You know that you’re getting old when you can use the phrase “back in the day,” & things were actually a hell of a lot different. But “back in the day,” things were different & a big part of me is frightened that I’m stuck in an mental state where I am glorifying the past. The fear stems from the fact that I might want to live forever in the years where cell phones were too new, too big, & too expensive so we used pay phones on the road, or actually just knocked on people’s doors when we were picking them up, most of the time, especially when you are in high school, you were dropping by unexpected.
I don’t ever knock on doors any longer, I just call at tell them I’m at the door, or I text. There’s a fine rule between the two, if you are a woman & I’m doinking you, you get a phone call. If you are a guy, you get a text. That’s just how it works.
But then, there is a big part of me that is screaming “NO! Things actually were better in the 90s!” That part, is the part that used to teach high school history & government. Or at least about half of it is, the other half is the part of me that want’s to beat the shit out of the fucking hipsters that seem to be breeding like cockroaches in the Windy City. Hipsters & those Emo punks, they will drive you to murder.
Fashion is a big deal to me, or lack there of. I came out of an era where you wore flannels & saved your cash by shopping at thrift stores. I still shop at thrift stores, but now I’m usually the only white guy there, or at least the only white guy buying clothes there. Back then, when people brought clothes, or at least when my friends & I did, we sifted through the racks & brought the shit that looked like it would last.
Now it looks like people take & a lot of time & effort into finding clothes. Specific brands. My brother-in-law is very brand conscious, as is my sister. They aren’t hipsters of emo, but they will only wear a specific brand of blue jeans. Jeans are jeans, right?
It seems like, back in the day, it was socially acceptable to dress comfortably…unless you were in the whole Goth crowd, I never understood that. I’m a dude with a beard, I hate shaving, I’m in & out of the shower, there is no way I’d have the patience to put make-up on or paint my nails. I still see those people out & about in the city.
For some reason Goth survived but grunge died, that I don’t understand, grunge was easier & had much better music. It should have been timeless, it required zero effort. I still hold true to it, so do a lot of my friends & it’s shocking, I’ve actually been bounced from a bar for being under-dressed. It wasn’t even a black tie bar. It was in Wrigleyville for fucks sake.
The music was better too, much better. Not on the whole of course, nothing is good when you apply it to the whole, & the 90’s did have a LOT of shit that you had to wade through. Tubthumping, All Star, Markey Mark, The Bare Naked Ladies, The Macarena, The Spice Girls, Ricky Martin, The Backstreet Boys, & so much more hideous bull shit that it just makes you want to run & hide.
There was actually a time that my friends & I, through the media, knew the all the lyrics to both Tubthumping & One Week. They were everywhere, more than Jagged Little Pill was. It was brutal, absolutely brutal.
But then you had Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Primus, Marilyn Manson, & of course, my personal favorites, Rage Against the Machine. They were all putting out enough quality music to make up for the crap.
OK, not your thing? Fine, Tracy Chapman, Alanis Morissette, The Cranberries, The Counting Crows, Sleeper, Elastica, The Sundays, Hell, even U2 had yet to completely enter their downward spiral to utter bull shit pop. Back in the day, U2 was still making some semi-respectable music.
Music has always been pretty important to me & I don’t mean to say that there aren’t people putting out some good shit still. I’ve heard some pretty good songs that were released over the past few years, but there is a lot less of it & it’s harder to find. You have to seriously go digging to find something worthwhile. Today is as horrible as I imagine the 80s were. I am very happy I was too young to experience high school in the 80s & too old to live through it today.
The reason for this, at least I assume, is the internet. The internet is flooding the world with absolute bull shit & in order to make a dime people are mass producing that the caters only to the LCD. This is the era of the Lowest Common Denominator & we have technology to blame for it. The shit that I was when I was in high school, on the Science Fiction shows has come to pass, or at least a large part of it, & it’s created a bull shit global culture.
I’m not joking, it is global. I was in Europe again last summer & it pissed me off that the same pop crap I was forced to listen to here in America was playing in the airports & public houses over there. I was hoping that I could escape that for a couple of weeks.
The same can be said about movies. The 90’s were great for original movies. Sure, we had bull shit remakes like Lost in Space, but there was a very healthy independent film movement that put out some real mean shit. You could go to a video rental (they really don’t exist any longer, like record stores & Borders) & walk out with something that had a small enough budget that it had to fall back on a clever script in order to make money.
The internet has kind of killed that. Fine, the internet did give us little gems like Timmy’s Wish, but on the whole it destroyed the fun of going to the theater & seeing something new & clever. But then, those movies weren’t exactly played out in the suburbs were they? In today’s culture, even in the city, you’re stuck with suburban movies. That sucks.
The politics & greater society was extremely different. I think culture & politics are tied pretty closely together. I believe this to be true & I believe it for the most obvious of reasons. Simply stated, I believe this to be true because there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that propaganda & politics are tied together. Occam’s razor & all that.
Remember when it was cool to be anti-war? Remember when just about everyone cared about the preservation of the planet we live on? It seems like a lifetime ago, but believe it or not boys & girls, there was a time when the majority of the people, Red & Blue, believed that saving the planet was a good idea. There was a time when only the redneck psychos that lived in alien & isolated places like Kansas denied science.
It was a time when Dennis Miller was still a liberal.
People still got their news from papers.
A time when the History Channel still broadcast shows about actually history, mainly Hitler, but history nonetheless.
When women had more rights.
It was a time when school shootings were shocking & tragic…now they’re just tragic.
When rape was still a bad thing & not a gift from God.
When teenager’s were smart & tough enough to live through the playground bullies, instead of, you know, killing themselves because their feelings were hurt.
When people looked at “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” as a small step in the right direction as opposed to oppressive.
It was a time when a liberal president achieved the conservative dream of balancing the budget & in repayment they impeached him for getting a blow job.
It was a time when there were moderate Republicans that would reach across the aisle a time when there were actually a few liberal Democrats as well.
Since then we have taken one massive & collective goose step to the right & our culture & our children are paying the price for it. It’s not just a nostalgia thing, back in the day, things where better.
Back in the day, we had Buffy.