Apr 012014
 

maxresdefault Remember When? Pop Culture in April 1999

Here at Pegasus, we are keeping the celebration of our 15th anniversary going by taking you on another ride 15 years into the past, back to 1999. This time we’re visiting the month of April, when myspace was officially introduced to the internet, when “No Scrubs” by TLC took over the charts, and when Marilyn Manson and “goth” culture was blamed for a school shooting. Cable modems were announced to be the future of internet “surfing,” and an April Fool’s hoax regarding telepathic emails piqued the imaginations of many.

1) The Great One Departs the Ice

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In April 1999, Wayne Gretzky played his final game in the National Hockey League. Gretzky had played 20 seasons and was considered by many to be the greatest the sport had ever seen.

2) OMG, Myspace Is, Like, Totally Awesome!

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To the delight of teenagers and the dismay of their parents, myspace was officially introduced to the Internet in April 1999. A new era of social media began. Going outside would soon become an incomprehensible concept.

3) No More Dial-Up Internet Service…PLEASE!

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Excitement spread like wildfire through American culture as the cable modem brought the promise of a faster future. In April 1999, we still had the strange robot music of the 56k dial-up modem ringing in our ears. This page would have taken a lot longer to load back then.

4) Do You Believe In Fame after Fame?

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The month started with Cher atop the Billboard charts with the hit single “Believe.” Not only did this song let the world know that Cher had a lot more to give the world (she’s currently touring!), it proved that we were open to a little electronica in our popular music. For better or worse. (That was the first time I have written the word “electronica.”)

5) I Don’t Want No Scrubs (But I Wouldn’t Mind Millions of Dollars)

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Cher’s April reign only lasted three days before TLC reached the apex of popularity, stealing the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

6) Goth Culture Gets a Careful Examination

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After the inexplicable incident at Columbine High School, many people pointed to pop culture icon Marilyn Manson for answers. This was an opportunity for people with opposing aesthetics and values to finally see their common ground, since the teenagers responsible for the tragedy were not fans of Manson.

7) President William Jefferson Clinton Is Slapped with Contempt of Court

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For intentionally lying in court during a sexual harassment civil lawsuit, President Bill Clinton was cited with contempt of court. This was not a proud moment for anyone. By comparison, it has been a tame 15 years of presidential history!

8) Mind-Controlled Technology Hath Arrived…

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Red Herring Magazine, a business and technology publication, April Foolsed its audience with a fake article about a “revolutionary new technology that allowed users to compose and send emails telepathically.” People believed it then, which is understandable, because it really wasn’t that long before mind-controlled technologies would become a reality. They’re still in testing, but the technology is coming along. This is not a follow-up April Fools comment, I promise.

9) The Missing Link!!!

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On April 23rd, the BBC reported that newly discovered skull and tooth fragments may belong to a “human-like species” that lived 2.5 million years ago. There was a lot of controversy initially, but there has since been a general consensus that the Australopithecus garhi, as the species was named, is the most immediate ancestor to the human genus, Homo.

10) Eminem: Straight Blowin Up

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In April, Eminem graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, proving that he was a force that was here to stay. He would become one of the most successful musical artists of all time. He is still going strong.

11) Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

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The Hours by Michael Cunningham won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in April, 1999. The book would later be made into an Oscar-winning movie starring Meryl Streep.

12) Pulitzer Prize for Drama

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In April 1999, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to Margaret Edson for her play, Wit. The play depicted the death of an English professor who studied John Donne.

13) Rom Com Is the Genre of the 90s

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In April, we got yet another indication that American culture was infatuated with the genre of romantic comedy as Never Been Kissed, starring Drew Barrymore and David Arquette, hit the box offices.

14) Billy Joel Retires…Psych!

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Billy Joel performed at Meadowlands in New Jersey on April 20th. During the concert, Joel announced that this concert would be his last in the popular music genre. He planned to dedicate the rest of his life to playing classical music. OK, Billy, whatever you say. I guess the classical music thing didn’t quite take.

15) The End of the World as We Know It (And, Personally, I Feel Fine)

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Surely, tears were flowing on the faces of day-time TV enthusiasts when NBC announced the cancellation of the long-running, iconic soap opera Another World. Only a few months later, the final episode would air, and, instead of watching Another World, fans would have to watch something else. Maybe the actual world?

by

Tom SowdersAfter majoring in creative writing at NC State, I worked in the home remodeling industry. Then, I attended graduate school for a really long time and gained experience as a writer and writing instructor. I live in the Raleigh-Durham area with my wife and baby boy, and you can find me around the Triangle anywhere there's good music and/or NC-style BBQ.

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