For those of us above a certain age, the 1990s was an era that was both iconic and life-changing.
Chuck Klosterman‘s new book, The Nineties: A Book, was published in February. With a historian’s eye and a cultural critic’s perspective, Klosterman explores the last decade of the 20th century via the roads of politics, entertainment, technology, etc. He dives into iconic moments such as how the internet changed the world, how Seinfeld was a cultural phenomenon, and how Ross Perot had a deciding hand in the 1992 Presidential election.
I loved this book. For me, it was a trip down memory lane. It also taught me a few things about my coming of age years that I might not have been aware of at the time. Klosterman writes in a way that speaks to the reader who lived through the decade and the reader who is learning about it after the fact.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Nineties: A Book is available wherever books are sold.
Character types are the backbone of storytelling. Whether or not a writer(s) chooses to go beyond these stereotypes tells us everything that we need to know about the creators of the narrative.
The Jewish holiday of Passover starts on Friday night. One of the components of the story of the exodus from Egypt is the Four Sons. Each son (whom I refer to as a child instead, because of well, feminism.) is a stereotype. The eldest knows everything that there is to learn about and is still eager to know more. The second-born would rather be someplace else, doing anything else. The third child knows the basics and needs a simple answer. The youngest does not even know how to ask the question.
My problem is with the image of the second eldest child. In traditional terms, this person is dealt with harshly. They are basically told that had they been in Egypt, they would have been left in bondage. Looking at the text with a modern lens, rebellion or questioning the status quo is not a bad thing. It forces us, as a culture to look our demons in the eye and make a decision: do we deal with our problems or stick our heads in the sand?
In a religious context, the second child speaks to those of us who are discontent with the all-or-nothing aspect of faith. According to a Gallup poll from last year, less than half of all Americans attend regular religious services. This is compared to 80 years ago when almost three-quarters were in a house of worship at least once a week. I think this comes down to flexibility and understanding that many younger people are turned away from the old-school way of looking at religion. If the wish is for the pews to be full, a little creativity may be needed to bring back those who have drifted away.