Max Headroom

Wait until you have about 30 free minutes, and then watch (and listen to) this YouTube video. After that, read the rest of this post.

I feel I have to mention something, but it’s going to sound like I’m speaking derisively about “those millennials”. I’m not. The only reason I bring it up is to say I’m completely in agreement with what he’s saying, and I won’t be taken seriously unless I mention the “discrepancy”. The script is written with the implication that speaker shared some blame for this. However, the sound of the voice says something completely different. I don’t know (for sure) about you, but it sounds to me like it’s spoken by a man who’s about 20 years younger than me (and about 40 years younger than the people who designed Max Headroom).

Did I laugh at Max and miss the blatant subtext in the late 80’s? Yes. However, I argue that someone who didn’t live it can’t know the following… That’s just the way American society was then. Max Headroom was popular not only for the reasons implied by the video.


I’m of a uniquely “in-between” age: old enough that I was very much “a product of the decade in question”, but young enough that I wouldn’t have been able to do anything about this even if I had wanted to.


Here are some chosen quotes from the video:

It would be fascinating to see [Max Headroom] return, as long as we make sure to remember, this time, that [he’s] not your friend. Max Headroom is a bigot, and he’s not even big enough to admit it.


Max was designed by British creators who cheekily implied that Americans would always worship celebrity, even if it was made of this, acted like this, and looked like this …and we the American public not only failed to get the joke, we put it in front of rallies with red banners to advertise soda, because of course we did.

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