Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The last 40 years.

A friend held a “60s party” last night on the occasion of his birthday. Throughout the week, my wife and I had been looking around for period costume pieces to wear, and this got me looking through some of my grandpa’s old memorabilia. The major find was a campaign button: Nixon/Agnew. So, we decided, rather than tie-dye anything or taking any acid, we’d go as establishment 40-year olds from 1968. Which, incidentally is the year I was born. I think we pulled it off.

So being this guy from 1968 (let’s call him “Herb”) got me thinking how much the world has changed in just my lifetime. And being who I am I couldn’t shake the idea. So, here’s my ongoing list of the stuff that makes up my life today that Herb never saw and would probably have relegated to the world of science fiction:

• Personal computers
--- o Mice
--- o flash drives
--- o laptops
--- o DVD-roms
--- o Modems
--- o Wi-fi
--- o SPSS
--- o Word, Excel & PowerPoint
--- o computer viruses, trojans, SPAM and Phishing scams
• The Internet
--- o Email
--- o Google
--- o Wikipedia
--- o Blogs
--- o YouTube
--- o Facebook
• cell phones, pdas
• ipods, walkmans
• Cable/satellite TV
--- o CNN & Fox News
--- o MTV&VH1
--- o ESPN
--- o QVC
--- o Food Network
--- o Comedy Central
• Tivo
• Image scanners
• Digital cameras
• Video games, from Pong to WOW and Wii (*WOWWEEE!)
• “wired” classrooms and smart boards
• VHS, CD, DVD, and MP3 media and the very idea of owning a movie
• Flat panel, LCD and plasma tvs.
• PIXAR and cg
• Absolutely anything sold at Best Buy
• Airbags
• A black president
• Microbrews
• Hello Kitty
• 78 oz drinks
• Laser pointers
• Boom boxes
• The space shuttle
• Snooze buttons
• Cloning
• Granola bars
• Biggy-sizing
• The end of the cold war
• Oprah
• Bottled water
• Starbucks
• Graphic novels
• 3 and 4 blade plastic disposable razors
• Gel pens
• Asbestosis
• Big-box stores
• Viagra
• Pictures from robots on Mars
• Wite-out
• Debit cards
• Star Wars figures
• Anti-bacterial hand soap dispensers
• The ubiquitous plastic bags
• “diet” soda
• Spandex, Gore-Tex
• The cubicle
• The resignation of a president
• Commercials for erectile dysfunction
• Olympic curling
• SUVs
• Sports drinks
• Toner cartridges
• The war on terror
• Al Qaeda
• Halogen lamps
• “Low-fat” foods
• ATMs
• Crack, meth, and E
• Right-wing radio
• Prozac
• Heavy metal, disco, new-wave, grunge, & hip-hop
• Infotainment
• Crips and Bloods
• Women with tattoos
• California Roll
• Virtual reality
• Ronco
• Touch screens
• Battlefield drones, piloted half a world away from their targets.
• Claratin
• Reaganomics
• Smoothies
• The sequencing of the human (or any) genome

I welcome your additions to this obviously incomplete list.

I don’t really have any point to make about all this. It’s just fascinating to me how recently our cultural content has developed. Some of these come under “how did they ever live without it?” and some under “how will we ever survive it”. Maybe I’m just getting old (all right, that’s a given), and engaging in the ancient practice of nostalgia... but I think the pace of change we’ve encountered makes this lifetime pretty unique. Who else has ever felt this old at 40?


Blogger Jay Livingston said...

CAT scans and MRIs

Saturday, February 27, 2010 1:31:00 PM  
Anonymous olderwoman said...

SPSS existed in 1968, albeit just barely.

I knew it existed in 1969 or early 1970 because my first sociology job as an undergrad involved learning to run SPSS from the mimeograph version. Our friend Google (NOT available in 1969!) brought up the above info in the first try.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 7:18:00 PM  

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