Earlier this year I reviewed Cyberville, Stacy Horn’s recounting of starting an online community in 1990s New York. That got me on a 90s entertainment kick in music, movies, and other books. (To be honest, I’m always on a 90s kick in music.) Klosterman’s The Nineties was an obvious followup read. While a lot of my pop culture interests are Chuck Klosterman-adjacent, this was the first time I’ve read one of his books. If his other reads are like this one, I’ll put them on my To Read shelf. Any recommendations?
To be clear, this book isn’t about nonagenarians; it’s about the 1990s in America. The ambivalent and slouchy rise of Generation X, Presidential elections and their meaning (or seeming lack of meaning), steroids in baseball, OJ, hanging chads, Waco, the web – a lot of the things you would expect to be here are here. What’s not here is much talk about movies, or books, or even music beyond its censorship. Klosterman does spend a few pages on popular literary figures, but mostly as archetypes as the types of people who were influential during the decade.
Travel books and history books sometimes do the same thing for me – they remind me that there are other ways of being. I thought differently in the 90s, I thought about different things in the 90s – we all did. But I was also at a different life stage. As I remember, do I separate the life stage from the time – which one did I enjoy and which one do I miss?
Some things you can only see when you aren’t there.