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I fear for the newest generation. Their only problems are rampant unemployment, a violent authoritarian movement, and the 2018 Ebola Plague. They were never forged in the fires of the 1990s, forced to survive in the wild with a beeper and a mere three choices of hamburger chain.__new_line__Fact is, if you endured the '90s, you can make it through anything. To go outside in that decade was to step into a dreary world of flannel and coffee. The only thing not trying to kill you was Rage Against the Machine, but their idea of music was to saw through baling wire with a nail file. Not even your bleeding ears could distract you from the worst problems of the decade.__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__
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#5.
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Communism
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What was scary about it

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Back in the day, the nuclear powerhouses were in constant struggle over how to destroy the middle class. Nobody wanted war, but if millions didn't die, how would we prove whose ideology was right? Kids today only fear nuclear apocalypse for fun, but in the early '90s, these were the ways we calculated ourselves dying:__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__You have to assume some of the mutants are friendly, though.

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__We were so scared of nuclear war our superheroes had radioactive origins just so we could pretend toxic immersion would be okay. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Actual sewer-dwelling reptiles love children for a very different reason

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Making things worse

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Superpowers were a priority for kids in the '80s, because our Russian foes were strong like bear. The only Soviet super-athletes not killing our movie champions in unsportsmanlike conduct were defecting here to steal huge scholarships from underprivileged chess-playing computers. This paranoia was red hot by the '90s! It wasn't till shortly after the Berlin Wall fell that we realized they were but pawns of the Soviet state, thanks to the attitude-changing documentary Gym-Kata 2: Ring Around the Russkie.__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

It turned out okay, though

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Communism was an empty threat by the mid-'90s, but the psychological damage was done. To this day, Americans fear sharing. That, in turn, means more money to fill the emptiness in our lives with mercantile goods! Wooooo! I'ma buy me a jetski! I thank my God I'm a 'Merican!__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__
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#4.
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AIDS
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What was scary about it

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Did you have sex after 1989? Holy condoms, Batman, you have AIDS! When you got done watching TV in the '90s, you knew two things: all clothes should be be denim, and two virgins having premarital sex causes AIDS. __new_line__HIV is not just a mere thing like a deadly pandemic. That bastard hates everything fun in life, like sex, heroin, and taking other people's blood. It also hates good music, dropkicking Freddie Mercury but leaving hair bands (margarine to glam rock's butter) free to screech their way into their own VH1 shows. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Thank heaven we finally found a cure for Vince Neil

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Once musicians realized the disease was gunning for the best part of rock stardom, they fought back with the fury of a Tea Partier reading a history book. Madonna selflessly sacrificed her body on countless penises to show how risky that kind of behavior would be without her alien physiology. Non-stop campaigns educated the public about Bono's lab findings, including:

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-AIDS is responsible for more cases of Very Special Episode than racism and bullying combined.

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-You can contract HIV just by looking if you lean so close to the virus your eye touches it.

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-HIV doesn't spread by hugging, unless the person is inside-out.

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-They say you can't get HIV by kissing, but we're going to prove them wrong.

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-We all die alone.

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Eventually rock surrendered and became grunge, a music completely devoid of sex unless it was between two depressed flies on a rotting nectarine. That's why most alternative music videos look like rain spoiled your church's Salvador Dali-themed orgy. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Be careful. She might give you HIV

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__The only human beings who had sex that decade were Eazy-E and Sharon Stone. Eazy died a week after finding out his sore throat was actually-woah, AIDS! The only thing Ms. Stone got was an Oscar. You know what that means? HIV decided Sharon Stone was a little too intense for it to commit to.__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

Making things worse

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__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__That's what the '90s were about, kids. Big hair, mom jeans and sex you'd have to die with a sword in your hand to taste.__new_line____new_line__Trying to remain celibate, our country crossed its legs and endured maximum Cindy Crawford. If you turned on MTV in 1992 and didn't gaze directly upon her glory, you got Denis Leary trying to rant his way into her (denim) underwear with comedy. Which never works, am I right, TV's Gillian Jacobs? __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

NBC.com
__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Women can't resist you when you mention them in an essay on AIDS

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Your silence only proves my point. __new_line__Every day of the '90s was a high-stakes tease by The Most Beautiful Woman in The World, bait-and-switched for a lingering, burning death. My entire pubescence was spent running from Pepsi ads with condoms stuffed in my ears. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

It turned out okay, though

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__At its outer rim, the judicious use of sex-parts is fairly low-risk. And before you take that as advice, remember that I'm drunk right now. Not while I'm writing this, but every time you read it. Regardless, if you wear condoms and have the foresight not to be born in Botswana, you could theoretically have a better chance of becoming an astronaut. And when you get to space, there's no HIV there, so enjoy that zero-gravity sex. Be sure to film it. I need something new in my porn. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__
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#3.
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The internet
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What was scary about it

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__I don't want to spoil your notions of technological superiority, but in the time it takes you to read this sentence, the 1993 internet could upload your entire brain into a castle made of green grids using a 2400 baud modem. We capitalized it as Internet, and offered burnt sacrifices, for it was our god. You could hack a computer through the electrical outlet, and the smartest computers (2 gigs memory, 512mb RAM, and a pickle on the side because those are delicious) learned to control electrical appliances that had no circuitry at all, as seen in every movie about hackers except Hackers, which may have included that plot point, but absolutely no one saw.__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

Making things worse

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__ "The 'net" as it was called by "cybersurfers" on the "world wide web" was a "dangerous" "place." Every week we had to fight off a Skynet or a Lawnmower Man with virtual reality gyroscopes, and you never knew when you'd be plagued by horrifying visions of dancing babies that weren't quite human. It was awesome, until Furries found others like themselves. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

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__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__I don't know an acceptable way of suggesting a baby be struck dead

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It turned out okay, though

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Then, in 1995, teen boys discovered something amazing! Science proved the existence of a woman on the internet! Her name was Cindy Margolis, and her clothes were off. The series of tubes known as the interweb shifted its focus to sex. Ever since, kids no longer scavenge porno from dad's closet, or in my case, hobo campgrounds.__new_line____new_line__
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#2.
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Conspiracy theories
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What was scary about it

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__We'd tried paranoia in the '70s, pitting men with terrible haircuts against corrupt factions within government. By the '90s evil overlords were the entire government, or at least our TV government, which the average American is more informed about. X-Files explained that we were to trust no one except Gillian Anderson.__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__I don't want to live in a world where you can't trust redheads

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Making things worse

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__By the time the FDA classified The X-Files as a sedative, people were reading conspiracies in between the lines of their Alpha-Bits -- or they would have if they weren't confident that pouring milk full of bovine growth hormone into their bowl wasn't exactly what the New World Order wanted. It got so you couldn't distinguish gnostic fact from covered-up fiction.__new_line__ When you have no way of filtering out crap, you start blaming local cable news stories on Zeta Reticulans time-funneling technology to the CIA/NSA composite Project Aquarian. That's why today we go beyond conspiracy theories that lay bare a chilling truth we want to deny, and go straight to making up things we want to believe. __new_line__For example: when President Obama took office, a lot of people insisted he was on the brink of taking away America's guns. Obviously that hasn't happened, because I'm still packing heat everywhere -- at work, the bar, and especially to football games where my team is losing. Now for the twist ending: What if Obama does confiscate our guns, but replaces them with cake?__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

Cake Wrecks
__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__The downshot is it's not a very good cake

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It turned out okay, though

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__When the government decided to bypass the Constitution, they didn't even half try to hide it, and unless you were a terrorist, or had the same name as a terrorist, or came from the same region as a terrorist, your life went on the same, but secretly recorded without a warrant. Basically, they were doing your Facebooking for you. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__
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#1.
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The environment
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What was scary about it

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__We were told that if we didn't recycle, every day of our lives would be like the movie 2012: expensive, overwrought, and deadly boring. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Perhaps incredibly so

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__There would be nowhere to live, nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide - I'm still talking about 2012. They promoted that film so hard you'd think it had taken their daughters hostage. __new_line__As a child I actually saw a public service ad set in the future, in which Niagara Falls ran out of water because people wouldn't stop using water. An entire team wrote, filmed, edited and broadcast an ad that didn't understand how rain works, or assumed future societies would trough up in Canada. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__

Making things worse

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Not crapping in your nest should be apolitical. Unfortunately, hippies can overshadow any good cause with their unbearable stink of idiocy (as well as their more literal stink). If a hippie had prosecuted the Nuremberg Trials, everyone would find themselves thinking to their momentary horror how sharp the Nazis' haircuts looked. There, I just pulled off a reverse-Godwin for irrefutable victory. __new_line__Suddenly, the term "tree-hugger" got thrown at any one who suggested keeping the stuff we like around. The Religious Right even said God would prefer it if we tapped Earth dry in a generation or two, since Jesus is coming back in our lifetime. __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Just not Falwell's

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It turned out okay, though

__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__The threat is over now that we have cheap, renewable energy sources, like...like... __new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__


__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Oh shit

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__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Wooden teeth, steel abs. And the teeth come out.

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__new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line____new_line__Brendan McGinley writes comics, though nothing x-treme enough for the '90s.__new_line____new_line__
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