Quotable Greil: “only one person, one cultural citizen”

Perhaps no other modern epoch—in this country—has been so dominated culturally by a single presence, a single beckoning, commanding gaze. There were times—think of summer ’84—when it truly seemed that there was only one person, one cultural citizen, in the nation: when it seemed that all images flowed from Ronald Reagan, and that all were returned to him.

Reagan was, then, the audience, and throughout the Eighties it was as if almost all commercial American movies were made to please him, to flatter him, at the least not to offend him—whether “him” referred to one of the many guises in which he chose to appear (militarist, visionary, common man, patriarch, adventurer, philosopher), or

Greil Marcus on his favorite films of the eighties, Film Comment, December ’89


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