We’re a little over one month into the Trump Administration, and the unstable anxiety of the nation is nearly the highest it has ever been. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to argue that Trump’s brand is ridiculously catchy and effective. His name alone is synonymous with wealth and success. Granted, it’s also synonymous with rampant deception, fake colleges, and bad hair. But, fuck it because this country has always applauded overzealous mediocrity. Just look at the Kardashians, Jimmy Buffet songs, and the Fish Filet.
Regardless of your political beliefs, the campaign motto of “Make America Great Again” was brilliant. It resonated with a majority of white middle class people who were absolutely exhausted from eight years of Obama’s higher taxes, universal healthcare, and overall progress in general.
Sure Trump is flawed as shit. He lies like Pinocchio, goes on Twitter rants like Kanye, and his cabinet looks like the blind leading the…(more racist) blind. I thought Palin was unlikable, but Kellyanne Conway is the worst. She looks like someone you’d get into words with at a fucking bowling alley.
Regardless, he crushed that motto. I mean what better way to tap into the middle class ‘Merican mindset than to tug on the heart strings of the Heartland with a good ol’ fashioned Red, White, and Blue Boner of pride? I haven’t seen anyone Pimp out Patriotism like that since Rocky IV.
Which got me thinking…when was the last time America truly WAS great? And, the answer is 1991.
This may seem like a subjective and biased opinion, but it’s not. It’s fact. And, I’ve done a lot of unnecessary research to prove why. It really was the good ol’ days. Bruce Jenner was still a man, Miami/ “The U” still had swag, OJ was still white, and Trump was somehow still likable despite being a year away from giving Kevin McCallister wrong directions at The Plaza in Home Alone 2.
So, slip into your most comfortable pair of jelly sandals and turn off your walkman so you can focus because I’ve written a thesis on how to fix this country through bad haircuts and time travel.
We don’t need to make this country great again. We need to Make America 1991 Again.
1. General Fun
I’m 30, so complaining about how much being an adult sucks would be preaching to the choir. Taxes, traffic, and pretending to care when your friends have a kid on purpose are things I never thought about in 1991. Granted I was 5 and didn’t have a care in the world besides the Ninja Turtles and finding out why Kelly broke up with Zack for that older manager guy at The Max like a bitch.
Fast forward to 2017, and my Fridays now are usually spent in one of two ways: 1) Resting up for a big day of chores and DIY projects, or 2) power drinking to forget about how much I hate when Carol tries to show me cat videos on her phone from the cubicle next to me.
Fridays back in the day were the shit you guys. Sure binge drinking and amateur carpentry are fun.
But, how much happier would you be if your Friday routine involved no traffic and instead was just you leaving school, playing with your Super Soakers and Legos for a hot minute, heading to Pizza Hut to crush a personal pan pizza because of all the Judy Blume novels you read that week in the Book-It Program, and then telling your mom to start the car so you didn’t miss Full House, Step By Step, and Family Matters on TGIF.
Did I do that (Urkel voice)? Have Mercy yes y’all (Uncle Jesse voice). I did it every week, and I would ditch Saturday trips to Bed Bath & Beyond for reruns of Carl Winslow, Michelle Tanner, and Al Lambert in a fucking heartbeat.
Also, can you imagine how much smarter this country would be if someone told our fat asses that we’d get a free pizza every time we read something besides a magazine from Barnes & Noble?! Oprah would be a fucking trillionaire from all the morbidly obese ‘Mericans joining her book clubs AND weight loss seminars.
The other day I went to Jos. A Bank to get fitted for a beige suit I have to wear at a wedding. While the guy was taking my measurements he asked if I was more of a “single windsor or double windsor kinda man.” I almost grabbed a handful of the buy-one-get-83 free silk ties and strangled myself onsite.
Single or double windsor? I don’t fucking know Henry. I hate paisley. I hate Vineyard Vines pastel bowties. And, I hate how 2017 fashion is best described as “Slim Fit Swag.” Every ad I see for grown up clothes looks like some fucking 5th place finisher from The Bachelor with a five o’clock shadow and a gluten allergy.
I’m more of a stone washed jeans and Reebok pump or LA Gear lightups kinda man myself. Pair that up with an oversized earth tone colored blazer, some circle shades, and high top fade mullet with a nike check shaved into the side, and I would need MULTIPLE brooms to beat away all the tail chasin me. Sure I may look like the white guy from New Jack City, but at least I don’t look like some dimple chinned asshole named Chandler.
And yeah, yoga pants are great and all, but I miss the days where women’s fashion looked big, boxy, and butch AF. Fuck an Instagram thots in a flower crown and ironic one piece bathing suit that says “Bae Watch”. I want to see some girl named Connie who showed up to the alcohol free rave in a perm and super-thick-shoulder-pad-pantsuit looking like a Murphy Brown meets girl next door ready to steal your heart before you can say “Clarissa explains it all.”
(Side note, you have to give Trump credit for at least committing to the fashion part of this hypothesis because he doesn’t own a single suit that fits him and those MAGA snapbacks were retro fresh to death.)
3. Movies in ‘Merica
Another reason 1991 was so incredible is the list of movies that debuted that year. Hollywood dropped a fucking atom bomb of entertainment on us with some of the best movies of literally all time you guys.
Hook, Terminator 2, My Girl, Boyz N The Hood, Silence of the Lambs, Point Break, AND Beauty and the Beast came out in the same fucking year.
Think about that.
Those movies have staying power for one. And two, I can personally say they’ve arguably taught me, and given me more, impactful memories than most of my shitty relatives. Robin Williams became Peter Pan and taught everyone family values via food fights and bromancing with Rufio, Rufio, Ru-fi-oooohhhhhh.
Those movies were legit. Jesus, Angela Lansbury even sang on the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, and it was one of the most popular songs in the country.
Let that sink in. THE LADY FROM MURDER SHE WROTE HAD A TOP 10 HIT YOU GUYS.
Then there was the dude from Kindergarten Cop turning into a lethal ass cyborg and delivering one of the most iconic lines in movie history when he said, “I’ll be back” in robot rhetoric. Which admittedly, got old AF when everyone started saying it. It was basically 91’s version of Borat. We get it mom, you’ll be back. Please just go to Ingles and get me some Gushers and Ecto Cooler and let me watch Double Dare on Nickelodeon. Jesus.
And, don’t forget Silence of the Lambs which taught everyone about cannibalism and that with a little elbow grease and daddy issues a man can actually tuck his dick between his legs while a “great big ol fat person” PUTS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN! Also, I’m a bartender and literally the only person I’ve ever heard order a glass of Chianti is Hannibal Lector. So, if it wasn’t for Anthony Hopkins I would have no clue on how to describe the aromatics and tannins of this burgundy blend from Tuscany.
And, how could anyone forget about one of the greatest bro movies of all time -Point Break. It pushed the limits of how much awesome and bad could you pack into an awesomely-bad movie. Basically someone saw Road House, and was like, “Yeah, I want all of that. All the ridiculousness, all the stupid quotable macho one liners, BUT let’s add Keanu Reeves and Gary fucking Busey and make it a think piece about adrenaline induced surfing and spirituality. Cool?” How many thumbs up? Uh yeah, give me two Utah.
As for – Boyz N The Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and My Girl…I’ve cried more during those movies than most funerals I’ve been to. Sorry grandma, but McCauly Culkin dying from bee stings, and Belle understanding that beauty is on the inside were sad as shit.
AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON RICKY GETTING SHOT. RICKAAAAYYYY!
Three words. Michael. Fucking. Jackson. MJ came out with one of the most bombass albums of all time when he released Dangerous in 1991. “Jam”, “Heal the World”, “Remember the Time”, ” were all on this album. That’s right. Michael tackled racism, world hunger, and saving fucking Free Willy (“Will You Be There”) on one album.
And, that guitar riff and rap from Macaulay Culkin in protest of his Dad/ the fat guy from Cheers on “Black or White” while MJ stood on the Statue of Liberty is STILL fire. The album went 7 times platinum…in two months.
The number one song of 1991 was none other than the power ballad/ single mom anthem “Everything I do (I do it for you)” by Bryan Adams. Outside of Michael Bolton’s “When a man loves a woman” I guarantee you that this was the ONLY song played during every wedding first dance ever that year.
And, of course it was. Robin Hood was fucking incredible. It had Costner, Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, and Hans Gruber in the cast, and this gravely voiced girl magnet crushing the soundtrack.
Other songs that debuted during the greatest year ever include…
- “Enter Sandman” by Metallica
- “Losing My Religion” by REM
- “Walking in Memphis” by NOT BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
- “I’m too sexy” by Right Said Fred
- “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
More amazing than any, and all, of that though was the love the U.S. of A. had with L.O.V.E. and the power ballad.
And, Michael Bolton seized the shit out of that opportunity. His song “I said I loved you but I lied” was average at best, but the video is probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my life. It is honestly 40% of the foundation for my entire hypothesis about why 1991 was so great in the first place.
Not Kidding. If you do anything today it should be watching this video.
Wild Horses, Fire, a Bald Eagle, and Michael Bolton walking through an ocean in a pair of Wrangler Jeans. AND THAT’S JUST THE FIRST 30 SECONDS. Later he’s wearing a goddamn denim on denim fashion masterpiece while standing on a mountain, an all black leather ensemble to show his dark, serious side, and then my personal favorite – The nut hugging jeans and oversized 3XL white button down that’s unbuttoned down to his navel.
That outfit was basically the 1991 uniform for dudes. I’m pretty sure Kevin Costner wore that in every movie he was in for like 3 years in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
This video is fucking everything 1991. Shoulder length hair, terrible outfits, chest hair, wild animals symbolizing freedom, and vague and confusing lyrics about love. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that ocean he was walking in was just made from that horny AF model in the sand being wet around the soothing sounds of this velvet voiced 6’1” sex symbol. I’m sitting on a towel just writing about it.
5. The Country was Patriotic AF
There may be no greater example of this than this video of Whitney Houston giving 50 states worth of goosebumps while she sang the shit out of our National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl.
When was the last time America was truly united and not a nation divided by pride and cynicism? My knee jerk reaction would be 9/11. But, even that was instantly met with conspiracy theories about it being an inside job. Many thought it was a ploy by Bush Jr. to hoard oil from the Middle East and finish what his father couldn’t finish with Saddamm Hussein.
Now go back to 1991 where we were more united than the human centipede and more patriotic than Hacksaw Jim Duggan at an apple pie eating contest at the local American Legion. Also, the naivety of the nation was almost as high as the President’s approval rating (89% in March 1991). And, that’s impressive considering we just entered into Desert Storm.
Outside of FDR when’s the last time a President had an approval rating that high during war time? I’ll wait.
It did help that 1991 was the same year the Cold War ended, but it’s still crazy to think that the country was THAT unified and patriotic in 1991 in comparison to 2017. I mean 90% of the American people approving of our commander in chief? Trump and Obama’s approval ratings are about as fickle and divided as that Facebook argument over whether or not that dress was white and gold or black and blue from a couple years ago.
Anyway back to 1991 – because part of this overwhelming wave of support was due to the fact that this was still a time when the media was more docile and controlled by Uncle Sam. Whether that’s right or wrong – Americans undoubtedly trusted the government exponentially more then than they would a decade, or even a year, later.
Now, Trump is polarizing as shit, and that is another reason the country has put patriotism on the back burner while we scratch our heads and take a Xanax every time he opens his fucking mouth. Also, there was no social media in ’91 which helped distract people from becoming inundated with a social media echo chamber of their own opinions and beliefs.
With no Twitter, Facebook, etc in 1991 people were doing crazy shit like playing outside and having actual human interactions. What?! Crazy.
.In closing, I’m not going to leave you with a final argument as to why this hypothesis is right. I’ve already shown you enough reasons idiots. What I will do is end with one of the greatest commercials of all time. Literally nothing embodies how fucking great America was in 1991 like this 4 minutes Sizzler commercial.
In it they not only capture how fucking delicious Sizzler, or “fancy Bennigans” as I like to call it, was.
But, they also give you a 4 plus minute montage of all things American as shit like: steak, salad bars, flannel, baseball, family, repeating the word “freedom” ad nauseum, giant cell phones, the middle class, county fairs, the phrase “home cooking”, ice cream, mullets, ignoring caloric intake recommendations, hard hats, military men, sunsets, and always knowing that the only thing that tastes better than red meat is fucking freedom.
“Get a little freedom in your life” y’all. You’re welcome.