A rundown of 1900 to 2012
In the 1900s things were pretty quaint. And white. And male. And straight. And classist. And prudish.
In the 1910s, there was World War I. It was grim, and pretty unnecessary.
In the 1920s, the War to end all Wars was over! It was time to party! And challenge stuffy societal norms! With flappers and jazz!
In the 1930s, there was the Great Depression and its aftermath. That was sad. But at least there was still jazz.
In the 1940s there was World War II. Things were dire. Things were life-changing.
In the 1950s things were good! Picket fences! Doris Day! I Love Lucy! But only if The Man kept tight control of everything. Everyone smile and do as you’re told.
The 1960s were a revolt against the 1950s. Everything was so oppressive in the 50s, so the 60s loosened things up with changing conceptions of sex and gender and race and war and family and country and love. The 1950s were about respecting The Man. The 1960s were about sticking it to The Man. And asking, who is The Man? A White Man? A Brown Man? A Wo-Man? A Man-loving Man? Why can’t The Man be those things? Or other things? A hug? That walrus?
The 1970s were like the 1960s but even looser and dirtier. Hairy chests and orgies. The 1950s seemed so long ago, that it held a special fascination for those in the 1970s who treated it like a quaint bygone time they could never go back to - or only go back to through movies and TV shows. See the 70s’ tribute to the 50s in Happy Days, Grease, Laverne and Shirley, American Graffiti, the list goes on.
The 1980s, on the other hand, was a revolt against the 1960s. Think Family Ties. Flower power was out and power suits were in. Garish consumerism was in. Reagan was in. The USA had firmly gotten over its guilt about Vietnam, and was proud of itself again and beating its chest. And the sexual revolution kind of had to come to a close due to the AIDS epidemic.
Then something weird happened. In the 1990s, everything rebooted.
In the 1990s, the 1960s were back. Flairs, hippies, potheads, anti-establishment-ness, a renewed fascination in The Brady Bunch/Woodstock/British music (Spice Girls in their minis and platforms/Oasis sounding an awful lot like the Beatles). Just look at Forest Gump. Forest Gump was the 1990s' love letter to the 1960s.
Then in the late 1990s/early 2000s, the 1970s were back. Disco/Farrah hair/Charlie’s Angels/That 70s Show.
Then in the mid-late 2000s, the 1980s were back. 80s clothes, hairstyles and low-grade electronica that we thought would never be acceptable again, were acceptable again. Not to mention a huge resurgence in USA chest beating and pride in American military muscle, and the forgetting of the lessons (that should have been) learned in the Vietnam War.
And now, in 2012?
The early 1990s are back. The brief part of the 1990s before the 1960s were back. This is most evident in fashion - women are dressing like Elaine in early-Seinfeld or Blossom in Blossom (actually, more like Six in Blossom. Blossom was her own unique style snowflake). Check out what The Supermodels (you know which ones I mean) were wearing in the early 1990s and you will see the similarities. Outside of fashion, there’s one other similarity between 2012 and the early 90s (besides the troops are coming back from the Gulf War): we’re all in agreement that Catwoman is the best thing in the latest Batman movie.
Where we go from here, I don’t know. Hopefully the 1920s.