In an era where there is widespread political and social turmoil how does one deal with maintaining optimism in the face of such charged situations – the news is depressing and countries seem set to implode. But people, under their own power have the ability to change things through positivity and often, art or creative output of any kind.
Look back at the 60s and 70s: widespread protest against the Vietnam war, the growing feminist movement, Regean-omics, Thatcherism and the resulting punk scene. Cue: art, music and writing of a very politicised nature that is just as relevant today as it was then.
Perhaps it was a symptom of what was to come in 1968 when anti-Vietnam war protests lead to protests and riots on a global scale that transcended the issues of war and became about society as a whole problem. Nowhere was this more apparent than in France and America: marches attracted millions and May 1968 is synonymous with student activism and protest.
A key example of a work inspired by this uncertain era is certainly Margaret Atwood’s Handmaids Tale (1985) written in response to the growing far right in America, fertility issues and the threat of nuclear apocalypse. It is little surprise that this novel, along with many other dystopias, has surged in popularity since Donald Trump has been sworn in as president (I’m still asking myself how)
In music people commonly, and are right to, reference the music of the likes of the Undertones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash when talking of the troubles of the 1970s – such music epitomised the feelings of many young people at the time who were becoming increasingly discontented with the nature of society under Thatcher’s authority. Such bands scandalised the upper classes and this was exactly what they intended to do.
Perhaps we can learn something from this era…