Following on from what I was saying a few days ago about the degree of sincerity and commitment with which some people buy into the pop-cultural tropes of the 1980s, Boris Johnson’s recent hymn to the Bell Curve is apparently another pronouncement from on high that may or may not be ironic. But it does express the political zeitgeist, following David Cameron’s recent admission at the Lord Mayor’s banquet that his government’s whole austerity package is an ideological crusade rather than a pragmatic necessity prompted by economic circumstances.
However, the clearest manifestation of this trend is not political but commercial. In importing the US phenomenon of Black Friday – without also adopting the preceding Thanksgiving festival that gives it a wispy veil of moral justification – British retailers are at the ones at the vanguard of a full-blooded, non-ironic 1980s revival, persuading people that their social value is determined by how much stuff they have. And of course Friday’s bout of acquisitive savagery is just a curtain-raiser for the big event.