Friday, May 20, 2011

Head in the Past

So I have spent the last month being kind of wrapped in this sorta-90s nostalgia. And it has left me wondering if I really have any idea of what the 90s were about. It was kind of an excellent decade in many ways - book-ended largely by the fall of the Berlin wall on the outset and 9/11 as it faded into memory. And what was in between? The Internet and cell phones and PowerPoint and grunge turning to indy.

My students asked me this week how apartheid could have lasted so long. I didn't know what to say. I told them about how exciting it was when Mandela got out of prison, and I told them that up until just before then, the Cold War really took up all of our attention. I tried to tell them that growing up in the Cold War meant we really were afraid of nuclear bombs being launched. I suppose that it's like when my parents tell me where they were when Kennedy was shot, and all I can do is nod my head.

I don't understand my wish to revisit the 90s beyond that - it's not like fashion was great or anything - but it was the reprieve when a lot seemed possible in the world. And whether that was a function of the age or of my being younger I don't know. The acid-burned edges of globalism in 2011 mean that hope rises in one spot and leaves another altogether.

So here is some music. From the 90s of course.

Counting Crows - Recovering the Satellites


halloweencouple said...

so much of my past is the 90's I know the big hair, eastlands, music going from NKOTB to Country having lots of hits and misses.....the 80's now that rocked, MJ and thriller, rainbow bright, and all that makes you smile!!

Melissa said...

Yeah, I know. The whole time I was writing, I was thinking that I was crazy not to be feeling the nostalgia for the 80s - they were so cool! But the 90s were so (for lack of a better word) encouraging. Real progress made in new democracies all over the world, and a feeling that anything was possible and there wasn't much to fear. I guess that to me the 90s were just heady. :) Thanks for reading.