Jason Fredric Gilbert
Pushing the boundaries of weird since 1978

Flashback to the ’80s

The 1980s are back and there’s no denying it. Seriously. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you were abducted by aliens and probed for the past thirty years and then summarily beamed back to earth and given a newspaper… on your IPAD of course. Silly ’80s man… er individual… We don’t print papers anymore. Ok. Besides being shocked by an African American president and a thing called free internet porn, you would find the headlines quite similar to the ones you were so used to. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

1. US and Israeli relations are severely strained. Well everyone knows that George Bush and Itzhak Shamir don’t see eye to eye on very much. In fact, Shamir refused to negotiate with the Palestinians and nixed that whole Peres peace initiative in 1987. Well thanks for the history lesson but I’m talking about Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu’s strained relationship. In fact, some analysts have described this relationship as being the “most dysfunctional ever” between an American president and an Israeli Prime Minister. Why is the relationship so strained? I don’t know. My guess is that Sarah has something to do with it. Probably demanded that the White House cleaning lady be fired for opening the door and letting in germs. Or not having her favorite ice cream in stock. Maybe Michelle suggested she start eating healthy. Ms. Obama likes to do that a lot.

2. Young woman shocks audiences (and world) with racy and provocative MTV awards show performance. I know. Its Madonna singing “Like a Virgin” at the 1984 awards show dressed in that white lacy number? She’s real edgy, that Madonna. I’m sure she’s going to be someone one day. You’re right. Esther. A menopausal Kabbalist. Her rabbi just died. But of course the real headline is about Billy Ray’s daughter twerking the hell out of it and sticking her tongue out to boot while dry humping Robin Thicke. Oh and you’ve ruined foam fingers for me forever Hannah Montana.

3. Athletes around the world plan on boycotting Olympics to be held in Russia. Yeah! Screw them commie reds! USA! USA! No, you idiot. I’m not talking about the 1980 summer games in Moscow which the US and other countries decided to sit out. I’m talking about the upcoming 2014 winter games in Solchi. Why are athletes boycotting the games? Well not all of them are, but those that are are doing so in protest of Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws that have infuriated so many around the world. OK Vlad I’ve seen the shirtless pictures you like to have taken of yourself. I’m sorry dude but those rumors of you fighting a bear are only proving my point. Anybody that adamant about outlawing gayness is so deep in the closet they can’t see daylight.

4. The Cold war is colder than ever. I know all about this one. Gorbachov and Reagan. “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall”. What ever happened to Glasnost? How did that work out? Well, funny you should ask ’80s individual. Turns out the cold war was eerily revisited this past week as President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin duked it out on the world stage over the US threat to retaliate after reports of Sarin gas attacks started surfacing from the civil war in Syria. Ok, since this cold war is officially a thing again can we go back to making awesome ’80s style nuclear apocalypse movies like “Red Dawn” and “War Games”? Or at least something like “Rocky IV”? BTW Sylvester Stallone is back… on Broadway. Whaaaaaa? That’s right “Yo Adrian” is a musical based on the 1976 movie and was a hit in Germany, though I’m not sure if it was West or East Germany. Oh and Germany, you can have David Hasselhoff back.

5. Apartheid state. Oh you mean South Africa. Pssssst. I got a tip for you on this singer, Rodriguez. He’s kind of like a folk singer, like Bob Dylan only no one has ever heard of him outside of South Africa. Rumor is he killed himself on stage while singing his famous song “Slip Away”. You should check him out. Seriously ’80s person. Get with the program. We’re talking about the never ending debate on whether or not Israel is in fact an Apartheid state. Here is a good example of such a recent debate. It has gotten to a point where some celebrities (you know Roger Waters from Pink Floyd) under pressure from certain groups, have refused to perform in Israel. But what happens when the tables are turned? Whaaaa? That’s right. Here’s an article about Israeli singer songwriter Ehud Banai canceling his performance in the West Bank due to an overwhelmingly negative reaction by right-wing extremists. Some even went as far as calling him a terrorist lover. Damn you extremists. Can’t you be less extreme? I say we stop all performance by rock stars everywhere. Except Miley Cyrus. She can twerk us to a two state solution.

6. Movie biopics about ’80s icons. First it was Ashton Kutcher (really casting director?? Really?) portraying the genius entrepreneur Steve Jobs in the creatively titled film “Jobs” and then it was Naomi Watts playing Princess Diana in the (again) aptly named “Diana”. Bruce Willis is headlining the upcoming “Die harder than you have ever died before dying hard again returns” in 2014 and James Cameron/Arnold Schwarzenegger have announced that a new “Terminator” will be released in 2015. (He said he’d be back) And if you thought that the film industry here in Israel was exempt from this awful trend of reliving the ’80s, well the opening film of this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival was Reshef Levy’s “Hunting Elephants” starring ’80s sci-fi icon Patrick Stewart, aka Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek The Next Generation”. Listen Hollywood producers (and, to a lesser extent Israeli producers) the ’80s were cinema’s darkest hour. There’s no need to drag us back there kicking and screaming in Bill and Ted’s time machine.

I know, I know there are so many more. Like a war in Afghanistan that seemingly never ends, HIV and global warming. Here in Israel we had a war in Lebanon and rock throwing in the PA territories so pretty much nothing has changed. I say its time we put an end to this whole fetishization of the ’80s. Nothing good came out of that decade. Nothing. Well, a few John Hughes films that helped change my life. But that doesn’t make up for all those shoulder pads, jean jackets, big hairdos and heavy metal hair bands (sorry S.) And nothing could make up for David Levy (well, except for the jokes)

Oh, but wait. My one and only M. was born in the ’80s. That’s pretty big. So forget I said anything. If you need me I’ll be out getting a pair of “Top Gun” Ray Ban sunglasses and a Swatch. Try and stop me.

About the Author
Jason Fredric Gilbert is a film and music video director, published author and acclaimed parallel parker; His Independent Film,"'The Coat Room" won "Best in Fest" at the 2006 Portland Underground Film Festival. He is also the author of two books of screenplays, "Miss Carriage House" and the follow up collection of screenplays "Reclining Nude & The Spirit of Enterprise" He currently lives in Or Yehuda and solves crossword puzzles in the bathroom. Please slap him in the face if you see him.