America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has naturally drawn comparisons to its military failure in Vietnam. And every mention of inflation has some people warning that we’re on the verge of the 1970s economy, too. Yet these aren’t the only things reminding Americans of the 1970s in 2021. Our culture is also conjuring up these memories for some.
If the disco era is most noted for American narcissism, this summer’s zeitgeist struck a familiar note, with “The White Lotus” reveling in the self-absorption of the 1 percent. HBO’s general roster, from the “Gossip Girl” reboot to “The Undoing” and “Succession,” mines wealthy New Yorkers whose indulgence drives story lines.
The appeal of these ’70s themes hasn’t escaped show business tastemakers either. Streaming services have recently featured a Halston biopic, a documentary on the Bee Gees and another focused solely on the music of 1971. Ryan Murphy’s new “American Crime Story” will center on Studio 54. These productions, and others like them on the docket, echo today’s cultural climate in critical ways.