Lauren Mayer: Everything Old Is New Again

The 1960s are retro cool these days, thanks to hit shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex (not to mention all the Austin Powers movies).  And while we admire the cool fashions (skinny ties! pillbox hats!), it’s all too convenient to dismiss the less-admirable aspects of the era (segregation, no effective birth control not to mention how women were treated in general, childhood diseases like polio & measles).   But many of those phenomena are returning along with the fashions – setbacks in voting rights, civil rights, and reproductive rights, not to mention the anti-vaccine movement which is causing a return of diseases we thought were eradicated.

Well, now it’s time for another blast from the past – those of us are old enough to remember some of that era also remember the Cold War, when every spy movie used Russian villains and schools had ‘Duck & Cover’ drills (yes, we really did think hiding under our desks would protect us from the threat of Soviet nuclear weapons. Hey, I was only in 2nd grade, what did I know?, but I digress . . . )

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russians were our sort-of-friends, not quite allies but no longer cool to use as movie adversaries.  (And yes, we also learned that Duck & Cover was not the best strategy for avoiding nuclear fallout.)  But lately, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s aggression, Russia is now a sort-of bad guy – not quite an arch-enemy but probably likely to turn up in a James Bond movie one of these days.  And in the meantime, here’s a musical take on his unpredictability.

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