I am reading “Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History,” by Kurt Andersen – https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Geniuses-Unmaking-America-History/dp/1984801341/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=evil+geniuses&qid=1599860205&sr=8-1. It is mainly about what the author calls “political economy” (“the economy is weather, the political economy is climate”) and about how median American income has stagnated since 1980 even as GDP has expanded (the rich getting the sole benefit of the expansion).
But he also remarks in several places that American CULTURE, as expressed in art, music and fashion, appears to have stagnated since 1980. Earlier in the 20th Century, such things changed drastically from decade to decade. E.g., one could easily tell a movie made in 1950 from one made in 1930. But then in the 1970s, in apparently terrified reaction to the “Peak New” of the 1960s, a fashion for nostalgia set in, and it seems to have smothered innovation. For instance, rap/hip-hop and techno/house/rave music went mainstream about 1990; since then nothing really new has emerged on the music scene, and techno already seems quaint.
Reflecting on this, I do note that, allowing for technological advances, movies made in the 1980s seem a lot more like movies made now than do movies made in the 1970s. It is hard to imagine anyone in Hollywood now producing anything as boldly innovative as “The Godfather” or “Jaws” or even (pre-franchise) “Star Wars.”
As for fashion, I suppose a distinction could be drawn between '80s over-the-top and '90s grunge, but both seem more similar to each other than to anything that emerged in the '60s or ‘70s. The basic men’s business suit, while ties and lapels might widen or narrow, is still essentially what it was in 1930 or even 1920. I recall in “Back to the Future 2,” future men were wearing double-parallel neckties with otherwise familiar suits, but no change even as drastic as that is visible on the horizon IRL. (Personally, I’d like to see a future where, for business and courtroom and political and Sunday-go-to-meetin’ purposes, the necktie is entirely and thoroughly replaced by the mandarin or banded collar.)
As for the graphic or visual arts – what does one even hear about any more from that quarter? Can you name any artist more recent than Jackson Pollock?
Or any poet (who is not a song lyricist) more recent than Rod McKuen?