Why Is "Stranger Things" Set In The 80s?

Why Is "Stranger Things" Set In The 80s?

How politics shapes pop-culture.

"Stranger Things" has clearly come out as the show of 2017, perhaps even the show of the (so far unnamed) 2010s. This 80s nostalgia, thriller-mystery, teen drama, coming of age, detective story, based on friendship, family, and "Dungeons of Dragon" nerd-culture somehow fit in perfectly with 2017. But why?

It's not only Stranger Things that "RoboCop", The "A-Team", "21 Jump Street", "The Karate Kid", "Footloose", "Total Recall" and so many others.

So setting aside the varying degrees of quality in the aforementioned reboots, we see a few similar themes in them that also appear in "Stranger Things".

First, we have the coming of age story that "The Karate Kid" (at least the original, sorry Jackie Chan!) exemplifies oh-so-well. In "Stranger Things" you can break down the story kind of like this: kid(s) vs an obstacle (bullies appear as an obstacle in both "Stranger Things", and "Karate Kid"), then personal growth and overcoming the obstacle! And this really just points to the endurance of this kind of story, it's ingrained in Western storytelling. But there are other themes that feel more closely tied with the 80s.

To see the themes you need to have an idea of what was going on back then, and how it connects to today. The 1980s saw a sharp turn right in politics, think Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher. Supply-side economics upended Keynes as the dominant theory, and thoughts of nukes laid in the backs of people's minds. The 80 begins and ends in a recession (let's hope we don't share that in common with the 80s).

Here we see a new trend, between our "Stranger Things" and the movies of the 80s. Between "Stranger Things" "Total Recall", we see big organizations abusing their power and scientists who can't be trusted.

In our world today with nuclear war perhaps being closer then it has been in a while, Climate-Change deniers, a swing to the right, and an economy that is recovering, but for many seems just as bad as ever, maybe it's no wonder we have found such a tie with the 80s?

Now in the 90s, we saw a rise in globalization (which some would point to the subsequent rise in Donald Trump and others today) and so perhaps we will see a swing back in the 2020s to more left?

In this was are we bound to swing back and forth between right and left? With all of the 80s reboots, we do seem to be simply retreading the past.

But this is not necessarily so with "Stranger Things".

In "Stranger Things", we have a setting in the past, but it is inherently new. So perhaps we will be shaped by the past, but it seems we have at least a chance at something new.

Cover Image Credit: Stranger Things Instagram

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.

We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?

Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.

"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*

Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.

Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*

Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.

Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?

First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.

Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?

Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?

It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.

Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?


Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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