Life at the End of History: Against Nineties NostalgiaTravis LeBlanc
To understand the man you have to know what was happening in the world when he was twenty.
— Napoleon Bonaparte
I grew up in the final years of the Cold War. If you aren’t old enough to remember the Cold War, let me tell you that it was a trip.
The thing about living during the Cold War was that the possibility of nuclear war was in the back of your mind all of the time. It crossed your mind at least once a day. Because if it did happen, you would only have something like 18 minutes warning at most. That’s how long it would take for the missiles to get from Russia to the United States. And it could happen at any time. So if you went to a restaurant or to the mall, the thought might cross your mind: “OK, what if the sirens started going off now? What would I do?” So you scan the place and look for the best place to duck under.
Everywhere you went, the thought crossed your mind that you might be in the last 20 minutes of your life. When you consume media from the ’80s, just know that no matter how cheesy it is, be it Porky’s, Flock of Seagulls, or Who’s the Boss, it was made by people who believed that they might be in the last 20 minutes of their lives. To this day, when I see one of those nuclear fallout shelter signs, I make a mental note of where I am just in case I’m in the area when the sirens go off. I know where the two nearest nuclear fallout shelters are from my apartment.
I remember being six or seven years old and my mother explaining to me what to do if there was a nuclear attack. If I was home, I was to go into the basement. If I was outside, I get into a ditch. One time in 2nd grade, my elementary school teacher stopped in the middle of class and started talking about nuclear war for a couple of hours. One of the other kids asked about it, but she went on a long tangent about it. I think she had recently watched The Day After, and it deeply affected her. (Good thing she didn’t watch Threads, which makes The Day After look like a Shirley Temple flick.)
In hindsight, that seems like some incredibly heavy shit to lay on a 7-year-old. Talking about millions of people dying (including, in all probability, at least some of your loved ones), the living envying the dead, and the struggle for survival if you were lucky enough to survive. It would never cross my mind to start getting that morbid as a child. But at the time, that was just something grown-ups had to do because it was a real possibility. You had to teach your kids what to do if there was ever a fire in the house, what to do if the was a tornado, and what to do if there was ever a nuclear attack.
But if you were to go back in time to the mid-80s and ask 7-year-old Baby Trav what he wanted to be when he grew up, Lil’ Baby Trav would have said “I want to be an army soldier so I can go kill communists.”
Now, I didn’t know anything about Marxist ideology at the time, but I had seen Rocky IV and Red Dawn and knew those guys were huge assholes. They hated America and didn’t believe in God. Say no more. That’s all Baby Trav needed to hear.
But there was more to it than that. There was an overwhelming sense at the time that there would eventually be some kind of showdown between the USA and USSR. It would be massive, bigger than anything that has ever happened before, and the world would never be the same afterward. And Baby Trav knew that when that shit went down, he wanted to be there.
But then the Cold War ended, and rather anticlimactically.
Rather than being crushed by American military might and the pure-of-heart heroics of the American fighting soldier, the USSR collapsed from the inside. Well, that was a curveball. The good news is that I no longer had to worry about dying in a nuclear attack, and I would be lying if I said that was not a huge load off my mind.
And yet I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit disappointed. I had spent my life getting psyched up for this big showdown. I was looking forward to doing my bit in a grand world-altering struggle. Now, not only was that showdown not gonna happen, but there would be no more showdown. You see, now we’re at The End of History. We’ve got everything figured out now. We all agree on everything, so there’s nothing to fight over anymore. There are still some holdouts — some religious kooks in the Middle East and a handful of Third World dictators — but they’ll come around.
As a romantic, I couldn’t help but feel cheated by this turn of events. Cheated by life itself. I missed all the great struggles. I missed the Revolutionary War. I missed the Civil War. I missed Napoleon. I missed WWII. I was fine with missing WWI, because that war was kind of boring. And then the last great struggle there would ever be, the Cold War (which wasn’t even a real war) ended before I reached adulthood. I guess being born a white male in the United States is like winning the lottery of life, but when I was born, it felt like rolling snake eyes. Nothing I could possibly do with my life would be of interest to anyone 300 years from now. Even if I became the biggest rock star in the world, even that would fade in time. Only academics and eccentrics still watch Mary Pickford movies.
But then I got older, got redpilled, and realized, no, I was born at just the right time because I am actually right the middle of the greatest struggle of them all. The stakes are infinitely higher than anything that has come before. It’s even less of a “real war” than the Cold War was, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a struggle of cosmic proportions. This is a struggle for survival. This is a struggle not merely to decide the fate of the European peoples, but the destiny of mankind. So I finally got my struggle.
But now, the struggle ain’t going so well. The whole George Floyd thing happened, Black Lives Matter is rampaging through the streets, and then there’s the treachery. So much white treachery. Videos are going around of white people washing the feet of blacks, getting on their knees and kissing black men’s feet, and other embarrassing images. Blackpills are flying around, hot and heavy. Even eternal optimist Way of the World is saying it’s time to stick a fork in the West. If you are not completely blackpilled, you are at the very least thinking “Damn, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
We are most certainly entering the proverbial “times that try men’s souls.” Where we were once surfing the cultural waves of the Trumpian Zeitgeist with the wind at our backs, we now find ourselves swimming again the rising tide of neoliberalism. At times like this, it may be tempting to turn to nostalgia, to seek refuge in the past and memories of the good old days, of simple times and simple pleasures. This, I feel would be a mistake.
There was supposedly this expression in China: “May you live in interesting times.” And the thing about this expression was that it was supposed to be a curse; you see, interesting times are generally bad times to live through. The Civil War was pretty interesting, but eating boot-leather soup in Atlanta while under siege was not a pleasant place to be. If you wanted to live a happy and fulfilling life, it’s better to live through uninteresting times. Well, I think that’s bunk. I’ve lived through uninteresting times and to be honest, it kind of sucked.
The End of History
Ah, the 90s. The End of History. That space between the end of the Cold War and 9/11. Now those were uninteresting times.
Democratic capitalism had triumphed over all other systems, leaving monarchy, fascism, and communism in the dustbin of history. All the great questions had been figured out, nothing more to rack your brain over. All that was left were good times until the heat death of the universe. Political correctness was still in its infancy. The most burning political issue of the day was how big the federal government should be and whether or not to balance the budget. A TV show with an all-white cast was still uncontroversial and being pro-gay marriage was still pretty fringe. After the one-two punches of the L.A. Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial, the country had Negro fatigue, and racial politics took a back seat for a while.
There’s been a lot of 90s nostalgia going around lately, fueled in no small part by Netflix and Hulu. There has been a renewed interest in TV shows like Friends and X-Files.
Now, I understand the appeal of 90s nostalgia. You can watch a movie or TV show from the 90s and watch white people acting white and doing white things with other white people. Forced diversity in pop culture wasn’t what it is today. You had token blacks in shows, but a black co-worker or police chief was enough to fill the quota. The main cast could still be entirely white. Also, and perhaps more comforting, is the pop culture of the 90s was remarkably apolitical. You can watch movies and TV shows from the 90s and not be bombarded with Cultural Marxist propaganda. Sure, you had movies like Waterworld, which was a cautionary tale of what life would be like if we didn’t do something about global warming, but that movie was a rare exception (and ruthlessly mocked at the time). If you look at the most iconic 90s movies, like Pulp Fiction, Independence Day, Terminator 2, Titanic, or Jurassic Park, none of them had real overt political messages.
OK, so I guess Titanic dealt with issues of class, but that’s a timeless theme throughout the entire history of story-telling and it wasn’t done in a real heavy-handed Marxist sort of way. And maybe Terminator and Jurassic Park touched on the ethics and dangers of emerging technologies (artificial intelligence and genetic engineering), but those aren’t really left-right issues. That’s about as political as 90s pop culture got. So I get the appeal of 90s nostalgia. It’s escapist. You can lose yourself in an all-white world without being beaten over the head with political commentary. Personally, I get that from movies from the 1930s, which are even whiter and more apolitical than 90s movies with the added bonus of being less degenerate. I digress.
You can learn a lot about a time, place, and people by looking at the pop culture of the period. It’s only due to my love of 1930s cinema that I know what a Breach of Promise lawsuit is. Did you know that there was a time where if you banged a chick and did not marry her that she could sue you? I only know that because it was used as a plot device in a few old movies.
Granted, there are limitations to this approach. If I tried to understand 1940s America just from watching old Humphrey Bogart movies, I might get the impression that 1940s America was nothing but a bunch of world-weary antiheroes, hard-boiled femmes fatales, and colorful villains getting into misadventures together, and clearly, it was not. But the fact that the people of 1940s America chose someone like Humphrey Bogart to be their idol tells you something, no less than the fact that our society chose to hold the Kardashians up as idols tells you something about people today.
The reason I’m saying all this is because I am about to look at the 90s through the lenses of the pop culture of the time, and I’m acknowledging upfront the limitations of this approach. My contention is that if you look slightly beneath the gloss and glitter of the End of History, far from being carefree and idyllic, you see signs of a society slowly losing its mind.
In my opinion, with the exception of shoegaze and gangsta rap, nothing from the 90s has aged well.
One thing you notice about movies from the 90s is that so often the conflict is entirely internal. You have a guy who feels one way, and he wants to feel another way. American Beauty was like that. The guy feels bad and he wants to feel good. That’s the conflict. There is no villain in Clerks. You got this guy who doesn’t appreciate his girlfriend, and then he learns to appreciate her. That’s the conflict. Even Pulp Fiction ends with Samuel L. Jackson finding inner peace. After all the drugs, sex, and murder, that’s the grand finale of the movie. Samuel L. Jackson’s feelings change. Or you have movies like Usual Suspects, Donny Darko, or American Psycho, where the story all takes place in the guy’s head and you’re left wondering what, if any, of the story was real. Did I just spend 90 minutes in a guy’s head?
This is the kind of cultural product you get from a country that has no real problems. Or at least a country that doesn’t think it has any real problems. It’s a bunch of retarded self-absorbed introspection. Without an existential threat, people start to wallow in existential angst. This is the kind of cultural output you get from a society where everyone is 100% confident that they will still be alive in 20 minutes.
Only in the 90s could the biggest TV show in the country be (by its own admission) a Show About Nothing. It was the End of History. There was nothing to worry about, so why not make a show about nothing?
Take American Beauty. The guy has a family. Lives with his biological child and her mother. Decent job and a middle-class lifestyle. And yet he’s not happy. Why not? He’s just not. OK, so his wife’s a bitch, and his daughter is also a bitch. But looking back at the movie from 2020, I want to tell the guy: “Bro, do you have any idea how hard it will become attain the kind of lifestyle you have now in the future?” Many zoomers, millennials, and even Gen X-ers would love to have this guy’s life and can’t.
What’s missing from his life is any sense of purpose. He got the job, the house, the family. Now what? Just keep living the same day over and over again? The rest of his life is laid out for him, and that is a depressing thought. He lives in a world without struggle. Life won’t provide him with a quest, so he has to create his own quest. And so he chooses making banging his teenage daughter’s best friend his new quest. Now, this quest is immoral and selfish for a myriad of reasons, but once he has set his mind to it, his mental and emotional state starts to improve.
This is what I remember about the 90s. Not the good times. Not the simple escapist pleasures, unmolested of political correctness. Not the easy, guilt-free laughs before the woke scolds made laughing a capital offense. Not the carefree existence of a mind unburdened by great questions which had all been sorted out (or so everyone thought). I remember the listlessness, the restlessness, and the longing for something more and only being able to find it. That’s what I remember when I think about life at the End of History.
To Choose Life or to Not Choose Life
Beavis and Butthead might be the ultimate 90s show. I don’t think any piece of pop culture better encapsulates the Zeitgeist of the End of History better than Beavis and Butthead. The premise of the show was simple. It was two low-IQ teenage boys who spent all day watching TV and laughing at the stupid stuff they saw. Occasionally, they would go to the convenience store and stumble into some kind of misadventure on the way there. This was the entirety of their existence. The gag was that this made them archetypical “losers.”
But then again, what else was there to do in a world without struggle? Chase girls in hope for some meaningless sex? Get a job to buy cool stuff? Was there anything they could be doing that would be more meaningful when all the great problems of the world had been solved by the people who came before them? Was there something more important that they could be worrying about? Why not just waste your life away watching TV and cracking jokes with your friend? Beavis and Butthead didn’t seem particularly unhappy with their lives. They seemed quite content with their lot.
Still, one might say that Beavis and Butthead needed to “get a life.” But what did it mean to “get a life” at the End of History? For an explanation, we can look to another very 90s movie: Trainspotting.
Choose a life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. . . Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, sticking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away in the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself, choose your future. Choose life. . . But why would I want to do a thing like that?
— Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting
Trainspotting was a literary sensation in the UK before becoming a cult classic indie film. It’s about a group of friends in Edinburgh and their struggles to get off, back on, and then back off heroin. In the book, it is more explicit about the fact that the gang are working-class ethnic Irish Catholics living in a society dominated by ethnic Sottish Protestants, thus compounding their alienation from it. This element is completely absent in the film and is only briefly alluded to in the sequel, only to say that the Catholic-Protestant divide is not really an issue anymore.
The story centers around Mark Renton (portrayed in the movie by Ewan McGregor). While most of the Trainspotting gang are dysfunctional no-hopers who were probably always destined for a life of drugs and petty crime, Renton, the smartest of the bunch, could do more with his life if he wanted to. He just doesn’t want to.
When you’re on junk you have only one worry: scoring. When you’re off it you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite. Got no money: can’t get pissed. Got money: drinking too much. Can’t get a bird: no chance of a ride. Got a bird: too much hassle. You have to worry about bills, about food, about some football team that never fucking wins, about human relationships and all the things that really don’t matter when you’ve got a sincere and truthful junk habit.
Renton sees two options in life: being a heroin addict or being just another cog in the capitalist machine. Both appear to be soul-crushing, but heroin is a better high.
Nowadays, it is abundantly clear that for the West to survive, whites need to get good jobs, get married, and have children. In the Cold War, you had to have children because the commies were having children. So if you wanted freedom and apple pie to survive, you need to get married and have some kids. But in the 90s, it was like “why bother?” At the End of History, the West seemed and felt so invincible that one felt that they could be as self-destructive as they pleased and feel safe in the knowledge that society at large would still be just fine. What skin is it off your nose if Renton wants to waste his life away on drugs?
Compare Beavis and Butthead and Trainspotting to Kevin Spacey’s character in American Beauty.
Kevin Spacey’s character chose life. He chose the job, the family, the house, the mortgage, the big fucking television, and it all felt empty and meaningless. So he decides to pack in all in so he can live a low-stress life of working fast food, smoking weed, and living for today. After having chosen life, he decides it sucks and that he would much rather live a life more similar to that of Beavis and Butthead’s.
We live in a world where there is no shortage of struggles to choose from. And you can participate in them on your own in whichever insignificant or symbolic way is popular. These days, Beavis and Butthead would probably be shitlording it up on Right-wing message boards or trolling Jews on Twitter, while Kevin Spacey’s character in American Beauty might be your stereotypical “epic rant dad” posting regular anti-Trump polemics on Facebook. It’s a better way to find meaning than trying to bang your teenage daughter’s friend.
Now, let me say that, yes, I am aware the Beavis and Butthead is “just a TV show” and American Beauty is “just a movie.” They are works of fiction and thus not picture-perfect representations of what life was like in the 90s. You might think that American Beauty was an assault on the traditional American family by Jewish Hollywood or that Beavis and Butthead had implicitly anti-white male overtones or was ridiculing white male companionship or whatever. Maybe there is something in that.
But the fact that these shows resonated so deeply with people at the time says something. People in the 90s could identify with that post-Cold War ennui, a world without struggle, where all life seemed to be was just chasing scraps of happiness while patiently waiting to die.
Another movie where you see this is Office Space starring Ron Livingston. Here’s another guy who chose life. He went to college, got the job in the office, and while he doesn’t have a family yet, he has a serious girlfriend, so he’s following the plan. And yet he is profoundly unhappy with his life. It lacks any meaning. He estimates that he does about 20 minutes of “actual work” per week, so he can’t even take pride in that. Even as a cog in the capitalist machine, he is completely superfluous. Ron Livingston decides he would be much happier if he just stopped going to work and instead spent all day at home watching stupid shit on TV with his girlfriend. In other words, he wants to be Beavis and Butthead.
You can see a pattern forming here. Without struggle, there is the temptation to just turn into Beavis and Butthead.
We see this also in another classic 90’s film: Fight Club.
Fight Club is about another person who “chose life.” Edward Norton is not married or with kids yet, but he chose the school, the fancy job, and the nice place with a fucking big television. And he found it all empty and unfulfilling. But Ed Norton is not content to just become Beavis and Butthead. He longs for a sense of purpose, so he creates Fight Club as a means of allowing men to release the primal energies that in days past could be focused on some greater existential struggle.
This is perhaps summed up best in Durden’s famous speech:
Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war. . . our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
The End of History was a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. It was a great place to be if you were an NPC. If, like Beavis and Butthead, you cared about nothing, your mind unburdened by great questions, nothing of the past or the future, and were content merely to live for today and the next new TV season, then the 1990s were great. But if you were of the romantic or creative variety, the 90s were actually kind of dystopian.
Grunge was the soundtrack of my high school years, and all the lead singers of those bands now are dead from either drugs or suicide. All of them! The singer of Nirvana died from suicide. The singer of Alice in Chains died from drugs. The singer of Soundgarden died from suicide. The singer of Stone Temple Pilots died from drugs. Only Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is still alive, but even Pearl Jam’s first singer (when they were called Mother Love Bone) died from drugs. So they all had singers die from either drugs or suicide.
These were people who were adored by millions, who had unlimited sexual options and the resources to do whatever they pleased, to travel wherever they wanted, to surround themselves with any or all of the material comforts money could buy. And they still felt the need to pump themselves full of Schedule I hard drugs to make the experience of modernity bearable. These are the kind of people that the End of History produced.
Watching statues of our old heroes get pulled down and cities in flames, the 90s might seem like a utopian place. And in some ways, that’s right. But I was there. People forget how absolutely soul-crushing living in utopia can be. I would never want to go back there. Give me a Cause. Hell, I’ll even take a Lost Cause. Even a Lost Cause is better than no Cause at all.
For most of my life, I would hear the story of Adam and Eve and think about how stupid those two must have been. They were living in paradise and just threw it all away. They had one rule: don’t seek knowledge. As long as you don’t seek knowledge, you can live in paradise forever. But as time went on, I began to understand their decision more and more. As shitty as things are now, I find being redpilled in nightmare hellscape of 2020 a far more fulfilling existence than being blissfully ignorant in utopian 1995.
Now, maybe things will get worse. Like, a lot worse, and I might change my tune. Maybe after racism is declared a mental illness and I’m hauled off to a looney bin which will actually be a de facto re-education camp, sitting in my straitjacket and padded cell, I may start waxing nostalgic for the days of Spice Girls and Saved By the Bell.
But as I write this, there is no other place that I would rather be than right here and right now.
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Great article. Reminds me of Arthur Schopenhauer’s point about people being condemned to live lives of suffering because the alternative is boredom.
“The thing about living during the Cold War was that the possibility of nuclear war was in the back of your mind all of the time. It crossed your mind at least once a day. Because if it did happen, you would only have something like 18 minutes warning at most. That’s how long it would take for the missiles to get from Russia to the United States. And it could happen at any time. So if you went to a restaurant or to the mall, the thought might cross your mind: “OK, what if the sirens started going off now? What would I do?” So you scan the place and look for the best place to duck under.”
Sorry, but if you were 7 in the mid-80s, then you are just a few years younger than I am, and this paragraph resembles nothing like what I ever felt throughout the ’80s growing up. It sounds like you were instilled by extreme paranoia from an early age by your mother. Neither I nor anyone I knew went around thinking all the time, “My God, this might be our last 20 minutes alive, nuclear war could break out at any moment.” I’ve rarely seen a more unbelievably exaggerated and paranoiac article on what it was like living during the tail end of the Cold War.
I think sometimes that exaggeration is used as a literary device to set up the actual theme of the essay, and that’s the case here.
I was a teenager in the late 80s, so I’m probably older than you both. I agree that I didn’t walk around wondering if this was the last 18 minutes of my life…at least not with any kind of regularity. Maybe if there was a noteworthy incident in the current news cycle and adults were talking about the threat of war with an escalated sense of urgency or awareness, I might have harbored those thoughts, but certainly not every waking hour.
With that said, it is true, the greater point being made here, is that Gen Xers and Boomers, and I’ll throw in the in-between “Gen Y” category of older millennials and younger Gen Xers who are old enough to remember the Berlin Wall falling, did know what it was like to have the threat of nuclear war put before you in the daily news cycle…so we, as a whole, can understand the nihilism and self-absorption that the 90s brought.
Even if the Cold War didn’t cause us each as individuals to be challenged due to daily “suffering”, it certainly made us aware that our relative comfort as westerners was something to appreciate. Once that daily reminder of how good we had it was gone, there was a vacuum to be filled by the collective “let down”.
That’s probably why so many of us got suckered into the pro-war aspects of 9/11. We finally had a collective challenge again and something important to get behind.
I was 15 when the Wall fell, but it had been years since I felt any sense of imminent nuclear war as a real threat, if ever. It seemed mostly a distant threat already throughout the ’80s – especially once Gorbachev took over in 1985. I remember my parents describing how they had air-raid drills at school in the ’50s where they would all hide under desks, and just laughing at the how they and their parents generation apparently thought some dinky school desk would save them from nuclear bombs and fallout!
I do miss the ’90s though. Last decent decade really. Odd to think now that I actually had high expectations for life and the future in the ’90s. Music, films, life and culture in general, and certainly politics have been all downhill from there. Even Clinton looks better in hindsight. And with the mass corona-insanity and paranoia now plaguing the world (especially America, where nearly everything is taken to stupier and more ridiculous levels), mask-nazis in full force, arbitrary decrees issued daily by petty, ignorant, grasping mayors and governors, race war brweing, the establishment and woke capitalism waging war on whites…all things just get worse and worse by day. I only hope it will all just end soon. I re-watched Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia” the other night. Oh, how I pray for a rogue planet to crash into us! Though I’ll probably have to find a less satisfying way out – more like Korin in Krasznahorkai’s great novel “War and War”.
Like many I was caught up in the war fever of 9/11 as well, which was effectively the end of the “long” ’90s and the beginning of an epochal change, though not the one I and many others though at the time. It was only a few years later that I realized how catastrophically wrong our response and interpretation of events had been, and basically came to see America as a failed state wrong form the beginning (though not for the reasons the woke crowd think). And if you had told me then that 7 years after 9/11 the US would elect a Muslim-born half-black President, and another decade later would be eaten away with corrosive identity politics (“gender”, tranny, and race obsessions, “woke” and cancel culture infecting literally everything), and led by sometime reality show star and casino developer President Trump, while STILL in Afghanistan…I’d have though you utterly insane. But here we are.
And with the mass corona-insanity and paranoia now plaguing the world (especially America, where nearly everything is taken to stupi[d]er and more ridiculous levels), mask-nazis in full force, arbitrary decrees issued daily by petty, ignorant, grasping mayors and governors…
Bless you. At least there’s one person here (besides me) who gets it. I’m old enough to remember when people who were old and/or sickly had the common sense to quarantine themselves or were given medical advice to do so. Now – the entire population is supposed to make itself sick (from wearing a mask) in order to prevent sickness. This is submission training, people, with a goodsized dose of humiliation.
Indeed. It stopped being about health (if it ever really was) around mid-April. It is now clearly all political, and about social control, inducing a state of permanent fear and paranoia in the populace, and forcing subservience to arbitrary diktats with no basis in “the science” they disingenuously claim to be guided by.
Your right about the abuse and perversion of the term “quarantine” in this whole mess. Quarantine is what you do to sick people who may have a highly communicable disease in order to protect the healthy majority of the population, or to those in high at risk demographics to prevent them getting it. When you lockdown an entire healthy population, effectively sentence them to house arrest, and destroy their lives and livelihoods, it’s not called “quarantine,” it’s called tyranny.
I enjoyed this article very much, Blackpilled (Devon Stack) has a great video review of Office Space.
In the 80’s I remember more fear of nuclear plants than war (Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, No Nukes concerts) but in the early 70’s I remember being scared shitless by the air raid drills in elementary school until they stopped the drills around ’75, I suppose they realized the drills were useless.
I sure as hell thought the same thing as the author. Those fallout shelter signs were everywhere, and we all saw Wargames. Remember the “news briefs” that were little snippets of news during primetime on the major networks? Those were always “Soviet dissidents this and Secretary Gorbechov that.” We knew what the deal was.
I’m about the same age as the author. I consumed a lot of the same media.
But what I learned from the 1990’s?
That the media has no connection to reality. That films like “American Beauty” did not reflect the lives that my family, my friends, and I actually lived.
“But then again, what else was there to do in a world without struggle?”
Of course, the real world is full of struggle, despite what Hollywood movies tell you.
The film triggered a conversation among my friends and I about why Hollywood was glamorizing heroin – which had appeared in out town about the time the film came out – and some of the best-read of our friends told us all about CIA heroin trafficking in the Vietnam era.
Seems to me a huge problem is so many of our people can’t distinguish Television/Hollywood/Media from reality.
Perhaps coming from a Christian background, I was lucky to have my authority figures drill into me, day one, a huge distrust of the media.
I suggest everyone adopt a critical view of media, both the “news” and the fiction.
“The film triggered a conversation among my friends and I about why Hollywood was glamorizing heroin “
It’s interesting to note how heroin is portrayed in the media compared to other drugs.
Like movies about weed are always comedies. Movies about cocaine tend to be action dramas. Movies about ecstasy follow the weed model if they about the user and the cocaine model if about the dealer.
But movies about heroin are almost always art films. They deal with it with a particular seriousness that gives the drug a certain mystique.
I dunno if heroin is “glamorized” so much as people associate it with glamorous people. It’s definitely romanticized to a ridiculous degree.
One thing is that many legendary artists and musicians dabbled in heroin in their prime. There’s a phenomenon where rock bands will be into drugs early in their career, get sober, and then they’re never as good anymore. This leads some people to think “Oh, so I guess heroin makes you a great artist” when in reality youth was always the real secret ingredient to making great rock and roll and the band suck now because they are old, not because they are sober.
“Seems to me a huge problem is so many of our people can’t distinguish Television/Hollywood/Media from reality.
Perhaps coming from a Christian background, I was lucky to have my authority figures drill into me, day one, a huge distrust of the media.
I suggest everyone adopt a critical view of media, both the “news” and the fiction.”
This is certainly true. I come from a country that used to be behind the Iron Curtain and most of our older folks still don’t understand they’ve been fed propaganda in the news back then and it’s happening again now (the 90’s were our only really free period, actually). Tabloids tend to be sold out first, as opposed to proper newspapers (though that seems to be a problem everywhere). It always bothered me, before I understood that most people simply don’t care about politics or highly moral topics like freedom, kindness or culture, and just go with the flow. If the general consensus is to be more left, they go more left, if it’s to be more right, they go more right. Similarily they simply vote for whoever most of the people around them vote or who’s shown to be the expected winner on the news.
Not all media are bad, though. I know plenty of shows (from the 90’s as well, though mostly not Western shows) that spread a message of high morality and some of those messages certainly stuck with me.
Maybe after racism is declared a mental illness and I’m hauled off to a looney bin which will actually be a de facto re-education camp, sitting in my straitjacket and padded cell…
The lack of agency expressed here is worth thinking about.
In the WN movement, we need to see Whites as a revolutionary class, an instrument of historical transformation having agency, not some mass of protoplasm whose interests are decided by others and who are acted-upon, but do not act.
It does not matter who ‘declares’ what or how they decide to enforce this declaration.
What matters is whether you, as a White person, will accede to the actions of our enemies or find myriad ways to oppose them and, more importantly, to create a new world for White people.
But one important 90s artist did choose life: vanilla ice was recently spotted working at a car wash in Florida.
I am roughly the same age as Trav I think, a couple of years older, but my 80s experience was different. People weren’t really scared of nuclear war at that point. It was already a sci-fi trope for movies like Real Genius. People were already much more concerned about middle eastern terrorism, and there was even then a distant angst of a “big one” down the road. That’s how I remember it.
I watched Three Kings, a late 90s movie last night, mostly because I noted that spike lee’s Netflix production Da Five Bloods was basically a rip off of it. Three ks is an entertaining movie, but in hindsight the most blatant neocon propaganda imaginable. Iraqis are demonized as torturers and woman shooters, we have to go back and get Saddam out, you might get some of his gold, our guys all have hearts of gold, and are hot, etc etc. sheez. It really shows you how Hollywood, the media and federal government are in lockstep purpose and opinion. Who’s the guy who’s trying to get it out in that (pull! Pull! Pull!)? Office space is about the Donnie darko guy.
My recollection of the 90s is that of an intense antigovernment or conspiracy angst, as captured in Xfiles and later such shows as men in black. People felt dark forces were moving beneath the glossy surface. Ruby ridge, the branch Davidians, Timothy mcveigh. People were also caught up in the rise of computing and the internet.
What about The Simpsons? Meta and snarky as it was, it got immediate blowback from blacks or, at least, their “spokesmen.” Black Bart was their response, and this was in 1990. I remember being flummoxed by their reaction. “Get your own show, then,” I thought. And they did, eventually: Homeboys in Outer Space on UPN.
So some people are pushing back saying that the 80’s were not as obsessed with nuclear war as I am claiming. I’m doubling down on this claim.
Wikipedia has a list of Songs About Nuclear War. There’s over a hundred songs there and somewhere between 1/2 to 2/3 of them are from the 80’s. It was clearly something on a lot of people’s minds.
The ones I remember most distinctly are..
2 Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Here you have American President Reagan and Soviet Premier Chernenko battling in an underground fighting ring and the video ends with the world blowing up.
Christmas At Ground Zero by Weird Al Yankovic
This was a pretty big song at the time. Now, Weird Al makes family-friendly parody songs FOR CHILDREN.
Nena – 99 Red Balloons
“It’s all over and I’m standing pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you, and let it go”
There’s a bunch of them.
I don’t know what to tell y’all. My memory of the 80’s is hearing about Russians all the goddamn time from everywhere (radio, TV, movies) and how there was eventually going to be a nuclear war. I saw a bunch of movies involving a hero trying to prevent WWIII, defuse a nuclear bomb, or what have you. I remember War Games, Spies, Like Us, etc. People thought Reagan was insane and was going start a war.
Perhaps some of that is my own personal experience. I always lived near to high-priority nuclear targets (either missile silos or a military base). But I distinctly remember constantly hearing about nuclear war all the goddamn time.
You are absolutely correct that the media pushed the narrative of nuclear war incessantly.
But I think, truth be told, that channeled through the media, the nuclear threat was to the 80s as Muh Russian collusion, Orange man bad, and white nationalism is to the late 2010’s.
I think that by and large, most people didn’t walk around in a state of fear about nuclear war, just as they don’t walk around in a state of fear that a gang of white nationalists with the backing of Russian money are going to start going around lynching blacks and Mexicans because Donald Trump said “build the wall”.
This is the fodder of extreme cat lady worry and fear, but not the state of reality for 80-90% of us.
The media has been amplifying this stuff for decades for basically the same reasons.
I do understand how as a child, this might have spooked you. When I was a kid, we still did duck and cover drills in elementary school. It certainly did impress upon me a lot of ideas. Which is why I agree with your broad theme here. The 90s brought a time of relatively little struggle, which is unhealthy for people.
I’m not a religious person, but The Bible has a verse (proverbs 27:17) about iron sharpening iron. As people, we are made stronger when we are challenged. This is the gist of your article, and a very good message.
It’s true, but if you went by the mass media, you would think in the current age that the US is eminent danger of white supremacist takeover.
Good point on the music references, you left out Final Countdown
Another one: The video of “Land of Confusion” by Genesis…
I totally confirm that the 1980s were obsessed by nuclear war.
Re: Grunge deaths and suicides
Don’t forget about Shannon Hoon
Articles like this inform me about what’s current in the culture, which I need to know in order to interact, especially with my children, and leave me glad I refrain from partaking. As to the latest shows with the requisite diversity, most are just old Tarzan movies, now set in Manhattan or Bel Air.
Just remember: What would Johnny Weismuller do?
This was an enjoyable read for me due in part to 90s nostalgia. But it seems there was an opportunity to try and draw a connection (or disprove one) between the blandness of the nineties and where we are now. Is Gen X, generally speaking, unable to fight back effectively against the war being waged right now because they were anesthetized during their formative years instead of being taught to fight like other men in other times? Are both of these culture features part of being sandwhiched between the insufferable Boomers and the mindless Millennials?
I would say that the 70s and 80s were the formative years for Gen X.
The 90s were the formative years for Millennials.
The 90s were the “coming of age” years for Gen X. Not that there aren’t “formative” influences in that stage of life. There are. But I would definitely say that the Cold War era did more to shape me, as a Gen Xer, than the movie Clerks, or the show Friends, or any song by Soundgarden.
I’d also argue that Gen X isn’t without our sense of fight….having said that. Most of my friends from high school would wax nostalgic for Reagan era politics as opposed to the 90s. Misguided as we were, our fight would probably be more libertarian inspired than white nationalist. Which isn’t the worst point of reference. It was a bridge to white nationalism for me.
I think childhood and American life were so beautiful on the 80s and early 90s that our generation became soul sick at every growing up and taking the reigns of society . What adult life promised was just too raw a deal. As such we failed our responsibility of stewardship.
Looking back, the defining thing for Gen X, or at least the older half of Gen X, was that almost anywhere in the US there were local white majorities in all classes and ages. For most of the 80s you would see jobs like restaurant dishwashing, lawn mowing, etc. still performed by whites, as amazing as that sounds today. After the Reagan amnesty in 1986 it took only 3 or 4 years to change that. Even in the urban Northeast where I grew up, mestizos were a rarity until suddenly in 1990. But Gen X was too young and too involved in being young adults to notice, even though they did sort of notice in their peripheral vision. The culture producers may or may not have been oblivious to the change, but they still acted as if their consumers were white, living in a secure white nation. I liked a lot of those early 90 shows, especially Get a Life. They simultaneously gently mocked our white lifestyles, enough to get knowing laughs, while still sending the message that they were American too, while also ignoring the looming presence of nonwhites.
There were a lot of movies I saw in 1998-1999 that I thought were just entertainment at the time, but ended up being very prescient about the events of the 21st century.
The Matrix introduced the terms Red Pill and Blue Pill, which became relevant as more and more people woke up to the fact that our high-tech world of comfort & material abundance was beginning to crumble around us.
Eyes Wide Shut warned of a super-elite of pedophiles and satanists that were willing to kill those that exposed their secrets.
The Siege was protested and boycotted for stereotyping Arab Muslims as terrorists.
Tomorrow Never Dies warned that media moguls had the power to start wars and crash economies by controlling people’s thoughts.
Some of this should have been obvious in retrospect, but it was probably the beginning of my, um, “RedPill Journey”.
I miss the 90’s. I remember being in London in 1989 for example, (age 19) and the music, clubs and dance of the time was a great memory for me. It was also a more care-free decade in my life, and I do look back on it with fond memories. It was a more ‘honest’ period of time in my perception and recollection.
You have perfectly distilled the experience of living in the 90’s. A constant “what now?” ringing in the back of your head.
The nuclear paranoia didn’t really affect me much; my mum did see The Day After and got her knickers in a twist, but since she was more concerned with me not watching a film that was not for my age, I kind of blissfully escaped all of the cold war last-20-minutes-of-your-life mentality.
Not all the heroes are dead yet; I’m a big fan of Tool and Nine Inch Nails and these guys are still around and have matured relatively sane. Maybe it was a curse for Grunge.
But it’s true, Tyler Durden finally said the words that were on everybody’s mind and nobody had dared articulate – we had no purpose, no great struggle to overcome. It would be many years until the struggle became so obvious that we began noticing en mass. And there could be no nobler one, at that.
It seems like a clichee that, every election cycle the pundits claim “this is the most important election ever”, but now I know why they say it, even though they maybe doing it for other reasons: every year, every election cycle finds a world in which the stakes are higher, that the troubles of yesteryear seem quaint in comparison. In 2016 we laughed as we drank the salty tears of SJWs reee-ing their eyes out; today, nobody is laughing but we are watching over our shoulders. The delusions of civnationalism are the toys we threw out of the pram 4 years ago, but now we have put them away.
>These are the kind of people that the End of History produced.
No, these are the kind of adults that divorce produced.
“But as I write this, there is no other place that I would rather be than right here and right now.”
I never really understood the desire to be live in a time other than the one you’re in, your offspring would still end up having to deal with the problems you’re now dealing with should you theoretically manage to end up back in time. Seems like a selfish desire.
For me, nostalgia is quickly cured by revisiting the things I saw/did. Unless they were deeply personal experiences that can not be reproduced, I find that a lot of the media that I consumed to already be laced with the poison we are nowadays aware of. Just in a much smaller dose. Enough to trick the immune system into not acting. One thing that has always stuck with me is (I think an episode of Alf, not sure) where they felt compelled to explain to the audience at the end of the sitcom that the racist neighbor wasn’t really racist, he was just an actor.
This attitude pretty much set the mood for the rest of the 90’s as well: Star Trek with its ultra-egalitarianism (good fun, though!) racially diverse buddy cop movies, etc. Wasn’t quite aware of it back then and I had no clue it was part of a much longer struggle that had been raging well before the 90’s.
The metal scene of the 80’s was definitely a heck of a lot cooler with imminent thermonuclear death on the back of a band’s mind, though:
“Shapes in the distance race to the point,
dispersing their load as they go.
Far on the horizon a mushroom has grown
It’s shape looms across the plateau.
Dawn sees a new world of active barbaric delight,
Scorched grains of human flesh, left from the fighting that night. “
” One thing that has always stuck with me is (I think an episode of Alf, not sure) where they felt compelled to explain to the audience at the end of the sitcom that the racist neighbor wasn’t really racist, he was just an actor. ”
Wasn’t Alf recently ‘cancelled’ by apparently using the n-word in a private conversation 30-something years ago ? … You know it’s bad when they go after a long-nosed alien from outta-space who likes to eat cats !
I miss the 90s. Last decade of good music.
I bought a lottery ticket yesterday and the machine printed it out for me in Spanish. Incidentally, I just asked my wife when we started to ‘press 1 for English’ on the telephone (I wasn’t living in the US at the time). She recalls this even in the 1980’s !
Also, I have been unemployed since April due to the Wuhan Virus, (remember in the old days when we all called it that ?) I have noticed almost 40% of job vacancies asking for Spanish as a requirement. … Good times.
I don’t believe there was a real threat of a nuclear war, it was all a jewish puppet show!
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