Aughts Nostalgia

The accepted wisdom among creators in the new counterculture holds that there will be no aughts nostalgia movement as there is for the last decades of the 20th century.

Western cultural development stagnated and finally started eating itself circa 1997. Therefore, the lion's share of media products after that point are necessarily debasements or hollow derivatives of 80s and 90s IPs.

Nevertheless, this week I came across a Millennial attempting to stir up nostalgia for post-Ground Zero culture. 

Here's the best he could come up with:

Aughts Nostalgia 1998-2000

You might ask how I know the anon who authored that greentext is a Millennial. Besides the time window he picked, which would have coincided with Millennials' childhood and adolescent years,  he displays that generation's defining attitudes toward the past. That being marked ignorance of and glib disdain for history compounded with delight in seeing what came before them destroyed.

Let's go down the list:
  • Normie-free internet - Clearly he never saw MySpace. The real golden age of the internet as exclusive nerd social club was the 90s. But narcissists dislike contemplating the world before they existed.
  • 80s nostalgia - is 80s nostalgia, not aughts nostalgia, but he has to reframe pop culture icons predating his birth in terms of their Reboot Phase.
  • World Peace and economic stability: Here's the dead giveaway. The decade this anon cites coincides with the War on Terror. He has no memory of the world before the Forever Wars, so he takes the current state of low-grade global chaos as his baseline. This point perfectly demonstrates why lumping Generation Y in with the Millennials produces a useless generational model.
  • Poz, just not as much - Note that anon approves of the nuclear family's demolition; he just preferred it when the wrecking ball hadn't yet been turned on his video games.
  • Piracy and porn - Here's a glimpse at the deep evil festering beneath Millennial's worldview. Petty theft and onanism are not culture. They are infections that sterilize the self-propagating faculty that is a major defining mark of culture. You're seeing the greased slide that leads straight from the Pop Cult to the Death Cult, folks.
  • More porn - this guy is so blinkered and conditioned not to think past his own crotch that he can't see how the degeneracy he pines for ruined everything else he loves.
  • ICQ - invented in 1996
  • Facebook as we know it didn't exist in the 80s, either.
  • OK, he has been on MySpace. If he considers that the high point of internet culture, he's suffering from far more severe historical ignorance than I thought.
  • Michael Jackson - yet more co-opted 80s nostalgia
  • The Simpsons - had stopped being funny by 1998, and it's been scientifically proven.

The bleak self-portrait painted by Millennial Anon's greentext shows an atomized, solipsistic child forever looping in the Corporate IP Death Cycle with no idea where he came from or where he's going.

But anon and countless Millennials like him are not to be scorned. Rather, they are to be pitied. Generations Y, X, Jones, and the Boomers helped make and perpetuate the spiritual wasteland to which younger generations have been condemned. It's incumbent upon us to do what we can to salvage them.

What concrete action have you taken today to rebuild authentic culture?

If you can't come up with anything, my first suggestion is to take a minute and pray for guidance.

Then, take stock of your skills and resources to figure out positive steps you can take in your corner of the world to support the flourishing of healthy culture.

Patronizing artists who are making new culture rooted in tradition is a simple and impactful step you can take right now. My latest military thriller is currently funding on Indiegogo. Back the book now, claim sweet rewards, and help secure publication of an exciting new short story collection.

Back it now!

Combat Frame XSeed: SS 330


  1. No one is going to build a nostalgic movement on "Pretty much 2021, but not quite as blatantly awful"

    I see a lot of Millennials trying to make this happen, even the replies to that post are full of cope, but the realization needs to hit that it's not going to work. There's nothing to be nostalgic for that doesn't already still exist right now, just in shabbier form. And what doesn't exist was destroyed before 1998.

    I have nostalgic moments from my youth, too, but I'm not begging for the return of grunge fashions or edgy family sitcoms. Those are fine in the past where they belong.

    1. also, most of the anon's points were debunked in my cultural ground zero post.

      You can tell he's Millennial because he is unaware of Windows 95 and the flood of normies that flooded the internet throughout the back half of the '90s. Anyone remember the infamous Friends video introducing the internet and how to get on? How about the Bill Gates DOOM video? The internet was normie central before the decade was even done.

    2. The rank historical ignorance is more shocking than the porn addiction.

    3. September never ended.
      If you don't know this meme, you might be a normie.

  2. What a time the aughts were:
    -Bush and Obama presidencies
    -9/11; DC sniper; War on Terror; Katrina; housing bubble burst
    -The only top 10 grossing movies which wasn't a sequel or superhero movie were the Passion of Christ (yay!) and Avatar (boo!)
    -BBT, Two and a Half Men and American Idol
    -Three legitimately terrible FF installments: (FFX-2; Surge of Derperus; FF13) Three disappointing installments into the Ivalice series (FFTA, FFXII FFTA2)
    -The sex scandals in the Catholic Church
    -Ridiculously high gas prices

    1. Now consider that the Millennial finds the state of affairs you described normal.

    2. One big tell for the distinction between Gen Y and millennials is their reaction to the type of conspiracy theories peddled by the Lone Gunmen or Art Bell. Ex. the government can track your currency or phone calls, wars are conducted for the profit margins of arms companies, the government is willing to ignore signs of upcoming disasters if it rids the world of undesirables, etc. For Gen Y these ideas were provocative and disturbing. For Millennials these are ideas are just part of how the world works.

    3. A spot-on assessment. I recall in vivid detail one of my 7th grade classmates gathering us around to watch in unnerved awe as he showed us the magnetic plastic strip inside a $20 bill.

    4. All my exposure to Final Fantasy is premillennial. :) While the Dragon Quest games have had good stuff since then, they've gotten farther and farther between, and some of the more negative elements of other JRPGs start creeping into them after the turn of the century.

  3. I can't really see myself having 00's nostalgia. Maybe 90's but the best part of that decade (sixth generation of consoles and the last gasp of 2d animation, somewhat decent superhero films and fantasy boom of 2001) are widly available.

    Nah man the aughts sucked. Tens were worse and twenties will be hell.

    Just got to keep on keeping on and trusting the good Lord.

  4. I don't know if the clientele on this blog are fond of videogames, but I wanted to share here an example of one man doing a part in the rebuilding of culture. One Quincey Pringle is making an interesting-looking RPG, demo available here:


    The thing that strikes me about it (aside from actually being fun to play) is that, while the game isn't explicit about its Catholic bent, it definitely does take place in a Catholic moral universe. For one, the game's main villains are pretty clearly inspired by the Catholic view of demons (they are a race of ancient beings of superior intellect who, with perfect knowledge, made a single, irreformable choice for evil and were damned for it) and the game tries to actually demonstrate and appreciate precisely how horrifying such would be. For another, the main village you start in is literally named "Chestertown", and I confirmed on Discord with the main dev that this was a deliberate homage, not an accident. Hopefully, all of this works out and the game's able to play a part in glorifying God in this fallen culture.

    1. I like the looks of this, and since it's on Switch, I'll be able to play it. :)

  5. If I wanted to play devil's advocate I could make a much better argument. For example, many PC game genres had hugely innovative games around that time period (with 1998-2000 being a particularly bountiful set of years, ex. Half-Life, Deus Ex, Starcraft, Thief, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Alpha Centauri, Planescape: Torment, X-Wing Alliance, Team Fortress Classic, etc.). 3D Graphics and physics engines really started to click around 2004 making games finally look decently realistic. Things have looked prettier since then, but there has never been quite as drastic change in the look and feel of games as the period between 1996 and 2004.

    But that isn't culture. That's largely just due to advances in technology; if earlier games could have been designed in that way they would have. And I can get as much enjoyment from a modern source port of Doom (original release 1993) as any of the later games.

    For the same reason while I could make a case that there were certain good cartoons and other TV shows from that era, they never really formed a difference in cultural attitudes like we had in the 90's, 80's, etc.

    If you really wanted to focus on an aspect of actual culture from that era that could be mined for nostalgia, the internet probably would be the way to go. But not because "the majority had no access." The reason is actually the exact opposite: there finally WERE a lot of people online, and because internet speeds finally were somewhat decent but at the same time there was practically no regulation on the internet. This allowed people to share files pretty freely. And while much of that was just blatant piracy, you also had lots of community mad maps/mods for games, and the birth of webtoons/webcomics (ex. Homestar Runner started in 2000 and peaked around 2005). There was a legitimate culture that encouraged self-expression rather than the upvote chasing bandwagon culture we have now online, and this culture did create works that couldn't have been made in any other era.

    But is that alone enough to generate nostalgia, given everything that sucked about that timeframe? Probably not, especially since the people who were the most prolific in that era were largely Gen. X or Y and as such would naturally prefer earlier eras.

  6. The online world actually began in the 80's with BBS's and stand alone services like America Online and Compuserve. It wasn't exactly the internet, but it had many of the things the internet would bring. It also had its share of normies. With the help of the family techie, anyone could and did get online. It wasn't quite "internet in your pocket", but it worked well for millions of people. Not get off my lawn.

    1. Thank you for trenchantly and concisely making that excellent point.

  7. I was thinking about most of the best shows in the late 90s and early 2000s that I remember fondly are few and far between or from Japan. Dragon Ball Z, Yu Gi Oh and Pokemon are all Japanese and not Western. By early 90s best shows were kids or family. By late 90s Western shows had all started to become trash (a few expections).

    I know video game were still good until about 2010s (about 4 years into 7th console generation). I would blame Microsoft (Xbox Live) entering the console market but to be honest it would of gone to online eventually and the software market was monopolizing (Think EA, Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft)

    1. You're more right than you realize. Pokémon originated in the 90s. DBZ first aired in the late 80s.

    2. I believe Pokémon is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, which makes it one of the last gasps before Cultural Ground Zero.

    3. I don't think Pokémon really counts, because it's not a product of Western culture at all, so it wouldn't be affected by Cultural Ground Zero. Japan has plentiful problems of its own, but Cultural Ground Zero isn't one of them.

    4. Japan's problem, entertainment-wise, is that they had an economic bubble that largely coincided with Western entertainment's second wind; then the bubble burst. That took anime from a scene where college AV clubs working in sheds could get their mind-bending OAVs funded, to industries where salarimen dictated that everything had to be Gundam , Eva, or moe to sell toys.

    5. Interesting.
      I will say I would be most fascinate on a more in depth look at the Japanese entertainment problems.
      I wonder if it has anything to do with the problems in Japan and the Japanese themselves. Low birth rates, high suicide rates, more reliance on technology, USA getting weaker and a rising China.

      I notice in the last few years (2019 onwards) there is a lot of anime is either base on Death, Demons, Horror and/or VR.

      Death Note, Sword Art Online, Demon Slayer, The Promised Neverland, Attack on Titian, Cells at Work!, Fire Force, Dr Stone. The only expectation seems to be My Hero Academia (base more on the Marvel and Star Wars movies), I will say the manga is getting darker.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. I don't know what problems the manga industry in Japan has, aside from the problems all creative industries have suffered as a result of COVID-19.

      Granted, I only read manga in translation, and I pay for it, so I know I am only seeing a very small part of the picture. But my Shonen Jump subscription gives me plenty to read each week, and not all of it is dark. (I like a lot of the darker stuff too anyway.)

      Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin is worth the $2 a month alone!

  8. Pornography is the greatest public health issue of our time, and in the top ten moral issues if our time (baby murder is #1, as usual). If you want to be nostalgic, be nostalgic for when you had to buy it in person, and there was so much shame that most people who did so tried to hide their identities.

    1. Porn used to be sold in plain brown wrappers by seedy lowlifes operating out of sketchy shops in the red light district. Turns out that having to deal with people like that in those conditions kept a lot of people off smut.

  9. Love how the second point is that "80s movies and music is widely available". Already struggling for reasons.

  10. I myself have loads of aughts nostalgia, but it's either all about totally personal occurrences in my individual life or it's of Japanese origin, as JohnC points out.