March 8, 2016

WHY ’90S NOSTALGIA ISN’T READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP: The decade of the ‘80s is easy to feel nostalgic for because it was such a clean break from the excesses of the 1970s. Thanks to rapid advances in music technology, pop songs were now built around digital synths and drum machines instead of Marshall stacks and real drummers. Bell bottoms and polyester were mercifully dead, replaced by the Miami Vice look and the power suit. Ties were for a change, largely at normal widths. And while cable TV began to establish a foothold thanks to MTV, CNN, and HBO, most of us still watched Cosby, Cheers, Family Ties and Vice on NBC. (Heck, people still watched NBC back then.) In contrast, as Christian Toto writes in his new article:

Rob Weiner, humanities & popular culture librarian at Texas Tech University, says the ‘90s found American culture starting to splinter. And we can partially blame the Internet for that.

Web-based chatrooms and newsgroups let people dig deeper into their interests, connecting with souls across the globe who shared similar interests, Weiner says.

Cable television also began to diversify, embracing niche programming to suit a smaller, yet more demanding audience. Consumers could ignore NBC’s “Must-See TV” lineup and pursue their passions directly.

If you’re shooting a movie or a TV series, you can put a guy in a Nehru jacket and it’s 1968. Put him in bell bottoms and instantly, the audience gets that it’s the ‘70s. Put a guy in a white suit and a pastel T-shirt, and instantly they get it’s the ‘80s. What look instantly defines the ‘90s?

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