The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 29, 1992, Page 5, Image 5

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‘Decade of decadence’ memories exiting, embarrasing
The article was right. The ’80s
generation was definitely the
lost generation. It truly was
the generation of ignorance and ex
cess, and I was one of its worst perpe
I grew up in the ’80s, using plastic
bags at the grocery store and throw
ing my cigarette butts out the win
dow. I was one of those horribly
wasteful middle-class kids, with more
money in my back pocket than Grandpa
earned in one year during the Depres
sion, and I, like my friends, spent it
Through something like Nazi brain
washing, Rolling Stone almost had
me convinced.
It was last summer and I had just
finished an article in my latest issue
of Rolling Stone — something about
the ’80s: “The Real Lost Genera
tion.” Just as I set the magazine down,
I heard my mother’s voice beckon me
from upstairs.
She was standing in my room, or
what used to be my room. It had since
turned into the “office” where Dad
had his computer and Mom kept her
P.T. A. file drawers. Tax cabinets now
stood where my prized Simple Minds
poster used to be. My cool blue Lev
elor blinds had long since been re
placed with the old r70s discotheque
curtains that used to hang in the laun
dry room.
There was one thing that had
remained untouched, however: my
closet. But this wasn’t to last long.
Mom was planning to put shelves in
the closet and wanted me to clean it
I had no problem with her request.
I didn’t live at home anymore and
hadn’t in three years. I didn’t mind
throwing away all that old stuff. I
hadn ’ t even looked in that closet since
I left for college the summer of ’88.
Thinking of the Rolling Stone ar
ticle and planning my ’90s purifica
tion movement, I began to pull out
boxes and bags full of various junk—
clothes I couldn’t believe I actually
wore, books I never read, trophies I
had forgotten I won.
I was wondering how anyone could
possibly compile as much junk as I
did in 18 years. Of course! I forgot. I
was an ’80s generation kid, so I did a
lot of frivolous purchasing.
I was down to my last three boxes
when I saw it: the box I had packed
more than three years before without
even thinking twice, the box marked
At college, my musical tastes had
taken a complete 180-degree turn. I
now possessed a CD player and a
collection of CDs that would make
even Kurt Loder proud. I hadn’t played
a record in forever and forgot that I
even owned any. (
At any rate, I wasn’t prepared for
the monumental self-realization about
to happen in what was once my closet. ,
I opened the box. As the dust be- ,
gan to clear, I slowly reached into this
cardboard container, this treasure chest, ,
this Pandora’s Box of my past.
The first album I pulled out was
(gasp!) “Wham! U.K.” A feeling of (
great embarrassment engulfed me.
What if my fraternity brothers knew I .
owned this? i
But as I looked at the album cover, <
I began to remember when I bought I
it, when “Wake Me Up Before You <
The First album /
pulled out was
(gasp!) “Wham!
U.K.”A feeline of
great embarrassment
eneulfed me. What if
my. fraternity broth
ers knew I owned
3o-Go” was a big hit.
It was the summer of 1984 and 1
was 15 years old. The first memory
hat popped into my head of that
summer was when my best friend
3rent and I decided to “borrow” his
nom’s BMW and go to a friend*!
summer house on the beach.
Sporting our Polo shirts and Sperry
opsiders (bought at Nordstroms with
Mom’s plastic, of course), we wem
alt-water skiing all day and partied
ill night. Brent’s mom never did fine
>ut about the BMW, or the broker
aillighl we popped out while doing
lough nuts at the golf course.
I again reached into the box. This
time I pulled out Duran Duran. I was
12, and “Hungry Like The Wolf’ was
the anthem for all 7th-graders.
Mom would pick us up from soc
cer practice and “Rio” would instantly
go into the Volvo station wagon’s
tape player. Mom would always say it
sounded like the Beatles. My gang —
Roger, Brent, Rick, Mike and Gary
— would rock out all the way home.
We were “Duranimals” in the truest
sense of the word.
As I continued to pull records out
of the box—records from the Scorpi
ons, Mtttley Criie, Thompson Twins,
A Flock of Seagulls, K-Tel’s “The
Beat,” even that “weird” Smiths al
bum that Roger loaned me in high
school — the memories of my gen
eration, the ’80s generation, came
flooding back.
Memories of when the Russkies
were still our enemies and Reagan
was still considered a good president,
of when Rubik’s cubes were cool and
Walkmans were technology at its finest
Memories of BMWs and Madonna
bubble gum, of Izod shirts and argyle
A lot of us were indeed spoiled
back then. We were given nice cars at
16 and bought gas for only 79 cents a
gallon. We were taken on vacations
‘ to Sun Valley and Hawaii and didn’t
have to pul forth a penny to keep our
wardrobes stocked.
No one protested about environ
mental problems because,
I one cared. Everyone was having too
much fun.
Suddenly I began to realize that
Rolling Stone might have been wrong
— not particularly about the damage
we inflicted in the ’80s, but more
about the attitude we possessed dur
ing this decade of decadence. We
weren’t doing it on purpose!
So many people like to condemn
the ’80s as the lost decade. A decade
of people addicted to drugs and spend
ing money. A decade that ruthlessly
thrashed the environment and thrived
on Reaganomics. A decade that cre
ated a generation with no identity.
But as I closed that box of old
records, I realized that this was not
the full story, and no matter how hard
some hippy journalist tried to con
vince me that the decade of the ’80s
was well-represented in songs like
Madonna’s “Material Girl” and U2’s
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m
Looking For,” I know that it was
something entirely different for me.
My- ’80s — and many other people’s
— was better represented in Madonna’s
“Holiday” and Scritti Politti’s “Per
fect Way.”
In this generation of the ’90s,
dedicated to martyrdom and self
punishment for past mistakes, I’m
glad that I got to grow up in a time
when we felt everything was on the
No matter how hard one tries to
change the world with guilt trips and
condemnation, people will always go
for the “dough’’and mindlessly throw
their cigarette butts out the window. I
still do. Hurray for the ’80s!
Halligan is a senior English major and a
Daily Nebraskan columnist.
Society neglecting its children
Responsibility ... Eeegads.
It’s a six-syllable word for
“not fun,” I thought as I paged
through yet another newspaper at Love
I have always thought it was the
“responsibility” of a columnist to be
well-informed on current issues.
Therefore, when I was hired, I duti
fully began to scrutinize the news.
However, reading headline after head
line of depressing stories about crime,
serious economic difficulties and other
seemingly hopeless problems is defi
nitely “not fun” for me, no matter
how much it might aid my column
But it is my responsibility.
Recently, during one of my news
paper reading sessions, 1 came across
a headline suggesting that someone
in the Nebraska Legislature also was
taking on unpleasant responsibilities.
“Bill calls for criminal checks on
teachers,” the headline read. Accord
ing to the article, LB522 was intended
to “help protect children from sexual
abuse and other crimes.” I was pleased
to read this because, as a psychology
major who has worked in various
clinical volunteer and internship po
sitions, I've seen an awful lot of abused
kids. Their heartbreaking stories eas
ily convinced me that extreme reform
is needed in the way America takes
care of its children.
It’s our responsibility.
I naively thought everyone else
would feel the same way I did. I was
LBS22 was not without opposi
tion. As a result, it did not even get
first-round approval without serious
First, senators eliminated a provi
sion that would require new teachers
and other school employees to be
fingerprinted. This provision would
have simplified the background chocks
by allowing schools access to crimi
nal files through the FBI. The schools
could then more easily run checks on
a nationrl level without having to
search for criminal records jurisdic
tion by jurisdiction.
Some schools, such as those in the
Omaha Public School District, run
criminal background checks any way,
but many do not. If it were easier to
gain access to information about crimi
nals, perhaps more schools would run
the checks and more children would
Children are our
most valuable re
source. They deserve
extreme protection.
and it is our duty,
like it or not, to give
it to them.
be protected.
The opponents of the bill said it
“unfairly singled out teachers and
trampled on their privacy rights.”
One senator even said that to pass
the bill “would be taking a little step
down the road to erosion of civil
Another senator said, “It’s an in
sult to the teaching profession."
I say, “Ridiculous.”
The opposition seems to have for
gotten about its “responsibility."
Children are our most valuable re
source. They deserve extreme pro
tection, and it is our duty, like it or
not, to give it to them.
We may govern children now, but,
in the future, they will govern us. Our
future “civil liberties” will be defined
by them. If we place children’s right
to freedom from abuse second to a
teacher’s right to privacy, we’re bound
to teach children that, as adults in
power, it is OK to minimize the im
portant problems of others and place
personal rights and freedom first.
What a sad message. No wonder
racism, sexism and all the other ego
centric diseases continue in our soci
ety generation after generation.
The requirement of background
checks should not be viewed as an
“insult” to the leaching profession.
On the contrary, it would give the
occupation more prestige.
Requiring prospective teachers to
be fingerprinted and to undergo crimi
nal background checks would not imply
that teachers are untrustworthy and
suspect. Instead, it would emphasize
the importance of positions which
involve working closely with chil
dren by attesting that they merit a
thorough investigation of all appli
Of course, even if LB522 had been
left unchanged and in its full strength,
it would only be a beginning. Ameri
cans have been failing to protect their
children effectively for a long time.
Many other reforms are needed.
For example, in 1989, the U.N.
General Assembly adopted the Bill of
Rights forChildren. Unlike more than
100 other countries, the United States
has neither signed nor ratified the
And though we college students
are required to lake all sorts of classes
“for our own good” and “because the
basic knowledge of these subjects is
useful for all," we are not required to
take any classes in parenting. This is
especially interesting since more than
80 percent of us will have children
Almost anyone is allowed to raise
or care for children without any edu
cation, experience, regulation or in
vestigation. Parents may be highly
educated, loving, responsible adults
with the means to provide for their
child’s needs, or a parent may be a 13
year-old unwed child who lives with
emotionally abusive parents and de
cides to keep her baby because she
feels that she’s never had anything
that was “really hers" before.
It may be true that many other
professionals arc not required to have
criminal background checks. But if
we are going to make reforms, we
must start somewhere.
It’s our responsibility.
If teachers can excuse themselves
from the responsibility of helping to
keep kids safe just because other
professionals don’t do all they can,
then I, as a columnist, am going to
excuse myself from reading the paper
and trying to write accurate columns.
After all, not everyone keeps up
to-date on current events. Besides,
I’m tired of reading about all the
world’s crimes. Especially crimes
committed by adults who were abused
as children.
PyUik is a senior art and psychology
major and a Dally Nebraskan staff artist and
Race, athletics not relevant
I am concerned with the priori
ties expressed concerning the al
leged beating of a woman by Scott
Baldwin. An innocent person may
have permanent brain damage, yet
people arc petitioning the Daily
Nebraskan for an apology because
they didn’t like the way their friend
(the attacker, by the way) was
portrayed. This is not a racial is
At this point, I don’t believe the
victim or'hcr family cares whether
the attacker was black, white or
green. I am also not particularly
interested that Mr. Baldwin had
“impressive stats" as a football
player or that he was plagued with
injuries last season. What I am
concerned about is that Mr. Bald
win gets the treatment needed to
prevent him from hurting others or
himself ever again.
I am praying for both people
and their families, but make no
mistake, I’m praying for the victim
Eric Larson
graduate student
American Red Cross
Representatives from
The CNA Insurance Companies
will be on campus on
to interview Actuarial Science, Math &
1 ;_Statistics majors for Actuarial positions at_
our Home Office in Chicago.
Contact the Career Planning &
Placement Center for details.
For All the Commitments You Make*