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1990s

via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

This article originally appeared on 05.17.22


There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Some in the late '90s and early '00s thought the internet was an overhyped idea doomed to fizzle.

Those of us who are old enough to remember the world before we became completely dependent on the internet could never have predicted what life would be like now. Some of the things the internet has enabled us to do—wireless video chats with friends halfway around the globe, ordering food to be delivered to our door at the click of a few buttons, virtual support groups for every possible interest or ailment—were the stuff of imaginary, far-futuristic worlds, surely not realistic to expect in our lifetimes. (I mean, I figured we'd have flying cars before we'd have computers we could fit in our pockets, yet here we are.)

The 1990s were this weird in-between phase where the tech geeks were all about the .com world and tech-reluctant normies were all, "Gretchen, stop trying to make the internet happen. It's not going to happen." Once the internet started becoming popular, some people did try to predict how it would all turn out.

Some predictions were wrong. Ridiculously, hilariously wrong. And on the flip side, David Bowie, in his apparently infinite wisdom, was so spot on it's almost scary.

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Kurt Cobain, Blockbuster Video, Bill Clinton.

The 1990s was a sweet spot in American history. The stifling Cold War with the Soviet Union had just come to the end in 1989 and it would still be 12 years before a new era of fear after the 9/11 attacks.

The 1990s was also a time of prosperity that lifted up Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum and an era that saw unprecedented peace in the world. In fact, things were going so well in America that President Clinton managed to have a budget surplus four years in a row.

The '90s was also the last gasp of the analog era when people couldn't contact you 24/7 and did things for the pure joy of it instead for the likes and shares.

To say that the '90s was the last great American decade may be looking back with rose-colored glasses but it's obvious that as we've entered this new era dominated by technology, we left behind a lot of things that brought us joy. Many of us wouldn't mind having them back.

A recent Reddit thread asked "What do you miss about the '90s?" and the answers will take you back to a time that most of us remember fondly. Will people ever say that about the 2020s? Only time will tell.

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The Gap brought swing to the mainstream with its "Khakis Swing" commercial.

Every Gen Xer remembers a small moment in time when swing music was extremely popular in the late '90s. Swing went from nonexistent to an alt-rock radio mainstay from 1996 to 1998 and then, it was gone in a flash.

During that time, young people rushed to their nearest dance studios to learn the Lindy Hop and bought up old-school, retro suits and fedoras. Swing clubs started popping up all over the country and MTV played swing-inspired videos such as "Hell" by Squirrel Nut Zippers, "Jump Jive an' Wail" by Brian Setzer Orchestra and "You and Me (and the Bottle Makes Three)" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Film editor Simone Smith asked Gen X to explain what the hell was going on in the late '90s that led to swing music making a huge comeback.

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