Dear 90’s Nostalgia, I Think We Need To Talk
Every generation curses the generation that came before it. We all like to lay blame on those who came first because:
- They laid out the groundwork
- It is easier than owning your own failures
But that stated clearly and concisely right away, there is something awash in popular culture right now and it is putting us into a place in modern society where we have nothing left to think other than “the world is ending and we are fucked” when in fact, if we really took a GENUINE look back (rose colored glasses off for rest of article, please) we would see that the 90’s had its fair share of shit going on too, and we all have a disease where we look back with retro goggles (which are INCREDIBLY inaccurate) and then we compare and contrast. It is in doing that comparison that we are ruining life for ourselves and everyone around us.
In other words, it has happened. WE have finally become the generation blaming the generation before them, yet not looking ahead at all about how to diverge our so-called crash course.
I am here to take off your retro goggles (slowly so as not to shock or blind you) and show you a world that was always fucked up, and you will be better off for knowing it and seeing it for what it truly is (which is circular). You just have to listen for a bit. I know this idea makes SOME sense to you or you would’ve stopped reading already.
Your Memories Are Incredibly Inaccurate
This is the FIRST thing all human beings should know but most don’t. Think of your mind as a painter in the days of yore, when portraits were the way people were remembered. You do know that MANY portrait artists were put to death for portraying their clients realistically? The idea is to sharpen them up, tighten them up. These portrait artists WERE the Photoshop of their time, and the rich were paying them quite well to ensure they looked tight as fuck in the history books.
Were you to see this person in real life you’d see the reality as well. Abe Lincoln is a perfect example of this. All I will say is, the real man was ugly as FUCK but no one wants to see that, and your memory is the vision his painter left us now.
Your mind does the same exact thing.
It hides the blemishes and impurities and ugly memories. In the end, once they are fully repressed, suddenly the era you grew up in becomes idealized because you compartmentalized the memories that were shitty and locked them away in a “hopeless” chest, which is kinda like a hope chest filled with hopelessness.
The 1990’s were not “the last great time in America” like even my dumb-ass has probably said once or thrice over the last five years.
Allow me to dive a deeper here…
No Web, Cell Phones, Social Media (No Problem)
It sounds trite and childish to say we could not live without these things now, but many tweens literally couldn’t. They cave, freak out, lose their shit and feel unplugged from the matrix. But guess what? Those of us in our 30’s and 40’s now lived in a time without the web or cell phones at all. Yeah, we had to go to LIBRARIES AND READ WHOLE BOOKS TO DO PAPERS!
No apps for anything, just us against the world, and it felt right. But life evolves, and that brings us to now.
In hindsight, actually, I used to deliver pizza for a living before GPS. Can someone explain that to me, because in hindsight, even I have no idea how I did that.
This also meant no cyber sex shit and no cyber bullying (that was back when bullying was still done physically or mentally in person). It also meant no weird, molesty, web shit, but that shit has also always existed, too. Just that it used to exist in corners we didn’t have access to. But now we know, and unlike GI-Joe seemed to imply when I was growing up, is knowing REALLY half the battle?
Seems the more we learn and the more about real life that gets exposed to us, the more and more we feel detached and want nothing to do with a broken society. It’s like it eventually breaks us, too.
Speaking of a broken society and us broken souls….
Race Riots and Priests Fucking Children: Let’s REALLY Recall the 1990’s, Shall We?
See, what we do is the same thing someone does in an abusive relationship. We only recall the good, we enable the behavior, and only once we recognize it as sick or dangerous do we hopefully take the steps needed to escape it or break the cycle. In this case, we are looking back on grunge music and not the fact that AIDS was running so rampant (not really as much as in the 80’s but media fear mongered it to crazy heights daily on the news), so much so, people were wearing condoms to go grocery shopping.
On top of that, we can say racial tensions are at an all-time-high right now (and I agree it FEELS that way) but I am a child of the 90’s. I watched the L.A riots from my living room like most of America and saw that cauldron of tension finally bubble over. You think THIS is bad, right now? This is nothing. What we are capable of as humans is scary and I only know this having survived it before. Looting and killing and fighting. Watching it on TV was like watching a real life end-of-the-world scenario or a zombie film that came real before my eyes. Just fire, death, and destruction, but this was from the same era everyone is idealizing right now.
Also, O.J Simpson’s case really divided the country as well. You could feel it like you were part of a giant bottle of bubbling soda that was about to explode at any minute in any direction.
On top of THAT, the revelation that “priests seemingly like to fuck little boys” came to light and really brought to the media’s front lines until the early 90’s. Now, if you grew up knowing a choirboy, there is a one in ten chance a priest raped him. And at one point, there was like a one in one thousand chance he would have gotten AIDS from that sexual assault. But the 90’s did have T.G.I.F TV lineup and we all loved us some Urkel some YAY 90’s!1!!
Yup, the 90’s. Easy to forget shit like this when you have Tribe Called Quest and Pearl Jam playing on the way to go see Terminator 2. Our memories are like American history professors who teach revisionist history because it is what they NEED us to hear, even if it isn’t the truth.
Trumps vs Humps and Lovely Lady Lumps
On top of that, we had a president in the 90’s who was fucking a “plumper” (porn category name, not my choice) with Cuban cigars. We were ALREADY doing air-raids over the middle east that were not quite going according to plan (Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical company in Sudan, and that loss ended up meaning the loss of many innocent lives by people who could no longer obtain their medicine and those killed by the miscalculated strike). Check out the Clinton death toll you ever have a chance. I fucking HATE Trump but I will tell you, when it comes to puppet presidents, they are all different with the same evil hand shoved up their arse, making the important moves). Though many see modern America as a small piece of shit that seems to be circling the hole in the toilet called life, our parents said the same exact shit during the 1990’s, and their did during the 70’s, and theirs did during the British invasion in the 50’s. To even think this feeling new is very narcissistic of us and shows you where we are at as a collective society. But look, here is the kicker:
we are all still here. Well, most of us are, anyway.
Could Trump start a third world war and end the world? Fuck yes he could, but we were always closer to that than any of us assumed, anyway.
Again, my point is NOT to support him. Dude is a dumbass who bought his way into a job he has no place having, and I have made my thoughts known on that subject before here many times.
I am simply here telling you we have always been a shit-show.
We are just paying more attention to it now because of the internet and how justified and entitled the internet era has falsely made us all feel.
So Chill Out. Life Has Always Sucked, Dumbass
At the end of the day there is ONE thing you can do to be okay in a world that isn’t You find good people, a pet or three, a lover or wife or husband, and you lock yourself away in a nice little corner. Make the bubble you choose to stay inside safe and sacred and shut out all the bullshit. The world will not end yet, but if we keep looking at it comparatively to our revisionist past and looking at it so closely with a magnifying glass, we will end, because we will ALL have a stroke.
So chill, smoke a bowl of some top shelf, sip some cognac (preferably Remy Martin) and realize, we have come down this road so many times before and somehow, we always come out the other end wiser, brighter, and stronger, real talk.
And if the world IS going to end tomorrow, there is NOTHING you can do about it, so smoke that stuff and drink that Remy anyway, because you may as well enjoy the ride as it is out of your control where it goes next. All you can do is make sure you are buckled in and just let life happen, do what you can to help the process, and hope for the best.
It really is that simple.
Featured image by Steve Kaiser via Flickr.