Why Everything You Believe About the '90s Is Wrong

Whoomp there it is. There what is? My bad. Chill, home slice, because I am going to explain the situation -- the '90s were da bomb! Booya!


If you were actually born in the '90s, you don't really remember the '90s. Sorry. If it's any consolation, I am closer to death than you are, because I am old. That said, you're still wrong about the '90s. Here are a few reasons why ...

#4. You're Just Remembering the Marketing

I mean, are we sure "nostalgia" doesn't actually come from a Greek word that roughly translates to English as "we have literally nothing to publish on the web."

What you actually remember is what we call "marketing." The only way people buy lies is if that's what they're sold. Marketing helps.

Extreme marketing helps more!

Americans like their history the way they like their aging celebrities -- butchered, stuffed, and stretched.

We're like a large family in a sprawling Southern Gothic novel that lies to itself about some horrible secret -- like there's a baby buried in the petunias. We're in total denial about what was, who we are, and how we got here.

So we tell ourselves that the '90s were a colorful decade of frosted tips, hack Hillary Clinton pantsuit jokes, and episodes of Friends.

No one told us life was gonna be this way.

Because we can't face the truth. Along those same lines ...

#3. What Felt Like a Golden Age Was Just the Climax of a Generation


The '90s were just an elaborate setup for a punchline called the last 14 miserable years of wars and layoffs. We are living like a duck being force-fed a steady diet of fear via a tube.

You don't really remember the '90s. If you had lived through the '90s, you'd remember how great things seemed. Sure, there was a recession at first, but dot-coms were going to make us all rich. Yes, the world was in turmoil. But not in our backyard. Politics were vicious but silly.

I grew up in the '90s: graduated high school AND college. I lost my virginity, fell in love, and ate epic quantities of LSD in the '90s. I started working on this here Internet in the '90s. I'm here to tell you that the truth of the decade is this: if I could I'd happily cannonball into a wormhole, hurl myself backwards through time and space and right up my mom's vagina in the '70s so that I could relive those 10 years.

Because they were, honestly, great. I got to enjoy one of the peaks of human civilization, and I did it while guzzling cans of Jolt!

It's like the risk of a stroke ... in a can!

America, apex predator of nations, spent its golden age working on a beer gut and squandering the empire. We didn't KNOW it was our golden age. I had no idea. I was too busy watching America's Funniest Home Videos and smoking very illegal marijuana. Nine Inch Nails was ahead of its time because they were angry in the '90s about all the shitty stuff in the future. What did Trent have to be so pissed about in the '90s?

Looking back, I can see everything so clearly. The seeds of decay in the fruits of pleasure. But, as they say, hindsight is X-ray vision. I guess I was too busy wearing baja sweaters and writing a screenplay about an independent movie about a heist gone wrong, featuring characters that referenced '80s pop culture, no notice.

The '90s were when the Baby Boomers fully came into power. Then they all watched Saving Private Ryan and thought, "Fuuuuuck, granddad was more badass than I thought. Maybe one day we'll start two wars too."

Mission accomplished indeed!

They were still emotionally obsessed with the partisan political drama of the Watergate years. But, at least, there was some common ground between Republicans and Democrats. For instance, they all agreed getting as rich as possible was the only thing that matters. Wall Street regulations? Pshaw! Allowing commercial and investment banks to merge into giant greedy Frankensteins? Sure!

The '90s were all about The West Wing, an enlightened TV show about how much good the U.S. government can do. Especially if that government is run mostly by straight, white liberal men and one daffy ol' broad who just does press conferences. (I will heart you forever, CJ.)

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John Devore

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