Remembering the Swingin’ 90’s

12 11 2009

90210 Cast Sports Cutting-Edge Fashion

The crazy thing about working from home is that I often spend entire days without seeing people, and this gives my already overactive brain a chance to pontificate about strange, abstract subjects, such as time and mortality.

“Time” may not seem like such a strange subject to you, but have you ever tried to twist your mind around questions of when time began, when it will end, or whether it actually exists outside of our brains?  Don’t go there now, it’s a deep, dark place.  Just bear with me for a minute.

Today’s random musings about time and mortality arose as I watched the Family Matters theme song on Youtube:

I know every word of this theme song by heart because Family Matters was one of my favorite shows as a kid.  But revisiting this clip as an adult, I couldn’t help but notice how entirely strange and outdated it is.  This cheesy song plays as each character stands in place and grins at the camera, one by one, wearing these ridiculous outfits.  An intro like that would be laughable today.

The 90’s feels like yesterday– many of us went all the way through high school in the 90’s.  But it’s officially an old decade, like the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, unmistakably characterized by its blue jean vests, grunge music, and heroin-chic models.  Facebook, Myspace, Gmail, YouTube,– none of these things existed.  Reality TV hadn’t caught on yet, cell phones and laptops were ginormous.  Thinking about how much has changed in the world in just 10 short years not only makes me feel incredibly old, but makes me wonder what our kids and grandkids will experience in their lifetimes.


What if my 4-year old starts a Twitter account called “Shit My Mom Says” that gets picked up by Random House as I desperately plug away on my first attempt at a novel?   What if I try to give my toddler a rattle, and he rejects it in favor of the new rattle iPhone app that has 17 different “rattle tones”?  Our grandkids will probably sit on our knees one day and ask us, “What was it like to be born in the 1900s, before the internet was invented?”

Seriously, did you all just grow a few grey hairs while reading that?  I had to pluck out a couple this morning. I don’t enjoy thinking about these things– I like being the new generation, having a lifetime of potential ahead of me.  I don’t want to be reduced to an old, yellowing picture hanging on the wall of some kid’s personal spaceship in the year 2214, or worse, an old yellowing picture that was scanned onto a DVD before it was burnt to a crisp in the second Big Bang.

But what I really don’t want is a job that allows me to sit at home all day connecting Family Matters videos to my own mortality, because honestly, this is not sustainable.

Do you guys ever worry about things like this, or am I a raging mental case?




10 responses

12 11 2009

i relate to u and this on so many levels im scared. i obviously dont c people either. lets cyber!

12 11 2009

Isn’t technology really used to just invent or push forward more technology? If that’s the case, then the rate of technological innvocation is moving exponentially faster, right?

12 11 2009


12 11 2009

A spear is technology, and so is a hand axe, but they don’t do that. The Chinese were making world-class porcelain and fireworks for centuries, yet had a very stable political-social system until colonialism unbalanced it. Western historians look at China and ask why did it stagnate? Was it stagnant? Or are we looking at it from our run-away train? I agree that tech can be used to make more tech, but tech are only tools put to use by human minds. There is something different about the western model that is pushing it forward.

13 11 2009

Technology does, indeed, progress exponentially. It has to, if the “new” technology is based on that which preceded it–which it is–then it has to expand more rapidly each time it progresses.

I’m excited to see what happens next! (I’m thinking teleportation is coming within our lifetime.)

12 11 2009

Not worried about my kids twitter. I am curious about the stuff I can’t imagine. And given the plasticity of the human mind, these technologies have the potential to shape our children into really different kinds of humans.
And time itself? Since I was about 3, my dad has been a chronically underemployed philosophy PhD interested in epistemology and metaphysics. As far as I can tell, he has mostly used this knowledge to tell his kids and grandkids weird bedtime stories. So you could say I was exposed at a young age to the dark questions concerning what it means to be human in a cold universe of unbounded time and space.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that our hyper-awareness of “decades” is an emergent property of malls, the beer industry, and the Int’l Leg Warmer Manufacturers Association. Remember that next 80s party.

13 11 2009

Meh…why would my grandkid, let alone my future child have a twitter account? That “technology” is so 2008

No…the real technological breakthrough will be the wetware that my iKids implant into the socket on their heads to telepathically communicate with their friends whom only exist in the electrons of the world. They won’t dial a friend, they won’t chat a friend, they’ll just mentally converse with that friend over vast distances and be able to understand them perfectly because their brain implants translate the local dialect of mandarin-spanglish. We’ll live to be 150 years old and living off of macrobiotically grown yeast while driving hover pods fueled on green algae grown from fog farms in the deserts of Kansas.

Meanwhile, I’ll be hermetically sealed in an ironlung, watching reruns of Twin Peaks, listening to Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’ over and over and over again. And dressed in a purple double-breasted jacket, a man-blouse with broach, safety-pin pegged pants and two-tone creepers rocking myself to sleep as my grandkids site silently in the corner “talking to their friends” when I’m 94. Can’t wait to retire.

13 11 2009
Geof Boyle

i want to go to there

13 11 2009
Edward Dandyhands

Some of my favorite 90’s things:
– Any shoe with a Pump on it (reebok)
– ’91-’92 Redskins
– Flannels tied around the waist
– parting the hair down the middle and shaving underneath
– Greenday’s Dookie
– The episode of Saved by the Bell where Jesse takes speed and collapses
– The episode of Cosby show where they find a joint in Theo’s history book
– The episode of Family matters when Stephen Urkel gets with Myra and Ste-phawn Ur-kell gets with Laura

13 11 2009

raging mental case.

Who thinks about family matters?

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