The Year of 1989 that Changed the World

Life is full of exciting events. Individual perception of these events depends on a person’s temperament and character. Sometimes, people do not value what they have in their life and do not enjoy it. I am very thankful to my parents and glad to be born on June 13th, 1989. It was a usual day for millions of people, but now, investigating the year and the date of my birth, I can state that a lot of important events took place in 1989 and this year changed the course of history in many aspects.

In the News

The topic of this paper has originated as a conclusion from the outstanding events that took place in 1989. It is possible to state that the year of my birth was crucial for the course of history (“The Year of 1989”). A number of significant events took place in summer 1989, namely the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which further led to the reunion of the two parts of the state, and the clashes of Chinese pro-democracy supporters with the Chinese Security forces. The last event resulted in thousands of students coming to Tiananmen Square to protest for democracy. However, they were killed according to a new martial law adopted by the government. “Following the Tiananmen Square incident the US and other countries around the world place sanctions on China” (“The Year of 1989”).

The next episode, which is considered to be a link of the same chain, is the Soviet tanks coming to Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which also had some active pro-democratic movements, to protect the Soviet regime. In addition, there were political disturbances in Poland and, finally, Gorbachev adopted a changeable attitude towards the USA, which led to the end of the Cold War (“The Year of 1989”). Later, scholars stated that 1989 was the year when the superiority of Western liberal democracy was recognized worldwide (“The Year of 1989”). Besides these political events, it is worth noting some other important historic episodes, namely the Galileo spacecraft launched by the USA and Intel’s release of 486 microprocessor, which made PCs much faster and opened a new generation of computer devices (“The Year of 1989”). Therefore, 1989 was full of significant events, the consequences of which were fully assessed and conveyed to the public much later.

The Best Film and Music of 1989

1989 gave birth to various still popular movies, the quality of which is considered to be the best for that period. Thus, such films as Back to the Future part II and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade became popular at once. However, Batman was some unexpected success (Crow). Movie critics called it a story, the plot of which was not essentially important, because of the specific atmospheric design of the video. Batman as a character was already known to people from the comics. However, the image created in a movie immediately attracted the attention of the audience. Though Lewis G. Wilson was criticized for his unattractive physical shape and high tone of the voice, which seemed to be inappropriate for Batman’s part, his contribution to the development of this character is difficult to underestimate (Crow). “Batman still works today because it is not an action flick of its time. Instead, it soars as a timeless tale of the age-old battle redecorated with pop culture icons” (Crow). Due to Batman movie, this year is believed to influence the course of the movie history.

The musical culture was actively developing in 1989. Such bands as Duran Duran, New Kids on the Block, and Depeche Mode and such musicians as Paul McCartney and Cher were at the height of their popularity. A singer popular in 1989, who is worth some special attention, was Madonna. Before that year, she had some extended holidays and was more concentrated on her movie career than on musical accomplishments. However, critics say that only with Like a Prayer single, released in 1989, Madonna showed the real depth of her talent. In 2014, Myers wrote that “it’s 25 years since Madonna staged her first big comeback, scoring her sixth Number 1 and one of the most iconic hits of her career” (Myers). 1989 definitely was a productive year for Madonna and her stage colleagues.

A Famous Person Born on the Thirteenth of June

It was already mentioned that 1989 was very important in the history of humanity and the events of this year described in the news confirm this fact. It is also important to mention that a lot of famous people, namely writers, artists, musicians, and actors were born on June, 13th, the same day that I was born. A focus of this paper is the personality of Michael McDowell. This world-famous British actor was chosen among the list of all other famous people born on June, 13th because he is well-known to several generations of cinema lovers. Michael McDowell’s first movie If… of 1968 shocked the community with its violent scenes. However, the future star attracted the attention of Stanley Kubrick, a famous director. He invited McDowell to play in A Clockwork Orange (Odd). The movie was a real success and “garnered several Academy Award nominations, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for its star”(Odd). These movies were a starting point for MacDowell’s career. He demonstrated his genius for acting when he created his violent and aggressive characters in Gangster No.1 (2000) and Evilenko (2004). The most recent works of McDowell are popular Franklin & Bash and Mozart in the Jungle, in which his roles differ from those severe and cruel ones in gangster movies. It is possible to make a conclusion that Michael McDowell is a very talented actor who plays deep psychological characters, which can be understood only by the most sophisticated viewers. I am glad to be born on the same day with him.

1989 in Scholarly Sources

Students of different courses and years are lucky to have rich scholarly sources in the form of books, magazines, and periodicals to facilitate their studies and to contribute to constant educational progress. The scholarly material chosen for the discussion in this paper is Prison Journal of 1989, issue 69. This resource has caught my attention as it contains many interesting articles concerning the criminal justice system of the considered period and it is possible to compare the public views on criminals and legislation in 1989 and nowadays. A good example of correlation between prisoners’ problems of that period and the modern prison issues is descried in the article by Propper. Being a psychologist, Propper analyzed the concepts of love, marriage, and long-lasting relationship for male prisoners. She states that men, compared to women, do not tend to build any heterosexual or homosexual relationship in prison. “Women generally write more love letters, form stronger emotional bonds, and form more quasi-marriage relationships in prison than men” (Propper 57). The issue of intimacy and romance in prison is still important for modern scholars and psychologists and they research how it is possible for prisoners to stay faithful husbands to their wives waiting at home and avoid accidental homosexual connections. Thus, Prison Journal has two essential characteristics that make it popular even now: the articles are written by prison scholars, psychologists, or prisoners who are well aware of the situation and issues described in the articles, which are still interesting and widely discussed.

In Online Database

Any active Internet user realizes that the World Wide Web and online databases have not always looked the way they do now. Previously, they had limited formation and were primarily invented for a limited circle of people. The information about the year 1989 was easily gathered from different Internet resources for this paper, because nowadays almost all Internet portals and databases are open. 1989 Internet page has summarized the most significant and interesting data about the year, which may be found in different online databases. As a result, it would be interesting for people to compare the prices and salaries of 1989 and modern ones. In 1989, it was possible to buy a new BMW for approximately $21.000 and a pizza for $2 only (“The Year of 1989”). An average income per year was $27, 500 (“The Year of 1989”). Besides this purely statistical data, 1989 page also contains the information taken from the databases of different countries. For example, Tokyo stock market crashed and stopped the economic growth of the country and George Bush Snr. became President of the USA in 1989. Much more information is kept in online databases about history, art, fashion, and most important events of 1989. This fact together with a great volume of news, which refer to 1989 and can be found on the Internet, prove that the year was really significant for humanity.

The Archives of the 1800s

A separate part of this work is devoted to a visit to the archives of Southwest Wisconsin Reading room in Ullsvick. This event greatly impressed me. The visitors of this reading room have a chance to see not a usual library with modern printed or electronic sources, but a historic collection of various printed materials, directories, catalogues, and school newspapers from 1839 till the present moment. The archives also include old scholarly journals. It was unusual to see the differences between those old sources and modern books and journals. A resource, which deserved some special attention and is worth discussing, is Winter in the West by a New-Yorker. This is a narrative about a trip through the USA, namely its states of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Nowadays, it could be called a travel novel. It was published by Harper & Brothers in 1835. The first thing that caught my attention was a trite look of the book, easily explained by its age. The next point of my interest was the author of the book. I wondered at once whether it was some professional author who created his works under the pseudonym of a “New-Yorker” or it was a proper name. However, taking into consideration the fact that it was a narrative about travelling, the author expressed his personal impressions and views and he most probably had an intention to demonstrate that any inhabitant of New York could describe what he had seen in some other U.S. states in the same manner. Consequently, from the moment of opening the book, it is possible to see the methods the authors of the 19th century used to arouse the interest of their readers.

The narrative of the discussed book is organized in the form of numbered letters. Each letter has the place and the date. With the help of this technique the author does not need to additionally inform readers of how much time he spends in each area. Moreover, he makes readers think whether all these letters are addressed to one person only or they are for general public. Thus, the organization of the novel is well-thought and readers may have an impression that they read some private correspondence. The writing of Winter in the West is characterized by simplicity and openness. The author sincerely conveys his emotions to readers and does not miss any details. He describes and characterizes both – the people whom he sees: “Entering the house for a moment, I found two rather pretty and very well-dressed young girls of sixteen and eighteen” (A New-Yorker 19) and the places he visits, expressing his own opinion and the things he is told: “I had learned at Parisburg that some interesting Indian remains had been discovered in the vicinity” (A New-Yorker 287). Thus, Winter in the West is definitely worth reading to be aware of the style of writing of the 1800s and people’s perceptions of the world.

Conclusion

One year is a very short period of time on a historical scale. However, the importance of each year for humanity is defined by the way its events influenced the course of history. 1989 was significant for all people and the consequences of some historic events are still discussed. Moreover, a lot of talented people, who created films, and music that contributed to the cultural development of humanity, were born this year. It is possible to conclude that it really changed the world for the better and I feel honored that I was born in this year too.