A Collection of Pop Culture Treasures: Chapter 2: Fad Fiction, Extended Cut

Not everything in the realm of Pop Culture has staying power. Sometimes that’s a good thing and then sometimes the public realizes years later that maybe that fad wasn’t so bad after all. Thank goodness that everyone came to their senses and agreed that Furbies were terrifying and they should go back to hell where they belong. I will state right now that I am not all knowing when it comes to EVERY fad in existence and I did sort of tune a lot of it out in 2016 because I was planning a wedding,  but I can point out a few that are noteworthy…and cringeworthy.

I’m going to work my way backwards from the now to then. I’ve seen some pretty weird fads come, go, and resurface only to fizzle out again in my time. Not all fads are just the latest and greatest technologies, they can be anything from books, toys, dances/ songs, even people. We’re only a two months into 2017 so I’ll be starting the list from 2016 and work backwards. Please be aware that this is a long post and if you’re not that good at the attention span thing, please feel free to scan this.

  • Anti-Trump protests and the Tolerant Intolerance movements: Anti-Trump sentiments burst on the scene from the moment that it was announced that he was going to run. The internet and Twitter world worked itself into a frenzy, posting memes and comparisons to Hitler from the get go. I was a part of those feelings, but I kept my conversations OFF the web until after his election. I really do blame both the Bernie or Bust people and those idiots who voted for a DEAD GORILLA.
    • This brings me to the second craze that sweeping the nation: the Tolerant Intolerance movement amongst young people has gotten way out of hand and personally, I feel like this point it has become a fad. I’m not saying  that being against an (PERSONAL OPINION) incapable president is a whim but what I think makes it so popular is that it is now cool is the ridiculousness of the way the internet has responded. The memes, the photoshopping, the reference to the Alternative 1985 from Back to the Future all incite hilarity because Trump is so thin-skinned but also can make those who are angry about his win look like sore losers. My sister is a Republican (bless her heart..) but she nailed something on the head the other day. I told her some old friends of mine unfriended her because of political beliefs and she came back with this, “That’s Liberal snowflake tolerance for you. You’ll tolerate anyone’s ideas as long as their like yours..” Now, yes, that can used for both sides of the Parties that be, but she does have a point about us Liberals. While I do not consider myself a snowflake because I understand that global warming is a thing and because I don’t get “triggered” by everything, I know that a great many of my fellow Liberal Democrats can get pissed off about the silliest thing and will instantly call it *insert thing* shaming. People, seriously, take it down a notch. I get being mad. I get wanting to fight back. However, I do not understand drawing a line in the sand and demanding you pick a side; and if you don’t pick the side I want you to then we can’t be friends…even online. WTF.
  • Pokémon Go: This game took over the world when it was launched in the summer of 2016……for about a month or two. Everyone was playing this game, hunting for little creatures all over their city. It was a great way to get people out there and walking and meeting fellow Pocket Monster fans. Of course then the idiots came out of the woodwork and started getting hit by cars or better still DRIVING and playing the game, walking to unsavory neighborhoods and dark alleyways in search of an illusive Snorlax or some shit, or better yet: walking off a fucking cliff and dying. There are still some who play it though I can’t tell if it is for the love of the game or if it is just a way to get exercise and be on your phone at the same time. For the most part, however, this fad fizzled out only a few short weeks after it debuted. RIP Pokémon Go, 2016-2016.
  • Celebrity Deaths: This is an off-beat kind of obsession that took over 2016. While the nation or the fans were saddened that *insert celebrity* passed away, it became almost a morbid fascination as to who might die next. The internet world even started a petition to Save Betty White. And you know what? I think it may have worked. 2016 had far too many deaths to list–David Bowie and Alan Rickman being the ones that devastated me–and 2017 is off to a rough start with losing Mary Tyler Moore and Sir John Hurt.
  • Harambe: It was a fucking gorilla. It got shot because dumbass parents weren’t paying attention to their kid. The memes this sprouted were endless and the hashtag #dicksoutforharambe still confuses me. He’s a gorilla…of course his dick is out. Why does your human dick have to be out? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I even threatened James with divorce before the wedding even happened if he brought up that damn gorilla one more time. If someone can explain to me whatthefuck #dicksoutforharambe means, I will dedicate my next post to any subject you want AND I will mail you a prize.
  • The Summer Olympics in Rio: The Olympics themselves are not so fad a much, really, but the events that took place this year in Brazil makes this worthy of a mention. Michael Phelps, who I swear is actually part fish, winning 23 Gold medals over the course of his career and his use of cupping were definitely talking points; Ryan Lochte getting “mugged” and his white hair was interesting, to say the least. Also I particularly loved that the national news stations reporting the amount of condoms supplied at the athlete villas: It’s good to know that boning knows no geographical limitations.
    • The Summer Olympics in London 2012 are noteworthy because of the Opening Ceremonies. The freaking Queen of England parachuted into the arena! The Spice Girls reunited because everyone needs to Spice Up [Their] Lives. Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, and more! The only thing that was missing was a Monty Python Spanish Inquisition…but you can never expect that.
  • Hatchimals: These were THE toy of the Christmas season, selling out everywhere. Probably because I am older now and don’t have children I didn’t understand the fascination with this one. I saw it basically as a Furby that came from an egg with Tamagotchi-like responsibilities. It did make for good fun when reports came out that these toys were A) didn’t work or hatch for their owners and 2) started saying swear words. Like the Furby, Hatchimals deserve a place in the garbage bin. Or to be set ablaze.
    • For generations prior to this the IT toy of Christmas seasons were:
      • Tickle Me Elmo, which caused riots and stampedes at retailers everywhere in 1996. I wish I could elaborate more on this felt-covered, giggling vibrator but I was over Sesame Street at that point and onto bigger things by 1997, like Bear in the Big Blue House.
      • Tamagotchi, these little keychain pets were all the rage when I was in elementary school; so much so that my school had to ban these things from being brought to school. “But who is going to feed my Tamagotchi while I’m away?!!” Often you would return home to it being covered in its own shite or dead. Luckily there was a nifty little restart button on the back.
      • Furby, these demons of the Netherworld were downright terrifying and should’ve come with a warning label saying “Unless you like to be woken up by it’s banish-like screams or Mephistophelean chatter at 3am, please call your local exorcist then promptly set on ablaze.”
      • Cabbage Patch Dolls, these creepy wonders were huge when my sister was young and were another toy that cause riots and people literally bum rushed store entrances, trampling other shoppers. Death over a doll seems outrages, but then again, so were the 80s.
  • Kylie Jenner and her Lip Kits: For someone, who only a few short years ago, didn’t have the lips she is now known for, this famous-for-NO-reason 19-year old has done well for herself. She has a mansion and I have a one bedroom flat…. The lip kits cost $29 a piece and when first released, sold out in a matter of moments. While I’m not above buying expensive lipstick, I just can’t bring myself (nor would I ever) to contribute to her “empire”. I’m also still really lost on how and why and what makes the Kardashian/Jenner clan so interesting, honestly. I mean…what do they actually DO??
  • Planking: Yeah that was actually a thing. Folks lying flat on a surface or in an usual place suddenly was suddenly all the rage… I am even guilty of doing this, but in my defense, it was REALLY slow at my place of business, and only us workers were in the building. There was photographic evidence but it is still listed as classified and won’t become public until NEVER.
  • Myspace: We all had one. There’s no shame in it. You should feel, however, embarrassed for those glitter things that were on your page and that emo band that played when someone visited you. It’s a good thing most of us have forgotten our passwords. I do feel sorry for the younger generations that won’t know the struggle and the loss of friendships that came about of choosing who to be in your Top 8.
  • Skate shoes with fat laces: James is definitely guilty of this. These shoes, usually Etnies or Element brand, made your feet look abnormally large like you were wearing alternative clown shoes. Did the wearers of these shoes even skateboard?
  • Napster and Limewire: Again, younger generations will never know about almost crashing their parent’s computer with TechnoAids just to find that one perfect song. When Napster came under fire by Metallica and you had to start paying for the music, the users of these downloading platforms were very unhappy. There was even a whole legal battle about this. In an ironic turn of events, with the launch of iPods and iTunes, people forgot that they were once pissed off about paying for music and started throwing money at Apple like they were at a strip club (“.99 for a song? That’s a steal!!)
    • I know not everyone uses iTunes and some probably do pirate music which is a-ok with me, just make sure your computer has a condom.
    • Metallica was not the only musical entity to raise a stink about this. Taylor Swift also raised a fuss about this a while back, but I don’t care for T-Swift so I didn’t really pay it much attention..
  • The Macarena and The Cha Cha Slide: No middle school dance or wedding was/ is complete without these two songs. And to the delight of everyone ever, when either one of these line dances come on, someone’s drunk uncle gets out there and starts doing their best to keep up with simple directions or hand movements.
  • MTV: This one might seem a little odd because in one way, Music Television is still ongoing, but on the other hand, the network is a far cry from what it used to be. Shows like 16 and Pregnant and Ridiculousness replaced Jackass and The Real World. They barely show music videos anymore, I believe. I grew up within the MTV generation. MTV Spring Break in Cancun and Panama City Beach were still a thing and probably a leading cause in why Panama City now prohibits alcohol on the beach.
    • The Real World, This was THE show to watch when I was growing up. Now, I did miss the very first episode of the series when it was New York City for the first time, but I definitely got into it at first with Seattle. However, Hawaii and San Diego were my all time favourite seasons. Hawaii stands out the most to me because of Tek and Ruthie; they were the first to arrive, got naked and jumped into the pool, and at one point Tek climbs onto a wall–still naked, mind you–and sings “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind. If that doesn’t just scream 1999 then I don’t know what does.
      • I low key always wanted to audition for The Real World but it’s not really a thing anymore, I have self respect, thankfully (???) my social anxiety would’ve been like, “hoe, don’t do it.”, and I probably would’ve ended up being that boring cast member that doesn’t really get a “story line”.
  • The Muppets: Jim Henson’s characters were all the rage when they debuted. Sesame Street has been on the air for almost 50 years. The early Muppet movies showed that puppets can be more than just made of socks and hidden puppeteers. The use of the latest technologies and innovations from the Henson team made them just as memorable as the movies themselves. And you couldn’t beat the celebrity cameos. Unfortunately The Muppets faded out popularity for a while only to make an almost last ditch effort with The Muppets in 2011. While it brought them back into the eyes of the public, it wasn’t a strong enough pull to keep them around. After a failed sequel and television series, I guess Kermit and the Gang are better left to the past and with fans who want to “keep believing, keep pretending.”

—Dishonorable mentions: fanny packs, perms, scrunchie socks and their bastard cousin: toe socks, gluten-free or vegan diets, TRL and Carson Daly….

I do have one more to throw out there: I saved it for last because it is the most controversial.

  • the Bible: This one book has brought about nothing but war instead of the message of peace and good will towards man like people claim it preaches. War amongst different religions, war amongst its followers, and war to reclaim a piece of desert. It’s the best-selling book on the globe and has been reprinted and translated over and over since its first appearance so it’s true meaning could really be lost to the ages, but people still defend it to this day. Some people even use it justify their own hatred and bigotry; they pick and choose certain passages from it to fit their agenda. Not believing in the Bible is also looked at as probably the worst sin of all, besides being someone who isn’t white. The audacity to question a book that people put so much stock into because it is “the word of God” basically qualifies you for your own crucifixion, ya heathen. As mentioned previously in other posts, I do not believe in the Bible nor its teachings, but this does not mean I need people to say things to me like, “Oh, well, I’ll pray for you”, “How do you know you lead a good life?”, “Jesus still loves you…” These statements, no matter how well intentioned, are irritating and rude. However, I like my job, and don’t want to waste my energy talking to you when you’re just going to tell me I’m going to hell anyway.

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That seems like a good place to end the “Fad List”. I know that I barely left the 1980s-2000s for a better part of the list, but maybe I’ll do a special edition later on. When fads start, some are quick to jump on the train and ride it till it’s impending crash, others are slow on the uptake and join in before the train has completely gone off the rails, and some folks are just too cool for school and decide to take the bus instead. I know I didn’t cover EVERY fad and there are probably some I even completely forgot: Please feel free to let me know if I missed something important or something that was your favourite fad.

The best thing about fads is that one day whether through popularity, nostalgia, or a last ditch effort, one of those fads you had hoped disappeared will make a return. Scrunchies, mom shorts, and crimped hair all had a comeback in the recent years. I’ve heard this is the case for a lot of parents in my generation too. Children run home to tell their uncool parents about some movie or video game or some old song they heard about at school and their parents are quick to let their offspring know that at one point, whatever it is they think is “vintage” or “ridiculous” was once the coolest shit on the planet.  The kid will still probably rolls their eyes either way.

Stay tuned for Chapter 3

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