Friday, April 11, 2014

Observation — 1984, The Year That Wasn’t

This wasn’t the year George Orwell described in his famous 1984. The first woman to run for vice president, Geraldine Ferraro, and her running mate Walter Mondale lost big time to Ronald Reagan. The former actor received nearly 60 percent of the vote. Even so, the Senate condemned him and the CIA for mining Nicaraguan harbors. Reagan also vetoed sanctions against South Africa and its apartheid government.  The government shut down because of budget problems.  U.S. Marines left Beirut. The Chinese invaded Vietnam.  Union Carbide’s gas leak killed 1,000 in India The Soviets boycotted the Summer Olympics.  Teachers at the McMartin Pre-School in NYC were charged with orchestrating satanic rituals that included sexual abuse. It was later determined to be mass hysteria. Syria released a captured U.S. pilot at Jesse Jackson’s urging. Britain agreed to turn over Hong Kong to China. Apple brought out its first personal computer. Vanessa Williams became Miss America. Scarlett Johansson also made her first appearance in the world. Those making their last included Indira Gandhi, Francois Truffaut, Truman Capote, Count Basie, Richard Burton, Peter Lawford, William Powell, James Mason, Ethel Merman, Walter Pidgeon, Marvin Gaye, Lillian Hellman Jackie Cooper, Diana Dors, and Johnny Weissmuller. David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross picked up the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Ironweed by William Kennedy won the Pulitzer for Literature. Elmore Leonard received The Mystery Writers Of America’s best mystery award — the Edgar — for La Brava. Among the year’s other notable books were: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, The War At The End Of The World by Mario Vargas Llosa, The Haj by Leon Uris, The Talisman by Stephen King, The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth, The Sicilian by Mario Puzo, and The Aquitaine Progression by Robert Ludlum. Many great films were released in 1984. Among the most popular were Footloose, The Terminator, Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid. Top Five Tunes on Billboard were “When Doves Cry,” by Prince, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” by Tina Turner, “Say Say, Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, “Footloose “by Kenny Loggins and “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins. All in all, though, it was Michael Jackson’s year with his Emmy-winning “Beat It” and Thriller album. If you were around, what were you doing in this year of the wood rat?

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