not care for the Yuppie,  including a mock obituary for them in 1991 after the Crash, marking the death of the "Yuppie." 

  The way the Yuppie was thought of was affected by Gordon Gekko. Portrayed by Michael Douglas, the film, released in 1987, showed what corruption and greed could do to everyone. It was a bad representation of Yuppie's, and skewed what people thought of them.

  It can be argued that the Yuppie was seen as responsible for the Crash, as the term was popular in the 80's. They were the perfect represntation of unbridled Capitalism, one which ruined some people and created a massive wealth gap, aided by Reaganomics. The combination of the 2 has led to a distorted idea of the Yuppie. They had a massive role in Film and everyday life in the 80's, as they are seen as iconic of the era.

The Yuppie

a ​young ​person who ​lives in a ​city, ​earns a lot of ​money, and ​spends it doing ​fashionable things and ​buying ​expensive possessions' (Cambridge Dictionary)

The Yuppie, was an acronym developed in the the 1980's, to describe the growing (middle) class of highly educated, individuals who maintained patterns/trends within dress, social activities, politics and other areas; thus they became a socially identifiable collective. The growth and development of various markets, such as finance, business, technology and industry during the 80's, led to the increased need for highly educated or specifically skilled employees. Combined with the economic expansion of the 1980s under Reagan, and the strong emphasis on private enterprise and personal fiscal development that furthered materialistic consumerism. obtaining high salary jobs allowed, many young people (who predominated in major city areas), could full fill the growing social consumerism trends, and thus obtained a higher (financially backed) class level than many people of their age in past generation , and the ideal 'of get rich quick', took strong effect amongst college age groups.

Many developed into the culture of (sub)urban, middle class, with head of family; a couple, children and couple of homes, and sub-sect was identified as  DINKS (double-income, no-kids couples).  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

The icon of the 'yuppies' became so entrenched in the 80s and 90s that they became a key group to focus in contemporary literature, media and film, 'American Psycho' (published in 1991, and Film 2000), The Yuppie Handbook (1984), Less Than Zero (1985), Cocktail (1988) , these works, presented the Yuppie in a variety of way, whether endearing or demonizing ; they all aim to highlight the fundamental characteristics of Yuppie culture; excess in every aspect of life, sustainable with large amounts of money.  

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


Cocktail Trailer (1998)

Cambridge Online Dictionary Definition of Yuppie:

The Eighties Club -  9. Yuppie Culture

Representation of the yuppie

 (Hack, S., 2012)

The yuppie, short for “young urban professional” in the 1980’s was an young individual who was university educated and a professional, and quite often the yuppie is seen as having expensive taste and a party lifestyle. 

One form of representation for the yuppie in the 80’s was through media, such as TV and Film. One example of this is the TV show ‘Jack and Mike’ (1986) which chronicled the life of a married couple, both yuppies, in Chicago. There were many shows in the 1980’s that appealed to the yuppie audience, however ‘Jack and Mike’ was one of a few shows that actually captured the look of the yuppie culture more accurately. And this accurate representation on the yuppie has been suggested to be the reason that ‘Jack and Mike’ didn't get good ratings. As it was so accurate in its image that it forgot to focus so much on the plot. Furthermore, this show focused on a married couple which perhaps did not resonate with the yuppie viewers as the yuppie is often seen as more married to their work and lifestyle.

Toledo Blade newspaper from Sept 16th 1986

As this article above from 1986 shows, this show was expected to be very popular, however it was not. This article states that “Apparently, no group of viewers is going to be ignored by the networks this season. Even the yuppies will have a new show they can relate to”. This suggests that the yuppies were a recognised group in society, however from the tone of writing here perhaps the yuppies were not particularly liked. The use of the term yuppie in an article like this and the creation of a TV show to cater to the yuppie viewers suggests that the term yuppie and the yuppies themselves were so widely recognised as a part of society that they were creating this place for themselves in the media. 

 Comparing the term yuppie to current terms we have for younger people (usually in their 20’s) gives an insight into the role of the yuppie in the 80’s. The yuppie was simply a way of identifying someone or yourself, as a newly college educated professional worker. Its role in society was a way of stereotyping a section of society, as we still do today in the way we use the term’s, such as the term ‘millennial's’ to describe a whole age group of society. And this then allows people to stereotype this part of society and make assumptions about them based on this.

Feuer, J., 1995. Seeing Through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism. Durham: Duke University Press. 

Hack, S., 2012. Around our kind of town. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 26 January 2016]

Palmer, J, W., 1995. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Yuppies Representation

The article above is an interesting and detailed account which highlights the ‘stereotypical’ role of a Yuppie, and how a culture formed around this figure during the 1980’s. The representation of a Yuppie is first introduced in the first paragraph in which the author asks a series of rhetorical questions, ‘Did you frequent stores like Banana Republic and drop by Starbuck's for a cafe latte? Did you smile when you saw parquet floors, and turn up your nose at shag carpet?’ By presenting these stereotypical qualities in a humorous fashion we receive a simplistic view of the Yuppie culture through these preferences you are intended to possess which define you as a Yuppie, for example pasta over a big mac, leading the reader to interpret the movement as almost a joke.

  However the article also gives a detailed account of the ‘Yuppie’ lifestyle during the 80’s, providing positive and negative outlooks and looks at how the ‘Yuppie’ culture has impacted American culture today. The article states that ‘Yuppies were lambasted as excessively consumptive in their pursuit of the American Dream without much regard for those left behind’. This presents a negative view of a ‘Yuppie’ as it symbolises greed and a consumer culture, one which everyone cannot keep up with. Further negativity centred on the Yuppie culture, was through the blame for the stock market crash of 1987 which also brought about a decline in the Yuppie culture itself.

The overall representation of a Yuppie which is presented in the article is essentially an ambitious and self-absorbed person, with an obsession with their career in order to achieve more money to buy the expensive possessions they desire. Evidence to support these claims are provided in the article for example, through a survey conducted in 1986 ‘73% of Americans believed that yuppies were primarily intent on making more money; 81% of yuppies agreed that they were, ‘72% of Americans believed that yuppies were more concerned with their own needs than with the needs of others; the same percentage of yuppies agreed. Finally the article states that ‘today many Americans still live the yuppie lifestyle, or wish they did’, which suggests that the Yuppie lifestyle has had an effect on the culture of America today. We could view examples of this in modern America today through the fact that much of society nowadays is materialistic and can often be viewed as obsessed with work and money. 

To compare, contast and build upon the idea of the “yuppie” I have also chosen to analyse the film American Psycho (2000) as it brilliantly portrays the mentality that is needed and the values that are held so high in the mind of a “yuppie”.  Both portrayals of the stereotype were made in the year 2000 but both styles of “yuppie” differ with what they held most important. Yes the key points of making money and valuable possessions are in both imaginations of the 1980’s lifestyle but what the article lacks that American Psycho delivers on just how empty their materialistic decisions were, as seen with the battle of the business cards between the protagonist Patrick Bateman, Paul Allen and the rest of the “yuppies” which eventually leads to Paul Allen’s death due to his immaculate print and spacing, just showing how literally cut throat the rivalry was between “yuppies” was in this time.

Another way in which these characters are unrelated is the lack of mention in the article of any drug use, compare this to the opening scene in American Psycho where one of the first lines not spoken by Bateman is “they don’t have a good bathroom to do coke in” mix this with the many shots and scenes showing Bateman and his “friends” snorting coke and you have a stronger much more powerful image of what a “yuppie” is.  


Friday, 22 January 2016

The role and representation of the Yuppie in 1980's American Culture
The "Yuppie" was a young professional with a college education, who had a well-paying job and expensive taste. They were more interested in making money than previous generations had been. A Yuppie was also the equivalent of a rich person who is not modest about their rich status.   

The image above demonstrates how in 1980's America, the Yuppie was represented as only being interested in money. The speech bubble is interesting because it suggests that during the 1980's, Yuppies could not be rich and be proud of themselves, they had to choose one or the other. Although the image is in black and white, you can tell that their home looks expensive, as there is a giant picture frame on the wall, a sophisticated chair and a huge window looking out onto the city. The image also indicates that they live in a wealthy area, as it is more expensive to live in a city than in a rural area. The young mans appearance also highlights that he is a successful man, with a well-paying job, a family and a luxurious house. This was a common representation of a Yuppie in 1980's America. Interestingly, the image depicts the Yuppies as only having one role. This is to look out for themselves, and not other people. The overall message of this image is that the American Culture in the 1980's, was use to the idea of a "Yuppie", because many comic cartoons were made, such as the one above. The image highlights that these people were not sensitive or cared what others thought of them.
The image above is from a television show in the 1980's called "Thirtysomething". Unlike the cartoon, this show demonstrated the "Yuppie" as being successful, but not necessarily happy. This concept is interesting because the definition of a Yuppie indicates that they were happy, however "Thirtysomething" highlights that although these people were rich and successful, they were not necessarily as happy as those who were poor and not considered successful in America during the 1980's. The show has a lot of tensions among the Yuppie culture and 'normal' American culture. It questions whether the Yuppie is a sensitive and unhappy person, despite their wealth etc.. or whether they are self-absorbed, money-making people, who are happy. This clip of the show highlights how the representation of the Yuppie changed during the 1980's. Instead of showing them as people who are not modest about their wealth, this clip indicates that Yuppies care what others think in regard to  their wealth status. This is shown when the Yuppie does not want the other woman to think that she hires sitters for her children, when taking a bath. This is interesting because it demonstrates that although she has a lot of money, she still cares about what others think. This is different from how Yuppies were represented in American Culture before the show, as they were considered as not being modest. Another interesting thing, is the fact that the Yuppies in this show feel sensitive, which is not how the advertising industry portrayed them to be. However, there are certain times within this clip where the Yuppie is portrayed as being stereotypical, such as when she says "Shut up, I'm tired of you throwing it out to me how hard you have it". Interestingly though, the other woman says, "Stop apologising for having money", which suggests that the Yuppie does care about others feelings, and sometimes feels guilty for being wealthy. The end of the clip concludes the notion that although the Yuppie has money, friends, hot water and a successful life, they are not necessarily happy.

So the role and representation of the "Yuppie" in 1980's American culture was predominately a negative view, however the television show "Thirtysomething" provides people at the time with a different view on the representation of a "Yuppie".

Grace La Traille


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Thatcher and Reagan - an example of hagiography

By the time of Ronald Reagan’s funeral on June 11th 2004, Margaret Thatcher’s health was already greatly in decline following a series of strokes.  She was also experiencing the onset of dementia, although this was not publicly known at that time.  In this context, her attendance at his funeral service speaks to her adoration of him well enough, though if we were left in any doubt, her nine minute eulogy, previously recorded and played on a screen during the service, served as a clear mark of her adoration for the deceased president.
It might seem churlish to deride a eulogy.  Of course one would expect – rightly – nothing but praise and affection to be heaped upon the deceased on such an occasion, but for many people, Thatcher’s words were a sharp reminder of the ‘special relationship’ between these two ‘great’ political leaders that  came to be a symbol of all that was wrong with western culture in the 1980s.
In her opening words, Thatcher described Reagan as a ‘great president, a great American, and a great man’ and she went on to spend the next nine minutes heaping praise upon praise on what she believed to be his prudence.
Thatcher said, ‘He had firm principles and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly. He acted upon them decisively.’  Her own capitalist politics appear enable her to only see the illusion of prosperity which many feel exemplifies Reagan’s political policies.
She made no mention of his supply-side economic policies that brought the lower classes in the USA to their knees during his presidency.  She made no mention of the Iran-Contra debacle – the selling of arms to a country upon whom an arms embargo had been established in 1979.  She made no mention of his cuts to federal funding programmes for education, made on the grounds that the state ‘should not subsidize intellectual curiosity’.  She made no mention of the fact that he doubled that national debt (not in itself a terrible thing if the money is helping everyone in society to live healthier, happier lives but in Reagan’s case this was not happening – the number of people below the poverty line in American during the 1980s soared.

Article on linguistics

Hamilton, American Caesars (London, 2010), 341-388
Graubard, The Presidents (London, 2005), 547-587
Gould, The Modern American Presidency (Kansas, 2003), 191-204

(Week 2) Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator!


Ronald Reagan


Amongst the negativities that surround Reagan, including making the rich richer and the poor poorer with his tax cuts. Some people suggest there were positives to Reagan as the president of the USA. His actions in front of the camera both before and during his time as president added to the image he portrayed and how he appealed to the American people

Contemporary views of Reagan - The Great Communicator 

The people at suggest that Reagan was not all bad and had some skills unmatchable but any other president, before and since his time in office. They suggest he had such strength in front of a crowd or a camera and could say his words with such conviction. Reagan is sometimes called "The Great Communicator" - he could look into a television camera like no one else and read a teleprompter like no one else. His voice was firm and used to getting points and dialogue across.

However they suggest this strength in speaking over presidents since and before him is only due to his presence on screen and experience in acting. But in fairness - we never had another President with so many movie credits to his name. Reagan had been in front of cameras many times before and he was a good actor, not a bad one. He knew his craft. This suggests that Reagan knew how to present himself to people and his work as an actor helped him connect to the American people, through his personality and his charismatic nature.

The article focuses on how a key part of being a good leader is communication and consistency of execution, which Reagan did throughout his presidency. The Article further suggests that his ideas and visions were strong, characteristics that also make you a good president. This article however is a contemporary example of how Reagan was a good president and may not reflect what people thought of him while he was president. Mainly the poorer people of the states.

Reagan Presided Over the Iran-Contra Affair

In 1985 and 1986, Ronald Reagan sold arms to Iran, locked in a horrific war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, for cash and the release of U.S. hostages. The sales to Iran violated sanctions against Iran. But much of the money that came from the sales was diverted to fund the Contras, right-wing rebels fighting the left-wing Sandinista government of Nicaragua. That was in violation of laws against helping the Contras.
The scandal began as an operation to free the seven American hostages being held in Lebanon by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the U.S. hostages.  Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

All cases against President Reagan and his administration were dropped at the time due to the evidence being “classified information” and later pardoned by President George Bush. However it was common knowledge that Reagan was invovled and proved that the president is above the law. 

Reagan Hagiography

It is clear to see that there is a mixed reaction of whether Reagan was a good president or not. There are certainly many people that believe his time in office was wasteful, however he also has many supporters who observe his presidency as a success with good progress made.

Wayne Allen Root in Forbes Magazine stated that “Reagan was not afraid to ruffle feathers and put dramatic, even radical plans on the table. That is how he created the Reagan Revolution that revitalized America.” 

There are many contemporary sources that show their support for Reagan's presidency, one of which being Newsmax, an American news page. This source states that the president had many troubles that were already existing when he entered into office. These included high rates of unemployment and inflation as well as the problems of the cold war which saw the Soviets invading Afghanistan a year earlier. But through all of these issues, the page reports that Reagan solved many of these existing problems whilst also helping "Americans feel proud of their country again."

Newsmax states that Reaganomics created the "largest economic boom in U.S. history." His free market policies drastically reduced taxes and created more than 16 million new jobs dropping the figures from 7.5% to 5.4% unemployment.
The page also reports that Reagan fought the Cold War by introducing the Strategic Defence Initiative, which protected the United States from any nuclear missiles that may be fired from the U.S.S.R, he boosted anti-communist resistance movements and was influential in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

In 2012, Reagan was voted the best modern day president in the Harris Poll. Candidates were asked to select the president who they believed to be the best since World War II. Reagan won with 25%, and Franklin Roosevelt followed behind with 19%.

This shows us that the admiration for Reagan clearly exists in today's society and even though there are many people who express their hatred for him, there are others who firmly believe that his presidency was a success.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Reagan, A Failure Yet Loved Like a Deity

I think this affection of Reagan is extremely odd as there have been 18 republican presidents and of that two have served after Reagan and many of these presidents unlike Reagan were not a complete failure as Conservatives. When reagan came to power he inherited a federal budget of $599 billion in revenue, $678 billion in spending, and a deficit of $79 billion. However once He left office the next president, George Bush, inherited a federal budget of $909 billion in revenue, a little less than $1.1 trillion in spending, and a deficit of $155 billion. So why is he viewed as the president that all should aspire to be like?

Reagan legacy is very similar to the UK's Margaret Thatcher. Many UK conservatives call for times to return to when she was in power. Ideological Soul mates Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were both in power of their respective countries during the 80's and together rekindled the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Their ideological similarities such as Limited Government, Low taxes and High Military spending and supporting a Free Market are some of the key principles that are still supported by a large amount of Conservatives in both countries. However the legacy of Reagan's specific style of republicanism that is often referred to as the ‘good old days’ by many republican’s who find the recent Obama office as ‘Anti-American’

Just type Reagan vs socialism and hundreds of Articles and Youtube videos on how Reagan 'Warned us about Obama'. Many of them state that Reagan's form of government reflects the view that the founding fathers had for America, that view being that the people should be free of the tyranny of the Government. 

Two videos show how conservatives still use Reagan as the prime example of how government should be run
This video shows a speech (albeit edited) by Reagan stating that to have socialism the government has to control the people. While this video Is a documentary trailer that although is not based upon Reagan directly but shows 4 examples of him condemning big government. The film itself only really shows Obama vs Reagan in a very one-sided affair. 

I think this affection of Reagan is extremely odd as there have been 18 republican presidents and of that two have served after Reagan. Even when Reagan was a failure as a Conservative. His big thing is to limit the power of the government yet  Total federal-government employment rose between 1981 and 1989 from 4.9 million to 5.3 million.

Article -