As someone who spent their childhood creating their first memories in the 90s, it is hard for me to reconcile the fact that they happened 18 to 28 years ago. It's a cliché at this point that people from the 90s think of it as maybe 8 years ago, since not a lot happened between 2000-2010 culturally. In that short time, we have seen technology and the people who utilize it change by leaps and bounds, exponentially getting weirder and weirder. I mean that in the best way possible, since list articles were completely different in the 90s, and we love what we do. And since we are flawed human beings who always think they are the darned coolest thing since sliced bread and hula hoops, we always like to deride anything different than us.
I personally, can't stand my fellow 90s kids, because they are always quick to tell you exactly what they are all about. I never understood the appeal of bragging about a decade of time you survived, as if that is somehow a badge of courage. Can't we all just agree that every decade has something cool about it? I guarantee when we live in the future, kids will be mocking Pinterest and Selfie Sticks while they zoom around on floating Gorbleborbs.
But everyone getting along doesn't make for good memes, so instead let's stoke the fires of enmity between 90s kids and literally everyone inferior who came afterward. By the end of this, everyone will be admitting that POGS are cool.
29 The Modern Blight
It should be easy for you to guess that as a gamer I hate pay to win scenarios. It isn’t fair that an inferior player gets to just jump into a game after shelling out $100 just to get the biggest sword. It makes for an unfair playing field, where skill doesn’t matter and money is the only way to actually get ahead. If I wanted a system like that, I would go outside into the actual job market, not jump headfirst into a zombie apocalypse.
But what is the alternative?
On the other hand, it isn’t fair that a working stiff who only gets to play a video game once or twice a week should get instantly wrecked by some stay at home lowlife who does nothing but level up all day instead of contributing to society. Shouldn’t someone be allowed to parlay their time spent at work into money, and spend that money to be able to smash a jobless snot into the dirt?
28 Community Spirit
I would offer my neighbors a cup of sugar or something, and that would be the extent of how good of a neighbor I could be. I wave and say hi when we both take out the garbage at the same time, but besides that, I don’t really need or want to interact with them. We decided to live on the same street, how is that material worth bonding over? For all I know, they don’t play video games and think plaid pants are cool. I don’t need that kind of darkness in my life.
And as neighborly as it is to give people around you free Wi-Fi, that is a huge danger to your online presence. That is seriously one step away from getting your identity stolen. If they were so neighborly, they would have a password and give it to you, not make it so that any old goofball will have access to their banking.
27 Say Hi To Your Everyone On The Otherside For Me
I’d guess that most younger people today only know Mark Wahlberg as either a film star or the partial owner of a burger chain. Either way, they have no idea that he used to be in a musical group called Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. And as much of a joke as that band name sounds, they were actually immensely popular, with an actual number one song.
And now he’s been nominated for an Academy Award.
Sure, that nomination came way back in the day of 2007 for the awesome movie The Departed, but it’s still more nominations than most 1990s hip-hop artists have ever been nominated for. He also managed to translate all of his antics into a loosely based television show Entourage so pretty much everything about Marky Mark’s life is awesome, which can’t be said of most 90s celebrities. I’m pretty sure Vanilla Ice is building houses now.
OK, I'll concede that phones were way tougher in the 90s. True story, my mom accidentally had her Nokia run over by the family car, and the thing still ran. I'm somewhat convinced those things were made of Adamantium. And now, if I roll over on my phone in the night, I wake up to a pile of dust in the vague shape of my hopes and dreams. But even that is kind of a silly complaint, considering what we have.
It's like comparing a ham radio to a supercomputer.
Modern phones can do everything from play movies to calculate time travel, so I think that is an alright tradeoff. We sacrificed the hard outer layer of rhino skin so we could now have a handy little screen with which we can play Candy Crush while in the bathroom. Yes, we are truly living in the future, and we have emojis.
25 Better Than Space Jam
I guess it is kind of sad that kids don’t remember amazing sports superstars of the past, but I doubt that 90s kids could name some big names that were huge in sports from the 70s. Some stuff just doesn’t become legendary, or what seems to be immensely important at the time ends up being a footnote in history. Most people know Ronald Reagan as a President, not an actor. That isn’t the fault of the next generation for not knowing stuff that doesn’t seem relevant to them.
Blame the memes.
Memes will always find the most perfectly captured single moment to best use to describe an incredibly relatable feeling. Showing Jordan tearing it up on the courts or barely acting while next to Bugs Bunny isn’t something people will ever find super relatable, but showing him stone-faced weeping is an image that all of us can get behind.
24 Attack Of The Fuzz
To be totally honest, both of these pictures look completely ridiculous to me. I can’t imagine your identity being so fragile that you desperately need to define yourself by the clique you hang out with. And then, to so painfully need to be a part of that clique that you all dress alike. How do you not look at each other and realize that you have sacrificed all independent thought just to fit in with the people around you?
I still think fuzzy boots are kind of cool, though.
They’re just so impractical and weird, they look like you hunted a Muppet and wore their pelt as a trophy. Every time I see people in them (which happens with decreasing frequency) they remind me of those half human, half goat creatures from Greek Myths. Satyrs, I think they are called? Anyways, anyone who has the bravery to look like you kind of have hooves instead of human feet is a winner in my book.
23 Pagers Were Never Awesome
Growing up, I never actually knew anyone who had a pager or beeper. They were always relegated to people in movies or TV, and whenever I saw them, I thought they were silly and pretentious. Yeah, they are as good of an idea as a cell phone, since people are now able to get in contact with you any time and anywhere. But something about them just beeping out a small little sentence, where you had to run off to a payphone or something seemed redundant.
And they were kind of expensive.
Again, I never owned one, but I remember adults talking about how expensive they were, and how only Doctors had them. And Doctors really do need to be at beck and call at all times, so it makes sense for them to have one. But most people are useless and unimportant, so to have one was to grossly overestimate how badly people will ever need to get in contact with you.
22 All Gussied Up
Those dang kids, wearing their makeup and pumps and carrying purses and trying to be adults. I wish there was a phrase that summed up how I felt about this whole argument. Oh, yeah, I believe there's an old proverb that suits this mindset perfectly: who cares? There have been child brides throughout history, not to mention kids signing up for the army. Comparatively, I would rather have my kids playing dress up than storming a beach or working in a sweatshop.
Kids will always want to be adults.
Are you telling me that you never dressed outside of your age? Grew an ill-advised mustache? A regretful tattoo? Almost every decision a young person makes is them trying to emulate what they think adult life is like. Kids of yesteryear had Daisy Dukes, we had pointlessly baggy pants, now they have makeup. It's literally one of the least harmful things a kid can do to express themselves.
21 Maybe A Step Backwards
The decision to ever include a single player mode that needed Internet connectivity is the most baffling choice any video game company has ever made. You can show me the Power Glove or E.T. and I will still suggest that forcing people to connect to a company’s servers in order to play the story of the item they just bought is still more stupid. If people are dependent on your servers to get use out of the product they just paid money for, ensure that your servers are NEVER down.
This wasn’t a problem in the past.
Back then, the single player was on the game disk or cartridge, and you could lend it to your friends. If we were arguing the merits of modern multiplayer, it’s easy for me to admit that online play is intensely better, even if it is dependent on an Internet connection. The ability to be beaten by a nine-year-old that is in a different time zone is incredible. But single-player should be just that, for you to play, alone.
20 The Sound Of Silence
One of the best things about modern life is the fact that we need to do way less socially awkward things. No longer do I need to call the pizza place when I don’t feel like cooking, I enter all my gross toppings online, meaning that my human interaction time is reduced to quickly opening the door in my Chewbacca pajamas, The same can be said for when you hang out with friends, and you pull up to their house, ready for a night of partying.
Doorbells are horrible inventions.
They fill your entire house with an evil shriek, and sometimes some very unwise and boring people will get a doorbell that plays some loser song that nobody actually knows the name of. You know the one. It clearly sounds like the chimes of a funeral, signaling the passing of your soul from the mortal coil. Somehow that is the most popular doorbell of all time.
19 As Long As You Are Getting Them
Really? Are 90s kids so desperate to prove their superiority that they are now bragging that they used to be able to talk to their beloved family members less frequently while consuming more resources? Why aren’t we celebrating that some old fogey is savvy enough to actually still be using the internet, which is awesome! This is a person who saw the invention of the horseless carriage (presumably) being so open to new ideas that they stay in contact with their descendants via email.
When you follow this kind of logic to its’ extreme, you realize that our ancestors would be bragging about contacting their loved ones twice a year before dying of consumption. When paper was invented, was some jerk bragging about how back in his time he just didn’t contact people and never knew where most of his family was at any given time? Because then you’re just bragging about your life being worse.
18 A More Innocent Halloween
I’m going to ignore the fact that those are pictures of vastly differently aged girls. Ignoring that HUGE detail, I do have trouble arguing against the notion of Halloween costumes being less wholesome. And I don’t even want “wholesome” Halloween costumes, since I want to see kids running around like rotten corpses back from the grave to steal our souls. Halloween is the one time of the year that the gross, weird and scary stuff of life is celebrated instead of tucked away into the shadows.
I’ve just seen a surge of “cute” costumes during the Halloween season. This was a thing in the 90s, sure, but it was mostly teenagers who decided to start wearing out there costumes, whereas nowadays kids want to start wearing less spooky or charming stuff, and more cutesy or attractive stuff. Does that make sense, or am I just becoming the exact thing I’ve been complaining about this whole article?
17 What Do You Want From Me?
I kind of like this one, because I was definitely told to go out more as a kid. And my parents definitely relayed stories to me of being told to stop going out so much, and to be in by when the street lights come on. All this really tells me is that parents don’t actually have an investment in what is best for kids, but instead have an arbitrary set of social stigmas they must adhere to.
They’re worried about what other parents will say.
If your kids are out roaming the streets like dogs , you are a bad parent who is raising future delinquents. If your kid is glued to a screen instead of playing field hockey or catching fireflies or some other folksy nonsense, then you are raising a nerd. And there is nothing worse in a stuffy parent's eyes than raising a nerd.
16 I'm Not Sure I Understand
I’m next to certain this comic is trying to say the same thing as the last comic, that we spend more time indoors than out, but I can’t be sure. Are these both the same character, one as a child, one as an adult. That seems to be the case, since only one of them seems to grow stubble. And what is up with the eyes? Is that to let us know that they stayed up way later than they should have playing video games? Because kids did that back in the 90s too.
Maybe they aren’t the same person, since their hair color is different. So maybe this is just saying that the ideologies of today are different, where you could both enjoy going outside as well as staying inside and gaming. Which is sound advice, I suppose. It is always a good idea to stay a well-rounded individual, if that is indeed what this thing is trying to tell us.
15 The Darkness Gets Lighter
There has always been an unhealthy obsession with liking things before they became popular. If someone read a book that became a movie, they will be sure to announce that to everyone within earshot. If you owned a band’s album before they hit it big, that somehow means you are a more legitimate fan. Somehow, if you were a member of a fandom before it became acceptable to like it, that makes you the gatekeeper of that fandom, free to criticize anyone who comes after you as being a faker?
This isn’t exclusive to Goth’s either, you can see this with punks, mods, skaters, rockers, rappers, gangsters, literally anything that has become a subculture our counter-culture believe that they have the right to exclude people. It’s a strange phenomenon, where you push so hard to have something you love be accepted, but the moment it does, you hate that it is now consumed by more than your handful of friends.
14 Guilty As Charged
I’m literally doing this as I write this article. I have Netflix showing me something I’m only half absorbing while I am mainly focused on my laptop. Even when I’m not writing an article, when I have the television on, the laptop is open as well. It isn’t my fault that dialogue-heavy scenes tell my eyes to wander into something more visually engaging. And I know that multitasking isn’t a real thing, and that every time you divide your attention, you are actually just flat out ignoring one thing for another. I just can’t help it.
It gets so much worse when you factor in phones. Sometimes, I’ll be doing an article, and if my back starts to hurt from being hunched over the keyboard, I’ll pick up my phone for a hot minute. All this while a Netflix original goes sadly unseen in the background. The only exception is when I’m playing a video game, which gets my full attention.
13 Television Got Weird
I think I can actually explain this one. I’m not going to argue against it, either, the costume and makeup department in modern shows have been doing increasingly more intense work on teens, which makes it feel like they aren’t depicting a relatable high school experience. This is compared to the 90s where most shows would at least attempt to emulate what kids were wearing, albeit on the higher end of the price scale.
We have been in a recession as of late.
We watch teen shows to relate to stuff and escape, so we don’t like being reminded that everyone around us has been forced to tighten their purse strings. We like to watch tv so it can show us that opulence and looking nice aren’t a thing of the past, and it might be possible to reclaim some of our former glory as a nation. Or maybe I’m over analyzing it and television producers have lost touch with their audience.
12 Hardly A Fair Comparison
Tupac was one of the most talented lyricists in the history of rap, and to compare him to a flash in the pan like Lil Uzi Vert is like comparing The Old Man And The Sea against Curious George. Both have merit and serve the purpose they were made for well, but they are in vastly different leagues. It’s ok to enjoy a song for its musicality and then enjoy another song because it contains a deep and resonating message.
It’s apples and oranges, really.
It isn’t like there aren’t a slew of modern rappers making songs about social injustices left right and centre, and it isn’t like the 90s was immune to people using rap simply to make themselves wealthy. By comparing the highest high of one decade against the lowest low of another, you are skewing the data in your favor, and if you rely on that to get a point across, you don’t really have a point at all.
11 Kids Will Be Kids
Do not let this graphic fool you, kids still very much draw on their own faces with makeup in this day and age. I’ve seen it, and it was one of the motivating factors for me to never have kids. When you see a screaming two-foot terror round the corner looking like a nearsighted Pennywise, you realize this whole “kid” thing might not be for you. So children being stupid and making a mess is a universal constant through the ages, despite what some alarmists might tell you.
That second image is clearly an example of someone APPLYING makeup to a kid, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you are practicing your makeup skills on the closest thing you had handy, which is a baby’s face. Or maybe the kid asked to look as pretty as you, and you offer the harmless suggestion of doing their makeup for them. Or, more likely, it was photoshop, you dummies.
10 The Evolution Of Fashion
I’m genuinely not sure what I’m supposed to be taking away from this image? As far as I can tell, the people who look more stupid due to what they are wearing is the 90s, and as someone who lived through it, I can attest that we did not know what we were doing, fashion-wise. We thought that it was cool to frost our tips, and having flames on your bowling shirt made you the pinnacle of being awesome.
And it’s only going to get worse.
If you are young right now, dress however you want and tell old people to go build a deck or something. They looked stupid when they were young, and your kids are going to end up looking like complete idiots. Time marches forward, and you can’t stop yourself from doing the things that feel right and fun to you because someone out of touch tells you it looks stupid. Objectively, all of the human race looks stupid.
9 You're Hanging Around The Wrong Kids
The person who made this clearly doesn’t remember their own childhood, and also are hanging out with some seriously bratty kids. In school, I remember wishing I had as much stuff as some of my classmates, and those classmates were always complaining how bored they were. Unappreciative people have been around since the first caveman complained that his wheel wasn’t round enough. And I’ve been around nieces and nephews and other bothersome little young people, and they can be completely enamored with their toys.
This is a matter of bad parents.
I am an adult (on paper, not emotionally or mentally) and I have almost all the same stuff that kid on the right has. And sometimes, I marvel at how great it is to be surrounded with what amounts to a 1930s depiction of science fiction. And other times, I will look at a wall of hundreds of my video games and complain that I have nothing to play. People from all ages or generations have the capacity to be grateful and spoiled.
8 Appropriation Ahoy!
I’ll concede that there does seem to be a rising trend in culture today that think it is ok to just appropriate other people’s cultures. I’m aware that there is a keen difference between being appreciative of someone else’s culture, and just appropriating it for your own use without giving any credit or respect to the source. I’m not the kind of person who says “kids today” but I have seen more and more whipper-snappers think that it is fine to put on an affected accent to seem more like people you emulate.
I’m also not saying this is a brand new thing, since uncomfortable and mildly prejudice posers have been around since forever. I’m just suggesting that we have somewhat lost sight of why it isn’t ok to do that, or at least have blurred the lines between what is respectful admiration and what is classless and derogatory impersonation and appropriation.
7 The Future Is Different
There is no way that these two pictures depict girls of the same age group. As a Canadian, I’m not even sure what the living heck Middle School is, but a quick Google tells me that it is in between Elementary and High School, which seems like an odd way to organize your school system. So even if both these groups of kids are from middle school, there is an obvious explanation for why they would seem so different.
There’s a lot of difference between sixth and eighth grade.
It might not seem like a huge jump from an outsider, since three years is a drop in the bucket when you feel like the Grim Reaper is always like twenty feet away. But for a kid, that’s three whole years of reinventing yourself, rediscovering yourself and rediscovering the world. Your priorities as a child in those formative years change by the week, so in the span of three years, you go from talking about what your favorite flavor of ice cream is to talking about who has a crush on who.
6 Picture Perfect
You know what I love about this graphic. At no point does it give any credit to the actual photographer. Yes, neither in the past nor now does photography involve someone actually taking a picture of an interesting subject. No, the important part of photography is getting the picture developed, right? And apparently, the process of using chemicals to develop a picture is somehow worth more than being able to instantly view them on your laptop! Those bygone days!
This picture completely ignores the fact that cameras have increasingly cool lenses, so photography has only gotten better and better. And you will always have holdouts who claim that hard film has more charm than digital (this is patently false, since charm can’t be measured) so modern cameras are garbage. For those softheaded oldies, the grainy quality of old blurry photos is far superior to modern pictures where you can see the blood in the veins of someone’s face during a selfie.
5 A Different Breed Of Hero
Get it, because modern kids are cowards, what with their seatbelts and helmets and surviving into adulthood. Sarcasm — yes, I'm explaining it, Tidepod Generation. Back in the old days we would just skateboard in the woods and impale ourselves and we considered that fun. What happened to the bygone era when men were men, and we were all tough as nails and we ate broken glass and you weren't cool until you fought off tetanus through sheer force of will.
That never happened.
Why do we think it is worth bragging about how bad you had it? Kids lives are way less boring nowadays. And our ancestors' lives were awful compared to how we had it in the 90s. Also, I'm going to put it out there that when I was younger, there is no way I would be brave enough to eat a Tide Pod just to seem popular. These kids are truly fearless.
4 Consistent Excuses
Very few people out there are ever able to actually enjoy losing. Even fewer people manage to lose with a sense of grace. Back in the fay, when split screen gaming was still popular, we would always accuse the other player of looking at your screen to figure out where you were hiding. I remember accusing people of doing this often, simply because I knew they were doing it because I was doing it all the time.
Then online gaming came along.
So now we can’t accuse our friends (or more likely, strangers who are simply better than you) of looking at our screen since our screens are usually in a completely different area code. But we still needed a way to accuse them of cheating, lest we be confronted by the fact that we suck at our only pastime. So now we accuse people of using mods to improve their gameplay, and it works flawlessly, since there is next to zero way for you to be proven wrong.
3 A Change In Perception
Even Hipsters hate other Hipsters, oblivious to the fact that they are one (seriously, if you accuse someone they are a Hipster, they will deny it by claiming their favorite band is The Beatles). Everything they do is ironic, from having silly 1920s mustaches, to drinking everything out of a mason jar, to wearing suspenders.
We’ve perfected belt technology.
There is literally no reason to wear suspenders other than trying to say that belts are too mainstream. I’m half expecting the next trend to be a resurgence in powdered wigs because getting a haircut supports the “institution.” If something was very unpopular, or faded from popularity, these mindless drones will glob onto it, making up for their complete lack of personality by being obtusely and painfully contrarian. Beware the hipster.
2 At Least The Television Got Skinny
We tend to look backward through time with rose-colored glasses. And I can assure you; we still had fat people in the 90s. In fact, with the obesity epidemic being on a steady decline, it’s safe to say that we may very well have had MORE fat people back then. I don’t have the exact numbers on that kind of thing, so don’t quote me on it, but I definitely think we are far more self-conscious these days then we were back then.
Of course, most media outlets wouldn’t have you believe that, since bad news sells way better than good news. Nobody is going to read the article about how people are living longer than ever and that all forms of heart disease and cancer are on the decline, but they will click on the comic telling us how fat we have all become in the last twenty years.
1 So Meta
There have been countless fads, which have consumed millions of human hours, simply by being a fun waste of time. This comic actually shows how every decade has had a silly fad with which the masses have amused themselves with instead of learning a skill or interacting with actual people. It isn’t just a modern need to fritter away our time, people have needed distractions from their ugly lives since time immemorial.
Nowadays we have comics.
Right now, reading this article that I carefully crafted for you, that’s a waste of time. You’re probably reading it instead of doing homework or work-work or talking to your spouse. And this article is filled with nothing but comparisons of other eras. Including this comic, which is a comparison of other eras, as well as pointing out that we are obsessed with comparisons to other eras. Welcome to the rabbit hole, please like, comment and subscribe.