We’re 3 days into 2018 and it’s clear we’re not re-living 1968. We have 362 days of think pieces to look forward to comparing 2018 to 1968 but they’re incorrect. We’re going to read them because most publishers are boomers and miss the good old days (the good old days did not exist and nostalgia is poison) and it seems like 50 years is a good time period to revisit.
20 years is more appropriate.
The first 3 days of 2018 have much more in common with 1998 than 2008 (Hope? Not yet.), 1988 (We wish it was the year of Spuds Mackenzie), 1978 (The year Ted Bundy was captured) or 1968 (1968 had more in common with last year). It’s impossible to look back at increments of not 10 years.
The dominant news story of the past 62 hours include leaders of nations that have nuclear bomb capabilities threatening each other in press conferences and Tweets.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
The highest grossing film of 1998 was Armageddon. It’s not a film about nuclear annihilation, but it is titled Armageddon. The second line of its Wikipedia entry makes it even more apt for 2018. “The film follows a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth.”
Another tie to Tweets about buttons of destruction is Pearl Jam’s “Do The Evolution” video.
In 1998, a video by Pearl Jam was an event. The Seattle group didn’t release a music video from their 1993 album Vs, 1994 album Vitalogy or 1996 album No Code. All of these albums sold at least a million copies and all of these albums reached #1 on the charts. The videos from their debut album, 1991’s Ten, include “Jeremy,” which won four MTV Video Music Awards in 1993: Best Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, and Best Direction. All of this to say, Pearl Jam’s “Do The Evolution” was a big deal.
The Todd McFarlane animated video closes with nuclear annihilation. The bombs begin dropping at 3:33. That’s the clear tie to this week’s button Tweet/nuclear panic. But the real reason it’s on my mind is at the 2:00 mark, a politician controlled by puppet strings. It’s a hacky and unoriginal idea. But it’s still apt.
The most relaxing news of the week comes out of California. Beginning Monday, marijuana sales for recreational use is legal in California. Which makes it’s a good time to revisit Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show,” the most popular song from 1998 with the perfect for 2018 line, “The drugs, they say, are made in California.”
The first single from 1998’s Mechanical Animals is the pinnacle of M.M.’s career. The music steals its sound from Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing”. The video steals its visuals from David Bowie’s film The Man Who Fell To Earth. That has nothing to do with 1998, I just want to make it clear that Manson stole from great sources.
Related, Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan were dating at the time. Their MTV Music Awards appearance featured her infamous chain mail dress. Also related, she’s releasing a memoir later this month. We recommend reading today’s Vanity Fair profile of the actress.
On a lighter note, the Coachella lineup, thankfully, isn’t programming a nostalgia fest. The Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem are not nostalgia acts (Eminem may have released his best work 15 years ago, but he’s still selling records and selling records in 2018 is impressive regardless of past accolades). Beyoncé is obviously the biggest and best headliner. We’re mentioning her because Destiny’s Child released their first album in 1998. Not everything is death and destruction and bad men. Sometimes it’s just Beyoncé.
We’re three days in 2018 and it’s clear we’re living through the art of 1998. It’s not so bad. 1998 featured Hole’s Celebrity Skin and that albums rules.