It's the 90s

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Oh, but to say that again. I miss the '90s. Best time of my life.


Glad they’re done. Middle school, high school, college. Some of the movies were good, I guess. That’s something.


Yeah, if I was in middle school during any decade it wouldn’t be the best one of my life.


Yeah but the Twenties are making the Nineties look like the Teens.

(You know, 1918 Flu, 2020 Pandemic… ok nvrmnd, your turn.)


Tick, tick…

NO! Bad, BAD lazy trope…


Yeah, but who do you owe that to?

Oh, a tonne of privilege, for sure.


I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but when I was a kid my mom was floundering with some type of issue and I zinged her with “welcome to the Eighties, mom.”
I was really young, maybe 8, and she laughed it off. but underneath the laughter, you could tell she knew she’d caught a sick burn.


Was looking for “…all to you-oo-oo-oo-oo!”, but that’s just my privilege showing.


It’s the 90s, dude. Anything goes! We’re so woke, right? Whatever that means…

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It occurs to me that this was something I remember being said in movies/tv of the '80s, too, but it happened much more in the '90s. Because the '90s were the end of the 20th century. Since the 2000s were very much “the future,” that meant the '90s were almost “the future,” and thus very much “the present,” but a very modern present. Not the regular kind of present that we’d had in the rest of the 20th century.

(That 20th century notion of the 21st century being “the future” seems to have been so solidified that culturally we still think of the 2000s as “the future.” To the point where people have remarked that no one talks about the 22nd century, particularly as an indicator of futurism. Some people have taken that to mean that in the current moment we don’t see ourselves as having a future, but I think it’s at least also because we still see the future as happening in the 2000s.)



Also… they lied to us about the future. The future sucks.





Franks Zappa had a theory of death by nostalgia, where the length of time between an event and the nostalgia gets so short that Humans cease to function.


Hmm. Maybe that explains Joe’s Garage!


Sort of like how 2001: A Space Odyssey was once a movie about a future that might be, and now it’s about a past that never was. That’s one of the hazards of near-future science fiction: it can easily turn into zeerust.




I was thinking about how our very notion of “the future” really is a 20th century invention. I mean, sure, the idea that “X number of decades from now, society will be different” goes back a bit further than that (but not all that much further - it’s still a relatively modern concept), and some notions about the future as a time of technological wonders goes back to the 19th century. But there’s really a whole bundle of ideas about what the future is supposed to be, pretty specific ideas, that date back about 100 years and were projected for the 21st century. Even as the date got closer to the 21st century, that still was the dividing line between “present” and “future,” and I suspect 2001: A Space Odyssey helped cement the first years of the 21st century, specifically, as that dividing line.

So I wonder what that does to the culture. The '90s were a symbolically heavy decade - the end of the 20th century was the last bit of “now” before it switched to “the future.” There was an optimism, of being on the cusp of something, but also an “end of days” vibe, too. It was followed by the '00s, also a symbolically heavy decade. Now officially “the future” but not only failing to live up to the promises made, but also crashing into a really shit present, post-9-11. The future became a broken promise, rather than something that was still “out there,” to some degree. (Whereas before that, any promises about what would happen “in the future” could come true, eventually.)

I wonder how 21st century kids view “the future” now because I can’t imagine that the 20th century notion makes much sense to them. Maybe the whole concept of “the future” in that 20th century sense is now broken - a broken promise for the olds, a nonsense idea for the youngs.


Yes… I think that James Gleick addresses that in his book Time Travel: A history, which I suspect you’d enjoy if you haven’t read it… I was thinking about how our very notion of “the future” really is a 20th century invention

Also, modernity brought us a new concept of “the future” outside of religious sensibilities… Cyclical time is very different way of thinking about the world than linear time…

I don’t think that was just the actual time frame, though… the end of the Cold War WAS seen as an “end of history” moment, when we could finally move past our petty differences and into a utopian future… I think that thinking underpinned many of the Clinton administration’s diplomatic efforts during the 90s (the Oslo Accords, Dayton Accords, and finally the Good Friday agreement).

Given that many of us grew up with that notion of the “future” as a promising place, and instead, we’ve gotten a dystopia… probably so. The things we write and the way we pick apart the world for future generations will inevitably shape how they think about issues like “the future.” Much like the mid-century economic boom that the Boomers benefited from, and issues like the rise of the “traditional nuclear family” etc, that may be yet another oddity from this time in history…


I need to read that.

Yeah, when does this notion, in Western culture, first start, of “a future” (that’s a distinct and different thing from “the present”). My recollection is that was during the Enlightenment? The industrial revolution certainly slammed home the idea that society and culture would change over time.

Yeah, there was that kind of good “ending,” of history but simultaneously also a sort of pre-post-apocalyptic vibe, too. Religious millennialism influencing secular futurism (e.g. Strange Days) “Cyberpunk” moving from fiction to a lifestyle movement as a sort of prepping for a singularity, etc.

“The future” has been sort of doubly killed. We hit that dividing line and “the future” absurdly became the present (and now, even more absurdly, the past). And that present was also shit. There’s not an alternative notion of “the future” that’s replacing it (much less a hopeful vision of that future to aspire to). I was suddenly wondering when all those dystopian YA novels like “The Hunger Games” came out, and was kind of unsurprised that it was the '00s. Books written by the (20th century) olds about how “the(ir) future” turned to shit. So young people not only didn’t have the traditional notion of “the future” to inherit (because it’s a nonsense contradiction now), but they got the disappointment of the previous generations as a replacement for it as well. All those deep-seated economic and environmental calamities we’re facing aren’t helping to develop an alternative, either.