Last night I attended a 90s theme party. It was awesome! Great job and happy birthday Lauren. It was not just revisiting Zima, remembering being young and dumb or even just the feeling of nostalgia that made me miss the 90s. The 90s just Rocked. Here’s why:
- Photos were in books.
Sure, social media may be social as in you can announce your every move to your entire social circle with one click, but is it really? There is something about grabbing an actual, tangible photo album and huddling together. Maybe there is no emojis, hash tags or likes count, but there is nothing like laughing, oohing, and ahhing in real time. Who wants to wait for a notification to feel validated in a split second observation.
- Our Rap was better.
Our rappers didn’t mumble unless someone recently shot them in the face, and even in that case, what came out was still better than what today’s finest have to offer. Seriously, we had Biggie, Tupac, Dre, Snoop, Salt and Pepper. There is a reason the directors of Deadpool choose to go back to the 90s to choose their anthem. Even our hooks were better. Biggie had everyone checking their beepers and who can’t recognize the iconic scream from House of Pain’s Jump Around? I would compare them to the greatest rappers of today, but I’m at a loss to name just one great one from today that didn’t start out years ago.
- Our Rock was better too!
I still have yet to find singles as great as Radiohead’s Creep and the Cranberries’ Zombie, or albums that could be listened to in full quite like Weezer’s Blue Album, Counting Crows’ August and Everything After and Pearl Jam’s Greatest Hits, just to name a few.
- Fashion was easier.
Yoga pants probably didn’t become a trend back then because who needed elastic when your pants were 4 sizes too big. 90s fashion wasn’t just more comfortable, it was easier. How long could it possibly take to tie a flannel shirt around your waist after throwing on a t-shirt and jeans. And do you know who was doubly lucky? Parents. My youngest daughter has had more clothes in her 6 years on earth than I did in my entire first 20. If I sent my children out today in the clothes I wore back then, people may just think they are homeless by today’s standards, but back then, it was all good.
- Beepers were the latest mainstream communication technology.
Okay, so our beepers didn’t take pictures, give us access to the internet, track our steps or any of the other things we have become reliant on. We used to have to rely on the size of our derrière to see if we were taking enough steps, now there is an ap for that. We used to have to walk from one end of the house to to other, sometimes with stairs involved, to communicate to our family members. I must admit that I texted my daughter yesterday while at a house party so I didn’t have to go find her. I also ordered a water from her, via text.
We not only rely on cellphones for helpful applications, but we also have become reliant on constant distraction or attention. Whether we feel the need to answer every phone call, constantly check our social media, or have something to look at every time we wait a little while for something, we lost our ability to be in the moment. People can’t even seem to leave their phones away while they are driving. The most time we allocated to our beepers was looking for a quarter to call someone back, or finding ways to spell things with numbers and thinking of new beeper codes.
- Phubbing didn’t exist.
I recently came across a blog talking about the new epidemic of phubbing, which means snubbing somebody by ignoring them in favor of your phone. I think everyone can say that they have at least witnessed this phenomenon. Usually the offender is not committing this purposely, but rather because cell phones have helped decay social etiquette. Even with all the benefits of cellphones, the days where we focused on ourselves, our surroundings and our company will be missed.
- Television was less demanding of our time.
Sure, we had cable, dvds and variety, but the thing that sets today’s TV apart from the 90s, is we weren’t so obsessed. Believe me, I loved me some 90210, Fresh Prince and actual music videos, but you wouldn’t hear anyone saying their DVR was full, or they needed to catch up on their (many) favorite series. Back then, we caught up with friends and only used TV to fill up empty hours.
- Our late night comedy was funny.
Our late night wasn’t just a closet political discussion. Our comedians were funny, probably because they were not yet overtaken by the PC police. Jimmy Kimmel today is unrecognizable to the Jimmy Kimmel of the Man’s show. Everyone knew Adam Corella carried that show anyway, but Kimmel used to be a lot less likely to break into tears on air. Let us not forget the mind numbing comedy brought to us by the geniuses behind In Living Color and Kids In The Hall.
- Politics weren’t so divisive.
Maybe I was just ignorant of the current state of the nation back then, but I don’t remember things being so bad. I grew up not only the most diverse city in the world, New York, but the most diverse zip code, 11428, in Queens. If you were cool, you were accepted regardless of color, race, creed, or political affiliation. Actually, it still seems to be this way. But on the news, they would have you believe we are all in the middle of an all out race war.
- People earned their awards.
My youngest daughter was watching a show and told me that she wished she went to the school on TV. When I asked her why, she told me it was because everyone in the school got awards for everything. I asked her if she would feel that great getting an award that she did not actually earn. She thought about it and looked a surprised when she said, “Yeah. I guess not.” I do not know one adult that would watch any sporting event where there was no actual competition because they took away the possibility of winning and losing.
If we cannot realistically do away with winners and losers as adults, how can we not let our children experience this as children. Children develop self esteem by improving through increased effort, even in the absence of awards. Competition and failure helps drive the passion for this improvement. We are not only stealing the chance to help build self-esteem for children, but also the learning experience that comes with winning or losing.
Anyone from the 90s will tell you this is no where near a complete list of all the things that made the 90s rock. I left out obvious things like Antonio Sabatto Jrs. Calvin Klein advertisements and the fact that the Kardashians were still unknown. Let me know what you think I missed in the comments.