Sunday, 28 August 2011

Happened On The Year I Was Born

In 1993, the world was a different place.
There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. Or Facebook, for that matter.
In 1993, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Jurassic Park. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.
People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty.
Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Schindler's List. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to Belle Époque. The top actor was Tom Hanks for his role as Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia. The top actress was Holly Hunter for her role as Ada McGrath in The Piano. The best director? Steven Spielberg for Schindler's List.
In the year 1993, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Oh, that's many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it? Look at the cover!
In 1993... The European Community eliminates trade barriers and creates a European single market. EuroNews is launched in Europe. Douglas Hurd is the first high-ranking British official to visit Argentina since the Falklands War. Salvatore Riina, the Mafia boss known as 'The Beast', is arrested in Palermo, Sicily after 23 years as a fugitive. Janet Reno is selected by President Clinton as Attorney General of the United States. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raid the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, with a warrant to arrest leader David Koresh on federal firearms violations. Id Software releases Doom, a seminal first-person shooter that uses advanced 3D graphics for computer games. Jiang Zemin becomes President of the People's Republic of China. A nuclear accident occurs at Tomsk 7 in Russia. Laurence Powell and Stacey Koon are found guilty in the second Rodney King trial. Eritrea and Monaco gain entry to the United Nations. U.S. President Bill Clinton orders a cruise missile attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters in the Al-Mansur District of Baghdad, in response to the attempted assassination of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush during his visit to Kuwait in mid-April. The Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform succeeds in having the Irish sodomy law reformed. Canadian software specialist Peter de Jager publishes in Computerworld U.S. weekly magazine an article Doomsday 2000, which is the first known reference to Y2K, the 2000 Year problem. The video game of the day was Virtua Fighter.
That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.
The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Toni Morrison. The Nobel Peace prize went to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk. The Nobel prize for physics went to Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor, Jr. from the United States for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation. The sensation this created was big. But it didn't stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn't it?
The 1990s were indeed a special decade. The Nineties saw the beginnings of the World Wide Web, originating at CERN. Email becomes popular. The Soviet Union dissolved. Living standards in East Asia and Europe generally improved. The Cold War ends. Iraqi forces invade Kuwait. A UN coalition force led by the US was sent to the Persian Gulf, and aerial bombing of Iraq began. The Kosovo War took place. The Ethiopian Civil War ends. Dolly, a sheep, is cloned. The Global Positioning System GPS becomes fully operational. Genetically engineered crops are developed for commercial use. Intel develops the Pentium processor. The Java programming language is created. Microsoft released Windows 95. In Los Angeles, riots occur after the police brutality case involving Rodney King. Great Britain hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to China. East Timor breaks away from Indonesian control. US president Bill Clinton was involved in the Lewinsky scandal. Dogme 95 becomes an important artistic movement in European film. Teen soap Beverly Hills 90210 has its long run. Baywatch becomes the most watched show in history. On MTV, reality television makes its beginning. Nelson Mandela is elected president of South Africa. Germany was reunified. The prediction of computer bug Y2K spreads fear.
Do you know what was on the cover of Life that year?
There's a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn't care about time. It doesn't know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.
When you were 9, the movie Return to Never Land was playing. When you were 8, there was Cats and Dogs. When you were 7, there was a Disney movie out called Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Does this ring a bell?
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... it's 1993. There's TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is Walker, Texas Ranger. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There's Beavis and Butt-Head on now. That's the world you were born in.
Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1993. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born? The Global Positioning System. The Blue LED.
Is it June or late September?
Is it 1993?
Could you help me to remember?
Is this how I'm supposed to be?
That's from the song Cigarettes by King's X.
In 1993, a new character entered the world of comic books: Hellboy. Bang! Boom! But that's just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1993, Kasumi Ishikawa was born. And Jennifer Stone. Parimarjan Negi, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
It's 2011.
The world is a different place.
What path have you taken?


Post a Comment