Deader Than Disco: Real Life
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- 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.
- 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.
- Various automobile aesthetic styles have died as well, such as the big, cartoony fins of The Fifties and the "box-on-wheels" look of The '80s. The '80s also 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. Unfortunately, it had a multitude of engineering and build quality problems that, before long, made it notorious for rust, breakdowns, and being a death trap in crashes, turning the name "Vega" into a byword for The Alleged Car and a symbol of GM's — and Detroit's — Dork Age in the '70s. 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.
- 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.
- Chuck E. Cheese's and similar children's restaurants/play areas are zig-zagging. In its heyday in the '80s, Chuck E. Cheese's was the most popular party spot for kids. Along with similar copycat businesses, fast food joints such as McDonald's and Burger King developed their own giant playgrounds in the '90s. Over time, however, such places came to be viewed as hunting grounds for pedophiles, along with horror stories of drunken parents starting huge brawls that necessitated calling the cops, and Urban Legends related to disgusting unmentionables lurking in ball pits. While Chuck E. Cheese's is still doing well, most of its competitors (including Discovery Zone, which it bought out, and Showbiz Pizza, which bought it out and then converted all its stores over to it, and regional players such as Jeepers!) are long gone, and most fast-food places have removed their playplaces. On the other hand, Dave & Busters came up with a successful spin on the concept by targeting adults (on-site bar, bowling, billiards, arcade, etc.). A further zig-zag is in the playplaces. There are still some around, but they're not as common as they were in the 90s. However, one artifact of playplaces that is most definitely Deader Than Disco is the Ball Pit, which is the only thing that's been removed from playplaces due to sanitary purposes. (As any McDonald's employee who worked there in the 90s can tell you, some of those Urban Legends of discarded food or underwear being found in the ball pits were actually true.)
- 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.
- Averted in certain European countries, particularly the Netherlands, which still has a number of automats throughout Amsterdam and other urban areas—although their fare tends to be small hot snack foods, such as mini-cheeseburgers and crouquettes, rather than full meals.
- Conveyor belt sushi restaurants are also popular in Japan along with hot food served in vending machines.
- Internet cafés (in places that have strong Wi-Fi and smartphone/tablet penetration). They were created at first to allow travelers to access the Internet away from home while concurrently capitalizing on the coffeehouse trend. The concept's been done in by the increasing presence of Wi-Fi in public venues and the ease of accessing the Internet via cell phone or tablet. The gamer version also hasn't been doing well due to newer games being LAN unfriendly (Blizzard for example went from being the most Lan friendly to DRM forbids multiple copies and thus preventing people who don't own the game from playing) with the sole appeal now being the performance computers being available to cash strapped PC owners.
- Note, however, that internet cafés still thrive in the developing world, where home internet is too expensive for many if not most to install and what libraries exist tend not to have particularly reliable access, either.
- This is inverted for Japan, where Internet cafes provide a wide variety of entertainment, from Internet access, video games, karaoke, darts, and reading manga.
- Also averted for a lot of holiday resorts, where Internet cafés exist for people who need their fix of Twitter, though smartphones are starting to kill these. Areas with a decent number of international travellers often still see them as well, due to the dread roaming charges.
- In some areas, notably Southern Kentucky, 'Internet Cafes' are effectively unlicensed casinos, shilling 'internet sweepstakes' games (read: online slots).
- Drive-thru killed off drive-in. A&W has caught somewhat of a second wind, but they're most often combined with Long John Silver's or KFC, or in some other location that's more conventional (food court, gas station, conventional drive-thru). Lesser drive-in chains like Dog n Sudsnote and B & K were crushed in the 70s as McDonald's and the like became more popular and more practical in colder climates — drive-ins in northern states generally had to close in the winter months unless they also had indoor seating, which many did not. Sonic Drive-In has survived likely because its core is in the South, where climate is less of an issue.note
- Increasing fish prices weren't kind to the concept of fast-food seafood. Long John Silver's dropped a ton of locations in the 1980s and 1990s under multiple ownership changes, but had a minor resurgence in the 2000s through co-brands with KFC, Taco Bell, and A & W. KFC dumped H. Salt Esquire in The '70s as a means of divesting less profitable assets; most H. Salt locations were closed or converted to KFC, but a very small number remain in California. Arthur Treacher's has mostly retracted to its home base of Ohio, although items from their menu sometimes show up at Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs locations. Captain D's is still somewhat popular in the South, although even it had its turmoil under the ownership of the long-troubled Shoney's.note
- Fast-foods specializing in roast beef were this for many years. Heap Big Beef and Neba both quietly came and went in the 1960s; Roy Rogers was slowly whittled down to a handful of New England locations between the late 70s and 2000s thanks to a bunch of Executive Meddling; and Rax (once found in 38 states and Guatemala) is down to fewer than 20 stores, almost all of which are in its home state of Ohio. The most famous of the bunch, Arby's, turned out to be something of an inversion: it was slipping for years despite diversifying its menu with other meats, traditional sandwiches, subs, and salads, and (ironically) only started to see a comeback in late 2014 when it started to advertise the quality of its roast beef again.
- Diner/gift shop/gas station combination chains like Stuckey's, Horne's, and Nickerson Farms. 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 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. Stuckey's began a bit of a comeback in the 90s when a former congressman purchased the chain and began revitalizing it, usually by replacing the Stuckey's Diner with a Dairy Queen while keeping the gift shop side. Even so, very few of the original, blue-roofed Stuckey's are still in business, and many of the remaining ones are usually 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.)
- Replatedly, truckstop diners are almost entirely a thing of the past. If a truckstop has a restaurant in it now, it's very likely to be one or more conventional fast-food chains (most commonly Subway or McDonald's), or even a diner-type chain such as Denny's or Waffle House. Petro brand stations include their own Iron Skillet brand of restaurant.
- 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, and 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 closing all but two locations. 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.
- "Express" versions of fast food chains. In The '90s, many of the major fast-food players (including McDonald's, KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) tried scaled-down locations that had a limited menu, little to no seating, and a small footprint, in order to emphasize quick service, high volume, and takeout. Such locations were usually in college campuses, convenience store/truckstops, busy downtown districts that lacked the space for a full fast-food operation, or very small towns where a full-scale location might not have been practical. (McDonald's also tried the "Express" concept inside many Walmart stores, while Taco Bell Express and Pizza Hut Express found their way into select Target stores.) Despite initial success, the concept fizzled out in the 21st century for the most part. Most Walmart stores switched their in-house restaurants (including both McDonald's and a cafeteria called Radio Grill) to Subway in 2004, while Target has reverted to just having their own in-house snack bar, and McDonald's has shifted its focus almost entirely to "standard" locations.
- Quick-serve restaurants specializing in rotisserie chicken and "homestyle" sides such as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. The concept started in 1985 with Boston Market, and continued in 1991 with Kenny Rogers Roasters (yes, it was co-owned by that Kenny Rogers). The latter imploded after a 1998 bankruptcy filing, although Nathan's Famous sometimes sells Kenny Rogers Roasters-branded items, and the chain is still popular in Southeast Asia. Boston Market declared bankruptcy around the same time, languished in the 2000s under the ownership of McDonald's, and got sold off again in 2007. One must wonder if that Seinfeld episode had anything to do with Kenny Rogers Roasters' bankruptcy.
- In a Cyclic Trope, fast food gradually took chunks out of the more traditional "sit down" restaurant chains throughout the 1970s through the 1990s, grinding down chains like Howard Johnson's (mentioned below), Big Boy, Shoney's, Ponderosa/Bonanza Steakhouse, and Friendly's. Fast food itself has been slowly declining since the 2000s with the advent of "fast casual" options like Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Chipotle, and Panera Bread, which offer nearly the speed of fast food and fresher, healthier ingredients and choices at reasonable prices. Even some of the fast food chains have gone upscale in an attempt to compete — for instance, McDonald's now offers pricey coffee drinks to cater to the Starbucks crowd, Taco Bell has its "cantina" menu to compete with the likes of Chipotle and Qdoba, while Hardee's/Carl's Jr. moved to more expensive, higher-quality burgers and table service.
- 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.
- In the 2000s, less conservative sit-down chains with alcoholic licenses such as Applebee's, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Red Robin seem have taken a significant (pun not intended) bite out of traditional sit-down chains, as have independently owned family restaurants, which typically offer the exact same food as traditional sit-down chains but for more reasonable prices.
- 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.
- Spudnuts. It evidently was a very popular donut chain, notable for using potato flour. The parent company meanwhile is gone, but you can still find a few independent stores (as well as one in Washington).
- Krispy Kreme had been around since the 1930s, with several stores in the South, but it exploded in the early 2000s. However, overexpansion and the low-carb craze of the mid-2000s did a lot of damage (although rival chain Dunkin' Donuts didn't seem to be affected nearly as much by the latter). Too much emphasis was placed on short-term profit increases for the parent company (largely through franchisees paying royalty fees and buying donut-making equipment and raw materials) rather than improving profitability for individual franchises. Franchise territories were badly planned and competed with each other, and it didn't help that grocery stores and convenience stores also started selling Krispy Kreme brand doughnuts even if a given town had multiple locations. The business also got into trouble for franchisees allegedly making big orders at the end of financial quarters to artificially inflate revenues. The chain is still around, but on a much smaller scale — although that said, the "much smaller scale" means it's still present in most major metropolitan areas, which is more than it was before the early 2000s overexpansion. However, Mexicans Love Krispy Kreme — the low-carb craze didn't really make much of a dent in Mexico, and prior to its debut Krispy Kreme donuts were a bit of a status symbol because bringing back two cases of donuts implied that you traveled to the United States specifically to spend a lot of money on the first shopping mall you came across. To this day, Krispy Kreme donuts still enjoy a strong presence in most Mexican shopping malls.
- Many department stores often had full-service restaurants. (The Woolworth's lunch counter, arguably the most famous, survived in some areas until 1997, when Woolworth's closed down for good.) However, the high maintenance these require, as well as the fact that many of the big names in department stores started closing their doors in the 2000s (see the retail section) caused this practice to fade away. As mentioned above, this is not completely dead in the discount side: Walmart stores still feature a fast food (usually Subway), while Target still has a snack bar. (Kmart, on the other hand, has gradually phased out most of its in-store snack bars, some of which were supplied by Little Caesars.) These remain fairly common in Europe.
- "Mom and Pop" pizzerias, while not vanished, are not as ubiquitous as they used to be. These were privately owned pizza places that often served a unique or regional style of pizza such as variants of New York style, Sicilian, or occasionally the sheet pizza. They were usually barebones establishments with minimal decor and seating (sometimes bar style seating). Although some pizza parlors also doubled as (or more often operated in tandem with) a pinball/video arcade and acted as a general teenage hangout. Such establishments have been eclipsed by the corporate chains such as Domino's, Papa John's, and Pizza Hut. There are the smaller chains that sell pizza along with submarine sandwiches, cheese sticks, buffalo wings and other popular snacks as well. Most independent places also follow this second model instead of being devoted to pizza exclusively. There are very few independently owned pizza establishments left that specialize in pizza and nothing else (with the exception of calzones, pizza's cousin). While corporate chains, on the other hand, cut costs for themselves by using highly processed ingredients, it has become quite expensive to create quality pizza with quality fresh ingredients, something that most privately run pizzerias pride themselves in. Smaller establishments or local chains often use Sysco supplies resulting in little variation in taste. It is also noted that independent pizzerias typically did not offer the convenience of delivery or mass production. Non chain pizza is generally found either in association with a connecting Italian restaurant or as part of the menu in bars or pubs. For the most part, genuine multigenerational mom and pop pizzerias are now rare outside of historical pizza hubs such as the East Coast Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area, Philadelphia, Detroit, or Chicago.
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 averted with the Microtel chain, which exclusively builds its own properties; coincidentally, Microtel and Howard Johnson's are both 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.
- 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. 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 and again, the oil crisis.
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, which nearly qualifies for this trope in its own right, or Roy Rogers) before exiting the resturant 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 three 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 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, 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 closed in 2010 (the two chains were merged for their last few years, and were probably a poor fit for each other, as Hollywood was usually only in urban areas, but Movie Gallery usually in rural areas). Only Family Video, which also usually sticks to rural markets, seems to be holding its own. The only real chain specializing in video sales instead of rental, the aforementioned Suncoast Motion Picture Company, is almost entirely a goner for the same reason. It doesn't help the latter, either, that chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target, or other media stores (eg. f.y.e., Best Buy, Barnes and Noble) often sell videos at cheaper prices.
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.
- Both butchers and fishmongers are rarely seen these days, at least in the United States, modern supermarkets having made both professions obsolete. In the American Southwest there has been a resurgence, usually now called carnicerias and pescaderias, due to the influx of hispanics from Central and South American countries. The professions are less dead in the major cities, however, which often have both general butchers and fishmongers and many, many ethnic ones catering to a particular community (e.g. Halal butchers for Muslims).
- 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.
- Local department stores. Particularly in the 1990s and 2000s with the long string of mergers that turned Macy's into the giant it is now note . Figuratively dozens of local department store names are now under the Macy's banner, but with little change to the merchandise mix, they're Macy's In Name Only in most markets. This has also led to haphazard store distribution: Casper, Wyoming got a Macy's before larger markets like Denver or Chicago did, and smaller towns like Lewiston, Idaho or Traverse City, Michigan have a Macy's while Jacksonville, Florida does not. Dillard's and Belk have also saturated the South with countless buy-outs of other chains, and the Bon-Ton family takes care of the Midwest through Pennsylvania and New York with a line of interchangeable brands that were bought out through the yearsnote , while other regional players such as Mervyns and Gottschalks (mostly found in California and the West) just went under entirely. It was also the case with Eaton's in Canada (which was sold to Sears), Simpsons, and the regional chain Woodward's (found in Western Canada only), both of which which were sold to the Hudson's Bay Company, the owners of Zellers and The Bay.
- Department stores as a whole have shifted their focus. It used to be that you could go into J.C. Penney, Sears, Montgomery Ward, or your local equivalent and buy clothing, hardware, electronics, appliances, home furnishings, and the like all under one roof — some even had candy counters and full-service restaurants. Nowadays, most department stores have shifted entirely to "soft" lines (clothing, bedding, etc.), and the once-omnipresent all-in-one department store is now mostly limited to the discount sector (Walmart, Target, etc.) or the long-struggling Sears, the only major department store left that still sells "hard lines" like tools, hardware, electronics, and appliances. This shift has also coincided with said department stores moving from massive downtown locations to often smaller locations in shopping malls. Both the relucatance to move out to suburbia and competition from Walmart were among the factors that ultimately killed Montgomery Ward in 2001. This is mostly limited to the United States though — Mexico still has Sears, Liverpool, Fábricas de Francia, Salinas y Rocha and Palacio de Hierro, Spain has El Corte Inglés, and all of them are still the old upscale department stores that still sell the same wide assortment of everything upscale.
- Five-and-dimes. Kresge began moving away from the concept as early as 1962 with a little thing called Kmart, in the same year that also brought Walmart, Target, and a host of similar discount department stores (see below). Kmart was so initially successful that the parent company finally abandoned its Kresge dime stores in 1987. The concept died in part due to many dime stores being ancient buildings located in downtowns that were rapidly decaying due to suburban development. Even though some malls built in the 60s and 70s had dime stores in them, they were often more modernized, scaled-down variations that didn't have the same merchandise mix as the Woolworth downtown. Also, the discount stores offered a wider variety than most dime stores did, and there was a little thing called inflation...
The concept does, however, have a Spiritual Successor in the form of dollar stores and not-quite-dollar stores such as Dollar General and Family Dollar, which focus on low-cost necessities (including food and clothes, which most dime stores did not sell) and have a fairly small store size that makes them viable in more settings than most other retailers, such as extremely small towns or cramped urban settings.
- The traditional discount department store is dead. The first wave in the late 1970s-early 1980s — mostly a result of market saturation and a declining economy — killed off four discount chains started by Kresge's rivals: Murphy's Mart (G.C. Murphy), Woolco (Woolworth), Grant City (W.T. Grant), and Britt's (J.J. Newberry), along with regional players like Tempo, E.J. Korvette, J.M. Fields, Arlan's, Zody's, Topps/White Front, Turn Stylenote , and Sky City. Montgomery Ward also lost its own discount arm, Jefferson Ward, around this time. It was also at this time that Kmart had a brief rise to the top, even increasing their numbers by taking over buildings abandoned by most of the chains it killed off. Kmart eventually lost its way thanks to rampant mismanagement in the 1990s (mentioned below), allowing Walmart and Target, then mostly limited to the South and Midwest respectively, to rise to the top. The resulting rise then killed off players such as Amesnote , Bradlees, Jamesway, Venture, Fisher's Big Wheel, and Caldor, with Walmart similarly snapping up buildings from most of the newly fallen chains to fuel its own expansion. Nowadays, nearly every Walmart is a "supercenter" with a grocery section (although that name is no longer used), and Target began to slip in 2013 thanks to a massive credit card breach and a failed entry into Canada through the purchase of the Zellers chain. The only "real" discount stores of this sort anymore are Shopko (Midwest and mountain states), Magic Mart, and Roses (the latter two both found primarily in Appalachia). Likewise, the only "supercenter" competition is similarly regional: Meijer in Michigan and surrounding states, and Fred Meyer (no relation) in the Pacific Northwest and mountain states.
In Canada, many department stores shared the same fate. Woolco lasted longer in Canada (staying until 1994, when it was acquired by Walmart) than in the U.S., where it ceased to exist in 1982. The Woolco stores that Walmart did not acquire were mostly either downtown stores or unionized stores. Kmart had stores across Canada until 1998, when they were sold to Zellers, which also took over some stores of the aforementioned Woodward's, as well as similar regional chains Miracle Mart and Towers (Bonimart in Quebec) in the eastern provinces. Zellers itself was sold to Target, which closed some stores and converted others in late 2012, which then themselves closed when Target left the Canadian Market in early 2015. Other discount chains with smaller stores, such as BiWay and Consumers Distributing, have also ceased to exist, although one such similar smaller chain, Giant Tiger, has continued to thrive, mostly in Ontario (including in Ottawa, where Giant Tiger is based) and Quebec.
- Speaking of Sears and Kmart, if those two retailers (who merged in 2005) aren't Deader than Disco yet, they've been heading that way. 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, and a wide variety of sister chainsnote , but a lack of a coherent brand image, slowness to adopt computer-based stocking, poor location choices (a side effect of their buying out the remains of other defunct chains), and deferred store maintenance, all allowed Walmart to take the lead in the discount store wars. Kmart started closing stores in 1994 and 1995, shed all of its associated chainsnote , then had another bout of closures after filing for bankruptcy in 2002. Sears was also plagued by a large number of rundown, unremodeled stores, and was getting crushed on all sides by competition (Sears's softline sales constantly lagged behind J.C. Penney, Kohl's, etc., 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 malls slowly fell out of fashion (see below). 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. Outside a handful of "Hometown" stores (scaled-down Sears stores which sell only the hardlines, most often in smaller-town markets where competition is scarce), neither Kmart nor Sears has opened a new store since the very beginning of the 21st century. In addition, both chains have increasingly had a reputation for poor store maintenance, with outdated décor and merchandise, broken shelves, leaky roofs, and even removals of entire departments (most Kmarts have jettisoned their snack bar/cafés and electronics/CD/DVD section, while many Sears stores with more than one floor have downsized).
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.)
- 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 — got a one-two punch from the rise of specialty "big-box" stores and the advent of online shopping. 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. 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 most to all of an entire anchor store (usually with a portion used for storage or just blocked off). 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.
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. Also contributing is the rise of the e-book reader, which takes up less space, has adjustable font-size and built-in back-lighting.
- Chain music stores. The concept had already become homogenized as dozens of local and regional chains such as Camelot Music, Record Town, Strawberries, The Wall, Coconuts, Disc Jockey, Wherehouse Music, etc. were all merged with f.y.e., while Sam Goody struggled under the ownership of Musicland (who also owned Suncoast Motion Picture Company and Media Play) and crumbled even further under the ownership of Best Buy. The last handful of Sam Goody stores were ultimately sold to f.y.e. as well, although one store in San Diego maintained the Sam Goody name until closing in October 2012. The concept is dead thanks to the rise of iTunes, an overall decrease in album sales, and better album prices at online outlets or Walmart. The few holdouts are mostly regional (Newbury Comics being among the most famous) and don't rely solely on CD and vinyl sales. Before all of them, however, was National Record Mart; once the oldest music chain in the US, it went under in 2001 due to massive debts owed to record labels. The two front runners in "big box" music stores (Tower Records and Media Play) both went under in 2006 thanks to the Internet's grip on the music industry. In fact, the first f.y.e. stores were megastores along the same scope, but that business model was slowly abandoned.
- 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 sleazy, male perverted types 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. There are still places that specialize in adult toys and erotica paraphenalia, however. These tend to be more upscale and respectable in appearance. All the better to cater to a more varied and less sleazy clientele as well as a significant female demographic. 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.
- 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 the VCR and TV's 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. However they 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.
- Martha Stewart was queen of design and held a media empire. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was once worth over a Billion dollars (US). It had partnerships with Kmart and her magazine was used by shoppers as a to-do list. Then an insider trading scandal tarnished her image. Then the internet bust the bubble: social media took away her audience and online shopping hit 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 grocery chain in the U.S. 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). 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 capital that resulted in many undersized, rundown store locations that paled in comparison to the competitors. It began 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. A backlog of debt from buying the Pathmark chain resulted in A&P finally announcing that it would go under entirely in November 2015.
Businesses — Shopping malls
Shopping malls, from about the early-mid 1990s through the beginning of The New Tens, fell under this trope for many reasons:
- Development slowed to a crawl in the 1990s, with no new indoor malls being built in the United States between 2006 and 2014. "Dead malls", though they have been around in some capacity since The '80s, have only become more and more common in the 21st century. The concept fell hard due to many factors: rampant overbuilding that saturated many retail markets; a declining economy that not only killed off boatloads of retailers and caused many more to scale back their locations, but also stifled many customers' disposable incomes; "white flight", particularly around the earlier generations of malls, thus leading to what Chris Rock called "the mall white people used to go to"; the cost of providing HVAC in enclosed malls; rising land values in some areas that made malls no longer the highest and best use of land; and again, the rising popularity of online shopping. It was also at this point that many department stores went out of business or merged, while others began pruning more marginal locations to stay profitable, and the sheer size of a department store anchor often makes it hard to repurpose, especially if it's more than one story.
For most of the 90s and early 2000s, any new shopping centers were usually power centers (clusters of "big box" retail like The Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) or lifestyle centers (built as a streetscape or outdoor mall, often featuring upscale stores and restaurants). For nearly every year of the 21st century, several more malls have been closed or torn down for redevelopment. Those that aren't have tried to stem the loss of retailers by adding nonconventional tenants such as college campuses, gyms, or libraries. Others will tear down a vacant anchor, or even an entire wing, for a "big box" store or "lifestyle"-themed wing. Some malls have weathered the storm and maintained close to full occupancy, but far more are showing signs of wear — even Mall of America, the biggest in the United States, lost one of its four department stores in 2012. And what isn't redeveloped is often times just abandoned, leaving an enormous eyesore that can sit vacant and deteriorating for years, annoying property owners (whose property values take a nosedive from it) and police (who have to deal with squatters, drug dealers, vandals, teenaged partiers, thieves in search of valuable scrap, and other ne'er-do-wells) alike.note
However, the The New Tens have hinted at a reversal of this trend, as new, enclosed shopping malls are finally being developed, and many mall developers seem to be on massive renovation sprees that are bringing in plenty of new stores. Also, two new malls finally opened in the U.S. in 2014 (one in Sarasota, Florida, the other in The Bronx), and a struggling mall in suburban Washington, D.C. was gutted and rebuilt... as a new enclosed mall.
- Early malls were more community-oriented, usually with tenants such as drugstores and supermarkets, with maybe one department store at best. This style of "community" mall died out in the 70s, as malls became larger and more regional in scope, as opposed to being a smaller center serving a neighborhood — it's just not practical to buy groceries or toiletries at a huge mall that has over a hundred other stores. (Furthermore, grocery stores also became much larger around this point, making them less practical as mall anchors, while many of the neighborhoods in which smaller malls were built started becoming victims of white flight — or were otherwise just left to die when the newer, bigger malls opened.) The only exception to "no grocery stores in malls" is the aforementioned "lifestyle center" concept, which might include a trendy grocer like Whole Foods or Earth Fare. The more "community" style malls lasted a bit longer in smaller towns (about 10,000-20,000 people), but again, the general decline of the mall scene as a whole has helped to do almost all of them in. In these cases, the small-town malls were often owned by local developers who lacked the resources to renovate them, thus exacerbating the "small mall"'s death.
- Fountains, likely killed off because of high maintenance costs; also likely to prevent people from harming themselves by fishing coins out of them, causing havoc by dumping liquid soap into them, or using them as trash cans and throwing food wrappers and drink containers in them.
- Food courts. While some are still doing well, many malls have struggled to keep their food courts occupied even when the rest of the mall is holding its own. This may be due to a food court's limited business hours and the rise of "fast casual" and alcohol-oriented sit-down chains mentioned above. Some well-to-do malls have ripped out their food courts entirely for more retail space, most often yet another "big box" store. Also not helping was the 2014 bankruptcy filing of Sbarro, a pizza chain that's a staple of many mall food courts.
- Until the late 80s-early 90s, a lot of malls had ice skating rinks. Sometimes, the big open space pulled double duty as a food court surrounding an ice rink. These were likely retired due to high maintenance. One aversion: The ice rink at the Diamond Run Mall in Rutland, Vermont is arguably the healthiest part of the whole place, because it was built regulation-size and with full spectator seating. It's home ice for Castleton State College and most of the local high schools' hockey teams.
- Factory outlets, for a long time. The fad came in the 1980s and 1990s, with many small ones located off freeways. Most of them were hastily built strips, often in markets not suitable for onenote and died swiftly. Others were poorly located, cramped, enclosed centers that often lacked a big "anchor" storenote . The only exception was the Mills Corporation (originally known as Western Development; now part of Simon, the US' largest mall management company), which built enormous suburban outlet malls, starting with Potomac Mills in suburban Washington, DC in 1985. Mills malls stood out because they were anchored by large numbers of big-box stores such as Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, or Bed Bath & Beyond, or even "destination" stores such as Bass Pro Shops that draw from much larger trade areas; their tenant rosters included both outlet and "normal" mall stores; they also boasted entertainment options such as movie theaters and bowling alleys; and they often included trendy restaurants such as Rainforest Café. Almost all of the Mills properties are still rather successful; also successful is the Mills clone Great Lakes Crossing in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, while other malls have occasionally followed Mills's lead by attracting similar tenants.
However, many new outlet malls have been built in The New Tens, particularly in more tourist-heavy or financially stable areas. Many of the newer ones are scaled-down variants of the Mills prototype, featuring a wider range of stores. Many others set themselves apart by featuring outlet versions of upscale stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, or Saks Fifth Avenue.
- 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 County Seat, Merry-Go-Round, Gadzooks, Foxmoor, Jeans West, Rave, and Chess King, while formerly niche stores like Aéropostale, American Eagle, 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 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.
- For most of the Cold War, the idea that revolutionary communism (specifically of the 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. China is also communist In Name Only at this point, having adopted a market economy that is better characterized as state capitalism rather than anything resembling communism.
- 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.
- This is quite oddly subverted in the case of Russia and its neighbourhoods. Despite the fact that the Nazis killed over 20 million Russians in World War II, and wanted to turn Russia into a German colony with ethnic Russians either being killed or enslaved, in The '90s some regions of the country had a disturbingly large number of Neo-Nazis. The same could be said about Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belarus. The problem still exists in modern Ukraine, partially because of Historical Hero Upgrade that Ukrainian Insurgent Army and 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) got from Viktor Yushchenko.
- At least according to some, Globalization as we know it is either heading this way or already has, due in no small part to continued economic turmoil, the rise of populist nationalism and persistence of regional conflicts along with many other factors. This is in contrast to earlier expectations (especially right after the end of the Cold War) of an inevitable, inexorable drive towards a borderless "End of History." But while there is considerable debate over the specifics note , it's generally agreed that it's still a long way off.
- However, globalization's end may spell resurrection for some of the aforementioned radical ideologies; both communism and fascism may prove to be prematurely buried once global economic interconnection is no longer able to prevent wars and revolutions.
- Some believe it's a cyclical process, and globalization is way Older Than They Think; its previous peak was originally known as "imperialism" in the just-before-WWI sense of word. In fact, there was a sentiment at the time that with the world as they knew it ever more interconnected, the notion of a massive war was unthinkable.
- For a long time in the United States, a politician's military record — or lack of it — could be a liability or an asset to his career, especially as far as The Vietnam War was concerned. Bill Clinton was often called a "draft dodger" by political opponents, even though he avoided the draft by a perfectly legal and very common means used by students, while George W. Bush was frequently attacked for serving in the Texas Air National Guard instead of in Vietnam. Nowadays, this is becoming less and less of an issue, and will likely become obsolete entirely, as the passage of time makes politicians running for office from that time period, veteran or otherwise, scarcer. President Barack Obama in 2008 was the first presidential candidate for whom service in Vietnam was not an issue at all, because he was too young to have served. The 2012 presidential election also became the first election since 1944 in which neither major party candidate (Obama and Mitt Romney) had served in the military.
- The concept of austerity as a political economic strategy (first proposed by President Ronald Reagan) may be abandoned soon; at Peter G. Peterson's annual Fiscal Summit in May of 2014, most of its supporters admitted the idea was a failure (with its biggest supporter, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, not bothering to show up). Not in Europe, however. Just ask Angela Merkel.
- 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, 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. For what it's worth, it's been speculated that some of Gene Roddenberry's ideas about the United Federation of Planets' utopian society were influenced by Posadism.
- 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.
- 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 Party Of Work) 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.
- 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 fringe politics. Merely suggesting that you support it is enough to bring up major accusations of Unfortunate Implications, 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. How far has it fallen? In 2004, a eugenics proponent in Tennessee's 8th Congressional district won the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives. He got less than a quarter of the vote, in an district that's normally a lock for Republicans. His support for eugenics singlehandedly destroyed his campaign. It also didn't help him that in the 21st century, Republicans are often the first to publicly condemn any program with so much as a whiff of eugenics, since they consider eugenics a justification for abortion.
- 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, 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).
- 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 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.
- 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 easily, 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.
- 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.
- Tablets have killed off netbook computers and are increasingly taking out a bite of the laptop market.
- 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 land line 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.
- Some jurisdictions ask for pre-printed and over-typed forms for purposes such as car registration, since they are much harder to forge than computer forms. Cue 1980s typewriters still used alongside most up to date computers. And now with the NSA scandal, some countries are adopting them back in some areas of their government, since a typed document is much harder to be tracked online.
- The 80s and 90s saw a short-lived generation of advanced daisy-wheeled electronic typewriters that had some basic word processing capabilities — the user could type a line on an in-memory buffer, and before committing the line to paper they could spell-check it, throw it away, or even apply an italic font if the daisy wheel had italic glyphs. These typewriters had the advantage of being way cheaper than a PC and printer set, which would usually cost a good few thousands of , while simultaneously giving the user the functionality of a word processor of that time. These typewriters eventually met their downfall as printers and computers started to become increasingly cheaper coming the 2000s.
- Payphones are extinct thanks to cell phones becoming extremely cheap to buy. In the past, payphones was 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.
- Another related to phones, between cell phones, the Internet, and online phone directories, the idea of calling for assistance (either zero for the operator or a number such as 411) has completely disappeared.
- 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.
- CDs are quickly becoming outclassed by DVDs and Blu-ray Discs due to those two having better storage capacities and writing speed. Even then, burning a disc is becoming a lot rarer now that small USB drives are cheaper, have a larger capacity, can be rewritten on the fly, and most devices that use CDs or DVDs (like DVD players and car stereos) can now be bought with USB ports. Even DVDs are starting to become subject to this. The popularity of downloads and streaming is sending optical discs the way of the 5.25-inch floppy. A lot of newer computers are shipping without optical drives in recognition of this trend.
- As with typewriters, national governments, state, provincial and local governments use CD's because they are "write-once" media and are cheaper than DVD's. If a legal document, military manual or other important Doorstopper is under 700MB, it's cheaper to use CD's and many older computers only came with CD drives.
- VHS tapes (and by proxy, the VCR) are no longer in production due to DVDs being cheaper to produce, having bigger storage capacities, having better video quality, and also being less prone to breaking down. The one advantage the VCR had over DVDs, the ability to record programs from the TV quickly and easily, has been removed with the proliferation of DVRs, which have their own benefit of being able to record two programs at once while watching a (prerecorded) third.
- That VHS is now victim of this trope is ironic, given that they won the war against Betamax. VHS being recordable made it more popular than Laserdisc and its robustness over Selectra-Vision (also called Videodisc) let is beat out those two formats in The '80s. The features popular on DVD's (especially the commentary) were first introduced on Laserdisc.
- Portable music players have gone through several iterations over the last few decades with each new iteration making the previous one obsolete. Cassette players (also known as a "Walkman") were highly popular in the 1980s and early 1990s until the CD player overtook it due to the CD format having better music quality and being less prone to breaking. MP3 players by the 2000s quickly outclassed CD players by allowing people to hold as many songs as the player could allow, eliminated the need to swap out a CD to change songs, eliminating the problem of skipping if the CD player was jostled, and were much smaller than a CD player, which made it easier to carry around. MP3 players are slowly being phased out in favor of cell phones that can also play music and have more features, just as PDAs were largely phased out in favor of smartphones.
- 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).
- Several dedicated e-book readers have been killed off in favor of general-purpose tablets.
- 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.
- For decades, people that went to work used a machine to "punch in" by putting their time card in the machine and pulling a lever, causing the machine to punch a hole (and then later a date and timestamp) in the time card with the indicated time next to it. Leaving work would also be called "punching out". Nowadays, many time cards are either written by hand or done electronically with a swipe card (or a fingerprint sensor is used instead), though many people still use "punching in/out" to express they are heading into/out of work.
- Video inputs used for televisions were always composite based (yellow/red/white plugs) for a long time, but thanks to improvements in picture quality found on a typical TV, composite and even S-video are being phased out for component video and HDMI since they offer vastly superior image quality compared to the former.
- 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.
- "Big Screen TVs" were once the go-to equipment for cinephiles and their home theaters. The creation of Flat HD-TVs and even household HD Projectors have completely killed the Big Screen market dead. Related to this, the ubiquity of widescreen television as the standard has all but killed the 4:3 aspect ratio in movies, to the point that using it in a movie today is now considered to make the movie more claustrophobic. That's right, the old standard has now turned into its own trope.
- The transition from CRT to flatscreen has killed off the "Pan and Scan" format. It used to be that movies were cropped and the scene moving around to try and show the action. This was the way to get square TV's to show the rectangular movies. Then widescreen came about, but some hated the "letterbox" format. LCD screens could show the movie as it was meant to be so Pan and Scan is gone.
- Dedicated stereo systems are heading this way, thanks to the shift to digital music formats mentioned elsewhere on this page. Many people under 30 don't even have them. People who want high quality sound generally just plug in good headphones or speakers into their computers and mobile devices. Vinyl fans still swear by stereo systems, but it's also possible to plug turntables into a computer using special USB turntables or the audio in jack. Home theater systems are still popular, but even those are being challenged with more compact "sound bars". Stereo system manufacturers have responded by putting extreme emphasis on the "hi-fi" part of a hi-fi sound system and catering to the audiophile crowd — a small but fiercely dedicated fandom that has no qualms on purchasing a sound system that costs as much as a small car just to have the most perfect sound in the world.
- 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.
- The 8-track tape was the most common portable music format in The Sixties and the first half of The '70s, especially in cars, yet the tapes suffered from sound quality and mechanical problems. It was impossible to rewind or fast-forward, with the ability only to switch between the four "programs". Even worse, record companies would tinker with the running order to try to make their albums fit evenly into the programs. Once cassette playback functionality improved by the middle of the decade, including Dolby noise reduction, consumers moved from 8-track to cassettes, which were cheaper, smaller, more durable and had better sound quality as well as the ability to rewind and fast forward. They also had the same running order as the LP. They disappeared from store shelves by the early '80s, but record clubs kept the format on life support until the late '80s. The 8-track became the music format equivalent of the Trope Namer and the butt of many jokes. Anyone admitting to owning them was portrayed as hopelessly out of touch.
- 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).
- For a time at the Turn of the Millennium, many hotels advertised of having data ports in rooms — i.e., an Ethernet connection intended primarily for use by business customers to keep up with their job while on the road, usually for a fee. Over time, as wireless connections grew increasingly feasible, most hotels now have property-wide Wi-fi that is free for anyone to use, so a data port is generally no longer needed.
Food and Drink
- Ecto Cooler: A Hi-C juice drink packaged to tie in with The Real Ghostbusters cartoon show. It debuted in 1987 and although the show was cancelled in 1991, Ecto Cooler continued to be marketed (with a picture of Slimer on the packaging) until 1997. Contrary to belief, that wasn't the true end of Ecto Cooler. It was still marketed as such but without the Slimer/Ghostbusters images. In 2001, the formula was repackaged and renamed Shoutin' Orange Tangreen, and finally renamed Crazy Citrus Cooler. The formula was completely discontinued in 2007.
- 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 unneccesary artificial colorings), Passion Supreme (Passion Fruit flavor), Kiwi Peach, and Jamacian Ginger beer. The entire soda line dissapeared 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 1990-91. Hoever, 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.
- Hard apple cider, at least in the US. Lager beer being preferred by much of the immigrating population and the Prohibition movement of the 1910s seems to have killed interest in brewing this fermented apple drink for the longest, and only 100 years later in The New Tens does the drink seem to be recovering in the US thanks to the efforts of cider-makers like Angry Orchard and Woodchuck; in the UK, it's still largely viewed as the domain of underage drinkers and winos, as the niche that most cheap ciders (which is the lion's share of the ciders on the market) occupy is akin to that of malt liquor and bum wine in the US and Canada.
- 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 convienent 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.
- Canned and/or processed foods are a particularly ironic victim. For nearly a century - from the late 1800s through the 1960s - they were hailed as modern, healthy (safely sealed, so no germs), and a sure sign of middle-class status. Only poor people ate organic food! But a number of factors since then, such as the ever-growing popularity of organic foods beginning in the 1970s and new worries about sodium and preservatives that now get nearly as much attention in the media as worries about fat and cholesterol, have caused mass-produced supermarket food to now come off as unhip, outdated, and hickish. Only poor people eat processed food!
- The Fifties promised Food Pills: take a pill and you're be fine. Science Marches on, we know more about diet and this idea is confined to Zee Rust fiction.
- The only place truly processed food survives are: frozen dinners, camping rations and military rations. Military rations are famous for both their long shelf life and tasting like something that was stored for a long time.
- 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.
- For a time in The '80s, many fast food chains introduced salad bars, including Wendy's and Burger King. They were initially successful, but they were also horribly expensive to maintain. Burger King quickly dropped them in favor of prepackaged salads, but Wendy's hung onto its "Superbar" (which in some locations was a full buffet) until the late '90s or so. There is still the occasional campaign to bring back the Superbar.
- 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 fear of a nuclear holocaust seems much more laughable now than it did during the Cold War, at least in the Western world. (It's a different story if you live in India or Pakistan...)
- The idea of "free love", at least as it was conceptualized by The Sixties 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.)
- It's rare that anyone uses traveler's cheques anymore. Once a preferred method of replacing cash for vacationers, for more than two centuries, they were worth a fixed amount and could be exchanged for numerous types of currency, and could be reissued or replaced for the user. The well-known American Express advertising campaign with the Tag Line "Don't leave home without it!" was popular in the 80's. Use of them has declined since the 90's, due to even easier alternatives, like credit cards, debit cards, and ATM machines becoming far more widespread. (Not to mention Visa challenging American Express with their "Everywhere You Want To Be" campaign, where they describe every manner of great-looking tourist destinations that do not accept the famous travelers cheque.)
- House parties, for the most part, replaced the backyard barbecues that were popular during the '50s and early '60s. While backyard barbecues still exist, they are generally reserved for occasions like Memorial Day and Fourth Of July (at least among the Under-65 crowd). The decline in social acceptance for smoking has led to more homeowners/leasors/leasees banning smoking in their homes, even those who smoke. It hasn't reduced the people who smoke 'only when drinking' by much, so there will always be a backyard/patio contingent to consider when throwing a party. Considering how many will go out for the ashtrays and stay for the conversation, it's likely half of the guests will migrate there at some point, so laying out any food and stationing any kegs there (where it's easier to clean up) is a practical accommodation, making a hybrid of barbeque/house parties.
- 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 Game FA Qs 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.
- When jet engines made air travel faster, the "jet age" and the "jet set" entered into the vocabulary. Jet travel made trips that took days into flights of a few hours. The "jet set" were rich people who flew between various exotic cities by jet aircraft. Over time the novelty wore off and flights became cheaper. The Concorde (itself a victim of this trope) gave the jet set a second wind. Then the oil crisis of The '70s and a backlash in popular culture ended this trend. The rise of low-fare airlines like Southwest has made jet travel even more commonplace.
- The jet age was also largely responsible for ending the era of traveling across the Atlantic or Pacific via ocean liner. Although a 747 offered significantly less comfort and space, trans-ocean travelers opted for speed over luxury. The ocean liners that weren't sent to the scrap heap were mostly converted to less-rigorous cruise ship duty. By the 1980s, the only ship still regularly sailing a trans-Atlantic route was the Queen Elizabeth II, whose owner, Cunard, faced financial difficulties for many years before finally being bought by Carnival Cruise Lines in 1998. Her successor ship, the Queen Mary 2, remains the sole ocean liner at sea, and even it alternates between trans-Atlantic voyages and cruise vacations throughout the year.
- In the early 1990s, snowboarding became wildly popular among young people because of both its rebellious image and the "extreme sports" craze of that decade. Snowboarding became so popular that it's even credited with injecting new life into the ski resort industry, which had fallen on hard times in the early '90s. But around the mid '00s, the sport's popularity began to decline, with many experts blaming the fact that many snowboarders who started in their teens were now in their 30s and juggling families and mortgages. This not only left them with less time and money to go riding, but it made them the parents who teens now rebelled against. Meanwhile, the same time frame saw several advances in skiing technology such as fat skis and "rocker skis", which have increased interest in the sport, especially among the "extreme" crowd who had once viewed skiing as the winter sport equivalent of golf or tennis. Although snowboarding is far from dead and hasn't experienced a massive public backlash like disco did, it has definitely seen a decline in popularity and no longer enjoys the edgy, rebellious image that it once did.
- Ditto skateboarding. Not as popular as it once was, but making a comeback. It has, in fact, cycled in and out of popularity several times, to the point where few people even seem to notice if it is or isn't popular, least of all the skaters themselves.
- Many homes in the United States have garages so that people can park their cars inside their homes; houses that were built before car ownership took off would have a garage as a separate building. Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that still uses a standalone garage to store their cars since they are now mainly used as an extra room for people to relax in or a storage room for excess junk. In a similar vein, basements/cellars were built for the intention of storing supplies, though now many people use basements as an extra living room or bedroom and it works quite well in the summer since the air can be quite cool below ground with proper ventilation and circulation (not to mention, it's a lot safer than being upstairs in the event of a tornado, should one live in an area where that's an issue).
- Cereal companies used to rely on the Free Prize at the Bottom gimmick for a long time, but by the 2000s the gimmick faded from sight mainly due to complaints over the unhealthy nature of many cereals and the marketing of them to children. There was a brief attempt to keep them afloat by offering more "general" prizes (CD-ROM games, MP3 Downloads, DVDs) but the practice has for the most part disappeared.
- 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.
- The exception: certain East Coast communities celebrate Columbus Day as a day of Italian-American heritage/pride. This started in the late 19th to early 20th century: Italians, feeling put-upon by WASP racism, appropriated Columbus Day to say "You say 'Italian' like it's a bad thing. What's wrong with you? An Italian discovered your country!"note Tension between Italian Americans and Native Americans on this issue is the subject of The Sopranos episode "Cristopher" (S 04 E 03); suffice it to say, the discussion is interesting.
- Parades have been going this way in recent years. When was the last time everybody was abuzz about a Thanksgiving Day Parade float or balloon or original performance? (Nowadays, while it's still prevalent among general audiencesnote this is mostly limited to a specific fandom such as Adventure Time or Thomas the Tank Engine.) The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is hanging on by virtue of nostalgia and being a wonderful marketing opportunity, although since at least The '80s it's become a three-hour-long infomercial for the NBC television network. Alongside being a wonderful way for Broadway shows to capture the interest of people outside of New York and to introduce shows that are Mid-Season Replacements, Merchandise-Driven shows have a perfect place to get people's attention before the holiday shopping season (remember that Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping events of the year, is the very next day.) Saban, for example, has done this with the Power Rangers franchise at the dawn of The New Tens: Introducing the new season at the parade, rolling out the merchandise in December, and premiering the show in late January or early February.
- 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.
- It is a telling sign of the times that Ronald McDonald, one of the world's most recognizable non-ironic clowns, is being slowly pushed into the background in its company's advertising campaigns due to the emergence of Alternate Character Interpretation.
- 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.
- The use of tokens to pay for a toll or bus/train fare have fallen out of use in exchange for swipe cards due to cards being easier and cheaper to produce than a metal token. Paying for a fare with exact loose change is still widely accepted as an alternative payment. Certain towns and cities still use tokens, but those are becoming rare to find.
- Road signs prohibiting lorries with a plate stating "Over 3 tons unladen" or "Over 5 tons unladen". Modern road signs now state the weights as 3t, 7.5t or 18t on the lorry symbol itself, and they are now in tonnes rather than tons (metric to imperial), at least in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy and Scandinavia.
- 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?).
- Aluminum Christmas Trees (nuclear edition): I Love Nuclear Power was once very much a Real Life trope. There were nuclear warheads for artillery, nuclear depth charges and even the "Special Atomic Detonation Munition" (the famous backpack nuke; the final plot twist of the first Splinter Cell game was that the Big Bad had one of these). There were plans for a nuclear powered bomber, cruise ships, merchant vessels and a nuclear powered car. We learned more about radiation and most never left the planning or prototype stages.
- 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.
- Arguably the need for cursive died with the advent of the ballpoint pen. The traditional fountain pen handled much differently, with the writer needing to completely lift it off the paper between each stroke or it would become an illegible mess. Therefore, writing out entire words in one stroke was much faster. But the ballpoint pen's design and thicker ink enabled writing in print much faster, since you can "glide" between strokes more easily.
- It was once apparently a concept in the 90s-mid 2000s to run up credit card debt to make yourself appear richer than you actually were. One proponent of this idea was rapper MC Hammer, who went into bankruptcy attempting to pay off his debts, and another killer was the credit crunch of the late 2000s. Suddenly credit limits were decreased, and banks were faster to deny new cards to some individuals, and most people these days are much more wary of creditors. Though the concept isn't exactly that new. The phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" has been around since 1913, and the idea of living beyond one's means has happened before (take post-WWII America, many weapons factories switched over to manufacturing other goods, and generated a marketing campaign to encourage Americans to buy the shiny new cars, appliances, etc., they were making to make demand meet supply.) It's more a cyclical boom-bust where people overreach during good times and then go through belt-tightening when things get lean.
- Ditto the Sub-prime lending crisis killing off the "McMansion". Before 2008, in the Western world, large houses were financed the same way credit cards were: people would get huge loans and build the largest house on the block. Contractors would sometimes skimp on materials as homeowners tried to get the biggest house. Then many of the loans couldn't be repaid, many homeowners were "underwater" as their house was worth less with the glut of "McMansions" in the neighborhood. Many either sat empty or were sold. New houses today are much more modest. Like Credit cards, mortgages are under more regulation and the "McMansion" is seen as a sign of gross excess.
- 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.
- Tobacco smoking in general seems headed this way, thanks to aggressive anti-smoking campaigns and laws banning smoking in public places. Up into the middle of the twentieth century, it was something everybody did, similar to chewing gum. The amount of smoking in Mad Men might seem like an exaggeration, but smoking really was that prevalent back then. After the link between smoking and lung cancer was established (and driven home by a number of high-profile celebrities, including a number of the actors and models who portrayed the Marlboro Man, dying of lung cancer), the rate of smoking started to drop off sharply. Now, smoking is not only seen as a dirty activity, but smoking in public is seen as a health hazard for others as well due to the effects of secondhand smoke. Many smokers have switched to vaping instead, as this is generally unaffected by smoking legislation and is probably far less damaging to health — while research is lacking, the number of noxious chemicals in vapour is far lower than smoke. Smoking in public places has even been banned in France — although the French, being a smoke-happy people, have generally responded with civil disobedience, making the new laws all-but-impossible to enforce.
- Smoking remains very popular in Asia, where it's not at all unusual to see people lighting up in China, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Even there, though, as of 2014 South Korea has begun taking steps to try to curb the activity. A year later, China is also following suit, rolling out a blanket ban on smoking at least in the capital city of Beijing. Time will tell if the rules actually get enforced though.
- Pipe smoking was once the distinguished gentleman's way of smoking. You won't even find many old people doing this anymore, and for the most part, you'll only find pipes, pipe tobacco, or pipe cleaners in of a dedicated smoke shop. And matches (the only comfortable way to light a pipe) are mostly replaced by cigarette lighters. Other than crack pipes, today's generations have probably only seen pipe smoking by Hobbits (assuming that is tobacco they are smoking). Cigarettes and cigars are just more convienent.
- 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 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.
- Also interesting to note that some Klan organizations have attempted to avert this themselves, as they will try and distance themselves from the violent Klans of the past who became infamous for among other things, lynchings. If one were to look at websites for these groups, they'd find that they denounce violence, are not overtly racist in tone, and simply believe that America is a country for white people, and promote racial segregation. Although it must also be noted that many extremist groups will romanticize their cause to appeal to moderates, regardless of the actions undertaken by the group. But the KKK spinoffs distancing themselves from their blatantly racist, violent pasts are perhaps a good example of attempting to reconcile their manifesto with changing social attitudes.
- 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 autobiographical dating advice book 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.
- Mail slots, while still used somewhat, are ancient compared to the more frequently used mailbox and PO boxes. Mail slots are usually installed on a door and are only large enough to fit a book through and any mail pushed through the slot would fall to the floor on the other side of the door, which is not good for the recipient if they have pets and/or children that could easily destroy their mail or have a physical disability that prevents them from bending down to pick up their mail off the floor. Mailboxes and PO boxes can hold a lot of mail at once (sometimes even small packages) and are always embedded on a wall so that the recipient can simply just reach in to get their mail.
- 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."
- Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, published in 1992 by relationship counselor John Gray, was one of the most talked about books of The '90s. It was a relationship-themed self help book with the fundamental message being that men and women "essentially live on different planets and want different things out of life." The book sold more than 50 million copies, received constant media exposure (particularly on tabloid talk shows), and was frequently parodied in mainstream pop culture.
A heavy backlash hit around the Turn of the Millennium, however, once both its claims and the credibility of its author came under fire. Many relationship psychologists and scientists argued that its core assertion of men and women being "completely different socially, politically, etc." was false and based heavily on gender stereotyping. But what finally did the book in was the revelation of John Gray's qualifications: he earned his "doctorate" from a diploma mill that was forced by the government to shut down in 2000, while his background seemed to be more rooted in transcendental meditation than relationship dynamics. Today, Men Are From Mars... is almost never cited in relationship-themed academic discourse except to critique it, and most professional marriage/relationship counselors have discarded it altogether, citing it as an example of all that's wrong with so-called "pop psychology".
- 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.
- The Confederate flag and many related ideas of "Southern pride" were always controversial, but the 2015 AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, when a white supremacist attacked the historically black church and killed nine people (including the pastor, who was also a state senator), was a major catalyst for much of American society turning against them. What really sparked the backlash was that the South Carolina capitol building had a Confederate flag flying at full-staff even though the US flag had been lowered to half-staff (because state law prohibits removing the flag without majority vote in the state legislature). After numerous petitions demanding that the flag be banned from display at US government grounds, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley agreed to have their state legislature vote on removing it. The flag was briefly removed by protestors, before being returned. It was officially removed on July 10, 2015, leading other southern governors to order the flag being removed from their capitols. It's even prompted retailers to stop selling merchandise featuring that flag, including those related to The Dukes of Hazzard.
- From the amusement park/roller coaster industry: stand-up roller coasters. Beginning in the early 1980's when coaster companies TOGO and Arrow retrofitted some standard coasters with cars where the riders "stood up", purpose-built stand-up coasters had a brief "boom" period in the mid-80's and through the 90's. TOGO built three stand-up coasters in North America for Paramount Parks, as well as several in their native Japan, and Intamin got in on the action as well, but it was Bolliger & Mabillard that really pushed the stand-up coaster to new heights (literally). B&M's stand-ups, such as Cedar Point's Mantis and Six Flags Magic Mountain's Riddler's Revenge, combined the gimmick of standing up with huge drops and multiple inversions, producing unique and intense ride experiences. Even at its "peak" though, the stand-up coaster was still very much a novelty, held back by generally being more intense than normal coasters, having stricter height requirements, and being rather uncomfortable.
- Eventually, stand-up coasters flamed out; the last original stand-up coaster, The Georgia Scorcher at Six Flags Over Georgia, was built in 1999. After the Turn of the Millennium, the only major news regarding stand-up roller coasters have been closings and re-locations. Of TOGO's three North American stand-up coasters, Shockwave at Kings Dominion in Virginia is the only one left, with Kings Island's King Cobra long gone and Sky Rider at Canada's Wonderland closing in 2014 (to be relocated to Italy in 2015 to become Freestyle). Several of B&M's stand-ups have been relocated as well, such as Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America (B&M's first coaster as an independent manufacturer) becoming Apocalypse at Six Flags America, and Chang from Kentucky Kingdom becoming Green Lantern at Six Flags Great Adventure. Also, Mantis at Cedar Point was retired in 2014 and re-opened as a floorless coaster named "Rougarou." As of July 2015, with the exception of the aforementioned Sky Rider/Freestyle, there is still only ONE operating stand-up coaster in all of Europe: The Shockwave at England's Drayton Manor Theme Park.
- Perhaps most damning about how the stand-up coaster has fallen out of favor? Bolliger & Mabillard, one of the most prolific and highly regarded manufacturers of the past two decades, still offers the stand-up coaster as part of its ride catalog. However, while its other options continue to see demand (such as the incredibly popular inverted coaster), there has not been ANY indication of ANY demand for new stand-up rides. With no new installations since 1999, and only closings, re-locations, and retrofits through the early 2000s, the stand-up roller coaster doesn't seem to have any kind of renaissance on the horizon.
- Gunmakers Colt and Hecker & Koch have both fallen on hard times. Both were once iconic manufacturers, their guns appearing in countless films and video games (see Cool Guns) and becoming "must haves" for gun nuts. Now, they are known more for their mistakes. Colt was the RIM/BlackBerry of the gun world, suffering from bad management in the civilian and military sectors; their civilian guns were priced out of the market even as gun sales rose in the '10s, while on the military side, they assumed that US military contracts would keep coming in. The result: they were losing money during a time when Americans were buying more guns than ever. H&K, meanwhile, were hit by scandals over arms trafficking and problems with their flagship G36 rifle overheating.
- 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," designated spaces in the home where men can (either by themselves or with friends) grab a beer and partake in "male activities" such as sports and video games. Other reasons include second wave feminism cracking down on the gender discrimination these groups reinforced (although, frankly, many of these women have not seen any problem with defining exclusively female spaces), and the mainstreaming of homosexuality altering the meaning of "men's club" for most people. Over time, traditional men's clubs picked up a reputation for attracting mostly bland and socially awkward men, gradually fading away as a result. Today, the only places where you're still likely to find them are conservative Christian churches.
- Related to the above is the steady disappearance of social clubs of all kinds from American cultural life. The traditional "lodges" have been the most hard-hit, both due to their perception as being elitist and (less so) widespread conspiracy theories that they are fronts for satanic cults or plots for world domination. But the fact remains that in general, Americans spend much less of their leisure time in groups now than they did in, say, the 1960s. The cult of radical individualism in the 1970s and later obviously played a large part, but in 1995 sociologist Robert Putnam offered a much more colorful theory in his famous essay Bowling Alone. He claimed that television both made Americans too lazy to leave the house and also made them too paranoid to leave the house (especially as the news media became more cynical and sensationalistic in their programming beginning about the 1980s).
- 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 "dooom" being particular favorites), stealing quotes, misspelling words, Overly Long Gags, 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.