Top 5 90s Pop Culture Sensations

#5. POGS

There are some things in popular culture that when we reflect back we realize the appeal of the subject and why it was so popular among its audiences. For me, though, Pogs have always been a mystery and an appeal I never understood. The game of occupying your opponents collected discs by chucking your disc against a tower of discs and seeing which ones landed face-up is quite literally weird to me. Pogs1It always crossed my mind as, “that’s a stupid game”. Yet hundreds of thousands were obsessed with and crazed about this game to the point that it would create conflict on school playgrounds leading to its eventual ban in some North American schools (reason being that it was a form of gambling).

#4. TAMAGOTCHI PETS 

These gadgets lost my attention and interest after a day and I’m sure became a distraction in most classrooms. Tamagotchi_0047_R1Fake “friends” that required much care and love from its owner (by way of pressing a button to “feed” it or take it for a “walk” etc). I never owned one but any kid could have had a better friendship with their imaginary friend than this stupid thing! They were just annoying to me but an indication of the technological impact of toys to come.

#3. NINTENDO 

This is, by far, my favourite sensation of the 90s. I loved everything about Nintendo- from the simple rectangular controller, chunky console and the gigantic games one would collect and lend out. Nintendo’s history is one that is long, complex and rich with failures but mostly successes. SONY DSCThe company was founded in the late 1800s but did not reach its momentum in the video gaming industry until the 80s and of course, its popularity grew to a massive audience by the early 90s. Interesting fact: roughly translated, Nintendo means “leave luck to heaven”.

#2. TV: TEEN DRAMA

Of course TV pop culture in any era is of great influence to its audiences but in the 90s, teen drama TV series were one of the most influential subjects on our culture. Not only were these series influential in North American culture but all over the world regardless of language barriers and cultural ideations. These shows, from 90210, Degrassi High, Dawson’s Creek to Saved By The Bell, Seventh Heaven and Party of Five, grew a fan base that was young, impressionable and die-hard loyal. 90210Not only were the stars of these shows hugely idolized but their fashions and characteristics were reflected in this era as well. For instance, you have the fashions of shows like 90210, the broodiness of Party of Five and the distinct expanded vocabulary of Dawson’s Creek. Many of these shows have seen a resurrection in the early millennium but in my opinion, nothing will ever be comparable to the success that the original shows garnered.

#1. MUSIC: GRUNGE vs. POP 

Popular culture is largely defined as the mainstream perspective, norms and images of any given culture. Pop culture, of course, is an evolution that gradually changes its characteristics throughout time and only becomes a sensation when large audiences are acquired. Music has and will always be a major influential factor in any time period. Music has the power to define/create a culture (i.e. dictate what sounds/looks good) while also following a culture (i.e. creating music that fits into that already defined niche). 90sMusicCollage1In the 90s, mainstream music consisted of two genres that were as different as day and night: grunge and pop. I distinctly remember the fashions of this era being largely defined by music; you had the emos vs. the teeny-boppers. One can easily identify someone who was a fan of grunge music by their brooding nature, dark hair/make up with ripped jeans, t-shirt and plaid button-ups. Anyone who did not fit into that category was likely a fan of pop music. You had bands like Nirvana, Garbage, Hole vs. Hanson, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and of course, Ms. Britney Spears. I was, of course, a fan of both (all) genres (never excluding any one from the other on my playlists at the time) but leaned more towards the pop sensations (surprise, surprise!).

Disagree? What are your top 5’s?

 [Source: Wikipedia]

Top 5 Memoirs

This next compilation of favourite memoirs is a combination of all things I am fascinated by. First off, as an avid reader and people-watcher, nothing grabs my attention more than a great memoir full of grit, fear, redemption, courage and eventual empowerment. This list is quite eclectic as you will soon see but for that, I am most proud. They are all subjects I have either once been or continue to be confounded and captivated by.

#5. Night by Elie Wiesel

Anight-by-elie-wiesel-jpgn unforgettable and mesmerizing memoir written from the perspective of a young Wiesel during the holocaust. This book truly defined what it meant to face harrowing horrors by the hands of your own community and what survival and true courage looks like on the other side.

 

#4. Elvis & Me by Priscilla Presley

We are all fascinated by rock stars no matter who we are or where we come from. Whether we love their music, their dreamy voices, their banging bodies, their good looks or we want to emulate them. Either way, we can never get elvis-and-meenough of them- do they eat what normal people eat, do they shop where we shop, what do they talk to their friends about and what is it like to be around them? And who better to tell such an intimate tale about Elvis than Priscilla Presley- the one person who met Elvis at his best and was apart of his world at the peak of his career. This book feeds on these fascinations and invites you into a world full of sex, drugs and rock and roll as they say. And what’s more, you read about an ordinary girl’s whirlwind romance with Elvis and what it took to walk away from the love of her life, also known to the rest of the world as the King of Rock and Roll.

#3. Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife by Irene Spencer

irene spencerPolygamy- yes, I know. Every time someone finds me reading a book about polygamy the same ignorant comments are bound to follow: “do you… say um, believe in polygamy?” And the answer is always an obvious no. You can be so entirely fascinated in any subject but don’t have to necessarily believe in it. I read a lot of books about the holocaust but that doesn’t mean I thought any way of it other than it was a devastating tragedy and an indelible mark on our human history that we can never erase, discard or forget. My fascination with polygamy is far beyond the scandalous plural marriages and sister wives but actually the human condition and what the irreparable combination of religion, isolation and the lack of socialization will do to shape a young person’s mind or even a small community’s visions of how the world should be. It is a sacrificial world that I will never understand and that, in itself, is truly spellbinding.

#2. Kris Jenner… And All Things Kardashian by Kris Jenner

Before anyone judges the title of this book, let us all remember the old adage “never judge a book by its cover”.  And ifKris-Jenner-All-Things-Kardashian you succeed, you will find a gem in this book. However, it isn’t the Kardashians of this book that fascinate me but it is the reason why they became publicly known that has always intrigued me and that is through Robert Kardashian, a strong player in the OJ Simpson camp during the most controversial and monumental murder trial of our time. This book tells it like it is and gives readers an inside look at what the spectators were always attempting to grasp at. It is truly an insatiable and gripping read and I remember not being able to put it down for an entire weekend no matter what was happening or who was talking to me. A memorable excerpt from the book:

As the chase continued, the Bronco never going more than sixty miles an hour, the police blocked freeway entrances so traffic wouldn’t interfere with their operation. People gathered on overpasses, actually cheering on OJ and AC in what Newsweek later described as “equal parts police chase, VIP motorcade and demented victory lap”. –Kris Jenner

 

#1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

glass_castleI cannot say enough about this book. In fact, I went three years not being able to say enough about this book so instead, I gifted it to every person from those who were barely literate to those who were voracious readers like myself. This book resonated with me more than any book I have ever read because its message at the core represented bravery and heroism in the modern sense and was reflected in the soul of any ordinary person, including myself. Jeannette Walls was a survivor of many sorts: she survived her childhood with careless and fleeting parents by pushing herself to overcome barriers to success and she survived the ordeal of letting go of the heavy burden and the shame of where she came from- ready for others to tear her down and judge her for what she felt was not a life she ever wanted or asked for. This book is for anyone who wants to rebound from their childhood whether it was an extraordinary one or one that is better left forgotten.

Disagree? What are your top 5’s?

Top 5 Words That Do Not Sound Like They Are Spelled

#5. Wednesday (pronounced “Wens-day”)

#4. Island (pronounced “eye-land”)

#3. Doubt (pronounced “dout”)

#2. Receipt (pronounced “re-seet”)

#1. Subtle (pronounced “sut-tle” or “suddle”)

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Just when the English language could not be anymore complicated, they come up with this stuff? Seriously, how are you supposed to explain these words and how they are spelled to your children? “Because that’s the way it is, okay?!?” Once you immerse yourself into learning other languages, you soon start to realize how complex a language English really is. Those of us who speak it fluently really take it for granted at times.

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Disagree? Have more to add? What are your top 5’s?