When it comes to a decade that has a reputation of sucking due to cultural decay and never living up to the hype, the 1990s usually comes to the top of many people’s lists. While the 1970s were known to suck for being cheesy and Jimmy Carter, it was also known for being the first full decade of feminism, the sexual revolution, and black power. Now two decades in the past, did the 1990s suck or was the 1990s good?
[Buzzkill answer: there is no good or bad, decades are arbitrary endpoints, not much different that any other decade, and it had highs and lows.]
YOU BE THE JUDGE
End of Soviet Union
Columbine High School massacre
Gulf War- Bill Clinton vs Saddam Hussein, Oil Spill
Presidential Scandal- Bill Clinton vs Monica Lewinsky
Yugoslav Wars, ethnic cleansing
Rwanda civil war and genocide
Somalia (Blackhawk Down)
Rodney King and the riots
World Trade Center Bombing I
Oklahoma City Bombing- Timothy McVeigh/Terry Nichols
Kim Jong-il takes over North Korea
Yitzhak Rabin assassinated after peace treaties with Arab countries/PLO
1995 U.S. Heat Wave
Economic expansion- just don’t tell me that because I’ve always been poor
Digital revolution- faster computers, internet, world wide web growth, better storage, mp3, communications, etc
DNA applied to criminal law more frequently
Genetically engineered crops and animals
Global warming push continued
Clarence Thomas vs Anita Hill
Growth of tribal tattoos, body piercings, wicca, and goth- symbols of counter-culture and individualism
In the 1980′s, the YUPPIES were in…in the 1990′s the SLACKERS took over
FBI (Janet Reno) vs David Koresh
FBI vs Unabomber
FBI vs Richard Jewell for the Atlanta bombing- OOPS!
FBI vs Montana Freeman
FBI vs Elian Gonzalez
Jeffrey Dahmer captured
Andrew Cunanan killing spree, including Gianni Versace
Zodiac Killer COPYCAT
John F. Kennedy, Jr. his wife Carolyn plane crash
Dr. Jack Kevorkian makes his rounds
Christopher Columbus retconned into a bad guy
Cable TV: everyone has it
1990s films: Dances with Wolves (1990), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Unforgiven (1992), Schindler’s List (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995), The English Patient (1996), Titanic (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998), American Beauty (1999), Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, The Lion King, The Sixth Sense, Armageddon, Home Alone, Pulp Fiction, Ghost, Twister, Saving Private Ryan, Pretty Woman, The Matrix, Mission: Impossible, The Mummy, T2, The Bodyguard, A Bug’s Life, Ace Ventura series, Addams Family series, Austin Powers series, and many, many other films.
1990s TV: Seinfeld, Sopranos, Spongebob, Simpsons, Family Guy, West Wing, Law and Order SVU, Twin Peaks, Jay Leno takes over Tonight Show, Friends, ER, South Park, King of the Hill, Beverly Hills 90210, Ally McBeal, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Sex and the City, Charmed, That ’70s Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pokemon, Stargate SG-1, X-Files, Homicide, Beavis and Butthead, Power Rangers, Letterman switches networks, Conan O’Brien, Home Improvement, Ren and Stimpy, Star Trek The Next Generation ends, and many others.
1990s music: Grunge, teen pop, dance music, hip hop, and alternative rock became mainstream. Popular in the 1990′s: Nirvana, Bad Religion, Blink-182, Green Day, The Offspring, Rancid, U2, Mariah Carey, Spice Girls, Radiohead, The Verve, The Prodigy, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Marilyn Manson, Jane’s Addiction, Dinosaur Jr, Firehouse, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains, R.E.M., Live, Counting Crows, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, The Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, 311, Cypress Hill, Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Edwin McCain, Jewel, Natalie Merchant, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Elliott Smith, KMFDM, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Van Halenm Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Disturbed, Michael Bolton, Kenny G, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Bryan Adams, Gloria Estefan, Vanessa L. Williams, Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, Jennifer Paige, Backstreet Boys, Salt-n-Pepa, Groove Theory, Boyz II Men, Bell Biv Devoe, Jodeci, Diana King, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Tara Kemp, 3T, Brownstone, Shanice, Paula Abdul, Usher, SWV, Aaliyah, Keith Sweat, R. Kelly, TLC, Brandy, Monica, Tevin Campbell, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Toni Braxton, and many others.
“Literature”: Perhaps no decade shows the decline of respected literature than the 1990′s. Literature became mainstream “books”. R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps made series waves, but the fantasy and sci-fi niches rules. Michael Crichton, Steven King, and Anne Rice were productive.
Video Games: What a revolutionary decade: Game Boy, Neo Geo, Genesis, SNES, PlayStation, N64, Dreamcast, and many others. 3D graphics, memory cards, advanced controllers, and optical disc storage were the norm. Super Mario World, Pokémon Red and Blue Versions, Pokémon Yellow Version, Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Gran Turismo, Mario Kart 64, Half-Life, Super Mario Kart, Tomb Raider series, Metal Gear series, Final Fantasy, Crash Bandicoot series, Street Fighter II, Spyro the Dragon series, Myst, Commander Keen series, Test Drive series, Monkey Island, Civilization, Fifa, Dune series, Mortal Kombat series, Warcraft series, Rayman series, Duke Nukem 3D, Tekken series, StarCraft, Unreal series, Counter-Strike, Resident Evil series, Sonic the Hedgehog series.
Sports: World Series cancelled due to strike, Michael Jordan, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Manchester United, Boxing- After Tyson lost, the new era was Holyfield, Bowe, and Lewis, After a Dark Age in pro wrestling, the WWE Attitude Era vs nWo emerged in the mid-1990′s- Steve Austin, Rock, Hollywood Hogan, Degeneration X, Undertaker, Goldberg, and ECW. Tiger Woods emerges.
Comic Books: The 1990s was a popular speculators market, had gimmick covers, multiple covers, books were over-published, and the quality of an average comic book declined severely. Many storylines were more hype over substance, such as Spider-Man’s The Clone Saga, X-Men’s Onslaught, the death and rebirth of Superman, Green Lantern turning evil, Azrael taking over Bat-Man, and the various Infinity mini-series. Image Comics and Valiant Comics competed with Marvel and DC.
Even with the multitude of 1990s crap, there were still great comics like Preacher, Kingdom Come, Marvels, Maus, Sin City, Sandman, Animal Man, Bone, Authority, Daredevil, Astro City, and others.
Acceptance and lack of acceptances: Celebrity women were worshiped openly, hate crimes were defined, gays won some battles and lost some, Christian fundamentalism took a hit thanks to skewed psychos with guns, influence of Church and God in every day life continued to be phased out, and the seeds of “anything goes, no standards morality” were planted.
So…what do you think of the 1990s?