Hiyao Miyazaki in the 1980s

File:Hayao Miyazaki.jpg

Hiyao Miazaki has maintained an influential career as a film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator and producer across six decades. His skills and success have earned him comparison to Walt Disney, Nick Park and Steven Spielberg. Alongside  Isao Takahata, Hiyao Miazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli (April 1985), his film and animation studio. Through his talent and animation studio he has become one of the most famous and influential of all animators (and my personal favorite). Today, I will be looking at some of his works that he did during the 1980s — A time period that resulted in several of his greatest works.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

This film is considered one of his greatest works by many. It paved the way for the themes which appear in many of his films such as concern for the environmental, aviation and anti-military messages. It also is considered a precursor for another one of his greatest films, Princess Mononoke. Also, it is important to point out the almost dream-like images that appear in all of his films as a result of the peculiar creatures and fantastical occurrences.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

This is his first film that he made with Studio Ghibli. It is focused around two orphans who go on a magical journey to Laputa, a magical land in the sky, in search of their parents. Once again this brings into play his fascination with flight which is intertwined into an incredible mythical story line.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

In My Neighbor Totoro, two little girls move to a new home and befriend the forest spirits. This is another very famous film of Hayao Miyazaki. Many of the images from this movie have become iconic Such as this one where the little girls are waiting with the forrest spirit at the bus stop:

Kiki´s Delivery Service (1989)

Finally, this was the last of the 1980s films that Hiyao Miyazaki produced and my personal favorite as a child. This is the enchanting story of Kiki, a young, charming witch finding her place in the big city.

 

What makes all of these films so wonderful is the fanciful aspect to them. Anything can happen in a Hiyao Miyazaki film. Also, they are just so beautifully animated that is impossible not to enjoy them just on the basis of the artwork alone. In a variety of ways, Hiyao Miyakazki is one of the most brilliant film makers of not just the 1980s, but in history as well.

 

 

HIV/AIDS in the 1980s

The history of HIV/AIDS goes far back to the early 20th century when the first leap of the virus is hypothesized to have transferred to a human from primates in Africa. However, the issue of HIV/AIDS did not fully hit America until the 1980s. Once it did, though, the virus became a mysterious, lurking predator that struck fear into the public.

The first case was observed clinically in 1981. It primarily arose in injecting drug users and homosexual men. These patients were observed to have severely diminished immune systems. In particular, a rare skin cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, and an opportunistic infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, appeared to accompany the HIV/AIDS.

The disease remained so elusive, however, it took until 1986 for the name Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to be given to it.

Once identified, the disease took on a significant role in shaping society and cultures of the time.

For instance, the fear of infection which accompanied this epidemic resulted in people ostracizing and discriminating against those infected. This was also a result of the public viewing the disease in association with life styles which were frowned upon at the time such as homosexuality, drug use, and promiscuity.  This idea began to be changed when Ryan White became a poster child for the disease. He was diagnosed with the infection in 1984 and contracted it through a contaminated blood treatment for his hemophilia. More stories about the campaign that Ryan White sparked and other stories can be found here.

Many stars of the 1980s became involved in the campaign against HIV/AIDS, as well. Micheal Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, for example, were very involved.

Here is a video of Micheal Jackson devoting a song to Ryan White and the fight against AIDS. Although this video is from the 1990’s it is a reflection of his experiences from the 1980s — particularly his time with Ryan White.

Here is a video of Elizabeth Taylor speaking about HIV/AIDS, too. I found this particularly interesting because she discusses many of the stigmas attached to it from the time.

http://mjjjusticeproject.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/worlds-aids-daylets-heal-the-world/

Also as a consequence of HIV/AIDS rising prevalence, it began to be a topic of many movies in the late 1980s.

1986

Image of As Is

1988

Image of Go Toward the Light

1989

Image of Longtime Companion

More movies on HIV/AIDS can be seen here.

If you are interested in the science behind AIDS here is a great video that explains it very thoroughly.

 

Advances in Genetics — 1980s

Genetics has undergone incredible advancements throughout the years. Every decade produced its own key elements that make up the genetic knowledge we have today – including the 1980s. The following are summaries of what have been referenced as the most important of these genetic advancements of the 1980s along with brief descriptions and some fun videos.

1. Methods for mapping DNA

In 1980, Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Frederick Sanger were awarded a Nobel Prize for having devised a method to map the structure of DNA.  This allowed scientists to determine base sequences of nucleic acids (the fundamental building blocks of the genome). The award was also for the use of this knowledge to construct recombinant DNA with circles of DNA known as plasmids. Here is a video on how it works!

2. First U.S patent for gene cloning

In 1980, Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer received the first patent for a gene. The way this was accomplished was through the use of plasmids with foreign DNA incorporated into their structure to produce specific proteins of interest such as HGH, Erythropoietin and Insulin. Not only did the patent earn about 300 million $, but this is a technique that has become common place and essential in labs. Also, in 1982, this genetically engineered human insulin was approved by the FDA.

3.Transposons – mobile genetic elements

In 1983, Barbara McClintock was awarded the Nobel Prize for her research regarding mobile genetic elements referred to as transposons. Eventually, this information would be used to understand mutations that result from transposons which often arise when these sequences insert within the middle of an important gene.

4. Polymerase chain reactions

In 1983, Kary Mullis devised a method for amplifying DNA using a cloning procedure called polymerase chain reactions (PCR). This technique allows a small amount of DNA to be amplified exponentially into many copies permitting a greater ability to study sequences of interest. Check out this awesome video!

5.Genetic fingerprinting

In 1985, Alex Jeffrey created DNA fingerprinting. This is a method that uses the unique small sequences of DNA, mini-satellites, within an individual’s genome as a means for identifying them (a DNA fingerprint). The strands of DNA are submitted to a specific endonuclease that will cut corresponding fragments of mini-satellites out. These pieces are separated through electrophoresis to create a unique set of bands that can be matched to a person.

6. Genes for color blindness and color vision identified

In 1986, Jeremy Nathens identified the genes responsible for color vision and color blindness. The identification of specific genes in relation to disease states becomes significant in understanding and treating various inherited diseases such as Progeria, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Can you see the numbers?

7. Identification of RNA as a catalyst

In 1989, Thomas Cech discovered that RNA is capable of acting as a catalyst. This not only unveiled the significance of DNA that previously the function of was not known, but also led to many elucidating hypothesizes regarding the origin of life potentially arising from an originally RNA based form.

Top 5 Worst 80’s Music Videos

When music videos were popularized on MTV (yes, they did use to play music) in the 80s, artists and producers of the world developed the misguided notion that everyone should dance. Everyone. This and ridiculous makeup (on men, women, and men who look like women), environmentally hazardous levels of hairspray and shoulder pads large enough to land airplanes resulted in some of the worst music videos ever. After submitting myself to this peculiar torture, I chose my personal top 5 best of the worst.

#5: “All Cried Out” by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force (1986)

I honestly watched this one and was just not sure what to say afterwards. First, you have Lisa Lisa dressed as a little girl crying next to a teddy bear.

Then, you have what the article I originally discovered this music video on described as a model who might be part lion.

Finally, his internal thoughts are sung out by what I can only assume are his internal alter egos.

#4: “I’m still standing” by Elton John (1983)

What struck me most about this music video were the large amount of men in what appeared to be very peculiar women’s underwear.

There is this image:

And this one:

And this one too:

Also he uses people as dominos for some reason:

#3: “Torture” by The Jacksons (1984)

The title pretty much sums things up. This is one of the last songs that Michael did with his family and although the music isn’t horrific the music video is beyond strange.

First, the forms of torture mainly seem to consist of anything to do with eyeballs. Such as a wall of them which ultimately infect this guy’s hand with an eyeball.

Also, the video alters between a man who is obviously not actually even playing his guitar and poorly done monsters.

And to top things off, Michael Jackson couldn’t even make it to the shoot so in an awkward and desperate attempt to retain the resemblance of the complete family they used his wax figure.

waxy

#2: Physical by Olivia Newton-John (1981)

This music video is infamously bad. The majority of the video is Olivia seducing out of shape men.

fatty boombas 2

Finally, she whips them into shape through various antics such as turning on treadmills to full speed and rubbing them down with lotion (sexy?).

sexy

Unfortunately, they leave with one another instead.

sexy gayness

#1: Rock Me Tonight by Billy Squire (1984)

This is not only the worst video, but it also is attributed to ending Billy Squire’s career as a rock star. (Who was that? Exactly.) This is a perfect example of someone trying to dance who really shouldn’t. For instance, you get moves like this:

And him jumping into a silk covered bed:

3

Him inexplicably belly crawling across the floor:

4

And very unforgettably ripping off his shirt:

5

 

 

Live Aid — Failure or Success

Live Aid was a huge concert that was held across two nations simultaneously on July 13th 1985. It was nicknamed the “global Jukebox” and was held in Wembly Stadium in London and in John F. Kennedy stadium in Philadelphia.  Bob Geldof and Midge Ure devised this performance as a way to raise money for a severe and ongoing famine in Ethiopia. Considering this purpose, there is a lot of controversy over the actual success of this event.

Misguided: The harsh truth is that for all those good intentions, these concerts have scarred a generation

SUCCESS

Approximately 72,000 people attended the England location’s concert and an estimated 100,000 people attended the United States’ concert. It also was one of the largest television broadcasts of all time with an audience of 1.9 billion watching from 150 nations. Overall, it lasted 16 hours and included many famous artists and bands such as Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Queen, Phil Collins, Madonna, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and more. Overall, this was approximated to generate as much as 250 million $. It has been referred to as “The greatest concert of all time” and praised as. “the standard by which other all-hands-on-deck rock and charity events are known.”

 

Here are some clips from the event!

 

Queen

 

Led Zeppelin

 

David Bowie

 

Mick Jagger

 

Madonna

 

 

FAILURE

Unfortunately, much of the famine they were attempting to alleviate was caused by displacement from war and as a consequence of a violent government regime – not just insufficient quantities of food being grown. The aid workers sent to Africa ultimately ended up exchanging money at absurd rates that ultimately reinvigorated the oppressive government. Much of this cash flow, therefore, was put into the continued relocation of already starving people by the government. As many as 1/6 of those who were forced to make this journey are estimated to have died. While Live Aid did manage to feed many people it is entirely possible just as many, if not more, were killed as a consequence of the cash flow. A multitude of articles discussing these enormous flaws can easily be found online.

Here is an article that points out some more of the flaws of Live Aid from cracked.com.

 

In summation, this was essentially the Woodstock of the 1980’s and a huge success musically, however, as a charity it was, sadly, a complete failure.

“The Game” 1980 album by Queen

One of my favorite bands that was popular in the 1980’s is Queen. Therefore, I decided to listen to one of their first albums released during this time period. I found the album, The Game, which was released in the year 1980. I discovered that this album contained a handful of their most successful hits of their career. For example, it had the song (1) Crazy Little Thing Called Love, (2) Play the Game and (3) Another One Bites The Dust.

I read further into the history of the band while simultaneously enjoying the music from the album. I discovered several new facts about this album and the band through an article in the New York Times called “Freddie Mercury, 45, Lead Singer Of the Rock Band Queen, Is Dead” which honors Freddie Mercury after his death.

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/25/arts/freddie-mercury-45-lead-singer-of-the-rock-band-queen-is-dead.html

For instance, this article remarked that the song Another One Bites The Dust from this album achieved the place of #1 on the pop-singles chart. I also learned that the peak of their popularity lasted from 1975-1980. This means that the album which I chose to listen to, The Game, was on the tail end of their fame.

 

Many of the songs from this album combine aspects of hard-rock, a bit of pop, some metal and occasionally a bit of opera. The songs featured strong underlying beats, such as in (4) Dragon Attack. This was done using mostly guitars and drums for accompaniment in this song. While the melody, on the other hand, was carried along with electric guitar and vocals.

While a lot of the songs were familiar to me from previously listening to an album that contained their greatest hits, I was happy to discover a few new songs I enjoyed as well. For instance, I really enjoyed one song called (5) Sail Away Sweet Sister. Discovering these new songs has inspired me look into more Queen albums in hopes of uncovering other treasures which I have not yet had the pleasure of uncovering.

 

Also, just because this is possibly my favorite meme ever and it relates to Queen….

Bohemian Rhapsody in memes.