Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ah, the 90s—People had more hair then!

C-Span, May 2018.

Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, explains why the best choice you could make in American history was to get born, like him, in 1979 ("The Best Year of Our Lives"):
The sneerers argued that the Ocasio-Cortezans exaggerate the burdens borne by twentysomethings, which is fair — this is still a rich country whose young people are relatively privileged.
But as a statement about generational experiences, [Charlotte] Alter was basically right. If you were born around 1980, you grew up in a space happily between — between eras of existential threat (Cold War/War on Terror, or Cold War/climate change), between foreign policy debacles (Vietnam/Iraq), between epidemics (crack and AIDS/opioids and suicide), and between two different periods of economic stagnation (the ’70s and early Aughts). If you were born later, you experienced slow growth followed by financial crisis followed by a recovery that’s only lately returned us to the median-income and unemployment stats of … 1999.
Given that the Cold War and the crack "epidemic" were both basically over by 1991 or 1992; and the US involvement in civil wars in Nicaragua (1978-89) El Salvador (1979-92) Guatemala (1981-93), arms sales to Iran (1981-85) and Iraq (with intelligence backing, 1982-88), invasion of Panama (1979-80), and conquest of Grenada (1983) surely added up to something debacle-like; and the federal response to AIDS started getting serious in 1993; and the bottom 50% emerged from wage stagnation between 1995 and 2002 and then stopped—

Via Washington Post.
—I guess he must mean what our friend Boswood suggested:

Or maybe it was something else. But when he says
it was the just-enough-internet era. There was just enough internet to boost economic productivity (the Facebook-Amazon era has not had a similar effect), just enough to encourage subcultural ferment, just enough to challenge cultural gatekeepers and give lonely teenagers succor
Something tells me he just misses being a teenager himself. Which is kind of cute when you think about it.

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