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11/02/2015

90s Nostalgia Explained

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Pictures like this have become a trend dubbed 90s nostalgia. Even though there's overlap between 90s and 00s nostalgia, they chose 90s.  Some pictures are painfully accurate like this one and others were more optimistic about the past. On an unrelated point, when I was a kid I remember there being a huge outrage about headphones causing hearing loss from the media despite the fact that we grew up with VHS tapes that literally tried to destroy our ear drums. In retrospect, that discussion seems silly. Going back to the topic, some of the more optimistic things 90s nostalgia asserts is having to record events on VHS tapes was better than a DVR. Before I explain that, I should explain what a VHS is.

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This is a VHS tape. It's big, bulky and uses a tape that wears out over time. Before DVR, you had to put one of these in a VCR, or the equivalent of a DVD player, and use it to record things. You had to hit a button when the program started and you couldn't change the channel until you were done. In addition, if you accidentally put in a tape that already had things recorded on it, those things disappears. There was no trash bin where you could just click recover and get back, it was gone until it was on TV again. Oh and while we are on the topic, your TV couldn't tell you what was on. You needed a paper copy (the internet wasn't mainstream back then) from a newspaper or magazine. If you didn't live through this time, I can already see the horror on your face. I know it's bad but it's okay. Here's a video of cats to calm you down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2H5YVfZVFw Better? Okay good. Somehow, in someone's mind, this is better than hitting a button and forgetting you did it. 90s nostalgia has a lot of things like this like missing portable CD players you couldn't fit into the pocket of your denim jackets and denim jackets. No idea how we decided to wear our pants over our shirts, but that is a thing that happened that, for reasons unbeknownst to me, people miss.

Some 90s nostalgia I can get behind.

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This brings back many good memories. It reminds me when books were commonplace and going to the library after school was the norm. I am one of those people who are vehemently against e-books. There is no logic I can give you for why, I just have a lot of feelings (points if you got the reference). Something about having physical pages I turn makes me feel better about my life. Maybe it is nostalgia at work, but a physical book just feels right. Sadly, at some point in my life, these bound pieces of paper I have on my shelves will become relics my grandchildren mock, just as anything we use paper for today will. This movement from paper to digital explains why 90s nostalgia is a thing.

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Many critics of the 90s nostalgia movement argue we haven't been alive for long enough to wax poetically about the long lost past. However, if we compare the rate of technological change in these generations, we will understand both sides. Over the course of twenty some years of their life, change was slow. They saw TVs changing size, maybe even cell phones were invented. The progression was slower than the first Internet Explorer. Shudders That'll give me nightmares. Meanwhile, when I was born, the internet was completely unknown to me. I have used computers with no internet access. Now the internet is literally everywhere. It's on people's cell phones, computers and now even their TVs. By the way, when I grew up the cell phones didn't have internet they had snake.

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This rate of change has left us feeling older than we actually are. We've seen such rapid change that the not-so-olden days of Furbies (more nightmares, you're welcome) and Gameboys seem like the distant past. Some try to argue over 90s nostalgia like it's a good or bad thing. It's just memories people are fond of, whether it be because they were simpler times with less responsibility or because they miss physical books.

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