The Collapse of Retro Trends

I needed a break from politics this week. I’ve been toying with this idea for a while — that the 2010s will be difficult to define aesthetically, since they’ve pretty much been a postmodern hodgepodge of previous decades. I’ve been particularly struck by the resurgence of large-ish, round wire-rimmed glasses that resemble my very first pair that I wore in the ’90s. Between this and the tackier excesses of the mid-to-late ’80s, it seems like some of the very worst style statements are now ironically in vogue. And yet, I am a fan of the high fade and Sabbathy stoner metal. And as I listened to some Steely Dan to get in the spirit of the yacht rock panel, I found myself wishing I was sipping champagne on a sailboat in Southern California in the late ’70s, forty years removed from this ghastly political moment. (You know things are bad when the ’70s malaise looks like paradise!)

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist for Daily Kos, The Nation, In These Times, Politico and other publications throughout the US. She received the 2023 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning from the National Press Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also a Pulitzer Finalist.



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