SHAG RUGS ARE back in the stores. The rooms in decorating magazines are starting to look just a little bit cluttered. Solar panels are hot. Men are wearing beards. There are orange cars on the road, something not seen since the days of the flaming Ford Pinto. For all we know, avocado-colored appliances are about to mount a comeback. It’s true that the 1970s have been revived at regular intervals in fashion, music, and entertainment ever since they ended. But this time, the echo is different. It’s not just superficial scavenging but rather a deeper reconnection. Those ’70s aesthetics didn’t come from nowhere: they were born from a particular kind of change and uncertainty. And in the end, they embodied an imaginative way out of the malaise of the time. In the flush times of the early 1960s, as in the early 2000s, surfaces tended to be smooth, cool, and technological, reflecting a confidence that wars could be limited, economies could be fine-tuned, and that the best and the brightest had matters firmly in hand. In the 1970s, the world turned hairy, and our floor coverings, our clothes, and even our bodies soon followed.
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