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Subject: The passage of time and how things get phased in/out

Written By: mgately on 11/09/21 at 6:46 pm

Hello all, I believe this is only my second time posting.

I've been really interested in "year-ology" topics for a long, long time. I think my memory is very calendar-based, it's always felt really natural for me to be able to attach my memories to specific dates/years.

In particular, I've always had this weird fascination with the first 4-5 years of my life (I was born in January 1988, for context). The years from 1988-1992 really have this weird resonance because I was alive... but I wasn't forming conscious memories yet. My first real, concrete memory that I can link up with a specific date is Summer of '92 (the Barcelona Olympics). All of that time spent living before my memory started producing permanent, long-term memories is like this weird, subconscious mish-mash of feelings and images. Whenever I watch a movie from 1990 or see a family picture taken in 1991, to give two examples, I get this really weird overwhelmed feeling, that it's very familiar to me somehow but I can't ever verify that because the time machine hasn't been invented yet (and I get the feeling that if the time machine DID exist, most members of this forum would utilize it obsessively the same way I would).

Anyway, like a lot of you, I've spent more time than is probably healthy (and certainly productive) thinking about questions like "how was 1989 different from 1992?" or "were 1990 and 1991 distinct from 1992 and 1993?", etc.

And that always brings me to another question, and moreover the point of this post. How, exactly, do styles and fashions change? Where do these changes come from? I know styles change gradually... but how, literally? Who decides? HOW did 1993 turn out to look and sound so different from 1989, for example? WHY did bright neon start to get phased out as the early 90s ended. Which factors bring about this change? How do hairstyles get phased in, or out? The flat-top haircut of 1989... how does it get exit mainstream culture? Why does MC Hammer sound like one thing in 1990 and something completely different in 1995, and when precisely do these changes happen? Why does Batman 1989 feel so different from Batman Returns in 1992?

Do you see what I'm getting at? I wonder if anybody's ever tried to replicate the gradual passage of time/style in visual form, like a graph or chart or infographic or something. Time is such a complex thing and I struggle to be able to fully grasp it on a conceptual level.

I hope some of this has made at least partial sense to somebody, LOL. I had to get this out of my head. Thanks for your time.

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