Last night at the ribsfest an idea came up that I had not thought of before - 90's nostalgia. Even though I was 26 when the decade started I really could not tell you much about the music other than Cobain offed himself and the Smashing Pumpkins sucked. Yesterday on DNTO they played a cut introduced as a 90's college classic which I had never heard of before - except that it sounded like a hundred other tunes. For me, the Gen X slacker stuff is the creation of 80s recessions as well as nuclear fear and I just do not tie that to the Clinton era, the IT bubble, the Canadian governmental shift to surpluses and cutting, cutting, cutting.
So, sure, I am an old fart but it is odd to realize that there is now a decade which lacks for me a readily imagined zeitgeist - probably the last decade prior to the 90s like that for me would be 1900-1910.
Update: William Saffire's column "On Language" in The New York Times Magazine today contains a reference to perhaps a key statement about the 1990s:
When Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, sagely warned rabid stock touts and gullible investors about irrational exuberence in 1996, he used an adjective to cast a pall over a beautiful nouns. Ever since, the word exuberance - rooted in "fruitful, fertile" related to a cow's uber, "udder" - has picked up an old sense of excess.The crash did not come until the first few months of the next decade which, with those other crashes, told that the 90s were over. Irrationalities and lost opportunities - including the "new world order", the dot com boom, waiting for the terrorists, what we know now about the response to the Quebec referendum, convergence...what else?