open/close all folders
- Various "people-moving" automobiles over time. In order:
- Station wagons became Deader Than Disco in the late '70s/early '80s thanks to the energy crises of The '70s, their perception as gas-guzzling land yachts, and the rise of minivans that could carry more cargo and get better fuel economy. The station wagons are still popular in Europe and Japan.
- Minivans, in turn, went out of style in the late '90s/early '00s in America thanks to the growing perception that they were uncool and boring to drive, and a sign that their owners were bland suburbanites. In other countries, they're still considered Boring but Practical and reborn as "MPV"s.
- Their replacement, sport-utility vehicles (or SUVs), suffered a huge backlash in the late '00s, for the same reasons that the old station wagons did as well as their propensity for rolling over in accidents due to their high center of gravity, to be replaced by "crossover" utility vehicles (or CUVs) — which were smaller, more efficient wagons. (And minivans.) Interestingly, a large number of people still refer to "city SUV"s as station wagons.
- Wood-paneling in cars. During the 2000's there was a bit of a resurgence in faux-wood panels, in part due to nostalgia and part irony, but even those have become pure objects of derision.
- The '80s had the Delorean, The '90s had the EV-1, and the Turn of the Millennium had... The Hummer. Created in 1992 as a civilian version of the military Humvee, its parent company was purchased by General Motors in 1999 and shortly after became one of the most popular SUV brands in the United States, especially after the launch of the smaller, less expensive H2 and H3 models. The original H1 model earned a reputation as the ultimate off-road vehicle, made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger (who owned several of them), while the H2 and H3 offered the same swagger to people who didn't have six figures to shell outnote . All of them were status symbols, popular for limousine conversions and modifications; custom H2s with massive rims and chrome plating were a common sight in the Glam Rap videos of the era.
However, sales for the brand started to plummet in the summer of 2008 during the gas crisis, and stayed low once the financial crisis and subsequent recession hit later that year. Production was halted when GM declared bankruptcy in June of 2009, and after the company emerged from bankruptcy a month later attempts were made to re-brand the Hummer as a more eco-friendly vehicle with a smaller hybrid electric/gas version, which didn't get very far. After GM's attempt to sell the brand to the Sichuan Tengzhong Automobile company in China failed, they completely discontinued the Hummer in late 2009. Today, it's remembered as a symbol of the excesses of Turn of the Millennium consumerism, and not many people will admit to having owned one.
- The Chevrolet Vega was showered with praise by automotive critics when it debuted in 1970, including Motor Trend's 1971 Car of the Year award and Car and Driver's Best Economy Sedan for three years running (1971-73). The sleek, comfortable, nimble compact flew off of dealership lots, and it was hailed as proof that General Motors could compete with Volkswagen and Toyota at their own game. However, once those critics and early buyers had their cars for more than a couple of years, they changed their tune fast. The Vega had a multitude of engineering and build quality problems that, before long, made it notorious for rust, breakdowns, excessive oil consumption, and being a death trap in crashes, turning its name into a byword for The Alleged Car and a symbol of GM's — and Detroit's — Dork Age in the '70s. By the end of the decade, even many junkyards wouldn't take Vegas, as it was assumed that there were virtually no usable parts that could be stripped off of them before they were simply thrown into the crusher and sold for scrap. Nowadays, Americans remember it as one of the worst cars ever built.
- Full-size sedans that weigh well over 4,000 pounds were once the standard that the American auto industry built itself upon. That changed overnight after the oil crises of The '70s, and even when gas got cheap again in the '80s and '90s, they never really recovered, their role in the auto market seized by the rise of minivans and SUVs. While quite a few individual big cars from the '50s and '60s have since become nostalgic, as a whole they're often seen as a grand symbol of Detroit's Crippling Overspecialization during that time, which nearly destroyed it once the gallons of fuel that they slurped down were no longer so cheap. Nowadays, cars that big are mostly restricted to the elite luxury end of the market, and are seen as exceptionally large and bloated in pretty much all other situations.
- Pickup trucks in Japanese Domestic Market. Well... They were used to be a practical yet awesome commercial vehicles until sometime around late 1970s to early 1990s, when things change. The crude and unappealing image of pickup trucks have shifted Japanese customers to buy vans and people-movers instead, thus killing off the popularity of pickup trucks in Japan. Also, their stereotypically huge-sized body is also one of the factors. What makes pickup trucks extinct in Japan is the extremely-harsh NOX and Particular Matter emission laws which requires every vehicle to undergo inspection before being verified for the JDM. Since even petrol-engined pickup trucks in Japan aren't treated as petrol passenger cars, which are under a loophole that allows them to automatically bypass the NOX law, the trucks are also being banned from being sold in authorized dealerships. Currently, Japan is the only country that penalize pickup trucks by massive taxes, and thus, no pickup truck being sold in their market.
- Small sedans, especially those with traditional trunks, used to be popular in Europe until early 1970s fuel crisis and the buyers there have switched to more practical hatchback bodies, making the small sedans look awesome but impractical in storage utility space. With high-performance hot hatches coming, this has largely killed off traditional small sedans from the market.
- Mid-hand-drive cars were a popular subject in the early years of automotive industry, and it was used in some few racing machines too. However, due to revising road layouts and safety concerns and other different factors, MHD cars have been Awesome, but Impractical and have gone extinct since early 1920s on road cars. It has very rare resurrections, and the last known ones being McLaren F1, a 1990s supercar that mimics the Formula One layout with two extra seats, one on each side.
- Rear-engined passenger cars. In the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s it was a popular layout in subcompacts and non-American compacts, because it saved the interior space that would be occupied by the driveline in a front-engined car. It was also possible to integrate the engine compartment into the cabin shape. This has ended in the late 60s, when front transverse FWD engine layout became popular. It was more compact than rear-engine RWD and also didn't occupy cabin space with the driveshaft. It also "moved" the trunk/boot to the back of the vehicle, giving more interior configuration possibilities. Because of that, the front transverse engine configuration became popular not only in subcompacts, but also became the "default" engine layout for practically any car under 5 meters long. Today the only rear-engined passenger cars are the Renault Twingo, Smart Fortwo/Forfour, Tesla Model S and Tata Nano.
- This has also happened to many car brands like:
- Fisker. Founded in 2007 by the designer of cars like the BMW Z8 or Aston Martin DB9, Henrik Fisker, the company presented its first car, the plug-in hybrid luxury sedan Karma, in 2008. It was met with critical acclaim. Unfortunately, the company became crippled by production difficulties and the production of the Karma began in December 2011. After that the car turned out to be unreliable and cramped. The fact that Leonardo DiCaprio bought a Karma didn't help the car competing with the much better Tesla Model S and in 2012 Fisker filed for bankruptcy, cancelling the plans for a convertible and wagon Karma and a smaller model, Atlantic. In 2015 the company announced that it's going to start selling the Karma in China under the Elux brand, but a comeback to Europe and America probably is not going to happen.
- Rover. Once a competitor to Jaguar, in the 1970s its quality has fallen down, which gave it a bad reputation. The Eighties saw Rover start selling smaller and cheaper cars, which had lowered its prestige. While in the 90s Rover had designed a bunch of new models, it didn't have money for improving them and went bankrupt in 2006. It got sold to a Chinese company, which pulled the brand from Europe.
- FSO (Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych). In the communist times of Poland it was its biggest carmaker (mostly because there was no other choice), but after the fall of communism their products became unable to compete with Western designs. The factory was saved by Daewoo and later Chevrolet, but in 2011 Chevrolet pulled the plug and the only company wanting to buy FSO was an Ukrainian company making licensed Daewoo Lanoses and Tavrias. Nowadays some of the factory buildings are demolished and some are self-storage warehouses.
- During the '00s and early '10s, Volkswagen's TDI diesels were often held up as an alternative to gasoline-electric hybrids for people who wanted a more eco-friendly car but wouldn't be caught dead in a Toyota Prius, capable of delivering great fuel economy and minimal emissions (a long-standing Achilles' Heel of diesels having been their noxious emissions, something that the TDI seemed to have fixed) while costing less than a hybrid and packing enough horsepower that they were considered serious performance machines. That image as 'the green car for the performance enthusiast' evaporated overnight in 2015 upon the revelation that Volkswagen had been flat-out cheating on emissions tests, and that the cars' emissions vastly exceeded the standards set by many nations' regulatory agencies — the real reason why they were so cheap and had so much horsepower. The ensuing "Dieselgate" scandal blackened Volkswagen's image as it lost billions of dollars due to lawsuits, fines, and falling sales, while the cars affected by the scandal saw their resale value collapse.
- This, however, seems to be only an American thing. In Western Europe the backlash was much smaller and VW's Eastern European sales actually rose.
- Inline six engines in passenger cars seem to be on the way out. Since they are inherently balanced (all the forces of cylinders amount to the total of zero) they were widely used and appreciated for their smoothness and vibration free work. Unfortunately their length made them not compatible with increasingly popular front wheel drive. Also, in the era of crumple zones and pedestrian safety, even rear wheel drive car manufacturers moved to V6 engines or turbo inline fours. BMW, known throughout their history for great straight sixes, is the only big manufacturer bucking this trend.
- The decline of the automat began in the 1950s, when the rapid growth of suburban areas meant fewer (and somewhat lower-class) customers in the urban centers where they were located. The rampant inflation of the 1970's made paying for a meal with coins increasingly inconvenient; fast-food outlets like McDonald's had a major advantage over automats in this area. Seeing the writing on the wall, many Horn & Hardarts converted to Burger King franchises during this time. The last remaining automat in NYC closed in 1991. In 2006, a company called BAMN! attempted a revival of the automat with a location in NYC's Greenwich Village; it lasted until 2009.
- Diner/gift shop/gas station combination chains like Stuckey's, Horne's, and Nickerson Farms. All three were distinguished by unique building designs, quirky and tacky knickknacks, and signature snack/candy items, the most notable being Stuckey's pecan log rolls. All three largely have the 1970s oil bust to blame, as that put a damper on many Americans' travel budgets; Stuckey's was also mauled by Executive Meddling of Pet Milk, while Horne's (which itself used to be a Stuckey's franchise) was dragged down by also having a motel chain (Horne's Motor Lodge) that, like many other motel chains, was also decimated by the oil bust; and Nickerson Farms just uneventfully faded away in 1980. From The '80s onward, it became increasingly common to see abandoned locations of all three at Interstate exits across the country (particularly since many were in very small towns which, combined with the difficulty of maintaining such large and unique buildings, made them hard to repurpose), while the few that managed to stay open were often lacking in basic updates and maintenance (see the entry on souvenir shops below). Stuckey's began a bit of a comeback in the 90s when the founder's family bought the chain back and began revitalizing it, usually by replacing the Stuckey's diner with a Dairy Queen. Even so, very few of the original, blue-roofed Stuckey's are still in business, and many of the remaining ones are still very rundown; most these days are "Stuckey's Express", which amounts to a few aisles of candy and gifts in an otherwise normal truck stop. But hey, you can still get the pecan logs! (The format was subverted by Cracker Barrel, which started out much along the same lines as Stuckey's but ditched the gas station part early on and focused more on the restaurant and gift shop aspects.)
- Restaurants that emphasized extra-low prices and fast drive-thru service. Such restaurants had extremely small buildings that lacked dining rooms, and often had two drive-thru bays. Started in 1984 by Hot 'n Now of Kalamazoo, Michigan, the concept also spawned Rally's in 1985 and Checkers in 1986. Hot 'n Now overexpanded too quickly, then crashed in the 90s when Pepsi got out of the restaurant business and spun off its three more successful restaurants (KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) to a new company. Hot 'n Now tried to Re Tool itself in the late 90s, with a lower-profile building style and even a couple locations with seating, but this only resulted in it getting passed from owner to owner, ultimately filing for bankruptcy in 2004, and gradually whittling down to just two locations, both in Michigan (Bay City and Sturgis). Burger King and McDonald's both tried drive-thru-only concepts in urban markets in Michigan in the 90's to compete with Hot 'n Now, but none really took off. Meanwhile, Checkers and Rally's struggled before ultimately merging in 1999, and now (much like Hardee's and Carl's Jr.) the chains differ only in name and maintain the look of Checkers. To help maintain their foothold, Checkers shed a lot of less-profitable locations, and most new openings in the past decade have been more conventional locations with only one drive-thru bay and sometimes even seating.
- Sambo's was a family restaurant chain that once had more than 1,100 locations in 47 out of 50 states. Their death was rather rapid, fueled both by a complex financial management system that was little more than a pyramid scheme, and — more importantly — controversy over the name, which was seen as pejorative to African Americans. (This, however, was completely unintentional; it was derived from the names of the two founders, although the use of African characters in advertising didn't help.) Sambo's tried to lessen the controversy by renaming of its restaurants to Jolly Tiger or No Place Like Sam's, but they completely went under except for one restaurant (the original) in 1981. Many of their locations were sold to similar diner-style chains such as Denny's, Village Inn, Big Boy, and Friendly's, or just became independent diners; oddly, a lot of them also became Pizza Hut franchises.
- Overly large food and drink portions were popular items in many fast food chains during the 1990s, but after several lawsuits popped up from people that blamed the fast food companies for making them fat, the super large sizes were briefly removed from the menus and were replaced with healthy alternatives. McDonald's used to have the Super Size option, which was the largest size for drinks and french fries, but thanks to the lawsuits and the Super Size Me documentary, the chain buckled to pressure and no longer have the Super Size option. Some restaurants in certain chains still have their largest offerings depending on their location and most independent restaurants still offer their biggest sizes.
- Chi-Chi's was a popular chain of casual Mexican restaurants from 1975 through 2004, having 210 locations at its peak in the mid-'90s. The restaurant collapsed after a double blow in late 2003: first, its parent company, Prandium, Inc., filed for bankruptcy. Second, and even more damagingly, a massive outbreak of Hepatitis A (afflicting 664 people) was traced to a Chi-Chi's in western Pennsylvania, just a month after Prandium's bankruptcy. Chi-Chi's folded within a year, and though it maintains some franchises in Europe and Asia, its only remaining presence in the United States is a line of grocery products (salsa, tortillas, etc.) marketed under the Chi-Chi's name.
Businesses — Howard Johnson's
Howard Johnson's is a poster child for this trope. The chain pioneered several concepts both in restaurants (begun in 1925) and motels (1954). Increased competition, rising gas prices, and a great deal of Executive Meddling have washed away what the once-mighty chain did. To wit:
- The general concept of a singular motel franchise. Before then, most motels were mom-and-pop outlets that could be pretty dire, and while the still-used concept of "referral" chainsnote existed before them, Ho Jo was one of the first to codify the concept of a brand identity for motels as a whole, thus ensuring that you could stay at any of their properties anywhere on the planet and get a reasonably consistent experience in terms of price and amenities. Nowadays, most motels change brands as often as people change their underwear, thus blurring the lines from chain to chain. That Motel 6 you're staying in now might be worlds apart from the one you stayed at in another town, just because one used to be a Knights Inn and the other used to be a Hampton Inn. (This is largely averted with Microtel, which exclusively builds its own properties and uses its "no frills" rooms as a selling point; coincidentally, Microtel is also owned by Wyndham.)
- Unique architecture and amenities. Ho Jo motor lodges and restaurants had A-frame lobbies with bright, orange porcelain tiles and standardized floor plans for rooms, so that travelers could always know what they were getting when they stopped. Other chains followed suit — Holiday Inns made themselves known with green colorations and flashy yellow neon signs; Ramada used colonial architecture; and even into The '70s and The '80s, lower-end chains relied on distinctive architecture, such as the Bavarian appearance of early Super 8 motels, or the castle-like, one-story design of Knights Inn. Compare to the glass and stucco boxes of today, and often oppressive sign ordinances. Even worse is that Ho Jo began drifting from their own A-frame image in the 1970s: later motels had a more conservative mansard roof, and several experimental hotel styles were built, including boxy upscale hotels in urban settings, and yes, even conversions from other brands. During the 1990s, the chain's then-owners mandated that any Ho Jo still sporting an A-frame had to make massive renovations on it or give up the rights to the name, while existing and often marginal properties continued to get rebranded to the Ho Jo name with no regard for consistency. Many of the motor lodges, regardless of whether or not they kept the Howard Johnson's name, also tended to suffer from poor upkeep (it wasn't rare even into the Turn of the Millennium to find one still using furnishings from the 60s and 70s!) and/or demographic shifts. Only a small number of Howard Johnson's A-frame lodges are operational as a chain hotel, much less a Howard Johnson's, and large numbers of them have been torn down or abandoned. It doesn't help that Wyndham usually seems to treat the Ho Jo name much like it does Travelodge or Knights Inn, slapping it onto questionably functional properties that have likely cycled through several other brands already.
- Curb appeal. Floor-level rooms were directly accessible from the parking lot, and even two- and three-story Ho Jo lodges had easy access. Nowadays, rising real estate value often leads to compact multi-level box motels, which require walking down the hallway and up the stairs several times to reach your room. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the curb appeal was also axed by the aforementioned 1990s mandates.
- An on-site Howard Johnson's restaurant. For most of its history, the restaurant side could be trusted to serve signature dishes such as fried clams, macaroni and cheese, and 28 flavors of private brand ice cream. As with the motels, the restaurants relied on uniform floor plans and architecture to catch travelers' eyes. The restaurant was once so popular that even movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blazing Saddles made references to their omnipresence. But as they had done on the hotel side, Ho Jo began experimenting in the 1970s when fast food began to overtake the older generations of family-style restaurants. Some were changed to more "casual" concepts, the most prominent being the bar and grill chain Ground Round, which barely survives as an independently owned franchise. They also tried a more "coffeehouse" type franchise, limited-service locations on turnpikes, bars, a deli/ice cream shop concept, a handful of shopping mall based locations in California and Utah, and even a couple fast-food concepts. But their many prototypes and concepts all failed, largely due to lack of commitment.
The restaurant division got sold to Marriott, who dumped all the company-owned locations, often converting them to other chains that they owned (most predominantly Big Boy or Roy Rogers) before exiting the restaurant business entirely. This left only the franchised locations, whose owners founded a new company called FAI in 1986 to maintain what was left. While FAI was able to reopen at least one of the 1985 closures (Bay City, Michigan) and even opened a couple new locations for a short time, the company had too little money to do more than just barely keep the last few afloat. By 1991, only 17 were still in business, with at least five of those closing before 2000. After FAI went under in 2005, the restaurant rights went to a new company, and the chain was slowly whittled down to two as of 2015 (Bangor, Maine and Lake George, New York). Even worse, the original recipes for many of their signature dishes disappeared with FAI's demise, so these last two are Ho Jo In-Name-Only.
- Also dealing damage to the Ho Jo chain's image over the years were three notorious incidents: a property in New Orleans was the site of a 1971 fire that killed six people, and three years later, a former Black Panther killed three police officers from the same property's roof. Also in 1974, actress Connie Francis successfully sued the chain for $2.5 million after being raped at a location in New York state. These incidents, combined with the 1974 oil embargo, an increasing perception of the brand as dated in the wake of increasing competition, and urban decay taking its toll on many of its older properties, marked the beginning of the end.
Businesses — Retail
- Video stores. Although they were reasonably quick to make the jump from VHS to DVD, the rise in popularity of Netflix dealt a major blow. Blockbuster closed its corporate-owned stores in 2012-2013; the remaining ones, clustered in Texas and the Pacific Northwest, are franchisees Still Wearing the Old Colors. Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery merged in 2005 to prevent a hostile takeover by Blockbuster, but the resulting debts only dragged them both down and caused them to file for bankruptcy in 2010. Only Family Video, which usually sticks to rural markets where Internet speeds might not be conducive to streaming, seems to be holding its own, as the company owns much of its real estate and has largely avoided making major mistakes that killed their competition.
The only real chains specializing in video sales instead of rental, Suncoast Motion Picture Company and Saturday Matinee, are largely gone for the same reason. (Most Saturday Matinee stores were attached to Record Town stores, and the name largely just vanished when Record Town was one of many brands converted to f.y.e., with the Saturday Matinee side of the store usually just becoming an expansion.) It doesn't help the latter, either, that chain stores like Walmart and Target, or other media stores (e.g. f.y.e., Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Media Markt [Germany], Fnac [France] or Mixup [Mexico]) often sell videos at cheaper prices. Additionally, DVD kiosks like Redbox (which are found in many cities outside pharmacies, grocery stores, and fast food restaurants) have replaced the necessity of taking a separate trip to a video store.
The death of the video store was lampshaded by the South Park episode "A Nightmare on FaceTime", which in turn is a parody of The Shining, with a Blockbuster Video replacing the abandoned hotel. (The biggest irony is, when these stores first became popular, many thought they would make movie theaters in general Deader Than Disco; multiplexes are still going strong despite this prediction.) Local, independent video stores can still be found in college towns and big cities, benefiting from the gap time between theatrical and home video release and the absence of many movies from Netflix and Hulu, although it seems like their survival is mainly insured by offering rare and obscure fare and/or porn.
- Souvenir stores just aren't what they used to be. People can now store all their memories from a trip on a digital camera or cell phone, so they don't need kitsch or souvenir clothing. It doesn't help that many souvenir stores have not updated their decor OR their inventory in decades, which makes them look old, cluttered, and uninviting (see also Stuckey's, above).
- Sears and Kmart, two previously unrelated American department store chains which merged in 2005, are certainly examples. There was a time when Kmart was top dog in the discount sector, with stores in all 50 states, several US territories, Mexico, Canada, and Australia. They also had a wide variety of sister chains: home improvement store Builders Square, bookstores Borders and Waldenbooks, office supply chain OfficeMax, warehouse club Pace Warehouse, drugstore PayLess Drug, and sporting goods store Sports Authority. It was not unheard of to find several of these chains building locations next to each other. But a lack of a coherent brand image, slowness to adopt computer-based stocking, poor location choices (a side effect of their buying out locations from many former competitors whom they crushed in The '70s and The '80s — to be fair, a number of relocations, expansions, and renovations did happen, but they often weren't enough), and deferred store maintenance, all allowed Walmart to take the lead in the discount store wars throughout The '90s. Kmart started closing stores in 1994 and 1995 and shed all of the associated chains, which were eventually spun off and all ended up withering in their own right (Sports Authority being the last to go, when it began liquidation in 2016). Kmart then had another bout of closures after filing for bankruptcy in 2002, and withdrew entirely from Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and most of the South, while the Australian locations were sold to a different owner. As Walmart shifted mainly to "supercenter" stores with a full grocery section, Kmart tried the same for a while, and even planned its last batch of store openings in such a way that many of them could be later expanded to Supercenters, but a lack of commitment and the bankruptcy filing put an end to that swiftly.
Sears was also plagued by a large number of rundown, unremodeled stores, and was getting crushed on all sides by competition (Sears's softlines were getting cannibalized by J. C. Penney and lower-cost alternatives like TJ Maxx and Kohl's, while their bread-and-butter hardlines were slowly losing ground to the likes of Home Depot and Lowe's). They were also dragged down by their shopping mall development arm, Homart, which was sold off in The '90s as shopping mall development slowed. Sears also sold off all of its own subsidiary retailers, which included home goods store The Great Indoors, home improvement store Orchard Supply, and clothing company Lands' End. The merger of the two lagging brands in 2005 seemed to do little more than compound their decline, as both have only been hit with ever-larger numbers of store closings since the 2000s. Kmart has not opened any stores since the Turn of the Millennium, while Sears has only opened "Hometown" stores (scaled-down Sears stores which sell only the hardlines, most often in smaller-town markets where competition is scarce, or as compensation in markets where a full-line Sears has been closed) and a few outlet stores in the same timespan. In addition, both chains have increasingly had a reputation for poor store maintenance, with outdated décor and merchandise, broken shelves, chipped floors, and leaky roofs becoming incredibly common in both chains. Many have even removed entire departments (most Kmarts have jettisoned their snack bar/cafés and electronics/CD/DVD section, while many Sears stores have stopped selling clothes, closed off portions for storage, or even subleased a portion of the store to another retailer).
Many analysts have also pointed out that the chains' current owner, Eddie Lampert, seems to be in it only for the real estate, as many Sears and Kmart stores that were still profitable have closed anyway because the land on which they sit is valuable. (A prime example of this is their store at Fayette Mall in Lexington, Kentucky, which was closed and sold to the mall developers so that the space could be redeveloped as smaller mall shops.)
- Montgomery Ward was once one of the largest department store chains in the U.S. Begun as a mail-order store in 1872 in Chicago, it opened its first department store in 1926 in Plymouth, Indiana. The chain survived the Great Depression and World War II, but as the shopping mall took over in The Fifties and The '60s, the chain continued to drag its feet on moving out to suburbia with its rivals, preferring to stick to increasingly disheveled looking storefronts downtown. As a result, "Wards" often ended up in second-tier malls which died off as the "dead mall" phenomenon took off in The '80s and The '90s, or stuck in downtown districts that began to die off as shoppers moved out to suburbia too. Wards also tried to get into the discount sector by buying out Florida-based Jefferson's and renaming it Jefferson Ward, but this only put a financial strain as the chain made a failed attempt to convert some Jefferson's outlets to full-on Montgomery Wards or vice-versa, resulting in the Jefferson Ward arm getting sold largely to Bradlees. Many of the outdated stores were closed, and Wards finally seemed to start turning around in The '80s with a newer, nicer batch of suburban stores. However, the chain was swamped with competition on all sides, particularly as Best Buy began eating away at Wards' previously strong electronics sector and Walmart began stomping nearly everyone else flat. Also putting financial strain on the company was the purchasse of the New England-based electronics and appliance chain Lechmere. Unable to keep itself afloat in the wake of increasing competition (and, later on, the rise of Internet shopping), Wards declared bankruptcy and closed in 2001. The chain left behind a reputation of a department store that failed to keep up with the times, with a vast array of bulky, poorly-located buildings; the vast majority of malls that once had a Montgomery Ward as an anchor store have died.
- The concept of ordering from a catalog — including both the big catalogs sent out by Sears, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, etc. and the "catalog showroom" stores like Service Merchandise and Best Products (or local competitors like Brendle's, H. J. Wilson's, Witmark, Evans, etc.),. where customers ordered stock from catalogs in-store — were wounded in The '80s when "resale price maintenance" was repealed in the US, thus giving retailers more leeway in setting prices. This took away the main draw of catalog showrooms; namely, that buying from such a no-frills store generally tended to be less expensive. The concept then got a one-two punch in The '90s: first from the rise of specialty "big-box" stores, which kept all merchandise out on the sales floor instead of hidden in a warehouse or back room, and then later on, the advent of online shopping. Best Products went out of business in 1997, and Service Merchandise two years later. Sears retired its "big book" catalog in 1993, while J.C. Penney managed to hold on until 2010. There are still a few specialty food companies, like Harry and David's and Swiss Colony, that still do good business from catalog orders, possibly due to their nostalgia factor as a traditional holiday gift in many families. Zig-zagged in the UK: Argos is a huge chain famous for 'only' putting their products on display in catalogs (later on, online). The unique practice has somehow managed to make them lots and lots of money. But queueing to buy in Argos is seen as a grim and dull process, the only other big chain that employed this method (Index) was bought out by Argos in the early 2000s.
- Steve & Barry's, an off-price sports-themed clothing store that originally had select locations near college campuses, but was suddenly everywhere in the early-mid 2000s. They expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., often snatching up abandoned "big box" stores, or vacant anchor stores in shopping malls, benefiting from the falls of many chains listed above. Such expansion was part of what helped do it in. Most of their stores were in dying shopping centers, and seemed to exist mainly to prevent the eyesore of a vacant storefront; no one wants to buy T-shirts in a hastily converted former department store at the "dirt mall". (To be fair, they did have locations in even popular malls, starting with a massive store at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills.) This also led to wildly inconsistent store sizes, with some being about the size of a dollar store, and others taking up an entire anchor store (albeit often with a portion blocked off for storage, or simply unused). The lack of restraint in location selection, combined with some dodgy financial practices and failed attempts to turn the chain into a more general clothing store, brought on the chain's demise in 2009.
- The rise of large-scale large-selection franchise chain book stores such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million (as well as Chapters/Indigo in Canada and WH Smith in the UK) seemed to mark the end for not only small-business locally owned book stores, but also smaller, mall-based bookstores like B. Dalton and Waldenbooks (which, for the last several years of their lives, were respectively owned by Barnes & Noble and Borders). However, with the competition eliminated, the price of books generally rose and service declined. With the rise of book sales on the Internet (with price, selection, and convenience far greater than any physical store could have), said chain stores failed to capitalize on advantages (physical browsing, instant service, community, fairly good coffee), the outlook was grim for the big-box stores, particularly Borders, which went out of business in 2011. Barnes and Noble survived by closing most of their smaller locations in 2009-2010, and through a heavy shift to online sales and other media like music and video; currently, book sales make up a minority of their income. Books-a-Million, a smaller retailer mostly located in the Southeast, bought out several Borders.
Interestingly, this has also led to a rise in locally owned used book/media stores, with several such stores (e.g., Half Price Books, 2nd & Charlesnote , Vintage Stock) even developing into regional chains, with the latter two often taking over former Borders locations. Michigan is also a surprising haven of regional bookstores, including Schuler Books in Lansing and Grand Rapidsnote and Horizon Books in Traverse City. Also contributing to the bookstore's death is the rise of the e-book reader, which takes up less space, has adjustable font-size and built-in back-lighting.
- Adult book/video stores: Many communities' discomfort towards owners of such a business, as well as the seedy nature associated with many of them, is now avoided by simply going online to sell their wares. The fact that these places were considered havens for the more sleazy and perverted men out there didn't help patrons who may have felt awkward being seen entering such stores. It's only a matter of time now before print pornography and hard copy porn movies are rendered obsolete. Also, since the traditional adult book/video stores were located in run-down parts of cities, changing land values caused many to close; for example, in Washington, D.C., the eastern expansion of the central business district killed off the 14th Street porn district by the late eighties. The only places that continue to thrive are those that have moved upmarket, specializing in adult toys and erotica paraphernalia along with skin flicks and nudie mags, all the better to cater to a more varied and less sleazy clientele as well as a significant female demographic.
- RadioShack was the place for the Gadgeteer Genius, the DIY hobbyist, and ordinary people who wanted to buy the latest home electronics. They were the shop that would carry batteries and parts no one else had. Then the TRS-80 took off in early 80's. Things looked good until newer computers came out, the prices of VCRs and TVs fell, and then big box stores took over the consumer electronics market. The internet really took a huge bite out of the market for both PC parts and electronic components. They tried to shake off their image with a new commercial and cell phone sales, but they soon filed for bankruptcy and closed stores as the market has moved on.
- In Belgium there was a retail marketing tactic by supermarkets involving the giving of store-exclusive collectibles that took off during the late-2000's. Delhaize (Food Lion in foreign markets) started the idea with Pixar cards, which was so successful as a hype that other supermarkets (such as Carrefour) made their alternatives to compete with it. The idea was to stimulate people to go to a certain store through huge amounts of pester power. Heavy advertising, giving them to pretty much everyone who makes a purchase at the store, giving more of those to the customer if they give more money to the store as well as the fact that other stores could not give them to you was done to ensure that people would make purchase at their store and prevent competition from much cheaper markets (such as the newly launched Colruyt or existing competition such as Aldi) of stealing their customers. The tactic was so successful that at its prime they were selling those collectibles separately as well. By the mid-2010's this marketing tactic started to get heavily discredited though. The fact that the collectibles themselves were almost worthless, that the games in which you played with them were simplistic and lacked any sort of depth to make them last long, the seasonal side to the marketing tactic (one half of the year they would engage in it and the other half they would not) and that competing retail stores (such as the aforementioned Colruyt) that did not invest in them started getting cheaper and much more engaging entertainment for children was the reason for its demise. Today store-exclusive collectibles still exist, but they are rather seen as nice additions rather than as game-breaking marketing hypes and meant for other purposes (such as one collectible card set from the aforementioned Delhaize, which has food recipes written on the back of each). They are for that reason not anymore as heavily advertised as they used to be and are therefore only shown in the store itself.
- From the '80s into the early '00s, Martha Stewart was the queen of homemaking, cooking, and home design, and built a multimedia empire out of it. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was once worth $2 billion, she had partnerships with Kmart, and her magazine was used by shoppers as a to-do list. By 1999, she'd become America's first self-made female billionaire. Then an insider trading scandal tarnished her down-home image, and she spent five months in Club Fed for it. Then the internet burst the bubble, with social media taking away her audience and online shopping hitting the company's bottom line. The brand was sold to be broken up. If Martha Stewart recovers, her new company won't have the influence Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia once did.
- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) was founded in 1856 as one of the first supermarket chains in the United States, and until 1975, it was the largest. The chain created many innovations in the supermarket as we know it today, including the concept of "store brand" private label items (the most famous being Eight O'Clock Coffee, which has survived due to A&P selling off the rights in 2003). The chain also created the magazine Woman's Day in 1931, which was sold exclusively in its stores until it was sold off in 1958, and continues publication to this day. Many have pointed out that for a long time, A&P was synonymous with "grocery store" in many people's vocabulary, and had the same level of brand recognition that McDonald's or Google would today. The downfall began in the 1970s, mainly owing to a lack of store maintenance; in 1975, the chain underwent a massive store closing, eliminating a vast number of very tiny, un-maintained stores (typically in very small towns) that were barely any bigger than a 7-Eleven. The remaining stores, particularly the "colonial" ones built in The '70s, had a reputation of being under-maintained and outdated, paling in comparison to the newer and larger stores being built by its rivals. Former "colonial" buildings in particular typically got sold to very low-end chains like IGA or Save-a-Lot, became dubious-looking independents, or ceased entirely to be grocery stores. A&P continued closing stores and withdrawing from various markets, eventually shrinking to the New York/New Jersey area. Many related supermarket chains were bought up and later spun off or closed as well (Super Fresh, Farmer Jack, Kohl's Supermarketnote ) as Walmart gained an increasing foothold in the grocery sector and Kroger continued to step up its game in response. A backlog of debt from buying the Pathmark chain resulted in A&P finally announcing that it would go under entirely in November 2015.
- Phar-Mor was a super-sized drugstore chain that came out of nowhere in 1982. It brought a new concept to pharmacy chains in that its stores were much larger (most were 50,000 square feet, when the average drugstore is under 10,000). They lured in shoppers with the concept of "power buying" (i.e., supplying huge amounts of products at a very low cost) and by selling low-priced Coca-Cola products at the rear of the store, thus encouraging shoppers to walk the entire length of the store. Their unique business model was initially so successful that even Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, said he feared the chain's expansion. But the first nail in Phar-Mor's coffin came only a decade into its existence, when it was discovered that the founders were embezzling funds. This resulted in a civil lawsuit against the chain and a filing for bankruptcy, which led to many of the stores closing, some after less than a year in business (a few stores in Michigan and California were built but never even opened). The now much smaller chain survived the lawsuits, but by this point, Walmart and Target had been including pharmacies in most of their stores, while the elimination of "power buying" left them with oversized stores that weren't as convenient as Walgreens or CVS, which were rapidly expanding even then. This competition, plus a failed buyout of New York-based Pharmhouse in 1999, caused Phar-Mor to liquidate in 2001. Since then, no one else has attempted to create a "We Sell Everything drugstore", while Phar-Mor has a reputation of being a unique store concept that was permanently tainted by corporate greed.
- Individual clothing chains can go through this. Fashion changes constantly, and clothing chains need to either keep up or get left in the dust. The 90s and early 2000s killed off a lot of once massively popular chains that failed to keep up with the times, such as Fashion Bug, Deb Shops, County Seat, Merry-Go-Round, Gadzooks, Foxmoor, Jeans West, Rave, and Chess King, while formerly niche stores like Aéropostale, Hot Topic, Wet Seal, and Pac Sun took their place at the turn of the millennium… only for those to stumble in The New Tens with the rise of Zumiez, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21, and rue21 (no relation). Other older chains like Gap/Banana Republic (same ownership), American Eagle, and Abercrombie & Fitch have survived only by completely overhauling their merchandising mix, and even those have been hit with closures.
- Abercrombie & Fitch especially is a notable microcosm of this trope. Originally an outdoor outfitter for most of the 20th century, the company struggled in the '70s and '80s (including filing for bankruptcy in 1977) before it was taken over by new CEO Mike Jeffries in 1992. He reinvented the brand as a preppy youth clothing/lifestyle retailer, and in the '90s and '00s A&F was huge among the upper-middle class teenagers it catered to. The brand received Shout Outs in pop songs and parodies on MADtv, homaging or poking fun at its image and customers, and it spawned both spinoffs (Hollister, a brand owned by A&F that focused on a laid-back West Coast style) and competitors (Aéropostale and American Eagle both switched gears in the '90s to compete with A&F).
The Great Recession, however, caused A&F to take a steep tumble. Not only was their high-priced clothing no longer an easy sell in such a market, their carefully-cultivated elite, preppy image went from a selling point to a liability in a cultural climate that had increasingly turned against such attitudes, with the company's many controversies for discriminatory hiring, offensive T-shirts, oversexed magazines, and insensitive statements by Jeffries catching up with them. Today, A&F and its copycats struggle in the marketplace, their "cool" cachet having long since crumbled as a new generation viewed them as painfully old-fashioned in both style and attitudes, and their stores remain in shopping malls largely due to inertia.
- Another fashion brand that fell around the same time was American Apparel. It first made headlines for its refusal to use sweatshop labor, instead running its garment factories in Los Angeles, and in the '00s it gained a certain degree of hipster cred for its fashion styles and its initiatives on progressive causes like environmentalism, immigration reform, and fair treatment of workers. That mostly evaporated as CEO Dov Charney's creeper persona (as in, during an interview, he masturbated in front of the female reporter and boasted about having sex with employees) came to overwhelm the company's image, and sexual harassment lawsuits started swirling around the company. The brand, like many others, also failed to evolve its styles, selling much the same fashions in 2012 that it was selling in 2005, while its rapid expansion in the '00s proved unsustainable, especially in the face of the Great Recession. Finally, the ethical causes the company championed slowly became passe as other companies started implementing similar initiatives, especially on the environmental front. Charney was eventually kicked out as CEO in 2014 following a series of harassment lawsuits and police raids against their factories (as many as a third of the company's factory workers were undocumented immigrants), and the company filed for bankruptcy the following year.
- Abercrombie & Fitch especially is a notable microcosm of this trope. Originally an outdoor outfitter for most of the 20th century, the company struggled in the '70s and '80s (including filing for bankruptcy in 1977) before it was taken over by new CEO Mike Jeffries in 1992. He reinvented the brand as a preppy youth clothing/lifestyle retailer, and in the '90s and '00s A&F was huge among the upper-middle class teenagers it catered to. The brand received Shout Outs in pop songs and parodies on MADtv, homaging or poking fun at its image and customers, and it spawned both spinoffs (Hollister, a brand owned by A&F that focused on a laid-back West Coast style) and competitors (Aéropostale and American Eagle both switched gears in the '90s to compete with A&F).
- For most of the Cold War, the idea that revolutionary communism (specifically of the Leninist/Stalinist variety) was a) a valid alternative to the Western capitalist system, and b) inevitable became very widespread among Western leftist intellectuals. After The Great Politics Mess-Up, it's very much a niche opinion. While democratic socialist parties have enjoyed considerable success in several countries (e.g. Brazil, South Africa, Nepal, Uruguay, Cyprus, Greece), the radical revolutionary brand is limited to a few far-left fringe parties, mostly in ex-communist countries and on college campuses. Communist states are almost entirely a thing of the past as well. The Soviet Union's dissolution took all its client regimes with it. China has become communist In-Name-Only, having adopted a market economy that is better characterized as state capitalism rather than anything resembling communism. Vietnam followed suit to a lesser extent, adopting what it calls a 'socialist-oriented market economy'. North Korea dropped any mention of communism from its state documents and mutated into something way worse, namely a hermetic totalitarian theocracy. Cuba is the only country still practicing a genuine form of state communism, but the dying out of its revolutionary-era leadership and thaw in relations with the U.S. may well lead to future liberal reform.
- Long before the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet invasions of both Hungary and Czechoslovakia also helped discredit the Soviet Union and communism for left-wing intellectuals in the West. While some leftists (notably George Orwell) had turned against the USSR after the exile of Leon Trotsky and especially after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution and the Prague Spring firmly laid to rest the idea that it was any kind of workers' state. Those who still believed in communism gravitated toward Maoism and the Cuban Revolution, before discovering that they also had their own problems, while some of those who turned against communism as a whole became the first neoconservatives, taking Bolshevik ideas of a revolutionary vanguard and communism being "the end of history" and applying them to capitalism.
- Communism's old arch-enemy, fascism. During the interwar period, especially after The Great Depression seemed to have discredited the capitalist system, a considerable number of intellectuals came to the conclusion that liberal democracy was a fundamentally flawed system that was doomed to collapse, and that fascism was the only thing that could save Western civilization from both the decadence and materialism of liberalism and from the tyranny of Bolshevism. After World War II, though, it's tough to find anybody outside the most die-hard neo-Nazi fringe who will openly admit sympathy for fascism, and the mere existence of Godwin's Law shows how hated fascism is in all corners of the political world (and even in many debates wholly separate from politics).
- Likewise, Adolf Hitler is not only no longer popular in Germany, but today's Germans regard him as the worst thing that ever happened to their nation (not that non-Germans wouldn't agree with that). During the 1990s both himself and the Third Reich enjoyed great popularity in some Eastern European post-Communist countries, as the man who fought Communism to the last breath. After 2002, his popularity waned even there. Generally, the only people who don't hate Hitler are racist white nationalists like George Lincoln Rockwell or the Ku Klux Klan.
- Colonialism and Imperialism was discredited as early as Red October, The Irish Revolution and as late as the Atlantic Charter of The Forties, with Franklin D. Roosevelt expressing verbal support for decolonization in former empires. The rise in eminence and prestige of national leaders in various former colonies permanently tarnished the propaganda advanced by The Raj and the French Colonial Empire, and the benevolent racist view of White Man's Burden, which was criticized before in the 19th Century is now a frank embarrassment especially in light of World War II. The fact that an imperialist like Winston Churchill was voted out of office after World War II despite being a popular war leader showed the lack of popular support the English people had towards imperialism, and Charles De Gaulle who had defended the Third Republic and opposed Roosevelt's attempts to decolonize Indo-China, won fame and immortality for pivoting the newly formed Fifth Republic into a firmly anti-colonial republic.
- The Domino Theory, which states that if one nation were to become Communist, neighboring countries would follow suit, until Communism takes over the world. For several decades, this fueled America's efforts to convert the world to capitalism, leading to the rebuilding of war-torn Europe & Asia after World War II. However, this theory bit itself in the ass when it was used to justify America's entry into The Vietnam War and its aftermath in The '70s. Communist Vietnam fought a war with Communist Cambodia and later Communist China, and all three of them remained Communist-Socialist and on barely speaking terms, firmly upsetting the logic of the original theory of Communism as a unified power bloc. The Cambodian genocide, partly enabled by American indifference and Chinese aid, was halted by Communist Vietnam, who in The '80s became partners with the United States.
- Posadism was an offshoot of Trotskyist communism created by one J. Posadas (real name Homero Rómulo Cristalli Frasnelli), the head of the Latin American Bureau of the Fourth International who started his own group in 1962. During the mid 20th century, the Posadists were among the dominant strains of communism in Latin America, playing a small but noteworthy role in the Cuban Revolution, and also had a following in Europe. One of Posadas' major beliefs (and the reason for his split from the Fourth International) was his controversial view on nuclear war — he believed that it would ultimately be a good thing for humanity, as it would destroy the capitalist West and the Stalinist USSR and open the door for a true world socialist revolution. The movement started to decline in the late '60s as it got involved in ufology (particularly an embrace of a Benevolent Alien Invasion) and assorted New Age ideas that gave them a reputation as kooks, with the death of J. Posadas in 1981 being the final nail in the coffin. While there are still Posadist parties in some Latin American countries, they are largely ineffectual, and Posadism is now remembered as little more than a footnote in the history of leftism. The only time it comes up nowadays is in discussions of the history of the Star Trek franchise, as it's been speculated that some of Gene Roddenberry's ideas about the United Federation of Planets' utopian society were influenced by Posadism, though the links mostly come down to perceived similarities in their visions of the future.
- Andrew Jackson was, at his time, one of the nation's most popular presidents. A former general in the War of 1812, Jackson portrayed himself as a "common man", fighting for the rights of the states and the people who were unsatisfied with the aristocratic political scene at the time. As president, Jackson prevented South Carolina from seceding from the nation over the "Tariff of Abombinations" that inflated prices on goods, shut down the corruption-filled Second Bank of the U.S. and created a public-powered economy, and signed the Indian Removal Act, forcing Indians to move westward to open their land to farmers and plantations. However, recent evaluations of him have been much more negative, with Jackson being criticized for his use of military force to stop the South Carolina secession, the financial crisis that the Bank shutdown led to, and the many Indian casualties during the "Trail of Tears". In almost 200 years, Jackson has gone from a universally popular president to one whose reputation is tainted by racist and aggressive attitudes. In fact, though most historians still believe he was a successful President, it's now not uncommon to find him ranked as among the morally worst holders of the office; in addition to his abusive Native American policies resulting in thousands of preventable deaths, he took pride in the fact that he'd killed several people in duels and made one of the largest power-grabs in the history of the Presidency by overruling a Supreme Court decision, something specifically prohibited in the Constitution. As a sign of his decline, it was revealed in 2016 that his image on the $20 bill would be replaced with Harriet Tubman in 2020.
- Andrew Johnson, another Tennessee President, fell victim to this as well. Rarely considered a great president, Johnson nonetheless traditionally received sympathetic treatment from historians who considered him a well-intentioned leader whose lenient Reconstruction policies were sabotaged by Republicans in Congress, who in turn almost impeached him. Nowadays he's generally listed among America's worst presidents, since his "lenient" (read: pro-Southern, anti-black; otherwise actively working against Reconstruction) policies allowed the entrenchment of Jim Crow and segregation in the South for a century after The American Civil War. In fact, most people agree that he should have been thrown out of office for his backwards policies.
- After World War I, Woodrow Wilson proposed the "Fourteen Points" as the basis for post-war peace, calling for (among other things) the breakup of the European empires into nation-states drawn along ethnic lines. In its time, the Fourteen Points were hailed as a triumph of support for the principle of self-determination, but it soon became very clear that ethnic boundaries in Europe were often extremely fuzzy. Today, the Fourteen Points are seen as well-intentioned but hopelessly naive, having thrown fuel on the fire of ethnic nationalism in Europe, created many mutually exclusive ethnic disputes, and set the stage for World War II.
- J. M. Keynes' famous analysis of the Treaty of Versailles was influential in shaping public opinion about the Treaty and feeding the image of Germans as being overly punished. A French economist in The Forties, Etienne Mantoux debunked most of Keynes' analysis of the Treaty by using statistics to show that Germany could have afforded to pay the reparations, that it was not overly harsh in the least, and that Keynes' prediction of the reparations damage to the German economy was not borne out by later developments in the Weimar Republic (which after the terribly early years stabilizing in the middle of the decade until The Great Depression). Today, Keynes' analysis is seen as important for his overall vision of economics at the Bretton Woods conference and its influence on the Marshall Plan, but is not really regarded as a valid historical work.
- Wilson's reputation in general has taken a hit in the 21st century. Aside from the Fourteen Points, Wilson's attitudes towards African-Americans have been brought to attention by scholars. Wilson, a Democrat originally from Virginia, was a strong proponent of segregation and even endorsed the controversial white supremacist film The Birth of a Nation. Campaigns to remove Wilson's name from places like Princeton University have taken off as a result. Wilson's role as commander-in-chief has also been heavily criticized, as his policies included the first wartime draft, forcing all young men into the army to fight against the German central power and the Sedition & Espionage acts cracking down on those who resisted.
- In the 19th century Pan-Slavism was a popular idea amongst the Slavic peoples of Europe but mostly died after the Treaties of Versailles and Trianon and been dead since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Velvet divorce", the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
- In Flanders there was a "political" movement known as "Rexism" that was huge in the 1930's. The movement was created by a man named Léon Degrelle that as a worker in a Catholic printing press managed to take over the publishing house to spread his ideology through a news paper. The movement already did not have many "political" ideology to sustain itself, as it was more there to do everything that Léon Degrelle wanted to be done (example: if he wanted that everyone got a cup of coffee everyone in the whole country should do everything in their power so that everyone would get a cup of coffee). It was nevertheless, thanks to Léon Degrelle's own charisma, a movement that was at its peak as popular as the mainstream political parties of the time, with who they competed under the "Rex" label. By 1939 however Germany would invade Poland, which made the fascist characteristics that the movement already had more obvious and painful-looking. Not helping the case was that one of the biggest backers of the "Rex "movement was none other than Benito Mussolini. They were then pretty much doomed to be small. It however got a big resurgence in World War II when Nazi's managed to successfully manipulate it and use it to stimulate Belgians to fight for the Nazi's (Léon Degrelle himself actually got many medals from the SS), but was dissolved just after Belgium was recaptured by the British. Léon Degrelle himself had successfully fled to Spain where he remained for the rest of his life, but his own family suffered severe repercussions due to the severe hatred for is political party at the time. His two children even had the death sentence.
It should be noted that this did not stop the creation of political parties in a similar style to appear in Belgium. De Partij Van De Arbeid (literally: The Labor Party) was made by a university student that at first had an own ideology in the same style who would get in contact with advocates of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong that influenced him to let his party become communist, which was popular enough to become a political party in The Netherlands as well.
- 'Propaganda of the deed' was an idea that emerged among anarchists and other leftists in the late 19th century, proclaiming that militancy by 'lone wolf' revolutionaries was the best means of advancing the movement's goals and winning support. Inevitably, this turned to support for terrorism, leading to the stereotype of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists who assassinated royals and political figures. Propaganda of the deed essentially died out in the early 20th century as the violence associated with it made anarchism an easy target for crackdowns and public campaigns, while Red October popularized the idea of the revolutionary 'vanguard' and the formation of unions and political parties; since then, leftism came to be dominated by either Marxist-Leninists or democratic socialists in the Fabian or syndicalist mold. It would see a rebirth in the late 20th century with the 'direct action' of radical environmentalist and animal liberation groups, as well as the anti-globalization 'black blocs' that trashed businesses and banks, but it is still seen as a fringe tendency that's deeply unpopular among the more democratic leftists.
- Warren G Harding was a very popular president during his lifetime. When he died in office in 1923, he was deeply mourned. At the time, Harding was best known for his strong domestic and foreign policy initiatives, most notably helping the nation recover from a post-war recession and calling the first major international conference in Washington. Shortly after his death, it was revealed that he oversaw the illegal leasing of oil fields in Wyoming by Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, appointed his own friends to his cabinet, appointed a hugely corrupt ex-soldier to oversee the Veterans' Hospitals, and had two alleged extramarital affairs. Harding's reputation plummeted almost immediately afterwards, and he is today remembered as one of the nation's worst presidents.
- Pan-Europeanism seems to be going the way of Pan-Slavism. At the end of the Cold War, European countries formed the European Union, a federation of states with a legislative body, open borders, free trade, common citizenship, and a common currency (Euro). During the 90s and 2000s, the EU had some of the best living standard and was becoming a viable economic rival to the likes of America, China, and India. However, the EU has lost much of its credibility following the economic, refugee, and security disasters in The New Tens. The great recession of the late 2000s ruined many member economies and recovery attempts only jeopardized their common currencies and damaged trust. Greece in particular nearly derailed the Euro after suffering from a debt crisis exacerbated by the country's spending policies and political corruption. The EU responded by providing financial bailouts with austerity measures, which partially alleviate the debt problem at the cost of driving Greece into further poverty. The Syrian refugee crisis and Paris attacks in 2015 further strained member unity with many countries refusing to take in refugees and instead closing up their borders. With the EU's reputation in shambles, many political figures are questioning the viability of Pan-Europeanism, with the U.K. voting to leave the European Union.
- Afrocentrism was on the rise during The '60s and at its height during The '70s. It was seen as a method of creating a sense of pride in African Americans. It did reveal some interesting facts to the public, such as Alexadre Dumas being black. However, the movement also introduced questionable claims that all great historical figures and achievements were Black. One such debunked theory was that the Ancient Egyptians and Israelites were of Black African origins. Although there was at least one dynasty of Nubian Egyptian kings, this theory was discredited by the absence of Egyptian culture in Sub-Saharan Africa, and modern genetic testing showing that current Egyptians are of Semitic and Hellenic descent. Around this time, a theory was also spread that Ludwig Van Beethoven was black due to hypothetical moorish ancestors. However, this theory is based on rumor and not the publicly available genealogical studies of Beethoven's past. A great deal of these claims are based on the premise that credit for Black accomplishments was either whitewashed or stolen by Whites. Afrocentrism is no longer taken seriously by reputable African American Scholars, with much of the modern academic community considering it to be just as racist as any whitewashing of history.
- Liberalism (in the European sense that is) - possibly because Liberal parties started out demanding things that are now universally granted like civil rights, universal suffrage, abolishment of feudal hindrances to capitalism and the likes. While many European countries still have liberal parties, no major country has a liberal party anywhere close to forming a government on its own or leading a coalition government. A good example for the development of Liberal Parties in Europe is Britain, where the Whigs used to be one of the two major parties besides the Tories, before being overtaken in importance by the Labour Party. While Labour did take over some of the socially liberal policies of the Whigs, the Tories took over some of their economic stances, thus making them largely superfluous and a "wasted vote" in the British first past the post system. While the Liberal Party and its successor the Liberal Democrats have enjoyed a few second springs, this has never been more than a short respite from overall irrelevance and the backlash against the Lib-Dem - Tory coalition under David Cameron may prove to be their undoing as a relevant political force. Similar things have also happened to the German FDP, which used to be part of almost every government in The Bonn Republic and did not even enter parliament with a single representative after the 2013 federal election.
- The Canadian Social Credit Party - dominant for decades in Alberta and British Columbia, not even on the ballot a few years after their fall from power.
- Megachurches were a phenomenon that emerged in American evangelical Christianitynote in the mid 20th century, serving as a new breed of church for Baby Boomers confronted by the prosperity and social changes of the post-war era. While the defining feature of a megachurch, as the name suggests, was the size of its parish (the most common definition is more than two thousand), they came to be just as well known for their presentation, employing Christian Rock, pop psychology, seating arrangements borrowed from theaters and arenas, state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, and the trappings of youth culture to bring in young people. The larger churches were as much lifestyle centers as they were churches, with not only schools, but coffee houses, fitness centers, bookstores, cafeterias, and more to serve the needs of parishioners. More traditionally-minded Christians loathed megachurches, viewing them as spiritually shallownote , overcommercialized, and focused more on expanding their membership rolls than on building deeper faith in the people who attended. Still, megachurches took off in the '80s through the '00s, continuing to grow even as scandals wracked high-profile preachers, while the emergence of the Christian Right as a political force during this time created a symbiotic relationship between megachurches and the Republican Party. In many parts of the country, they took over the socio-cultural role that the labor unions and ethnic associations once held.
In the '10s, however, the American megachurch movement ran into a brick wall. A chronic problem that megachurches had long faced was that, while they were great at growing large parishes, they had trouble holding onto them. Furthermore, megachurches' alignment with right-wing politics, combined with their mostly white, suburban, Baby Boomer/Generation X membership base, meant that they were a tough sell for a younger generation that was more urban, more ethnically diverse, and, if not more politically left-leaning, simply not interested in tradition American Protestant Christianitynote . Megachurches are still around, but they now get an average of two-thirds of their tithes from people over 55, and many people, both secular and Christian, view megachurches as having done serious long-term damage to evangelical Christianity in the US for the sake of short-term profit. One moment that arguably served as the turning point for megachurches was when the iconic Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, one of the most famous such institutions, closed down in 2013 and was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, who are currently in the process of transforming it into a proper Catholic cathedral (serving a surrounding community that is now heavily Latino and Vietnamese) and the seat of the diocese.
- Political Catholicism has become this in much of Europe, though Poland is arguably an exception (as are Malta, Croatia, Lithuania and much of Southern Italy— but even in those traditionally Catholic strongholds, the Church still struggles.) Until well into the second half of the twentieth century, the word of the pope could sway elections in Ireland or Italy and entire parties were basically the political arm of the Vatican and the altar was some sort of ultimate bully pulpit in favor of those parties. Catholicism was varied in its political applications, reaching from reactionary pro monarchy factions skeptical of democracy to social reform movements and charity organizations that were even accused of being communist. Nowadays, this is long gone. One of the most rural and catholic counties in Bavaria (itself overwhelmingly catholic) voted for a gay social democrat in 2008 and even made him Landrat in 2011. The most shocking thing? He's protestant! In 2015, Ireland voted on gay marriage. Marriage equality passed with 62% of the vote. The last country in the EU 28 where political Catholicism still appears to be a force to be reckoned with is Poland and even there the political influence of the Catholic Church is not always uncontroversial. Latin America has had much of the same effect— several traditionally Catholic Latin American countries like Argentina and Brazil have legalized same-sex marriage. Chile, another heavily Catholic country, elected an agnostic to be their presidente. However, the decline in Catholic influence also has to do with the rise of evangelical churches (which many Latin Americans are drawn to because of their openness and emotional concern), not necessarily secularism.
- Many religions have disappeared from the face of the earth or at least greatly diminished in adherents. The different types of European polytheism usually have some revival movements (of varying authenticity), whereas no such thing exists for most Mayincatec religions, especially their less savory aspects. Some religions, which arguably came within inches of eking out mainline Christianity in the West are now so unknown that even historians would be hard pressed to discern major tenets of those faiths. Ever heard about Mithraism? Sol Invictus? Manichaeism? And those are just the best known. There is a reason why they were often referred to as "mystery cults" or simply as "heresies".
- In the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenics was viewed as a serious field of research. Nearly every Western nation (and even some non-Western countries) had a eugenics program designed for the "betterment of the national race" through keeping out undesirable immigrants and sterilizing criminals and the disabled. Nearly everybody was in favor of eugenics, whether conservative or liberal, religious or atheistic, even racist or not (and, for that matter, whether white or not). Those who weren't were seen as soft-hearted, weak-minded sentimentalists who would destroy society by allowing morons, cretins, and imbeciles (all of which were actual medical classifications at the time) to run rampant and out-breed the more genetically fit.
Eugenics first began to seriously fall out of favor in the 1920s and '30s, when the work of various biologists and anthropologists revealed that environmental factors played a significant role in traits that were once thought strictly hereditary.note However, what truly sent eugenics from an outdated biological theory to the collective Old Shame of both biology and the Western world was the revelation of the horrors committed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in its name. Today, there remain very few proponents of eugenics, and many of them are associated with far-right fringe politics. Liberals and leftists oppose eugenics on humanitarian grounds ("eugenics is a tool to oppress the lower classes and minorities"), conservatives oppose it on the basis of the sanctity of life and opposition to abortion ("it's immoral to kill people or deny them children just because someone says they're 'inferior'"), and libertarians oppose it on the basis of personal freedom ("the State has no business regulating something so important as having children") — and anti-eugenicists will typically use all three of those arguments no matter their political leanings. Merely suggesting that one supports eugenics is enough to destroy a politician's career (as one eugenics proponent found out when he somehow got the Republican nomination in Tennessee's 8th Congressional district in 2004), and it's popular to tar historical figures that one doesn't like by bringing up any support for eugenics that they might have had — even though, at the time they were making those statements, opposing eugenics was seen as the radical, flaky viewpoint.
- The various racial and cultural theories put forward by anthropologists and biologists which were often used to justify, among other things, eugenics programs and European colonialism. The work of Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, and other leading anthropologists in the early 20th century caused many scientists to call into question their assumption of the "natural superiority" of European people and culture, and served to kick off the above-mentioned decline in the popularity of eugenics.
- Phrenology, the study of skull shapes in order to determine various intellectual traits. Not only has decades of neurological research discredited much of phrenology's underlying assumptions about which parts of the brain do what, but Franz Boas, in one of his more famous experiments (comparing the children of Southern and Eastern European immigrants to their parents), found that environmental factors played a significant role in determining how one's skull would come to be shaped as he or she grew up. Now, when characters are displayed as having an interest in phrenology, it's usually to show that they're racist, and often amoral at best (see: Calvin Candie in Django Unchained, Mr. Burns in The Simpsons, or Professor MacDougal in Red Dead Redemption).
- Ancient Astronauts. Popularized by Erich von Däniken's Chariots Of The Gods in 1968, the majority of scholars never really took it seriously, while religious leaders thought it to be blasphemous, but it caught on with the general public and with various Science Fiction and comic book writers. Today, the theory still has its exponents (e.g., Ancient Aliens), but as Science Marches On, there are now more rationales emerging as to how many ancient cultures built their megalithic structures. Furthermore, there are the Unfortunate Implications in how it suggests that primitive ancient peoples were simply not smart enough to create these engineering feats that still mystify us today, especially the fact that von Däniken's work focused on Asia, Africa, and the Americas (after all, no one questions who built Stonehenge or the great castles of Europe). The records left by these lost civilizations are open to interpretation. Also, too many unreliable translations of existing ancient records heavily suggest that the ancient aliens themselves had European features. They also lost the first and foremost sponsor of the theory, Eastern Bloc governments, who sought to drive people away from established religions (Christian, Jewish, and Islamic).
- From the same era, The Bermuda Triangle. It was a near-ubiquitous topic in the late '60s and early '70s, with nonfiction books from authors like Charles Berlitz, John Wallace Spencer and Richard Winer filling the best-seller lists, inspiring wild speculation about UFOs, time warps, electromagnetic force fields and Atlantis. Documentaries, television specials and fictional movies capitalized on the subject; for a time, even mainstream media tied seemingly every disappearance of a boat, plane or person to the phenomenon. Then Lawrence David Kusche published The Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved, which showed that most authors merely repeated claims from previous writers, and that while there were mysterious disappearances of planes and ships, they weren't especially prevalent in the Triangle area. Kusche's book went largely unchallenged, and the Triangle went from a widely-believed cultural touchstone to a joke overnight.
- Spontaneous Human Combustion was actually taken seriously by some medical and scientific authorities in the 18th and 19th Century. Several medical journals of that era treated it as a verifiable phenomena; a French attorney cleared his client of murder charges by "proving" the victim spontaneously combusted; novelists like Charles Dickens (in Bleak House) and Herman Melville (in Redburn) dramatized it. Today, spontaneous human combustion exists firmly in the realm of Urban Legend, as few aside from paranormal and psychic researchers take it seriously.
- Atheism+ and New Atheism - was once hailed as the new wave of Atheism that would succeed the "New Atheism" wave started by people like Richard Dawkins. At its core, it sought to address women and minorities' issues inside the rational/skeptic movement. Despite its initial acclaim and popularity, the movement itself was divisive from the start, with detractors ranging from people arguing that the rational/skeptic movement was not the proper place to discuss social and gender issues (after all, atheists/rationalists are very diverse in their social/political ideology) to others accusing it of being a hijack of the atheist movement by radical feminism. Then, in response to the backlash, its proponents adopted an "all or nothing" and "With Us or Against Us" stance which backfired when many people who were at first enthusiastic supporters, like Matt Dillahunty, found themselves driven out, leaving it only with the extreme social justice activists whose subsequent behavior of throwing accusations of rape and misogyny left and right only turned off other people from joining. Just a few years after its inception, the Atheism+ and New Atheism movement is now remembered as a self-defeated movement, and has been now reduced to a few internet forums populated almost exclusively by moderators.
- For that matter, Richard Dawkins himself. In the mid-late 2000's, he was seen as the face of atheism, publishing the two-million selling book The God Delusion in 2006 and arguably giving atheism its first true voice in the mainstream. However, his reign as champion for the atheist community would prove to be a short one. Over time, he picked up a reputation for being an arrogant jerk who vehemently refused to acknowledge the good things religious people have done or respect anybody who disagreed with him. But what really did him in were his notoriously scathing remarks against women and Muslims. These things, combined with the view that he's contributed nothing of worth to science since the mid-80's, have reduced him to an embarrassment among all but the most hardened atheists. Expressing support for him now will get you branded as an angsty teenager or a fedora-wearing neckbeard, and no one with any sense will admit to having read The God Delusion unless they're trashing it and/or Dawkins as a whole.
- Speaking of atheism, PZ Myers used to be loved by many in the atheist community but since the Atheism+ he has now become a pariah in said community and has been criticised by many such as Thunderf00t and Michael Nugent.
- XTC was created by a German firm during the 1920's to fight against the famine that was very present in the Germany of that time. It was very quickly removed from the shelves because it quickly became clear that it only had the psychological benefit of making people think that they were not hungry and Germany would quickly become an economic powerhouse under the reign of Adolf Hitler . It was however very popular in the community of psychiatrists, where it was prescribed for neurosis, and remained that way until the 1980's when it turned out that it had plenty of the same properties found in most hard-drugs. Nowadays they are illegal even in Germany and have been stripped off that purpose.
Examples dealing with computing are covered on the New Media page.
- Nowadays, any cellphone that isn't a smartphone is seen as something you only buy if you're too poor or cheap to get anything else. Flip phones are now viewed as the domain of criminals who need something they can throw away easilynote , and if you really want to get some Anyone Remember Pogs? jokes going, whip out one of the original brick-sized phones from The '80s. Non-smart cellphones are still used for legitimate purposes, but mainly as assigned/work-related phones or for older people who don't use or are not familiar with cellphones enough to need a smartphone. If you have an old cellphone somewhere, it's probably only useful as a backup alarm clock. That said, one benefit of the late-era dumbphones has given them a small additional lease on life: long battery life, even with use, especially when compared with the iPhone's notoriously short battery life that keeps getting shorter with each passing release of iOS.
- The personal digital assistant (PDA). From the stylish Sony CLIÉ to the Apple Newton (the iPhone's granddaddy), they were the cool toys to have in the 90s, until smart phones and tablets swallowed them wholenote . Palm went from being the pioneer of PDAs to a footnote in tech history. Research in Motion (RIM) survived by moving into smartphones with the BlackBerry, but this trope eventually caught up with them there, as noted below...
- When RIM launched the BlackBerry in 2003, it triggered a productivity revolution by allowing people to easily access their email from anywhere, the next logical step from the PDAs that were popular in the '90s. Every office worker and business professional had a BlackBerry, many of them paid for by the company, and some came to nickname their phones "CrackBerries". However, starting around 2009 the BlackBerry was caught off-guard by the competition, most notably by the iPhone and the first Android smartphones that had something BlackBerry phones didn't have: the fact that you buy an iPhone/Android because it's an entertainment device and thus you want to buy it because you used it to have fun, whereas chances were you did not want to have a BlackBerry because it was a permanent tether to your job and you had one because your manager imposed it. The BlackBerry had grown long in the tooth, and when RIM attempted to catch up, it was with a new touch-screen smartphone aimed at competing in the consumer market, alienating its core business users while providing nothing that mainstream consumers couldn't get from an iPhone or an Android phone. RIM has since returned to profitability, with the Classic model helping to Win Back the Crowd, but it's fallen far from the Glory Days when it dominated the smartphone market, viewed as a symbol of a tech company failing to keep up with the times.
- Ordinary roller skates are on their way out, usually only seen in amusement facilities designated for that purpose; everywhere else, they're being quickly replaced by rollerblades. However, it must be noted that the sport of roller derby not only almost exclusively uses quads (roller skates), but also prefers them to roller blades. WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association), the largest governing body of roller derby in the world, strongly pushes quads, even for referees. Derby leagues with rollerblades are very few and far between.
- Netbook computers— very small, very affordable laptop computers with just enough processing power to access the Internet and do some light word processing (and that latter not very well, due to the small keyboard)— were never a very pleasant experience to use, and these days have gone the way of the dodo. Their niche has largely been filled by tablets (which are more portable and have roughly the same capabilities for no more, and sometimes less, price), ultralight laptops (for when portability and power are the highest priorities and price is no object), and cheap workhorse laptops (a nice Jack-of-All-Trades compromise between price, power, and portability). Nobody really missed them when they went, and they're remembered as an oddball product category that was outmoded almost immediately.
- Pagers have been effectively outmoded by the rise of mobile e-mail and text messaging with cell phones (though hospitals still use them, as they operate on frequencies that do not interfere with medical equipment where cell phones would). During their use, pagers were nothing more than a portable one way caller ID that lets the user know someone wants to contact them. The user would then have to find a phone to call the number back.
- Advancements in electronics technology have made older versions of television sets obsolete. For decades, the typical TV were CRT (cathode ray tube), which made the TV extremely heavy to carry and move around since most of the bulk was from the giant tube that made up the screen. By the mid 2000s, flat screen LCD based television sets quickly became popular due to having better picture quality, easy to move around due to their lighter weight, and quickly became cheap to purchase. CRT based television sets are still in use, but they are mostly used in schools and offices for simplicity's sake and saving money by not upgrading. However, CRTs are still used in certain pieces of industrial equipment, most commonly oscilloscopes. Retro gamers may also prefer CRT TVs due to refresh rate differences in LCD TVs, compatibility issues with older systems' video output, and/or the fact that Light Gun Games simply don't work with anything else due to how they function.
- Telephones used in homes today mostly consist of multiple phones being connected to a phone base and being wireless. Corded telephones, which are still in use in the workplace, are gone and is mostly inconvenient due to the cord; they have been relegated to the Third World, due to the fact that they will always be operational in places with unreliable power grids. Before the corded phone came along, telephones were on a rotary dial and hook, which made dialing numbers quite slow compared to the more faster button pressing phones that are present today. Nowadays, most people only have a landline for emergency calls, if they have a landline at all. Only governments and businesses use more than one landline with multiple extensions.
- Typewriters were the most common way to type up documents for decades until the invention of the computer and printer. Typewriters left very little room for error; every key pressed would imprint its symbol onto the paper and could not be undone. Users of the typewriter also had to manually insert a new piece of paper to continue typing when it was time to type the next page and ink ribbons had to be replaced once they ran out of ink (however, correcting typewriters were developed in the 1960s, and more advanced models could preview text on dot-matrix displays and even had spellcheck functions). Typewriters fell out of use by the 1990s and no one uses them anymore unless it's for a collection or if they are working in a courthouse where everything that is said during a trial must be typed for the record. Computers allow people to easily correct mistakes, save their documents for later editing, and the printer can print up documents more effectively and quickly than a typewriter. Nowadays, save for the occasional hipster who writes on a typewriter to be unique and special, they have been relegated to a spare desk in the office because they were acquired in the '80s or '90s and are still working just fine. They can be occasionally useful for filling out pre-printed forms and such and even then PDF and Word documents are becoming popular for forms.
- Payphones are extinct thanks to cell phones becoming extremely cheap to buy. In the past, payphones were the only way to call someone when you were not near a phone and you had to insert coins (usually quarters) to not only use the phone, but you also had to keep paying if you were planning to be on the phone for an extended period of time. Payphones were very prone to breaking down or being vandalized (and often were used as "office phones" for drug dealers) and when cell phones became very common, most cities found it too expensive and a waste of money to keep payphones in working order. Today, pay phones have been relegated to two kinds of places: those who are full of foreigners with cell phones that can't operate abroad like majors airports or internationally famous tourist venues, and the Third World, where lots of people still cannot afford cell phone rates and crime is sometimes so rampant it's common for kidnappers to track down targets by intercepting their phone calls. If you do find payphones, they're usually in malls near the doors.
- Telephone cards used to be very common. They ranged from crude "scratch off" cards (the user scratched off the code to make the calls) all the way to credit card like systems that the user could swipe on a payphone or dial the code on the back. Users purchased minutes of talk time, the price depending on how many minutes and where the calls were going. First there were domestic calls, then international "calling cards." They were very popular with people who were in the military, had relatives overseas, traveled a lot or didn't want to pay for long distance. The rise of cell phones has killed off most of these cards except for calls to locations like the Middle East or Asia. Many cell phone companies offer special packages for calling neighboring countries or traveling abroad. The rise of internet services like Skype has also taken away the appeal of telephone cards among younger people.
- In The '90s there were several attempts to address the storage problem and replace the floppy. Like Betamax, Zip drives, "superdisks" (aka LS-120), Jazz Drives and other removable media all died as CD's became cheaper. Zip disks had technical problem, Jazz drives were expensive and the LS-120 (as souped-up floppy disk) was slow.
- SOX (sodium oxide) streetlighting like the Thorn Beta 5◊ is now out of favour, as are concrete columns, in favour of newer, more environmentally friendly SON (sodium vapor) lighting like the Philips Iridium◊. Only a few specific locations cling to old SON installs (e.g. Worsley, near Manchester).
- Buttons at major crosswalk intersections used to be able to call up a red light for cars a lot sooner so you can have the right of way to cross the street. Thanks to improvements in the timing of the traffic signals and cities not spending money to maintain the crosswalk buttons, many of them have become useless, but some people still press them because they still think that they work. In some places, they're the opposite of this trope. In Canada, for example, the buttons don't bring on a red light faster, they give more time for pedestrians to walk; timed intersections (with a countdown for pedestrians) default to ten seconds to cross, but can be increased to over twice that by pressing the button.
- The methods used to connect to the Internet has vastly changed and improved since the 1990s. Dial up was the most common way to connect to the Internet when browsing the Internet became more accessible to the public. However, dial up required the user to connect their computer to a phone line and the connection was extremely slow, averaging around 56 kbps. You also had to hope that no one at home tried to use the phone while you were online because if they did, you would lose connection to the Internet, unless you were one of the lucky ones who had a second phone line just for the modem. DSL came along years later and it was significantly faster than dial up with speeds averaging at 700+ kpbs. DSL still required a phone line for connection, but users could connect to the Internet and have the phone be used at the same time. Cable topped DSL in connection stability and speeds that reached well over 5 mbps. Internet speeds have only increased since then, with some areas giving users over 200 mbps for download speed. Despite advances in Internet technology, many developed areas around the world (including the United States) still use cheap and out of date methods of Internet connection; namely dial up or DSL. This is due to ISPs not offering faster Internet speeds in small towns since the companies don't want to waste money building an infrastructure in an area that won't generate much revenue back in return.
- The ubiquity of widescreen television as the standard has all but killed the 4:3 aspect ratio, to the point that using it today is now considered to make the picture more claustrophobic.
- The transition from CRT to flatscreen and growing ubiquity of widescreen televisions has largely killed off the "Pan and Scan" format. Netflix caught a lot of flak when it was caught using pan-and-scan to gain the desired 16:9 ratio on 2.35:1 films and even TV shows that had larger aspect ratios, and that was one of the few cases of the issue even coming up in recent memory; most people nowadays are perfectly happy with the (very mild compared to the days of viewing 16:9 content on a 4:3 CRT) letterboxing.
- Despite the fact that António Egas Moniz, the physician who first developed a way to administer a practical leucotomy (better known as a lobotomy) shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine of 1949 for the procedure, few doctors would ever consider doing the now-controversial surgical procedure now. Study since the time it was popular has proven that the procedure, which was originally believed to sedate the mentally ill through surgery, can have unpredictable and rarely beneficial effects on the patient. (It has often been called "surgically induced childhood" and at times, "mutilation"). At any case, few doctors have been willing to consider it as an option since around 1970, and the practice is actually illegal in Russia, Germany, and Japan. There have even been several petitions to the Nobel Foundation to posthumously rescind Moniz's Noble Prize, but as late as the 21st Century, they have defended the decision., saying that it was the only effective treatment available then.
- For a brief period in the late 2000s at the height of the gas crisis, interest in biofuels as an alternative energy source surged. The appeal to environmentalists was obvious on the surface — biofuels are made from plant oils rather than petroleum, and as such, they're renewable, generate less pollution, and has a lower carbon footprint. The idea of "growing your own gas" also held emotional appeal for advocates of energy independence. The problem? These fuels turned out to require so much land, their producers started cutting down large swathes of rainforest just to have enough room to grow them, not to mention the farmlands that were dedicated to growing fuel instead of growing food. The idea backfired terribly as they turned out to increase global warming by releasing carbon trapped in felled trees, and now it has been shelved until we reach peak oil and have no other choice to obtain our organic fuels. The American variation of this revolved around corn ethanol, which could theoretically be made from the US' massive corn crop. In addition to the above, the idea also held support from many Midwestern politicians and agribusiness concerns, who were understandably eager to see a new energy industry brought to their states. Corn ethanol became a common additive for regular gasoline to reduce emissions, and General Motors made a number of "FlexFuel" models that could run it. Unfortunately, corn-based biofuels had even bigger problems than palm oil as an alternative energy source, in that the energy return on investment was so poor that in some cases it would generate less pollution to just use gasoline. Nowadays, corn ethanol is seen a prime example of greenwashed pork-barrel politics.
- Answering machines, while quite handy at the time they were used, were quite cumbersome to place since it had to be connected to a phone or another phone line and sometimes desk space wasn't available. Nowadays, every land line phone has an answering machine built in with the phone or voicemail from the phone company.
- Before the advent of electronics, people who had to use hard-to-calculate functions such as logarithms or trigonometrics would resort to mathematical tables — huge lists of pre-calculated values for a certain function, sometimes even spanning multiple encyclopedia-sized tomes. The first known example of one of such tables dates back to somewhere around 500, composed by Indian mathematician Aryabhata. While these tables were a blessing for those who had to routinely use logarithms, N-th roots or trigonometric functions (such as astronomers, ship navigators and statisticians) as well as being usually far more accurate than a slide rule for logarithms, there was a huge downside — these tables were expensive to produce, because they would be calculated by literally sitting hundreds of people in a huge room and making them calculate as many values as possible during their work journey, and you better had to pay them well because there weren't many people before the 19th century who could even perform basic multiplication and division let alone calculate a logarithm. The need for cheaper computation of mathematical tables eventually motivated engineers to develop the first mechanical computers back in the 19th century, and this brought a golden age for mathematical tables as they became increasingly cheaper and accurate. Electronics finally grew to the point where they cannibalized the mathematical tables they helped create when Hewlett-Packard released in 1972 the HP-35, the world's first portable scientific calculator. Since then, and especially since the development of computer algebra systems that let their users do algebra with electronics, mathematical tables have been relegated to education, usually as an appendix to an advanced mathematics textbook and limited to a single topic (e.g. a signal analysis textbook with a table of Laplace, Fourier, discrete-time Fourier, discrete Fourier, fast Fourier, Z and wavelet transforms).
- While the Concorde was a limited financial success (for British Airways and Air France that is, the development costs were never earned back and no other airline ever bought a single one of them), a combination of post 9/11 air travel crisis, rising fuel prices and an accident that proved the Concorde to be just as vulnerable (if not more so) to things going wrong seem to have forever and decisively killed supersonic air travel. The fact that the Concorde only ever ran over mostly ocean routes like London-New York because of noise concerns and today's airlines are increasingly abandoning "hub and spoke" in favor of more direct connections has not helped either.
- Asbestos - While it is a naturally occurring fiber which was known (including anecdotal evidence for its harmfulness) to the ancient Romans, its use really only took off with the industrial revolution. And why not? It's relatively cheap, flexible impervious to fire and most chemicals. There is only one problem - it is one of the most aggressive carcinogens there is. And given that it causes the especially deadly lung cancer, this spelled the end of basically any use of asbestos in or near housing, retail or any use in proximity to human beings. While asbestos mining is still ongoing and countries like Canada like to claim that there are perfectly safe ways of using it and They're only selling it to those keeping the necessary precautions, its use by default is now unthinkable. In fact, some buildings have been torn down for no other reason than containing asbestos.
Food and Drink
- Snapple Sodas: During the late 1980s, Snapple marketed a large variety of gourmet sodas. Some flavors included French Cherry, Clear root beer and Clear Cream Soda (in keeping with their stand on unnecessary artificial colorings), Passion Supreme (Passion Fruit flavor), Kiwi Peach, and Jamaican Ginger beer. The entire soda line disappeared by 1991. There have been numerous letter writing campaigns in an attempt to convince the company to bring them back. Unfortunately, according to the company, the formulas for most of these sodas were lost or stolen.
- "Clear" pop was a brief trend in the early 90s, most famously with Crystal Pepsi. Although it initially sold well, it imploded quickly when people realized it wasn't the same as regular Pepsi. Since then, every line extension from Coke or Pepsi has been touted as "limited time only", so it can be withdrawn quietly if it doesn't sell.
- Wine Coolers: These were popular before increased wine taxation caused them to no longer be cheap to produce and market. Thus, true wine coolers were quietly replaced by flavored malt beverages as represented chiefly by Bartles & James. Although, for years, people would continue to call them wine coolers despite the obvious difference in flavor. Another reason that wine coolers and alcopop beverages have declined in popularity is because critics have accused them of being marketed towards teenagers. This has caused some states to enact laws restricting how these drinks can be advertised and also where they can be sold.
- The McDLT: McDonalds' mid to late 80s answer to the Burger King Whopper. The gimmick is that the burger was packaged for the customer in a dual compartment package. As the ad went: "The hot stays hot and the cold stays cold". This way, the burger didn't get cold too quickly due to the lettuce and tomato topping. Additionally, the lettuce/tomato/optional mayo topping would be kept from becoming soggy and losing its crispness too quickly due to the transfer of heat and steam from the burger. As a result, the burger could be assembled fresh (the two sides put together) at the precise time you were ready to eat it. The insulated styrofoam dual compartment packaging was costly and environmentally unfriendly, this being a time when fast food restaurants were moving away from polystyrene packaging. This led to the McDLT's demise in the early 90s. However, it was later Re Tooled into the Big 'n Tasty, which was retired in 2011.
- Also from McDonald's, the Arch Deluxe. It was advertised in the late 90s as "the burger with the grown-up taste," featuring smiling adults along with grayscaled photos of children who looked upset or even outright depressed. The Arch Deluxe didn't taste that bad, but the poorly thought-out ad campaign convinced people that it did, and it was gone after just four months. (The implied anti-children attitude in the ads might have done a great deal to turn people off.)
- Zima was a clear alcopop beverage that popped up in the 1990s during the "clear craze" where beverage manufacturers started selling clear drinks (such as Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear). Zima was marketed heavily by its manufacturer, Coors Brewing Company, as a manly alternative to wine coolers for guys who didn't like beer. For a while the drink became very popular, but to Coors' horror the most of its drinkers were women in their 20s (the drink was also popular with teenagers due to an urban legend that Zima couldn't be detected on police breathalyzer tests). Coors then attempted to sell Zima to the male demographic by releasing a bourbon-flavored variant, but was unsuccessful. After a while Zima began to gain a reputation as a "girly man" drink and became the butt of jokes by stand-up comedians. The drink's popularity plummeted after its first year, but it managed to linger for another decade before Coors quietly decided to discontinue domestic sales of the drink. These days the only place you can still buy Zima is Japan. To this day men still make jokes to each other about Zima being a drink for wimps.
- In a similar, but oddly regional example: Buckler beer in the Netherlands. Originally introduced mid 1988 as a low alcohol alternative to normal beer it did quite well at first. Then comedian Youp van 't Hek completely destroyed the brand in his New Year's Eve show in 1989 saying it was "the kind of drink the Prime Ministers wife (a devout Christian) would serve" as well as describing the people who bought it as "middle-aged cocks desperate to show off their cars". Sales plummeted almost immediately and though Heineken tried to save the brand by switching to an alcohol free formula it was taken of the market in 1993.
- Tab soda is often touted as the first diet soda (even though competitor Diet Rite precedes it by five years). It was created in 1963 and has come under fire despite its honest packaging. Originally, it contained saccharin which had been later reported to be carcinogenic, a revelation that has been overturned. Despite the fact that Tab is still produced, Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi have both eclipsed Tab sales. It is easy to miss in the soft drink aisles, if the store even bothers to stock it.
- Bum wines (also known as low cost fortified wines). At least among anyone other than actual bums. They were once a staple among underage drinkers who would often pay bums to buy it for them. These wines were noted more for the quick buzz than the taste which was usually abysmal. Popular brands include Thunderbird, Night Train Express, Cisco, and MD 20/20, and Wild Irish Rose. Many convienence stores no longer carry them in order to discourage loitering by winos. At the very least Night Train was immortalised in a Guns N' Roses song.
- Celeste brand frozen pizza: One of the top selling brands of frozen pizza during The '70s and The '80s. They also introduced the first successful microwave pizza. Today, their distribution is largely limited to regional markets. And now, only the microwaveable "Pizza for One" is still produced. The place they are most likely to be found is in dollar stores with a frozen food section.
- Red Pistachio nuts: Pistachios are naturally beige in color, the color that you always find them today. Red pistachios originated due to the fact that the nuts were formerly harvested in the Middle East and dying them red (sometimes green) was a convenient way to cover up stains on nuts due to harvesting by hand. The dye did not affect their flavor. Today, a majority of pistachio nuts are harvested on the U.S. West coast and are harvested by machine, so the dying is no longer needed. Red pistachios haven't been much seen since The '80s.
- From The Fifties to The '90s, there were various "labor saving devices" marketed to housewives and those who loved to cook. They sliced, diced and chopped. Aside from the blender, toaster oven and some food processors and electric knives, most are forgotten or confined to late night TV Infomercials. Those who cook, both casually and on the amateur and professional level find it easier just to do things by hand except for the few times a blender or powered cutting knife is needed.
- Punk as a culture has suffered so much from Seinfeld Is Unfunny in the past decades that most people don't even consider it a thing anymore. The few people who do avert this trope run under the slogan "Punk's not dead" for this very reason. The spin-off cultures are still well-embraced, however. It probably doesn't help that many of the core values of punk culture (anti-authoritarianism, anti-corporatism, etc.) have been largely rendered impractical and/or obsolete due to changing social mores. No longer does rebelling against corporate establishment seem sensible after events like the 2008 recession. While the anti-intellectual attitude of many punk bands (barring a few such as Bad Religion and The Offspring) seems itself almost too safe, given that education has become increasingly mandatory in our increasingly computer driven society. Moreover, some of punk's biggest proponents in the 70's and 80's have recently gone on record to dismiss the movement altogether, arguing that it was little more than angsty teen rage with little reason or practicality behind it.
- The "scene" and "emo" subcultures as practiced by many a MySpace using Emo Teen are experiencing a backlash. When MySpace was big, Moral Guardians around the world took potshots at "emo and scene kids" as the look was everywhere on the Internet. The teens became young adults and grew out of it. The bands that were at the heart of the subculture have either broken up or moved on, see the Music section of this trope. MySpace and other online services that catered to scene/emo kids have either folded or the users have moved on as well.
- The idea of "free love", at least as it was conceptualized by The '60s counterculture, was discredited in The '80s by HIV and the rise of the New Right as a potent political force. (Not that pre-Sixties puritanism has ever truly returned.)
- 1-900 numbers. Launched in The '80s, they hit their peak in the early 1990s and allowed for a variety of services — video game hints, pro-wrestling news, stock tips, psychic readings, stories for kids, chats with Santa during the Christmas season, phone sex (which is still commonly associated with 900 numbers despite the industry having discontinued their use sometime around the mid-Nineties) etc. — all for a small fee per minute. (The B-plot in The Simpsons episode "Brother from the Same Planet" has Lisa get addicted to a teen idol's hotline, and Michelle got in trouble for calling a joke-of-the-day line in a Full House episode.) The rise of the World Wide Web caused these numbers to go obsolete in terms of cost and quality; a monthly Internet bill is much cheaper than a 15-30 minute 1-900 call session. If you're lost in a game, why risk talking to a stranger who may be rude and steer you in the wrong direction at your literal expense when you can go to GameFAQs and get a detailed map for free? Another reason is the increasing popularity of cellular telephones and VOIP services, which often refuse to connect callers to 1-900 numbers.
- Prank phone calls were once a popular source of amusement for adolescents, but the advent of caller ID in the mid-1990s made prank calls almost impossible to get away with (and they're now viewed as being on the same moral level as harassment and stalking). These days many kids don't even know what a prank call is. When Comedy Central attempted to revive the fad with their adult-themed puppet show Crank Yankers some years back, the Moral Guardians pounced. However, prank calls to retailers like Walmart are still modestly popular on YouTube. Some smartphone apps allow people to prank call while displaying a fake or blocked number on the receiving end. This doesn't mean that there's absolutely no way to trace it back, though. There has also been a rise in ID spoofing used by scammers (e.g. people calling and threatening to have a person arrested for failure to pay back taxes in the form of a pre-paid debit card). This is also likely a factor in the demise of Roy D. Mercer, a prank call persona created by Brent Douglas and Phil Stone of KMOD radio in Tulsa, shortly before Stone died in 2012.
- Back in the 1970s, pedophilia was viewed as a controversial idea, but at least in Europe, it was seriously defended and considered just as acceptable as homosexuality (if not more so) by a large number of intellectuals and even some mainstream newspapers. Today, as more and more pedophilia scandals burst open, it's become a politically indefensible idea that's commonly seen as one of the ultimate evils. Today, even the most staunchly progressive/libertarian-minded people refuse to defend pedophilia, and most of them would be shocked or squicked by what was once a nearly mainstream discourse. The LGBT community, meanwhile, has spurned it, treating pedophile-rights groups like NAMBLA and the Paedophile Information Exchange as having nearly destroyed the gay rights movement by attempting to link their causes to it. Everyone now agrees that children 12 years old or under (at the very least) should be off-limits to older sexual partners; the bone of contention now concerns how much over 12 the young person should be (the "age of consent" is only 18 in a few places), as well as how to legally deal with teenagers having sex with each other.
- Phone books (sometimes known as the Yellow/White Pages) were extremely helpful for people that needed to find a phone number of a business in their neighborhood and or to find a specific person's listing, although the books were almost as thick as a standard dictionary. They also tended to include local maps, tourist information, coupons, government listings, and ZIP code directories, just to name a few. Thanks to the Internet taking off, phone books have been produced in lesser numbers, come in smaller sizes, and mostly contain just information for businesses in the area — no more maps, coupons, or the like. There's also the fact that most people are abandoning land lines in favor of cell phones. The print edition of the Yellow Pages in Mexico, however, is still popular — because the online search portal is absolutely awful and returns results from the entire state only, which can be a major pain if you live in a decentralized state like Guanajuato with lots of small cities instead of one single huge city. And let's not talk about the even more awful smartphone app.
- The concepts of road maps and atlases are fading away as the likes of Google Maps and GPS have taken their place. Rand McNally has circumvented this by making their U.S. atlases available as apps and eBooks, but most other atlases or road maps that are published anymore are cheaply made with little regard for legibility or accuracy, and available only at Walmart or certain gas stations if at all. Mapping services and GPS also have the advantages of being able to reflect changes in infrastructure (new roads being built or old ones being obliterated), as well as offering the ability to suggest alternate routes in case of construction, accidents, or weather.
- Now that it's well known that not only didn't Christopher Columbus "discover" America,note he perpetrated an ethnic cleansing of the Arawak tribe, it's rare to find Columbus Day celebrations, especially on the West Coast. Even though it's a Federal holiday, most schools and businesses ignore it. Many regions across the United States celebrate alternative holidays on such day, some focusing on Native American heritage. There also exists a movement to re-brand the holiday to celebrate Bartolomé de las Casas, a contemporary of Columbus who found religion and became an early social reformer and opponent of the slave trade.
- Clowns, at least the stereotypical Non-Ironic kind. Think about it: when was the last time you saw a whitefaced, fright-wigged, puffy-suited clown legitimately entertaining children? If you live in a big city or bustling suburb, you probably haven't seen one in years — perhaps even decades. The Pennywise-type clown is definitely on his way out, if he isn't dead already. Tim Curry certainly did a lot of damage with his portrayal of the aforementioned character, as did Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger with their portrayals of The Joker. And then, there's Homey The Clown, who's not so much scary but just a big jerkass. Generally speaking, the phenomenon of coulrophobia has mutated from just another quirky childhood fear to a seriously studied and analyzed anxiety disorder, as ludicrous as that might sound. Whatever the reason, a sane human being inexplicably distorting his/her facial features for the ostensible purpose of making others laugh now comes off as deviant, or even downright sinister. The heirs of Joseph Grimaldi note — particularly those working in such circus companies as Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey — have, as always, adapted. They've experimented with less-menacing clown makeup designs, everything from choosing more naturalistic face-paint colors (there are now some red-faced clowns out there) to resurrecting the old-fashioned auguste style (flesh-toned, with white paint only around the eyes and mouth). This more low-key trend might even bring about a revival of Emmett Kelly's "tramp" clown, which has been criticized by some for supposedly making a mockery of homeless people. note
- The same principle applies to mimes. While mime remains a timeless and thriving art form (especially in Asia, where traditional theatrical productions don't rely so much on the spoken word), the specific white-faced, cartoon-gloved, "trapped-in-a-box" stereotype has been a target of loathing and mockery for quite some time now.
- The Threat Matrix report was once hailed as the future of anti-terrorism operations in the United States intelligence community due to its purpose of compiling all the most active threats to the US into one central document that could be easily distributed to all the relevant agencies and give the President an up-to-the-minute assessment of global terrorist activities. At one time, it was even taken seriously enough for ABC to commission a short-lived drama based on the activities of a fictional government unit set up specifically to deal with the Threat Matrix.
Unfortunately, the authors of the document had a propensity for Critical Research Failures, with an incident involving two Ukranians discussing urinal cakes that was misconstrued as an arrangement to sell yellow-cake uranium being the best known example. It was quickly ignored or even outright lambasted by government agencies, and any reputation for usefulness it might've had in the public eye was destroyed by a non-fiction book published in 2011 detailing how the document had initially screwed up intelligence gathering among the relevant agencies prior to being discontinued.
- A few predicted that the Fukushima disaster might be the final nail in the coffin for nuclear power; this doesn't seem to have happened yet (as only Germany has given up serious plans for future nuclear energy, and it might actually end up buying more electricity from nuclear-powered France), and it's more likely that policymakers have gotten the real message of Fukushima (namely, "Don't build a boiling-water reactor in a major earthquake/tsunami zone"). Nuclear power plans continue more or less unabated in France (the queen of nuclear energy, which unapologetically takes 70% of its power needs from the atom and houses the most massive fusion power attempt as of 2014), the US and UK (which continue to proceed cautiously with proposals for new nuclear plants), and China and India (whose energy needs are so high that new plants make sense more or less no matter what—especially for India, which is investing in developing the cleaner thorium fuel cycle, and guess what nuclear fuel India has more of than anyone else?).
- Airship travel has been effectively dead since The Hindenburg disaster. Though the US military has been interested for some time in reviving the airship for intelligence gathering and logistics purposes, and there are numerous commercial proposals for cargo transport, especially for heavy/bulky items that can't go by road or rail, or shipments to remote locations.
- Public Service Announcements that take the form of surreal skits, musical numbers, or ironic drama. Typically, the idea was to get the point across without heavy handed preaching or emotional manipulation. Many of them remain memorable due to their Narm Charm. Today, P.S.As are more likely to be a celebrity, a famous pundit, or increasingly an ordinary non-celebrity person simply addressing the audience in a serious matter. They want to make sure the message gets across without the audience being distracted by the messenger.
- Cursive handwriting. In years past, nearly everybody wrote in cursive handwriting because it caused less wrist fatigue than writing in longhand (in addition to being considered more eye-pleasing), and every school made sure that students knew how to read and write in cursive (many schools wouldn't even accept homework that students wrote in longhand after they learned to write cursive). Being able to read and write cursive remained an important skill after typewriters were invented because most people didn't possess them, and a pen or pencil was a lot easier to carry around than a typewriter. But over the last couple of decades, handwritten letters have mostly been replaced by telephone, email, text messaging, and social media, while computers with printers have replaced writing essays by hand. Because people have to handwrite things a lot less than they used to, many schools no longer teach students how to write in cursive and a lot of younger people these days have difficulty even reading cursive. The only things keeping cursive alive are a) hand-wringing from older generations who grew up when it was still a valuable skill and b) the fact that signatures are required for legal documents — and you would be surprised how easy just scribbling works as a signature in lieu of actually writing your name.
- One of the strangest and creepiest pastimes during the Victorian Era was post-mortem photography. Basically, they would picture the recently deceased, mostly infants and children, and place them with decorations or would be postured upright to appear lifelike. Then, those pictures would be kept by their loved ones as a memento of their bereaved. The practice slowly died out at the turn of the 20th century when photography became even more commonplace, and two little things called World War I and the influenza virus; which made people very uncomfortable to see millions of their loved ones die in agony.
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was once the premier animal rights organization in the United States. In the early-mid 2000s they gained acclaim for their chilling exposes into industrial farming, most notably the documentary "Kentucky Fried Cruelty" which described the abuses faced by animals raised for their meat. Teen activists rallied behind them and celebrities such as Pamela Anderson endorsed them... until two bombshells were dropped near the end of the decade. The first was their turn toward increasingly radical and nonsensical campaigns, the two most infamous of which were a petition to rename "fish" to "sea kittens" and a campaign against Pokémon and Super Mario Bros. The second, and most important, was the revelation that they euthanize the vast majority of the animals sent to their shelters, apparently due to feeling that domestication is a Fate Worse Than Death for animals and that they were mercy killing them. PETA euthanized about 90% of the animals they rescued (compared to the ASPCA only putting down about 10%), they had large capacity walk-in refrigerators that rivaled restaurants to store the animals prior to disposal, and they were caught because the people dumping the bodies at one shelter decided to use a nearby dumpster instead of an approved disposal method. Now, most animal rights and environmental activists view them as a joke punchline at best, and morally bankrupt at worst.
- Though they like to pretend otherwise, the Ku Klux Klan is dead in the water. During the Reconstruction period after The American Civil War, they were a dangerous, powerhouse group that was feared by blacks and white northeners throughout America. Their brutality and influence brought an end to Reconstruction during the 1870s, ironically taking most of the Klan's membership with it by eliminating their main bogeyman. For decades, it was ignored and largely forgotten, aside from the occasional racist old idiot trying to start a lynch mob. The release of The Birth of a Nation in 1915 inspired a new generation of Klansmen, which spread nationwide and wielded a great deal of power and influence in the '20s, but they lost that power almost overnight in 1929 after both the stock market crash and criminal convictions of several high-ranking Klansmen. A third generation sprung up during the Civil Rights Movement in an attempt to fight desegregation, but this wave was pitifully small compared to prior Klans. It quickly became a Butt Monkey for the FBI and general media, as moles leaked the Klan's private information and brought sharp focus on just how idiotic and scummy they were. By the late '60s, they were on life support, and with changing attitudes towards race relations, they were a dead letter before long.
Today, there are still many small bands that try to claim to be the "true" Klan, but none of them have any true influence or power. With racism declining ever further in America and the world in general, the Klan is only ever brought up by historians when discussing history or to be used as stock villains. They're not even depicted as competent villains; nearly every portrayal of the Klan in fiction depicts them as bumbling losers who need to get a life, which, frankly speaking, isn't too far off. Even the modern Klan have tried (and miserably failed) to distance themselves from their violent, lynching pasts in order to gain some modicum of respect or political influence. In about a century, the Klan have transformed from ruthless, terrifying Templars with millions of members who could change the course of American history, to a few thousand white-trash bums hanging around the basement of the internet in places like Stormfront. Even within the "white power" movement, much of their position and prestige (for lack of a better term) has since been taken by neo-Nazi groups and white prison gangs.
- During the second half of the 2000s, so-called "pickup artistry" (a series of calculated methods and techniques for seducing and eventually having sex with random women) was a very popular trend. While the idea had been around since the 1970s (when the Eric Weber book How To Pick Up Girls! was first published), it really took off in 2005 when Neil Strauss published an autobiography called The Game, which detailed his experiences with the "Seduction Community", a social group that specialized in Pick-Up Artistry. After The Game became a bestseller, the Seduction Community briefly thrived and received quite a bit of mainstream attention.
However, this very attention was a big part of what led to its downfall in the early '10s. The morally questionable nature of the group's whole mission, as well as the general ideology about sex and women that permeated it, was of course a major factor, but there were others as well. Women became privy to their seduction techniques, and were more easily able to spot a man using them as being out simply to get laid. Another issue was that numerous stories were coming out about aspiring pickup artists going so far as to rape (and in some cases even murder) the women they weren't able to seduce. Lastly, the validity of the group's methods was heavily debunked when put under scrutiny by scientists and academics. While it still has its proponents and defenders, pickup artistry is now largely seen as a scam, and almost no credible psychologist or dating expert recommends getting involved with it.
- As mentioned under Discredited Trope, portraying drug dealers as vicious, heartless excuses for human beings in fiction has largely gone the way of the Dodo. This type of character was extremely common in Very Special Episodes in the '90s, and would often behave like a PG-rated pedophile, stalking and harassing their victims, especially children, into trying their product. Motives ranged from money to just 'cause. Like many discredited tropes, this one fell victim to Society Marches On, with more people realizing that many drug dealers are simply poor people trying to make a living, and are often friends with their customers, which has in turn led to a backlash against harsh drug laws in Real Life. The "Drugs Are Bad" moral is far from dead itself, so you do still see drug-dealing villains, but the ones that truly go beyond the pale (as seen in Breaking Bad) are those involved in organized crime and seldom the low-level street pushers; when the latter are portrayed as scumbags nowadays, it's usually in a more realistic fashion (cutthroat, rapacious assholes who readily take advantage of desperate people and are fond of Disproportionate Retribution when said desperate people attempt to steal from them or rip them off), and is always juxtaposed with examples of dealers who are just people trying to make a living without destroying lives or otherwise leaving their morals behind. The dealer who, when arrested, rats out scum who he wants out of the game because they're terrible people is also not unheard of nowadays.
- Newspapers have largely fallen out of fashion within the last couple decades. For a long time, "reading the paper" was seen as the defining male ritual, particularly in domesticated family life. With the rise of cable news and especially the internet during the 90's, internet access to smartphones and tablets, along with the rise in other "male hobbies" like playing video games, newspapers have been largely reduced to "that annoying thing still showing up on my doorstep every morning."
- Letting children outside to play on their own was once heavily encouraged by parents, since they needed their kids to get out of the house every now and then and get some fresh air. When crimes related to children (kidnapping, child molestation, etc) rose in the late 20th century, however, worried parents either refused to let their children play outside or only allowed to do so with adult supervision; the "old way" came to be viewed as dangerously irresponsible, to the point where it's gotten a number of parents arrested for neglect. Meanwhile, new forms of technological entertainment, notably video games, movies, and the Internet, lured kids inside. To top things off, a lot of newly developed neighborhoods are designed to squeeze as many homes in a certain radius as possible, which leaves children very little room to do anything in their backyards. It should be noted however, that fear of child kidnapping and/or sexual abuse by strangers is often considered a moral panic in debate circles. For one, the vast majority of children who are abducted and/or sexually abused are victims at the hands of someone that the child knows. In fact, by far the most common occurrence of kidnapping is a parent or guardian kidnapping a child during a nasty divorce or custody dispute. Ditto with children who are sexually and/or physically abused by relatives being far more common than by strangers. Two, is that while it's good to teach children to be cautious of strangers by way of the common teachings of "Stranger danger", there's concerns that it has also created an irrational fear of strangers in both parents and children, especially of adult males. This includes heavier suspicion towards an adult male who adores children (that are not his), while his female counterpart is typically not questioned.
- Both a real-life and music-based example: Truck driving and CB radios were popular trends in the '60s and '70s. Country Music had smash hits such as "Convoy", "East Bound and Down", and "Six Days on the Road" that glorified truckers as modern-day cowboys who've seen large chunks of the world, offered sentimental stories of life on the road, or expressed the joy of getting back home after the long haul. Even people who were not truckers would purchase CB radios to listen in on truckers (to the point where they became an option in some cars), and CB lingo such as "10-4, good buddy" became popular in the average American's lexicon. (They were also useful during the oil crisis to help others locate stations better, or for truckers to organize strikes against the then-nationwide 55 MPH speed limit by blockading Interstate highways.) This fad culminated in the movie Smokey and the Bandit, whose very soundtrack included "East Bound and Down". But throughout The '80s, the trucking industry began to decline and the national craze faded. Some of the last country songs about trucking, including Eddie Rabbitt's "Drivin' My Life Away" and Ronnie Milsap's "Prisoner of the Highway", seem more like descontructions of the genre, as they paint the truckers as restless souls who feel trapped by the job. Meanwhile, the CB began to get flooded with amateur users who made communication difficult for people who used the format professionally, while the increased use of Family Radio Service and cell phones at the Turn of the Millennium effectively rendered CB obsolete except among truckers.
- Men's Clubs, community-based groups that allowed men to take a break from "The Mrs." to meet and partake in activities together such as bowling, have largely fizzled out. The biggest reason for this is the rise in "man caves," places where men can (either by themselves or with friends) do the same things free of charge in the quiet and comfort of home. Not to mention women generally weren't allowed, which prevented men from bringing dates or platonic female friends. This, combined with the mainstreaming of homosexuality altering the meaning of "men's club" for most people, created a reputation for being glorified gay bars or attracting bland/socially awkward men. As a result they gradually faded away. Today, the only places where you're still likely to find them are conservative Christian churches and even then they tend to have low attendance.
- Related to the above is the steady disappearance of social clubs in general, for many of the same reasons Men's Clubs died out. Most hard hit are traditional "lodges", due to their perception as being elitist and (less so) widespread conspiracy theories that led to them being associated with cults and the like. It is easy to draw conclusions about such clubs and what type of persons they are (or are not) looking for.
- The notion of young boys playing Cowboys and Indians or "Cops And Robbbers". Values Dissonance has made the former politically incorrect (even having the Indians win is bound to upset people) and the latter has been tarnished by current disillusionment and lack of trust towards American law enforcement. Another development to the latter's detriment is the fact that it's pretty hard to depict "robbers" as Depression-era populist antiheroes anymore, thanks to association with the War on Drugs and several decades of realistic, hard-assed police-procedural TV shows that haven't shied away from vilifying all criminals, no matter how minor. "Cops And Robbers" was also intended to be one of the titles for a franchise we nowadays call Grand Theft Auto and played out Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It is very likely that the young boys who would have played them would now be playing video games in the same genre that have much more recently relevant takes on the concept.
- "Random" humor was immensely popular in the mid-aughts, fueled by the success of shows like Invader Zim. It mostly consisted of strange non-sequitors, absurdism, and the Rule of Funny, albeit with a hidden purpose in mind... in theory. In the hands of most of its practitioners, most "random" humor was actually based on repeating Inherently Funny Words ("cheese," "monkey," "penguin," and "doom" being particular favorites), stealing quotes, misspelling words, Overly Long Gag, and immature, obnoxious behavior, all done for its own sake. The backlash was intense, and most people to have practiced the style consider it an Old Shame that they thankfully grew out of. Invader Zim remains well-liked, but many people cite the "random" aspects of the series (most notably GIR) as being its weaker bits, where once they were considered the reason to watch it.
- The "Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys" stereotype is slowly dying out as of The New Tens. For one, it's become bad taste after the Charlie Hebdo and especially the 11/13/15 terrorist attacks in Paris, but even before, it lost its relevance, as France was being much more militarily active than during the previous decade. Moreover, the original context, as a fallout for France's opposition to America's invasion of Iraq, is now seen as Vindicated by History as the Iraq War became deeply unpopular, and Barack Obama's election platform cited his opposition from the very beginning. The terrorist attacks also put the kibosh on the French Jerk trope.
- Paula Deen was once one of the most respected celebrity chefs on the market, having been on Food Network for over a decade and having several hit shows. Unfortunately, her reputation took a nasty hit in 2013 when it was revealed she made racist comments about an African-American bride-to-be for her wedding and suggested a "plantation" theme. The backlash was swift, and after more stories about Deen's usage of racial epithets circulated, Food Network ended their relationship with her, and most of her endorsements and sponsorships were cancelled. Nowadays, Deen is seen as a symbol of the South's racist past and a complete joke.
- ESPN journalist Britt McHenry, while not hugely famous, seemed to have a very bright future ahead of her when in April 2015, after going out to dinner, she found her car being towed. McHenry angrily yelled profanities and insults at the female driver over being "lower-class". The incident blew over for a week, but eventually the tow truck company that the driver worked for got a hold of a surveillance video that captured it and uploaded it onto LiveLeak. The story quickly went viral all over social media, and not only did McHenry lose nearly all support from ESPN audiences, but she also gained the ire of the rest of the public. ESPN suspended her for a week, and by the time she came back the tow company felt sorry for her; unfortunately, the public was not nearly as forgiving.
However, it should be noted that the tow truck company itself has a history of consumer complaints, and is seen by many in the local community as a "chicken hawk" business: They actively patrol the city for cars that fall JUST outside of legal parking, and tow them. Reported examples include: Parking your car at the lot for one restaurant, but going a little further down the street to another. The business parks a "spotter" car in these areas to look out for such incidences. the spotter calls a tow truck in, and the car gets towed. "As soon as you cross the street, you get towed". While they may largely be within the realm of legality, they're essentially the cop who writes a ticket for jaywalking: The general public wouldn't like that kind of treatment from a business any more than McHenry would.
Today, Britt McHenry is near-universally reviled by both sports fans and general audiences and seen as a prime example of a real-life Alpha Bitch (and due to her somewhat resembling Rachel McAdams, is constantly compared to Regina George) and a sad case of how a rising journalism career can be destroyed by one incident. Even though "never say never" is a motto of many a tarnished reputation, and indeed several ESPN reporters like Chris Berman and Skip Bayless have ultimately been able to bounce back from a Role Ending Misdemeanor, it is very unlikely McHenry be able to do the same, given that she was almost completely unknown outside of the sports community prior to the incident and that she got far more mainstream exposure than most other cases, and thus her verbal assault is literally the only thing most people who don't watch ESPN know about her.
- The idea of the automotive city. When cars first reached a mass market, cities which were mostly constructed for carriages, horses, people on foot and streetcars (trams) could not handle levels of traffic we would call laughably low today. So architects and city planners came up with different ideas, jaywalking was banned as a crime (before cars everybody crossed the street whenever and wherever they pleased), streets were widened, old houses were torn down to make way for parking and roads and urban highways on stilts were all the rage. In Europe World War II meant that many cities were destroyed anyway, so urban planners of the 1950s could build automotive cities to their heart's content. However, starting with the 1973 oil crisis the downsides became more and more apparent. Historic buildings had been lost, air quality suffered and the pedestrian bridges and tunnels were riddled with crime, homeless people and drunks, often smelling of urine. The Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco, probably one of the most visible symbols of car dependent urban planning was not rebuilt after an earthquake in the 1980s and even though it cost the mayor who decided to do it reelection, most San Franciscans today agree it was a good idea. Other cities did similar things and by the beginning of the 3rd millennium, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said "A modern city is no place for a car" and any politician in a first world country who wants to redesign a city along "car friendly" lines will run into a brick wall of opposition.
- The term "A/S/L?" (age/sex/location) was a popular term to use in the 1990s when the internet was relatively young and people were meeting with other people online and A/S/L was a quick way to know what someone could be like. Thanks to one too many incidents of predators and criminals luring kids and teenagers to meet with them after speaking online, nobody uses A/S/L anymore and since then, there has been a lot more ways to meet with people with most methods being very safe. Using A/S/L today will get you made fun of at best and get you branded as a creep at worst; the modern version is abruptly asking for Kik/Skype/Snapchat usernames, all of which are commonly viewed as popular domains for bots and creeps due to the ease with which spam and unsolicited overtly sexual messages can be sent through them.
- Cotillions and Debutantes, while not totally extinct, are only associated with conservative, traditional circles. Such as in the Deep South. The debutante is defined as the first time a young woman presents herself to high society, another concept that is becoming less and less relevant as the gap between the obscenely rich and everyone else widens. Also, more well to do families are beginning to eschew the traditions of so-called high society in light of this increasing gap.
- Jian Ghomeshi was one of the most popular radio and TV hosts in Canada throughout much of the 2000s. Born in London to an Iranian family, Ghomeshi moved to Canada at the age of seven. His adolescence was marked by him listening to artists like David Bowie and Rush, and his tenure at York University was marked by his support for women and his pro-choice activism. Ghomeshi first gained notability as a member of the politically satirical folk-rock quartet Moxy Fruvous. Moxy Fruvous recorded four albums in their lifetime, having hits with songs such as "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors", "King of Spain", and "You Will Go To The Moon". Although never the biggest name in Canadian music, the band became popular thanks to its progressive political attitude. After they broke up in 2000, Ghomeshi became the host of play a Canadian pop-cultural newsmagazine, and later got a spot on the Canada Now news program. Other gigs included his work on the documentary The End, about technological effects on the TV industry, the 50 Tracks countdown of the most impactful songs in history, its Canada-centric sequel, and a top 10 playlist countdown show called The National Playlist. Ghomeshi's best known gig, however, was his time on the CBC radio show Q. Under his lead, he turned Q into one of the highest rated shows in Canadian radio history.
Unfortunately, Ghomeshi's star began to take some big hits. First of all was his controversial interview with Billy Bob Thornton. Since Thornton was on the show to promote his musical side project, the Boxmasters, he did not want to bring up his film career. Ghomeshi, despite being instructed not to ask about his acting, did so anyway, so Thornton deliberately evaded the discussion. Because of Thornton calling Canadians "mashed potatoes without gravy", the people took Ghomeshi's side and the Boxmasters were booed out of Canadian stadiums shortly afterwards. Ghomeshi also took a career as a manager, as he managed artists like future Dragonette singer Martina Sorbara and electro-pop star Lights, and also wrote a memoir, 1982, that was published in 2012. Although well-received adventures, neither raised his profile past where it was at the moment.
The final nail in the coffin, however, was his rape allegations. In October 2014, journalist Jesse Brown published an investigative report on Ghomeshi's past history of sexually abusing women, including Q producer Kathryn Borel, in the Toronto Star. Once the article hit the news, Ghomeshi started to face a massive backlash, with CBC firing him on the spot. More women continued to come out against him, and further stories from his past started to make the Canadian news, such as a video of him insulting his own fans during his Moxy Fruvous days, an affair with a 16-year-old fan of his, an essay written by a reporter who went on a date with her thinking he was gay, and the fact that people at the University of Western Ontario were aware of the allegations before they came public. Organizations associated with Ghomeshi quickly severed ties with him, with CBC removing all references to him on his page, an awards ceremony and reading competition he was set to host dropping him, and his publisher choosing not to release his second book. Lights, despite initially supporting him, dropped him as his manager as she learned how bad his crimes were.
Today, Ghomeshi is a reviled name in Canada, essentially becoming the nation's equivalent to Jimmy Saville, Bill Cosby, or Rolf Harris. Although he was acquitted in his trial due to insufficient evidence, virtually no one was convinced that he was innocent, and his lead attorney's actions drew wide criticism, being seen as a "betrayal of women" because she was one. While many people have recovered from career damaging scandals, it's very unlikely Ghomeshi will ever be able to rehabilitate his reputation in Canada.
- Back in 2003, celebrity socialite and hotel heiress Paris Hilton released a sex tape and starred in a reality television series called "The Simple Life" which skyrocketed her to the position of most famous person in the world in the mid 2000's. For the next four years, the celebutante's name and face was everywhere on TV, on billboards, on the cover of every women's magazine ever released, on the sides of buses, in the news, and plastered all over the internet. She got movie roles despite being a terrible actor, and released music albums despite being a horrible singer. The reason she rose so quickly to become the most recognized name and face on the planet was that her fame was being unceasingly fueled by a media which would not shut up about her, whether people wanted to be exposed to her or not. If there was a trope called "Famous for being Famous", Paris Hilton would be the Codifier.
In 2007, Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in prison for charges of reckless drunk driving and failure to comply with previous court orders, but was released and put under house arrest after serving only 79 hours by the county Sheriff . Many suspect that she was released against specific court orders because she threw the biggest tantrum ever seen on this earth by human eyes. She was ordered back to jail, only to be released early again by the same Sheriff on the medical grounds that her emotional state was deteriorating. The incident combined with the steadily rising Hype Backlash from literally everyone since 2003, and a truly epic roast by Sarah Silverman to Hilton's face on the night before she went to jail, marked the beginning of the end of the Paris Hilton phenomenon.
By 2008, the name "Paris Hilton" was synonymous with the word "shame" and had become kryptonite to the media in general with no sign that this would ever change. She was even ranked as the least popular American celebrity in 2011. The end of her media popularity also brought about a drastic reduction of the cult-like media worship of celebrities who are famous for doing nothing. Also because of her, the leaked sex tape has become a universally recognized cry for attention used by waning celebrities when they want the spotlight and don't really have a notable reputation left to tarnish. There have been subsequent celebrities who are famous for being famous like Kim Kardashian who got her big break in exactly the same way with a sex tape and reality TV show, but none have ever been given the insane levels of media over-hype and saturation that Paris had. The world has since moved on and mostly forgotten about those four terrible years when Paris Hilton was forced down everyone's collective throats by a media that kept telling people that she was what they wanted to see.