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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Heart the 90's

Most Saturday mornings begin the same for me. I drag myself out of bed at the ripe hour of 10:30 am and proceed directly towards the couch for even more lounging time in front of the television before the reality of my day has to begin. This past Saturday, however, brought a welcome surprise. Vh1 was playing back to back episodes of “Boy Meets World,” one of the most beloved shows of the 90’s. After a moment of squealing and bouncing up and down on the couch, the next two hours allowed for a comforting walk down childhood lane. Since then, the 90’s have been on my mind: the decade of my generation’s childhood that now causes many in their early 20’s to revert back to the squeamish excitement of those adolescent years the moment they hear a cheesy pop song or catch a reference to “Hey Arnold.”
So, what is it that brings this Generation Y back to the 90’s, especially now that we have begun our adult lives finishing up or out of college? As my pristine iPhone buzzes next to my Macbook, I remember the answer. The 90’s were our last years before technology infused itself into our daily lives. A childhood in the 90’s consisted of playing in the street with your neighborhood friends, calling a landline and asking the parents if your playmate was available, and interacting with one simple GameBoy as your means of digital entertainment. Though Generation Y is still young, we have already become reminiscent for the simplicity of our childhood years. When looking back, it is not the value of the 90’s that is cherished, but the remnants of this simplicity. No one truly wants to revert back to bad hair, scrunchies, and denim-on-denim. These looks and re-runs of family shows like “Boy Meets World” and “Growing Pains” simply cause us to defend the value of that decade against today’s abundance of reality television and sex-infused hip-hop music.
It seems, however, that the most prominent event separating the millennium from the happy-go-lucky 90’s was the peak of availability in technology that hit in the early 2000’s. 2g text messaging was introduced in the early 90’s, but was a luxury to the few that had a supported cell phone plan. At that point in time, cell phones were only used for basic phone calls (crazy, right?!), so there was no appeal in spending money on this item for children or preteens. Nowadays, I compare my first cellphone (a black and white screened plastic box) at 13 to the high speed cellphone, laptop, iPod and iPad that my 12 year old sister has. My mother’s excuse when I complain about the overkill in buying my sister all of these technological accessories sums it up. “Children are just more engaged in technology nowadays. It’s their lifestyle!”
Once we all grasped the idea that Y2K wouldn’t leave our world in the dark with the start of 2000, technology quickly infiltrated every age group in America. 2001 saw the beginning of 3g high-speed technology that allowed cellphones to have more features and some internet access. By 2007, there were 295 million subscribers to 3g networks, according to Wikipedia. And let’s not forget the introduction of social media through Facebook and Twitter that spread like wildfire starting in 2007. The days of riding bikes in the street and jumping through hoops to contact a friend who lived two neighborhoods away has been obliterated, it seems, for good.
There are obviously immense benefits to the many technological advances that our country has seen in the last decade; however, I often step back and am horrified to realize how much of my daily life revolves around a screen. Even if all I can get is two hours of a beloved show’s re-runs, at least a reach back towards the 90’s brings me back to the appreciation of a digital-less childhood.



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