5 Ways the '90s Made Us Strong

Conspiracy theories

What was scary about it

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.

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

Making things worse

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.

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.

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?

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

It turned out okay, though

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.

The environment

What was scary about it

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.

Perhaps incredibly so

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.

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.

Making things worse

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.

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.

Just not Falwell's

It turned out okay, though

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

Oh shit

So yeah, you're screwed. But at least there's this:

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

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

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