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PRINT April 2003

MAKING DIFFERENCE: THE LEGACY OF THE CULTURE WARS

“Catch the spirit of the decade?” she said. “Like how?”

“Maybe,” I urged her, pouring some fizzy water, “just think back . . .”

At first it was easy. Dates. Times. Places. Facts. The whole Afghanistan business started with the Soviet invasion in December 1979 and Zbigniew Brzezinski exhorting the mujahideen in the early '80s to fight back in the name of their God. The space shuttle Columbia was launched in '81, followed some years later by the Challenger disaster—shades of our times. Qaddafi was the much feared terrorist czar of those days, the pre-Sadaam on everybody's wanted list. In presidential parlance, we had much to fear from the “evil empire” (1983) rather than the “axis of evil” (2002). And, on the domestic front, the meteoric rise in the ownership of telephone answering machines (from 2 percent of the American population in '80 to 25 percent in '89) did much more to affirm

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