A look back at 1990s America

Chuck Klosterman, author of “The Nineties,” discusses media culture during the 1990s and how it differs from today.

Chuck Klosterman courtesy of Wiki Commons

One way give time meaning is by separating it by decade. We mark certain dates with events that happened, and then string together a story about what it meant to live in that particular period.

Writer Chuck Klosterman recently did just this. In a new book, called “The Nineties,” Klosterman writes that to live in the 1990s, Americans were more likely to experience a more cohesive mainstream culture, were not demanded to share their opinions as freely and had a general focus on not selling out.

“Even though in a future — in a distant future — we may look back and say, ‘Well, the internet was the most important part of the ’90s,’ in the ’90s itself you could still live alongside the internet with almost no relationship to it.” — Chuck Klosterman, writer and author

Listen: What some people remember about living in the nineties.



Chuck Klosterman is a writer of several books and author of the new book, “The Nineties.” He says people are able to exist in their own media silos, which was not true of the 1990s.

“The ’90s was still the world of a monoculture,” says Klosterman, “where there were only four networks and PBS, the media institutions were limited, the news cycle was limited, MTV and certain radio outlets still had a lot of control over what the average person was able to hear on any given day and sort of dictated that commercial side of music.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.