By, Trevor Brown
The golden age of hip-hop, punk, and grunge in a world that made sense. TV, video-games, and sports was most peoples concern. No, internet to tell you that everything in the world was going wrong and no TSA. A golden age for the United states and her people. You could trust the news and your government to be fair, truthful, and just. That at the very least was what I was told about the 90’s. Even with my generations so called advantage of being able to use the internet and social media properly. I have never been able to see the world the children of the 90’s describe. The world we inherited is far closer to the 1994 crime bill than the aforementioned utopia of our parents. Indeed the world is quite different from what my parents describe. For one I could never trust an institution government or not with a ten foot pole. Let alone entrust them with any such virtues of fairness, truthfulness, or justice. What my birds eye view and storytellers can agree on is that the world changes after 9/11.
The news is so much different. In-fact it is quite boring and uneventful. The website my 90’s TV is an excellent way to peer into what to me is a parallel world. From Fox news to CNN news networks have very little ideological deviation and for that matter hardly any ideology plays into it. It is the closest I’ve ever felt to being an alien. Their is a lack of wonder and suspense. It is what you would call journalism. ANN was founded as a means to hold the corporate press accountable and as its founder I am shocked to learn that the corporate press used to hold themselves accountable. The caliber of person seems to be superior than it is today. As they seem less self centered and more authentically compassionate. I am certain a plurality of them wished to be celebrities but who among Gen-Z does not wish to be Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube famous.
The video above features a collection of 90’s kids in a high-school. I recommend everyone in my generation views this as it is quite eye opening. None of these people have been debauched. Furthermore, they are authentically engaging with one another. No cell phones, big authentic smiles, happy, and healthy. Unlike Gen-Z which is buy and large debauched, depressed, and fat. Let me be perfectly clear. I am not in anyway suggesting that 9/11 is responsible for the hardships Gen-Z faces. I am however pointing to the fact that both our country and people were more authentic, happier, and healthier. It was a world where the U.S was the remaining superpower in the aftermath of the cold war. As Jay Farmer from the Uncommon Conversations podcast put it, “Americans weren’t afraid of the Muslim world. We hadn’t had an attack of any kind on American soil since Pearl Harbor, and although there was a clear difference of values, we didn’t look at Muslims as a threat. We also didn’t have domestic surveillance before the PATRIOT ACT. Americans were fat and happy. Now we are fat, sad, and scared.” For that matter what did the aftermath of 9/11 gift the american people? As an endless war on terror, trillions of dollars in debt, and a justifiably rampant distrust of our governmental institutions is hardly a gift.
I indeed have a nostalgia for a world that no longer exists. When I observe Kids in high-school, then a little younger than me with their souls intact, how could I not? If anything, my generation should be happier than previous generations. We have access to what is essentially infinite knowledge and communication at infinite convenience. We clearly have the resources to realize any dream and indeed many of us do. Despite this, Gen-Z is the loneliest generation and I believe I know why. Despite western peoples proclivity to overshare on social media, the western people are of less authenticity as they once were. Despite, or even because of our equally infinite access to infinite food at again infinite convenience. The millennial’s before us are set to be the, “fattest generation” and I can only imagine how bad the inter-generational fatness, Gen-Z will experience with the fat acceptance movement. Of which, would be of no need if our society permitted authenticity the way it used to in the previous paradigm. A paradigm of principle, trust, responsibility, and authenticity. If all these problems were caused by a lack of authenticity and the previous paradigm had more authenticity. Then why not adapt the previous paradigm into the current one. Or, more responsibly, we should treat the past as a place we wish to immigrate to, and as responsible immigrants we should conform to the standards of the place for that which we wish to visit. Perhaps this method of emulation will allow us to restore the authenticity of the past. Or, perhaps there was nothing to restore in the first-place and the 90’s was a time of ignorant bliss. Nevertheless, we all have our work cut out for us.