The Null Device

The 90s Sham

The eXile's 90 things to hate about the 90s (and part 2):
What is the 90s? What does it represent? What was its zeitgeist? This is the tricky part. See, hipsters in the 90s thought that they'd figured out a way to position themselves as the first generation ever which wouldn't, in retrospect, look as ridiculous as previous generations. They thought they'd secure their place by ironically fixating on 70s retro (thus sparing themselves from having to create too much of their own destined-to-be-dated material) as well as adapting the language of a hyper-conscious, self-aware man-outside-of-his-time, narrated as glibly as possible, as a way of ironically distancing themselves from their own stances.
The list itself starts off with "Authenticity" (and also takes in "Smog" and "Wobbly Camera As Authentic/Gritty Device") and ends with "Bare Midriffs", and includes the likes of "Generation X", "The Greatest Generation", "Grrls" (not to mention "Straight Edge", "Reclaiming The Night" and "Reclaiming Our Bodies/Empowerment"), several variants on "Aggrieved White Males", "Madonna-ology", "lower case spelling", "Wiggers", "Nerd Chic", "Misogyny Chic" and "Blue Collar Chic":
33. The End of Heroin Chic
The Shame: One of the few genuinely intelligent, smart trends in the mid-90s was the belated recognition that heroin is a good drug, overturning decades of hippie oppression and prejudice. We have Kurt Cobain and Trainspotting, a movie whose mediocrity is less important than the positive message it sent, to thank for that. Sadly, some people - we won't mention any RIVER PHOENIX names here, but a few LAYNE STANLEY guys couldn't handle CHRIS FARLEY their shit, making it tough for the rest of us, while other KATE MOSS people, again names THE EXILE we won't mention, functioned RUSH LIMBAUGH just fine while floating on the great poppy. Sadly, a combination of weak-willed celebrities, Ben Stiller's Permanent Midnight and 9/11 ended this brief dawn of reason. Now we are back in the Dark Ages of cocaine chic. Frankly, we'd rather drink beer than do coke.
61. Goth
The Sham:In the ultra-segmented scene of the 90s, being fat, ugly and socially retarded wasn't an impediment to being hip. You just had to wear lots of layers of black gauze to hide the blubber, get some prominent piercings and paint spider webs on your eyelids and, voila! You were a scary, alienated Goth! A whole bevy of bands competed for your attention, including Pretty Hate Machine, NIN, and Marilyn Manson, and the evening news might even do a segment featuring people who look just like you and the decline of American values or the dangers of Columbine - even though Klebold and Harris hated Goths.
63. Being Gay
The Sham:In college, most American girls of the 90's went through their obligatory BUG (bisexual until graduation) phase, which segued for more daring ones into their stripper phase. Gays became so big that even one of the Friends' star's mother had a lesbo tryst, and everyone had to have a gay neighbor to spice up their lives. Clinton made promoting gays in the military his first priority - and his liberal agenda was essentially destroyed by that. No matter, gays went bourgeois anyway, they didn't really need most of the liberal stuff anymore, not the help-the-poor/minorities crap anyway. Then 9/11 happened. A source who lives in Noe Valley told the eXile that within a year of 9/11, Noe Valley was transformed from the Dyke Quarter of San Francisco to the Baby Stroller Capital. Who'd-a-thunk.
73. Missing Children
The Sham:According to the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, guess how many are "long-term" kidnapped by strangers every year? 20,000? 10,000? It's gotta be a lot, considering all the alarmist attention it gets. Welp, we got news for you: only 115 children are kidnapped in America each year, out of a population of 300,000,000. And about 100 children are kidnapped and murdered each year. In other words, NO ONE WANTS TO SOCKET-FUCK YOUR HAIRLESS CHILD'S STRANGLED CORPSE. Does that disappoint you? Statistically, your child has an infinitely higher chance of growing up to be a convicted sex offender than he does of getting kidnapped and killed by one. But you don't want to believe that your child, or you, are doomed to a life of never being stalked. So instead you'll pamper and protect your child and instill him with so many worries and complexes that when he grows up, he'll have this weird, tingly feeling every time he sees a vulnerable, hairless child left alone beside a car wash...
82. Zines
The Sham:Back before Live Journal gave every bored office worker in America a soap box, zines were the only outlet for folks who wanted to write something that nobody but friends would ever read. Made by Kinko workers working the graveyard shift and distributed to the local revolutionary bookshop, they were hailed as authentic samizdat. Except that there was a market for samizdat, and risk involved. Zines were just another way to convince grrls that you were authentic, so you could bang 'em.
89. Blue collar chic
The Sham:Middle class guys picking up garage mechanic uniforms with cursive names sewn into the breast pocket at the local thrift store and slumming it. Then, while downing cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for a buck a pop at the local hipster dive, peopled with other indy hipsters wearing Confederate hats or T-shirts and scraggly beards, they'd talk about this art instillation they've got planned for their studio in Williamsburg.
90. Bare Midriffs
The Sham:Will someone please tell American girls to cover their lower hips? In the last 10 years, girls' hips have grown wider and wider, expanding like in some bad 80s horror film...and yet, for some reason they have no shame in showing these wide loads to the whole fucking world. All we can assume is that no one has the courage to tell them how bad they look. We're the types who, if we had a booger hanging out of our nose while talking to you, we'd want you to tell us. So we're doing the right thing and telling you: hide your hips, and while you're at it, tie a sweater around your ass. Note: This does not apply to Russian girls AT ALL.

There are 7 comments on "The 90s Sham":

Posted by: threeze http://neuralvoid.com Sun Dec 11 23:07:29 2005

So, what, are Pretty Hate Machine a NIN tribute band?

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Mon Dec 12 01:43:42 2005

Presumably. Or one of half a dozen high-school goth bands by that name. Or else the hipster author was just trolling, waiting for some goths to correct him so that he could call them GHEY or something.

Posted by: datakid http:// Mon Dec 12 07:50:08 2005

I did the zines thing! I did the zines thing!

But I don't think I ever got laid because of it. I got laid for lots of reasons, but no one ever said "if you hadn't put out that zine, you wouldn't be here now"...

Oh, and I reallyu did think I could change the world back then. My new zine will be out in early Jan. It's shit, but I'm having fun

Posted by: datakid http:// Mon Dec 12 12:21:23 2005

I knew there was something wrong with this exile before i'd even read it, and now I can see it - it reminds me of the vice formula.

ie, take year 11 english creative writing idea from a teacher that's battling distracted children, apply broadstroke cliches to all that you can think of, ignore overlapping venn diagrams of said cliches, and take a shot at everyone and everything that's in sight (or memory), finally, have nothing to say. At all. Just poor attempts at comedy (like watching the channel ten crowd do monty python's parrot sketch with australian accents - bleah)....

...anyway, they forgot the crowning, if not "the greatest", "the top" or "the first" moment of the nineties - the graduation of the bleeding edge of blandness. 91: The Superlatives The Sham: Everything suddenly becomes the superlative-adjective-of-choice-here of something.

I become the first person with a last name begining with s to sleep during the hottest day on record. etc. With cream. Stats start to rule the world, an

Posted by: datakid http:// Mon Dec 12 12:23:20 2005

and real mathematics is shunned by children worldwide (pure maths is the greatest science never studied anymore).

This is the first post about this subject ever, and is the most word and least drunk I've been when posting. A true landmark!

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Mon Dec 12 16:04:37 2005

The eXile is like VICE, only with extra street cred for being based in Russia where everything's hardcore and where Williamsburg yuppie hipster pussies like Gavin McInnes wouldn't last a minute.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Mon Dec 12 16:04:57 2005

Or something like that.

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