Last night, the National Geographic Channel kicked off its six-episode series Generation X, an uncommonly sharp talking-head recap show that explores various cultural events and phenomena that helped shape the generation after the Baby Boomers. The War on Drugs, specifically how it targeted crack in the ‘80s and was made tangible in the “Just Say No” campaign, was among the topics on last night’s premiere. The segment featured commentary from Senator Cory Booker, journalist Alison Stewart, and none other than Sarah Palin, who pointed out the impracticality of the campaign spearheaded by Nancy Reagan:
My, how easy it would be to sit your child down and say, “Just say no.” It’s not that easy. Great intentions, though!
The intentions, which seemed more along the lines of putting black people in cages than actually improving society for all, were far from great as explained by the rest of the brief segment (and in much further, persuasive detail in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow), but hey, Palin criticizing any facet of Reagan’s presidency seems like a momentous occasion. Some things are even too idiotic for her to endorse.
The show also included a segment about AIDS and how Rock Hudson’s diagnosis and death thrust the issue into the mainstream, after it had existed on the fringes for years, as gay men died helplessly.
Weirdly, Molly Ringwald claims that she was on the set of The Breakfast Club when she “heard about Rock Hudson,” though Hudson’s publicist didn’t confirm his diagnosis until July 25, 1985, which was over five months after The Breakfast Club was released in theaters. So either Molly Ringwald had insider information about Rock Hudson, or not even Molly Ringwald can keep those Molly Ringwald movies straight.