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1990s nostalgia

via Pexels

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

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, the aftermath of a global pandemic and continued 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.

Given today's feeling of malaise, there are a lot of people who miss the 1990s or, as some call it, “the best decade ever.” Why? The 1990s was economically prosperous, crime was on its way down after the violent ’70s and ’80s, and pop culture was soaring with indie films, grunge rock and hip-hop all in their golden eras.

The rest of the world was feeling hopeful as globalization brought prosperity and Communism fell in Europe and Asia.

The mood in America would swiftly change at the turn of the century when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and the 2001 9/11 attacks would lead to the never-ending "war on terror."

A Reddit user by the name purplekat20 was clearly feeling some ’90s nostalgia on May 16 when they asked the online forum to share “What ’90s trend would you bring back?” A lot of people noted that it was a lot cheaper to get by in the ’90s, especially considering gas and rent prices. Others missed living in the real world instead of having one foot in reality and the other online.

Here are 17 things people would love to bring back from the 1990s.

1. 

"Inflatable furniture and transparent electronics." — Dabbles-In-Irony

2.

"Hope." — DeadOnBalllsaccurate

To which HowardMoo responded: "I hate this despair thing that's all the rage these days. I miss optimism."

3. 

"The '90s web was the best web. People actually made their own home pages. Now it's all social media." — IBeTrippin

4. 

"Affordable housing." — Amiramaha

5. 

"Ninety nine cent per gallon gas." — Maxwyfe

6. 

"The 'mean people suck' statement everywhere. People seemed generally a lot happier and kinder back then. It was a nice reminder to be kind." — simplyintentional

7. 

"Being detached. Not being attached to an electronic gadget every minute of every day." — SuperArppis

8. 

"Calling fake-ass people 'poser.' The state of social media and 'reality' tv demands that this word be taken out of retirement." — rumpusbutnotwild

9. 

"Grunge music." — ofsquire

10. 

"I want movies to be the same caliber as '90s." — waqasnaseem07

Cremmitquada nailed it on the head with their response, "Everything has been redone. It's all recycled ideas now."

11. 

"Pants that didn't have to be super-tight to be in style." — chad-beer-316

12. 

"People really expressing themselves. Very few people take any risks with style anymore, or they do something 'different' that's just enough to still conform. In the '80s and '90s there were people doing crazy things with hair and piercing and just didn't give a fuck. I don't think I'll ever see that come back." — FewWill

13. 

"Great animated TV. Spongebob started in the 90s (99 but it counts), Hey Arnold, X-Men, Batman, Justice League, Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Boomerang cartoons... the list goes on." — Phreedom Phighter

14. 

"Fast food restaurant interiors." — Glum-Leg-1886

15. 

"Hypercolor shirts and neon puff paint designs on t-shirts. But here in a few months, that'll be changed to abortion and voting rights, probably." — TheDoctorisen

16. 

"News that was news instead of rage bait." — nmj95123

17. 

"We had a stable country with a vigorous economy. In fact, we drew a budget surplus some of those years." — jeremyxt


This article originally appeared on 05.17.22

A rainbow over the AT&T store.

Thirty years ago, AT&T launched its “You Will” ad campaign, which predicted future technological developments that seemed pretty far-fetched at the time. But, in hindsight, the ad was surprisingly accurate in anticipating technology that’s commonplace today.

"Have you ever borrowed a book from thousands of miles away?" the first ad asks. "Crossed the country without stopping for directions? Or sent someone a fax from the beach? You will. And the company that will bring it to you is AT&T."

OK, the fax prediction was a bit off because that technology fell by the wayside after email was developed. But the sentiment was correct.


The series of ads predicted grocery checkout machines that process an entire cart at a time, telemedicine, distance learning, smartwatches ("[Have you ever] gotten a phone call, on your wrist?") and video on demand, to name a few.

The ads were voiced by actor Tom Selleck, who was an A-list movie actor at the time. They were made by director David Fincher, who wasn’t a household name in ’93, but would go on to direct “Fight Club,” “The Social Network” and "Mank."

The “You Will” campaign did an incredible job of predicting the future but, as Vox points out, it wasn’t necessarily AT&T that made the advancements possible. “AT&T does provide some of the infrastructure on which the world's communications flow,” Timothy B. Lee wrote for Vox. “But the gadgets and software that brought these futuristic capabilities to consumers were created by a new generation of Silicon Valley companies that mostly didn't exist when these ads were made.”

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”


It was a call for people to tap into the collective subconscious and bond over the shared experiences of youth. The most popular responses were the specific sensory experiences of childhood as well as memories of pop culture and businesses that are long gone.

Ready to take a trip down memory lane? Don’t stay too long, but it’s great to consider why these experiences are so memorable and still muster up warm feelings to this day.

Here are 19 of the best responses.

1. 

"An eraser that looks and smells like a very fake strawberry." — zazzlekdazzle

2. 

"Remember the warm, fuzzy static left on your tv screen after it was on for a while. A lot of you crazy kids WEAPONIZED the static to shock your siblings!" — JK_NC

3. 

"Waking up super early on Saturday morning before the rest of the family to watch cartoons." — helltothenoyo

4. 

"When you'd watch a vhs and it would say 'and now your feature presentation.'" — Mickthemmouse

5. 

"Eating one of those plastic-wrapped ice pop things after a long day of playing outside in your backyard with your friends." — onyourleft___

6. 

"Scholastic book fairs." — zazzlekdazzle

"The distinctive newspaper-y feel of those catalogues, the smell of them. Heaven. I would agonize over what books to get, lying on my living room floor, circling my options in different colored gel pens, narrowing it down to 2-4 from a dozen in an intense battle royale between slightly blurry one-line summaries. I know my mom's secret now. She would've bought me the whole damn catalogue. But she made me make my choices so that I really valued the books. I'd read them all immediately, reading all night if I had to, hiding in a tent under my covers with a flashlight I stole from the kitchen. I thought I was getting away with something. As an adult, I notice, now, that the flashlight never ran out of batteries." — IAlbatross

7. 

"Watching 'The Price Is Right' when you were sick at home." — mayhemy11

8. 

"That feeling of limitless freedom on the first day of summer vacation. That feeling of dreaded anticipation on the last day of summer vacation." —_my_poor_brain_

9. 

"Blockbuster." — justabll71

10. 

"The noise when picking up the phone when someone was surfing the web." — OhAce

11. 

"The TV Guide channel. You had to sit through and watch as the channels slowly went by so we could see what was on. It blew getting distracted by the infomercial in the corner and then realizing you barely just missed what you were waiting for so had to wait for it to start all over." — GroundbreakingOil

12. 


"Light Bright. I barely remember it myself but you’d take a charcoal-black board and poke different colored pegs through it. You plug it in to the electrical outlet and all the pegs light up creating whatever shape you made in lights." — 90sTrapperKeeper

13. 

"You knew it was gonna be a good day when you walk into PE class and see that huge colorful parachute." — brunettemountainlion

14. 

"Ripping handfuls of grass at recess and putting them on your friend." — boo_boo_technician

15. 

"In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire The A-Team." — Azuras_Star8

16. 

"Watching 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.' There was something so special about the intro where he would sing Won't You Be My Neighbor while he changed his jacket and shoes. I loved every second of it, and would watch in utter content and fascination each time as if I'd never before seen him zip his cardigan up and back down to the right spot and change his shoes with the little toss of a shoe from one hand to the other." — Avendashar

17. 

"Somewhere between blowing on some cartridges and pressing the cartridge down and up in the NES to get it to play." — autovices

18. 

"That feeling when you are going as high as you can go on the swings. Power? Freedom? Hard to describe." — zazzlekadazzle

19. 

"Cap guns. But smashing the entire roll of caps at once with a hammer." — SoulKahn90

Blockbuster video sign and pagers.

In “Back to the Future,” teenager Marty McFly goes back in time 30 years, from 1985 to 1955. But what if the film were made today and he went back from 2021 to 1991? I think the culture shock of a modern teenager going from a post-to-pre internet world would be much greater than the one that Marty experienced in the original film.

Would a kid from today be able to dial a payphone? Read a clock with actual hands? Look up directions on a Thomas Guide map?

A lot has changed since the dawn of the new millennium so a group of Redditors marked the changes in a post entitled: “What is something that was used heavily in the year 2000, but it's almost never used today?”

Here are 17 of the best posts.


1.

"Geocities, neopets, livejournal, kazaa," — PapaWeir

GeoCities is definitely one of those things that was everywhere and then suddenly disappeared. At its peak, GeoCities hosted millions of websites, but its popularity declined after it was purchased by Yahoo and web hosting became cheaper.

2.

"If you had a big screen TV it was probably a ridiculously thick rear projection TV," — ParoxysmAttack

Before plasma TVs came around, if you had a big screen it was also a seriously deep-screen TV.

3.

"Re-writable CDs. I used to burn so many mix cds after downloading from napster, bearshare, limewire, frostwire," — Shittinwithmykitten

Napster created a music revolution overnight, but where were we going to save all of that new, stolen music? Rewriteable CDs were all the rage before the iPod came along and put 'em in the palm of your hand.

4.

"Payphones. (Yes I know payphones still exist. Also, I am now very aware payphones are free in Australia, thank you for informing me.)" — Adreeisadyno

Kids these days have never had to walk five blocks to make a phone call.

5.

"Dial-Up.

weeeeeeeee WOOOOOO_OOOOOO_
E E E E E E E EEEEEeeeeee
eee
eee URRRRRRRRRBEDULUDOLEDULUDOLEEPEEPEEP
R R R R R R R R R R R R RUMMMMMMMMMMMM,"
— Martini_Man_

Those of us who lived in the dial-up era will never, ever forget the whizzing, belching sound that we had to sit through to experience the World Wide Web.

7.

"Indoor smoking. My young-ish kids marvel at the fact that people used to sit in restaurants and smoke," — TurdFergDSF

People used to smoke on airplanes, in hospitals, at restaurants ... pretty much everywhere.

8.

"Blockbuster card," — larrythetarry

It wasn't Friday night in the '90s without a two-liter of Pepsi, a large pizza and a stack of VHS tapes from Blockbuster video.

9.

"VCRs," — Murtamatt

Want to feel old? In 2016, Funai, which manufacturers the VCRs in China for Sanyo, announced it would produce its final VHS player, making it the last one ever produced.

10.


"AOL," — PacMan8112

"Welcome!" "You've got mail!" AOL was the leading internet provider in the late '90s but soon lost its relevance after merging with Time Warner, Inc. in 2000.

11.

"Calculators; teachers kept saying 'you won’t have one with you all the time,' look who’s stupid now?! Both of us…" — elika007

A calculator was a luxury item in the '80s. In the '90s, a Texas Instruments graphing calculator could cost you $90. Now, it's all on your phone along with a million other apps.

12.

"A/S/L" — Smart_North_3374

Anyone who's a proud member of Gen X knows the "age/sex/location" question. It's the first thing you asked in an AOL chatroom when people used to try to hook up online. Of course, nobody answered it honestly, but that was half the fun.

13.

​"JNCO jeans," — ccherry124

In the 2000s everyone wore skinny jeans. But in the 1990s, people wore the baggiest jeans possible. The award for baggiest jeans goes to JNCO, the manufacturers of raver pants that fit two legs and a few kilos worth of MDMA.

14.

"Pagers," — skaote

The pager was one of the most popular status symbols of the '90s. Nothing said "cool" like having a pager that was constantly blowing up. (Does anyone under the age of 40 know what it means for a pager to "blow up"?)

15.

"'Wanna Cyber?'" God . We were awful," — icanbeafrick

Back in the AOL days, the closest you could come to getting it on while online was through cyber sex. There were no pictures or video so you just exchanged dirty messages until the other person logged off. The typical cyber session began with, "What are you wearing?"

16.

"Limp Bizkit," — Timmah_1984

Unfortunately, they're back.

17.

"Travel agencies. Now I can do everything on my phone," — whatdoineedaname4

If you can belive it, before there was Priceline, there was a person sitting at a desk with a rotary phone who booked your seven-day trip to Europe.