People may wonder just what was so great about those times, especially as a familiar saying of older folk is “things aren’t like they used to be in the good old days”. So what was so great about the “good old days?” The 1990’s were like no other time this world has ever experienced. Or will again for that matter.
Television and Movies
The days of the clean cut, wholesome family as depicted in “Leave it to Beaver” were long gone and shows like “Married with Children” and “The Simpsons” were about as far removed from life in the Cleaver household as television could get. While the worst of the curse words were still not as prevalently used as they are today both of these shows would have shocked the grandparents with the attitudes and hi-jinks of these families. If there had ever been an episode of “Married with Children” where June Cleaver met Peggy Bundy, June would have thought she was living a nightmare and been dumped in one of the worst trailer parks in the country. Adult cartoons were a new ‘invention’ and seemed to be welcomed onto the television screen by most teens and young adults of the 90’s.
While both of these shows actually began airing in the 80’s they were almost iconic by the time the 90’s rolled around, with diehard fans making sure they were home to watch the opening credits. Whether these types of shows put the final nail in the coffin of ‘good old home grown family values’ is a matter for debate, but one thing is undeniable – television viewing became less enjoyable for ‘older folk’ who didn’t care for the loose morals, foul language and seemingly complete disrespect kids had for their parents.
Jackie Chan entertained audiences with his skillful martial arts moves in movie theaters everywhere, while Jim Carrey had people laughing until their ribs hurt with his great lines and crazy facial expressions. Viewers walked out after seeing The Matrix, stunned at the frightening believability of the plot. Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption and The Big Lebowski all came out of the 90’s and movies that will go down in history as being worthy of a second and third viewing. All, without exception, can withstand the test of time and are just as viewable today as they were when first released.
While there has always been at least one girl band each decade trying to make it big, the 90’s saw a bit of a twist as several boy bands began wowing the crowds (mainly young girls) with their harmonious sounds. Young teen and pre-teen girls would swoon at the sight of these (mostly) clean cut young men, believing they were singing just to them, when in reality some of them were more interested in the other band members than girls. Nevertheless, though their careers were for the most part short-lived, they had their moments and will be remembered.
Hip Hop and Rap became hugely popular during this era. The likes of Tupac started a music revolution that is still going strong today. The need to actually have musical talent and a great voice was not as important as being able to ‘tell a story’ through the use of rhythmic speech. Before the 90’s were over a huge number of young men (and some women) thought they were going to be the next biggest rap star to hit the record labels.
The internet began to become commonly recognized as a valuable tool during the 90’s and a huge number of households began accepting that computers were here to stay, buying a home desktop computer for the entire family to use. While parents would allow their children ‘screen time’ it was typically supervised and a reward for good behavior, very much unlike today’s kids who typically have their own laptop, which they take to school.
Millions were made and lost during this exciting decade of the dot.com era, where virtually overnight you could go from having a couple of dollars in your pocket to being what many would consider rich.
Shopping was still conducted largely in brick and mortar stores but internet shopping was about to start its growth into popularity. In the 90’s most people still didn’t trust buying on the internet and certainly were not going to provide personal details as readily as they do today. Mothers would still have to go from store to store to find the best bargains for kids back-to-school clothing.
Gaming consoles were still fairly basic in comparison to the technology of today but was beginning to make leaps and bounds in improving graphics. The advent of 3-D gaming during the 90’s pretty much heralded the style and quality of gaming today. Games lost their elementary school simplicity and started to treat players as intelligent human beings, capable of figuring out the challenges each level took to master.
Cell phones were used to make and receive calls and very little else. Not everyone had one and certainly children were not born with one in their hand as it seems they are today. The phones themselves were bulky in comparison to what is available now and you couldn’t always rely upon having a good signal to stay in touch with family and friends. While cell phones were an expensive, luxury item in the 90’s there was still the crowd who just ‘had to have one’ as a status symbol, often seen worn on the belt as a fashion accessory.
For the U.S. the 90’s were a time of peace. Bill Clinton was President and apart from involving himself in some less than savory behavior with an employee, his time in office passed without too much negative attention. President Clinton had a way of putting the American people, and indeed the people of the world at large, at ease. Many believe that the economy was thriving under the Clinton reign and that the country as a whole was optimistic about the future. Unemployment was not the issue it is today, with manufacturing still being undertaken predominantly within the US. The rush of cheap Chinese imports had not yet started.
One particular sour note during the 90’s was the Oklahoma bombing, which had the nation reeling with shock. While the act itself may have been intended to undermine the American people it had the opposite effect and instead it made them more determined to stand united against negative forces.
While the Kosovo war lasted only a little more than a year it had the world sitting up and taking notice. As with many wars prior news leaked out to the rest of the world of murders, rapes and other inhumane atrocities. All attempts at a diplomatic solution failed causing NATO to step in, using bombs to try to bring an end to the fighting. Eventually both Yugoslav and Serb forces agreed to withdraw but by this time Kosovo had suffered dreadful losses of human lives and destruction of property.
Some may say that the fashion of the 90’s was some of the worst of the 20th Century, with ripped jeans being popular. Only 10 years earlier a pair of torn jeans would have been relegated to the trash bin and yet during the 90’s followers of fashion trends were prepared to part with large sums of money to own a pair of fashionably trendy jeans with strategically places tears in them. It seems that comfort was more important than looking good, although why or how plaid became a staple pattern in every person’s wardrobe during the 90’s is anybody’s guess. It seemed that what was once thought of as only suitable for great outdoors wear was now common garb for all occasions.
When one thinks of 90’s sports heroes one name comCes to mind: Michael Jordan. His reign as the ‘man to watch’ on the basketball court had even non-basketball fans watching to see his latest moves. It is believed by many that Jordan was the epitome of sportsmanship and today he shares his love of sport and people in general with as many budding sports stars as he can.
Tiger Woods wowed golfing enthusiasts by appearing to be unbeatable even when playing against some of the nation’s, and indeed the world’s, best golfers. His quiet, almost humble, approach to the tee belied his ability to put a golf ball exactly where he wanted it to be.
The 90’s were right on the edge of the huge spike in technology that people of today take for granted. Kids still knew how to have fun without having their heads bent over a smartphone screen and conversations were conducted face to face, instead of through text messages. Music was still ‘clean’ and pants were still worn on the hips. For the most part the 90’s were peaceful years after the terrorist events of Bush’s presidency, although war was about to become reality once again after the turn of the Century when Bush took his seat in the oval office, life generally was peaceful and Americans were hopeful of having a great future ahead of them.
A guy goes into a bar, orders twelve shots and starts drinking them as fast as he can.
The bartender says, "Dang, why are you drinking so fast?"
The guy says, "You would be drinking fast if you had what I had.""
The bartender says, "What do you have?""
The guy says, "75 cents."
Aunt Abbie's Cake
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sour milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup raisins and currants
1 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves
2 scant cups flour