5 things I miss about the 90’s

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I was definitely a 90’s child. Being born in 1982, I don’t remember a whole lot about the 80’s. Some bits and pieces of those earliest years break through my memory bank, but the 90’s definitely became the defining decade of my childhood in many ways. Now I find myself more and more drawn to songs, movies and other things that bring back those childhood days. When I find myself in that nostalgic state, I find it hard to believe how old I am now and that it has been about two decades since those memories were made. Remembering can make me feel happy and sadly bittersweet all at the same time. Here are a few things I miss about those days…

1. The music. Ok, some of the music in the 90’s was cheesy and stupid. No doubt there. But at the time, it seemed so cool and new. Listening to the soundtrack of my childhood can still make me feel like “one of the cool kids” in a strange sort of way. The music also reminds me of hours spent watching MTV when my older sister had the remote control – back when MTV actually played music. It makes me remember how cool and rebellious I thought Nirvana was and how amazing Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson’s music videos seemed. I also remember how angry my mom got when she caught me listening to and singing along with my sister’s Salt-N-Pepa cd (she especially hated their song “None of Your Business”).

2. The magic of childhood friendship. Is it even possible to have adult friendships that are as meaningful as your childhood ones? I think I have found that magic with my husband, but it is hard to find that connection with my other adult peers. Don’t get me wrong, I was never popular, but I did have some great friends throughout the 90’s. I’ll never forget the hours I spent with a few special people I grew up with. I’ll always remember that feeling of belonging somewhere – even if it wasn’t with the “in crowd”. I’ll never forget the hours of gymnastics, skating and playing ball or sneaking around construction sites in the middle of the night and even getting picked up by the police (who luckily we knew well enough to get away with just about anything).

3. Believing I could do anything. I miss the naivete I had back then. How I thought the world was a big playground and that all options were open to me. I do have a good life now and have achieved many things I wanted, but I never realized back then how hard and cold the real world would be. I wish life were truly as easy as I thought it was back then.

4. The simplicity of 90’s technology. I know we have made huge leaps and bounds technologically as a society in the past two decades, but sometimes today’s technology just seems overwhelming. Now, things become outdated as soon as they hit the market. While today’s phones, video games and computers are sleek, portable and able to do more, they can also become a big pain in the butt. Figuring out how to use all the features on these things can become annoying and time-consuming. When electronics malfunction we almost don’t know what to do anymore, it can shut society down and cause panic. And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind not seeing everyone on a cell phone all the time either.

5. Progress. In the 90’s, it felt like we were making real progress in fighting prejudice, hate, sexism and ignorance. We tried to become more environmentally aware and actually valued science. I’m not sure what happened, but it feels to me like we have somehow regressed horribly. Some groups want us to regress even more and are actually gaining faithful followers instead of being told how freaking crazy they are. What has happened to us? Have we let the fear of terrorists and an economic recession cause us to lose our minds and turn on the very values we all cherished so much? I try to think of what else might have changed our collective goals and just can’t figure it out. I know I might have been naïve back then, but surely I didn’t imagine it all.

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Why I would not go to a Michael Jackson hologram concert

Michael's hologram performing on the Billboard Music Awards.

Michael’s hologram performing on the Billboard Music Awards.

Did you see the Michael Jackson hologram perform on the Billboard Music Awards a few weeks ago? Sounds like now they are thinking about taking the hologram out to do worldwide concerts. However, I will not be one going to see it. Why?

Well, first off, let me explain a few things. I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan and have been since I was little. He was probably one of my first Aspie obsessions, after Sesame Street and My Little Pony. I love many things about him. His voice, his unique sense of style, his love for children and child-like things, his desire for world peace and harmony, his generous and charitable heart, his incredible dancing, his drawings and writings…and lots more.

Now, that does not mean I am blind to his flaws as well. He could be immature and did seem to lack common sense in many areas. He definitely lacked some idea of correct boundaries and what was socially acceptable. He was stubborn and didn’t want to listen to reason sometimes. Many have hypothesized that he may have had Asperger’s Syndrome. I tend to agree. He definitely had the obsessive interests, “eccentric” behaviors, the social awkwardness, extreme loneliness, the emotional immaturity and naivety, the habit of stimming when nervous (like in interviews), the tendency to make friends with those much younger or older rather than his own age group and the savant talents that some Aspies are said to have. Personally, I do not believe he was a child molester, but that is another subject entirely.

Anyhow, now that I have explained my feelings about Michael, let’s get back to the hologram. Why would I not want to see Michael Jackson’s hologram concert? After all, it might be my only chance to ever see him “live”…however, that is the problem. It would not be “live”. No matter how great technology is, it can never bring back the essence of someone who has gone. Yeah, they can mimic his old movements and expressions, but it will always lack the magic that he could create on stage. There will be no new creativity. No new moves. No improvisation. There will be no growth as an artist and person. The very thing that made Michael who he was would be lacking.

I know that many people want to bring great musicians back to life. I wouldn’t be surprised if soon there were Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury and other famous holograms giving concerts. However, I feel that in a sense we should feel a loss when the truly talented die. Rather than trying to recreate them electronically, we should treasure what they left behind and introduce that to the next generation. We should realize that truly exceptional talents don’t come around everyday and that they aren’t so easily replaced. Doesn’t it seem likely that Michael (or any of the other great performers who died too young) would rather be remembered and sincerely missed than to be artificially recreated?

Are printed books really endangered?

With the advent and increasing popularity of ebooks, many doomsday prophets are now proclaiming that printed books will quickly meet their demise. I have heard experts claim that within the next 50 years, traditional books are destined to go the way of vinyl records. They might be used for decoration or sought out by collectors, but other than that, books as we have always known them will be obsolete.

Is this true? I hate to think so. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those purists who believe that ereaders are evil or anything, in fact I own a Kindle myself, but I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands. Maybe I am old-fashioned or sentimental, but nothing will ever feel the same to me as flipping the pages of a new book.

I don’t really want to live in a world where the only place I can buy books is Amazon either. I like the convenience and wide diversity of internet bookstores, but I would much rather browse a brick and mortar store. I could literally spend hours in a cozy bookstore reading area. I prefer to sit down and try a book out before I buy it. Plus, in the bookstore I get to snoop around to see what other people are reading and get in some people watching, which happen to be two of my favorite pastimes.

As an author, I can also attest to the fact that there is nothing like holding your own book in your hands. I have had both ebooks and traditional books published, and the ebooks don’t elicit near the excitement from myself or others as the handheld ones do. This fact gives me hope for the future of traditional literature. What about you? Do you think that printed books are on their last leg? If so, will you consider it a great loss?