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Values Resonance

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Not too shabby for something from 1949, eh?

"[The Hunchback of Notre Dame] is still a cut above what people give it credit for and I think it would be more appreciated if it came out today. Because we need stories like this today. Fascist abusive Frollo, justice for the oppressed, the focus on how some men really do loathe the object of their desire, the wholesale demonization of ethnic groups. Maybe this movie wasn't really appreciated in its time because it didn't resonate as much in 1996, but it does resonate more in 2017. [...] And consider that hokey as it may be at points, like Hugo's message about the importance of architecture in the 1830s, this might be what we need in our time."

Some moral values just don't travel well. The attitudes of our society have changed, or the issue they addressed has become obsolete.

But others — like a good wine or fine cheeses — only get better with age. Years after the original author and audience have passed, new generations will still look at the given Aesop and say "Damn straight." Maybe some authors knowingly spoke to issues that were years ahead of their time. Maybe many of society's questions are just Older Than They Think. Maybe they just got lucky. These are the principles that stand the test of time and have outlived the original moral issue they were meant to address a hundred times over.

Even when a work is non-ideological, it can still resonate due to tapping into a style or gimmick that would not become popular for many years. Art historians have pointed out, for example, that paintings in the nonrepresentational or abstract style were created in the 16th century by Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo — a full 300 years before expressionism became fashionable in Western art.

Keep in mind that this is somewhat a subjective trope, as what resonates as an accurate observation for a conservative may not be the same as a liberal, for a woman may not be the same as for a man, for a devoutly religious person may not be the same as an atheist, for a citizen of one country not the same as a citizen of another, and so on, as well as vice-versa. The best advice (as always applicable when one deals with the internet) is to keep an open mind. Likewise, do not assume that merely because it is old that it is accurate.

But while this is somewhat subjective, there is a key guideline that should be borne in mind when considering examples. The key element of this trope is that the value or values presented or portrayed in the example resonate with an audience culturally removed from the originally intended or expected audience. It is not resonance when the values in a work are significant or meaningful to the audience for which the work was originally made; a thing does not resonate with itself. That usually requires that the work is from an earlier time or from a different culture than the audience with whom the work is resonating. There is some flexibility here for certain media or works where the intended audience moves on after only a few years, but even that flexibility is limited, since, just because the audience has moved on, it does not follow that the work is now being consumed by a fundamentally separate culture.

Compare and contrast with Fair for Its Day, where the morals the work presents are kind of off, but compared to other opinions from its age, very forward-thinking. Contrast Unintentional Period Piece, where the setting and narrative fluff of the work ties it to a single time period (though note that it can still overlap with this if the themes are louder than its cultural trappings). Also compare Politically Correct History, which is when modern sentiments are presented in-universe to purposely elicit the same effect. See also Not So Crazy Anymore, when a concept in a work that was originally presented as outlandish/impractical/what-have-you eventually is seen as commonplace in the general culture.

Note: Examples regarding the resonance between time periods require a 20-year waiting period before they can be added.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In 1947, the PSA "Don't be a sucker" was produced by the US Department of Defense. It debunks racism and religious intolerance, explaining how it leads to division, and also explains how intolerant speech led to the rise of Nazi Germany, The Holocaust and World War 2 and how normalizing the hatred of minorities could cause the same to happen in the USA one day. The video would then go on to become viral because of its relevance to certain incidents after the 2016 US election (e.g. the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally) due to how prominent racism had become around that time.
    Hungarian Refugee: You see, we human beings are not born with prejudices. Always they are made for us, made by someone who wants something. Remember that when you hear this kind of talk. Someone is going to get something out of it, and it isn't going to be you.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack No. 1 has a lead female character, Kozue Ayuhara, whose priority is her own life and her dreams for the future, rather than solely having a love interest... in The '60s and The '70s. From The Other Wiki:
    "[Feminist writer] Kazuko Suzuki describes Attack No. 1 as an "innovation on the campus story", where a heroine would go to college and meet her future husband. She describes Kozue as "psychologically independent", as Kozue has realised that she must strive to create her own happiness and continues to strive on after her boyfriend's death."
  • Banana Fish originally ran from 1985 to 1994. Despite the series' sometimes questionable portrayal of gay men (most men who show sexual interest in other men are depicted as pedophiles and sex traffickers), the largely sexless romance between main characters Ash and Eiji (who are both male) is now praised for being ahead of its time, with their relationship being deeply significant for people who have gone through sexual trauma, and for people who identify as asexual in any way.
  • Barefoot Gen, a 1973 manga based on the author Keiji Nakazawa's experience as a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, wears "War Is Hell" message as expected, but it examines the atrocities commited by participating countries of World War II — including the Imperial Japan itself. The manga condemns how the Japanese authorities screwed over their own people, including but not limited to expropriating and conscripting innocent people, portrays its war crimes committed against the neighboring countries (China, Korea, and more), and criticizes Tenno (the emperor of Japan) for condoning all of this. Decades later, the manga's transparent (if Anvilicious) message still resonates with readers from the countries affected by 20th century's colonialism, as it is still a relevant topic for them.
  • While he transitioned due to sexist reasons, note  Kei in Black Jack (written in the '70s) is a positive portrayal of a trans man. He's an intelligent ship's surgeon, carrying the distinction of being one of very few doctors who doesn't screw up onscreen. It's implied that Kei and Black Jack, who dated when Kei was female, still carry on their relationship, or at least remain good friends. In the last chapter, he tells Black Jack that he's happy to have transitioned, because it gave him a new perspective on life.
  • Candy Candy is a Shoujo manga from The '70s that spreads two very important messages: "women can be anything they want to be in their lives if they work hard on making their hopes and dreams come true" and "romantic love is important in a woman's life, but not necessarily the be all and end all of it."
  • While certain aspects like the teacher-student romances have not aged well, Cardcaptor Sakura's matter of fact, wholesome depiction of bisexual characters is something rarely seen in modern adult entertainment, let alone a kids' show from the '90s. Yukito and Touya are also a rare explicitly stated and canon gay couple in an anime not of the Boys' Love Genre, and their relationship is a lot healthier than a lot of relationships in that genre to this day.
  • Case Closed: The manga have some extremely progressive attitudes for a work published since 1994:
    • Many female characters (like Ran, Kazuha and Satou) are portrayed as popular and attractive ever since their introduction because they are Nice Girls even though they have personality traits that Japanese find unappealing in women. The manga even made explicit that their loved ones love them because of those traits.
    • Chiba and Megure's main characterization aren't revolved around their weight and their fitness doesn't hinder them from being competent police detectives. Chiba's love interest is only concern about his health and still loves him deeply for his personality.
    • Almost every female characters avoid Stay in the Kitchen attitude completely, with every adult female characters in the main and supporting cast as well as the majority of the one shot case characters are working women.
    • Perpetrators / accomplices / cover ups are equally likely to be a woman, completely avoid Men Act, Women Are.
    • Despite Japan's preference for light skin, multiple dark / tan skin characters (some of them are major characters such as Heiji, Makoto, Rei and Kansuke) are never considered unattractive because of their darker complexion. Even the few time a black character appeared they do not have the stereotypical Sambo looks many manga drew them in the 1990s.
  • Claudine takes place in early 20th century France and was published in 1970s Japan, but the bigotry Claude faces due to being trans is relevant decades later. The manga's treatment of Claude's transgender status is a much more frank and sympathetic portrayal than the treatment of other transgender characters in some media that came out even a couple years ago. Instead of being portrayed as a comic relief Butch Lesbian, Claude is written as a person with his own strengths and weaknesses who just so happens to be trans, and his transgender status doesn't mean he's less deserving of respect.
  • The main antagonists of Cyborg 009, the Black Ghost organization, are a consortium of Arms Dealers who instigate and exploit conflict wars to make a profit. While the manga began serialization in 1964, given the increasing scrutiny in the west the military industrial complex has come under, especially in regards to conflicts like the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, Black Ghost can feel a lot more prescient as villains in the 2000s.
  • Devilman: Most of the messages of the manga (War Is Hell, discrimination and xenophobia being horrible, and Ryo Asuka being gay for Akira in the end of the manga without being seen as a negative thing) were around in the 1970s, and with today's political and social climate, the morals of old have only gotten stronger today. This is probably one of the main reasons that DEVILMAN crybaby, a modern retelling of the original manga, was such a smash hit with modern audiences.
  • Dirty Pair had an episode with a sympathetic depiction of a trans woman during a time when most anime wouldn't even touch the subject, except as a source of comedy. What's more, Kei and Yuri actually shout down the bigot who has a problem with her, arguing that there's nothing abnormal about transgender people.
  • Genma Wars (the '80s film, not the TV series) had a diverse cast consisting of men and women from various countries and ethnic groups, and a message about how people from all walks of life need to get along and work together to make the world a better place. Atypical for a lot of anime of the time, there's even a plot point about one of the heroines, Luna, needing to confront and overcome her racism towards black people.
  • Jun Honoo from Great Mazinger is the daughter of a Japanese woman and an African-American soldier stationed in Japan, and in-story she's been heavily discriminated against in Japan for her heritage. The story was written in The '70s, when issues like racism were rarely discussed in the Japanese media at all, let alone in children's programming.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Golden Wind: Despite the explicit Drugs Are Bad Aesop of the part, it stands out among many other works from The '90s with similar messages for its lack of demonization of drug users. The entire blame of Italy's problem with addiction is put on Passione's Boss for enabling it, while the actual drug users are never represented in a stereotypically negative way, which resonates well with the later popularization of the movement to decriminalize drug use.
    • Stone Ocean has a transmasculine inmate, seen in one scene early in the manga (though he is mostly Adapted Out of the anime adaptation, aside from a brief background cameo). Jolyne is confused about why a man is in a woman's prison, and the guard (who is meant to be seen as insensitive and wrong) describes him as a woman taking male hormones. Despite the manga being written in the early 2000s, when transgender representation (especially of the positive variety) was very rare, this trans man does not look different from the cisgender men from other parts, and his misgendering is due to Deliberate Values Dissonance. With anti-trans legislation becoming an increasingly hot topic in the 2010s and 2020s, the scene can also be interpreted as a criticism of purely sex-based segregation,note  which is still an extremely progressive message even decades after the story ended.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is about the usual War Is Hell theme that Gundam is famous for, but one of its major plot points revolves around the use of Mobile Dolls, unmanned weapons, and the implications of wars without soldiers. This became a relevant issue many years after its release when the American forces began employing drones, with the U.S. Air Force's drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and 2020 killing thousands.
  • Even though MW has a stereotypical Depraved Bisexual Big Bad, one of the later chapters actually has an extremely positive depiction of a minor lesbian character. The character even gives a speech about how homosexuality is completely normal and healthy, and shouldn't be seen as something shameful or indecent. This was in the '70s when Japan was even more conservative about sexual minorities.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • A frequent topic that was discussed was that men and women aren't that different — definitely An Aesop that was ahead of its time, considering that gender roles have become a much more controversial issue.
    • Kaworu is depicted as a morally gray character in his every appearance, but the ambiguously queer love between him and Shinji is never subjected to any homophobia in the text proper. While Kaworu always ended up being buried by the end of his appearance, that's really just the way Evangelion rolls.
    • The anime frequently delves into various characters' mental states, and very few of them are stable; while this doesn't necessarily excuse some characters' more questionable actions, the anime still takes the time to explore several main characters' backstories and show why they ended up the way they did. This became especially relevant in The New '10s with movements to destigmatize mental health problems, as well as increasing awareness of the effects of parental abuse and neglect.
  • Perfect Blue was released in 1997, but it still perfectly predicted the ways people discuss how women are viewed by the media, how damaging the idol industry and its surrounding culture are for the idols within it, and how the Internet can create toxic and dangerous fans.
  • When it first came out in 1953, Princess Knight seemed to portray Sapphire as a Tomboy because of her stereotypically masculine interests, with the justification that she was mistakenly given a blue boy's heart by an angel. Nowadays, it's popular to interpret the character as transgender — despite the fact that the manga presents a very stereotypical portrayal of masculine and feminine interests.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena features largely modern views on homo- and bisexuality, defying traditional gender norms, and domestic abuse. It stars a girl who excels at sports and swordfighting, who dresses in male clothing, and dreams of becoming a "Prince" while falling in love with the "Rose Bride" Anthy Himemiya. Compared to how these subjects were usually played in the 1990s when the series was made, the show comes across as being twenty years ahead of its time.
  • Romeo's Blue Skies is an anime about a boy who sells himself to become a chimney sweep and in the process, finds many good friends who help him whenever he has trouble. This show is NOT subtle in its message that The Power of Friendship is awesome and how it conveys this with the two main characters, Romeo and Alfredo. This message gets more and more relevant every year, since modern-day boys get persecuted for showing even the tiniest bit of friendship-like (whether romantic or not) affection for other boys just because others say it's gay,.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has a lot of emphasis on the theme of trying to find a new way forward in a world that has changed dramatically in a very short amount of time. Kaoru's father was killed in action fighting against the Satsuma Rebellion, and many of the villains whom the Kenshin-gumi fight are unemployed ex-samurai or reactionaries seeking to reverse the social changes of the Meiji Restoration. These are fairly timeless themes.
  • Ryu the Cave Boy is a 1971 anime about a boy who's told he's cursed and a bad omen because of his skin colour. The anime stresses time and time again that discrimination based on skin colour is ridiculous, with one of the biggest racists towards Ryu being portrayed as a fraud who's actually behind the suffering of his tribe, and him blaming Ryu was simple projection.
  • There are those who claim that Sailor Moon is outdated, with it having been created in the very early nineties, but it contains several concepts that remain timeless even after its conception:
    • There was a lesbian pairing portrayed in a sympathetic light (Haruka and Michiru), and the villainous gay couple from the anime loved each other deeply despite their alignment (Zoicite and Kunzite).
    • The girls themselves had all kinds of different personalities and were still friends in spite of how different they were. They also encouraged each other's goals note  and supported each other when needed instead of throwing each other under the bus for their own benefits (and the girls who did it weren't supposed to be in the right). On a related note, all of the Sailor Guardians' individual personality traits often bust up stereotypes as well. For instance, the character who states her dream is to "be a bride" in the manga, Makoto, is also a black belt in judo and one of the physically and mentally strongest characters in the Sailor Moon universe. And Michiru, the Yamato Nadeshiko Elegant Classical Musician, is all but stated to actually be the one with the reins in her and Haruka's relationship.
    • The series emphasizes the importance of female friendship and sisterhood, something that many female-centric series including ones that attempt to be feminist, still struggle to capture to this day as the opposite is more common.
    • Mamoru helped them, but he also needed help and protection from Usagi and the girls. In fact, he needed more rescue than Usagi herself! And while he sometimes worried a lot about Usagi's safety (to Idiot Ball levels in R), he didn't do it out of manly pride but out of sincere concern. The manga, in paticular, also frequently makes a point of showing that both Usagi and Mamoru sincerely wants to protect the other as a expression of their love.
    • The manga in particular emphasizes that Usagi is a sexual person and has had sex with her boyfriend Mamoru to the point of being shown lying naked in bed with him on several occasions, but she's never portrayed as dirty for this or that it somehow disqualifies her from being both the hero and the epitome of Incorruptible Pure Pureness, with her sexuality simply being a part of the larger picture of who she is. She's also shown to be absolutely head over heels in love with several girls (including Rei, who gives her literal heart eyes when they first meet) but again, it's simply a part of who she is.
  • In Sailor Moon's prequel manga Codename: Sailor V, one chapter has an obsessive Otaku who keeps harassing Minako because he simply can't deal with the fact that she beat his high score in a video game (even going so far as to assume that she must be a guy in drag), plus his whole spiel about how girls shouldn't be "invading" arcades. When his harassment goes too far, Minako (as Sailor V) proceeds to knock him out. The manga started in 1992, but this particular chapter is still pretty relevant today, especially with the surge in harassment of female gamers and fans during The New '10s for supposedly being "fake geek girls".
  • Serial Experiments Lain first aired in 1998, at a time when the internet had only been widely used for about three years. Its main message, that the world of the internet has just as much impact as the real world but that the latter should never be forgotten, has only become increasingly important in an age of constant connection, social media, and virtual reality.
  • In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, the deal with Stephanie being a transgender person is not handled for cheap and offensive laughs. When Orphen explains to Cleao and Majic how she went from the male-bodied Stephan to the female-bodied Stephanie, he does it in a matter-of-fact way and doesn't think less of her for it, and later the audience is not supposed to side with Cleao when she makes a careless comment about it. And Stephanie herself is portrayed as a normal and kind person who deserves respect and affection like anyone else, and the cast treats her with true affection.
  • Transformers: Super-God Masterforce has two deeply relevant examples:
    • The indigenous peoples of Karin Island are depicted as completely ordinary, their culture and beliefs are not depicted as inferior or freakish, and when one of the main characters unwittingly calls them savages, the show portrays the comment as a deeply offensive insult. This type of portrayal is rare even in Western media, where Indigenous nations still suffer from harmful stereotypes.
    • Cancer is a complete aversion of the Ethnic Scrappy trope that befalls the majority of characters who are Chinese in Japanese media. He is portrayed incredibly sympathetically, actually has a powerful character arc, and ultimately becomes heroic. Given how heavily Japanese media portrays fictional Chinese characters as villains or as jokes, Cancer is very progressive.
    • A major theme is turning on a superior because the superior is doing something incredibly wrong. In Japan, strict obedience is seen as normal, and any form of treason is a disgrace. It already was a deeply progressive message, but in an age of increasing distrust towards government institutions, this message is deeply relevant.
  • In Tenchi Universe’s 21st episode, “No Need for a Checkpoint!”, Tenchi, who is Disguised in Drag, gets pointed out that his frame is pretty masculine by security. After he blurts out a terrible excuse (“my father’s a man”), he is immediately supported by a random stranger who also offers to buy him a drink, even after Tenchi’s grandfather says no romance is allowed. Never once does he question Tenchi, and he exclusively refers to him using the disguise’s name, Tenko. While he is under orders from Tenchi’s friend Sasami’s uncle to make sure everyone gets through the checkpoint, he’s still very supportive of someone who, as far as he knew, could be a trans woman.
  • Unico:
    • A major theme in the manga is the importance of empathy, compassion, and kindness towards others, including people who don't like you. Unico is a pure-hearted and compassionate unicorn who strongly encourages helping out others, even doing dangerous tasks for his friend's safety. Unico's empathic nature even extends to villains, his solution is taking a non-violent or peaceful approach unless necessary. The manga was released a year after The Vietnam War ended, and the conclusion of The '60s, which was riddled with violence, assassinations, and non-violent protests across the globe, which quickly ended up violent. In recent years, the series has only become more relevant once The New '10s arrived, when society has gotten more divided and suffered from terrorism and the rise of hate crimes. All of this has resulted with people wishing for more love and empathy over hatred.
    • A recurring theme in the franchise is the concern over pollution and damage to the environment. The manga was released between 1976 and 1979, during a period when pollution was at its worst. During the manga's original release, air pollution, industrial waste and industrial pollution were a major concern internationally, with Tezuka being very vocal about his concerns with the environment. The increase of climate change (formerly known as "global warming") and environmental issues becoming a major discussion during the 21th Century have also made the original stories more relevant than its original Japanese release.
    • One of the manga's storylines is an homage to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet which has a very progressive story discussing prejudice and racism since it touches on interracial relationships. It also features positive and non-stereotypical depictions of Native Americans where they're treated like ordinary people and speak normally compared to other media of the time featuring indigenous people. The chapter features Unico befriending a young indigenous boy named "Tipi" after he discovers Unico injured from a buffalo stampede. The next day, both Unico and Tipi meet a pretty white girl named Mary who quickly falls in love with Tipi, with Tipi asking Unico to temporarily make them adults to learn about love. However, their parents aren't comfortable about their romantic relationship, with Tipi's father initially being very prejudiced towards white people before meeting her. While Mary was initially scared of visiting Tipi's village, the majority of the tribe aren't judgemental towards her and happily welcomes her to their homes with open arms. Aware of the issues of racism and prejudice, Unico becomes concerned with the duo since they're blinded by love. Unico explains to both Tipi and Mary about the unfairness of people "Judging others by the color of their skin and race, which leads to intense hatred", and how "Prejudice and racism aren't exclusive to white people" after learning they both told their parents.
    • Similar to Sapphire from Princess Knight, Unico is a young boy who's fond of dressing in feminine accessories and wearing makeup. However, he never gets mocked over his appearance in the manga and merchandise. During the 1970s, the idea of men being comfortable wearing female makeup and women's clothing was viewed as very unmanly and viewed from a homophobic viewpoint, outside of jokes and less flattering portrayals of gays. Near the end of The New '10s, society (especially in the West) has slowly started accepting the idea of men fond of crossdressing in media and a few real world locations.
  • With the Light: With subject matter like autism, job loss/transfer, illness, and natural disasters, you'd think it was made yesterday. But nope! The manga began in 2000, just 20 years after autism was first added to the DSM and only six years after the APA first started recognizing how broad the autism spectrum actually ran. Not only does it treat its subject well, but it also addresses (and berates) common Japanese stereotypes related to autism, such as the Japanese word's meaning.note  This manga's messages become more and more relevant with each passing year, especially now that the majority of autistic people are becoming adults who may very well need support in a world that feels they either need to be fixed/murdered or that they're incapable of anything.

    Art 
  • Hieronymus Bosch, in his painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights," shows both white and black people alike enjoying heaven together. It was painted around 1500. While this isn't as unexpected as it may seem, given that heavy anti-black racism largely started in order to justify the Atlantic Slave Trade, which hadn't begun by that point, it's still incredibly thoughtful for a reclusive artist who lived in the 15th-century Netherlands.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America's comic from 1982 (issue #268) became more relevant today, now that there is much more acceptance of LGBT people in society than at the time, due to its positive attitude towards homosexuality based on Captain America's speech that Arnie — his gay friend — is a kind-hearted man rather than a freak.
  • An issue of a comic called the Green Lama, dating to WWII, preaches against racism explicitly — the "bad guy" the Green Lama goes to defeat isn't a supervillain, it's the racist attitude of a white soldier against a black one. A couple of pages are thrown in showing him fighting Nazis, and they try to claim that racism was caused by Nazi fifth columnists in the US, but even ignoring those, the message being so explicit is remarkable for its day.
  • Comics published during The Golden Age have a well-deserved reputation for being really racist, but there's a heartwarming aversion in an old Christmas issue of Green Lantern in Comic Cavalcade #9. Alan's friend Doiby is shot, and the only surgeon in the city who can save him can't do so because the hospital doesn't allow Jewish doctors. Alan discovers that the man who convinced the hospital to have such racist and antisemitic rules is a racketeer who has been convincing institutions across the city to enact similar codes as part of a money-making scheme. When Alan catches the racketeer, he angrily tells him that he's perverted the concept of patriotism and used it as an excuse for racism, all so he could line his pockets. To drive this home, he then reveals that the men who helped him track down the crook were Mike Reilly (an Irishman), Abraham Lincoln Jackson (a black man), Wun Lee (a Chinese man) and Sammy Cohen (a Jew), feeding into Alan's point about America being a land for everyone, not just white Christians. The issue ends with a very strong indictment of those who hold bigoted views. This was all published in 1944.
    Alan Scott: Now maybe you'll understand...when you hate a man for his race, creed or color, you're just a sucker for those who hate America!
  • The early years of the Silver Age Hal Jordan Green Lantern were innovative for its time with the hotshot test pilot have Carol Ferris, his girlfriend, being unambiguously an adept corporate executive and his boss, while Tom Kalmaku may have been stuck with the embarrassing nickname "Pieface", but he was still a smart and brave Inuit aerospace engineer.
  • Judge Dredd: Overlapping with Harsher in Hindsight, the theme of the police's relationship with society became more relevant due to the controversy of Police Brutality in the US. This is more pronounced in the "Democracy" storyline and other stories dealing with questioning the limits of the Judges' powers and the effectiveness of the Judge system.
  • MAD:
    • An issue from the 1970s satirizes the over-the-top and offensive personalities that people use while speaking on CB radios. Its commentary on anonymous personalities is eerily predictive of G.I.F.T.
    • The parody "What's My Shine!" from November 1954 is a satire of McCarthyism done through the lens of an episode of What's My Line?. It holds up in the 2020s mostly because of its depiction of political theater with serious consequences being used as crass entertainment.
  • Sensation Comics: The Dr. Pat feature holds up remarkably well over time, encouraging people to follow their dreams and find their own balance between their private and work lives whether they're women or men. It's jarring when it's followed by the Romance. Inc. feature which has not aged well with its ideas that women should bend over backward and give up on their dreams to make their boyfriends happy.
  • Superman:
    • The poster shown above toasted the ideals of inclusiveness and spoke out against discrimination, and urged kids to do the same. And it was produced in The '50s, coming from a 1949 book cover:
      "...and remember, boys and girls, your school—like our country—is made up of Americans of many different races, religions, and national origins. So...if YOU hear anyone talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his race, religion, or national origin—don't wait: tell him THAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN."
    • The story of Superman's father Jor-El, whether it's the Silver Age's tragic story of a utopia or Byrne's final days of a stagnant culture, is one of a scientist desperately trying to convince his peers about the impending destruction of their homeworld, only for his warnings to be dismissed by the ruling bodies of Krypton. With climate change becoming a serious threat to human civilization in the 21st century and many governments refusing to take action to mitigate its effects, the fate of Krypton serves as a cautionary tale about failing to take the warnings from the scientific community seriously.
    • In a Supergirl storyline, a Reality Warper decides to screw with Superman by making Kara not only more powerful than him, but also immune to kryptonite. The idea being that Superman would be embarrassed and annoyed at a "mere girl" overshadowing him, especially given their current hero-sidekick dynamic. Clark being Clark, is not only genuinely proud of his cousin and happy for her, but seriously contemplates maybe he should be her sidekick instead. The question of it being embarrassing to be inferior to a younger, female partner doesn't even really occur to him.
  • While Tintin stories are old and filled with antique prejudices of the era, there's a lot of the messages found in them can also be found engaging and relevant today:
    • The criticism of Japan's invasion of China in The Blue Lotus. Tintin also delivers an excellent speech to Chang about how, while a lot of Chinese are afraid of westerners because they don't know what they're like, a lot of westerners are just as afraid of the Chinese because they believe they're all Yellow Peril Fu Manchu stereotypes, and when you overcome ignorance you realise that race doesn't determine whether people are good or bad.
    • While Captain Haddock's alcoholism is often treated as a joke, it's also shown as a hindrance for the characters in their adventures, and a big part of Haddock's development throughout the series is to learn to not be so dependent on the drink.
    • Portraying the Incas and their descendants as rightfully wary of foreigners due to their past with the Spaniards, and criticizing the European exploitation of Peru and its rich culture in The Seven Crystal Balls / Prisoners of the Sun. It's exemplified the best in the scene that opens the first book, where the gentleman sitting next to Tintin calls out the desecration of Rascar Capac's tomb, and later the scene where Tintin saves Zorrino from being bullied by two presumably Spaniard men. Additionally, the Incans were not demonised for protecting their heritage - and the expedition was done in the name of teaching the world what the Incans were actually like.
    • Believing in the Roma's innocence and not supporting the Thompsons' racist accusations in The Castafiore Emerald.
    • Not caring for either Alcazar or Tapioca's regime in Tintin and the Pícaros, since at the end of the day both leaders still abandon the poorer sections of the population to cater to their own whims and to the richer classes.
    • In general, after the stories of Congo and America, Herge just put a lot more of research into his stories, making the world and characters come off as unique and realistic. This is more impressive when you consider that modern authors barely do a lick of research and are content with featuring blatant stereotypes.
    • Even though the early stories were minimally researched, some of them were still surprisingly resonant for later readers. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the original, was by Herge's own admission an anti-Soviet hit piece commissioned by his conservative Catholic newspaper, which he was embarrassed to have done absolutely no research for. However, as time went by and more and more stories came out describing the grim reality of life under communism, the story actually came to look less propagandistic with age and retains a respectable fandom to this day, never quite becoming the Old Shame that Tintin in the Congo would. Similarly, Tintin in America may be heavy on cliches and anachronisms, but it also includes some fairly spot on social commentary on the nation's flaws, some of it simply absurd (Prohibition) and some of it very, very dark (lynching culture). This is, in fact, part of the reason why Tintin in the Congo is so poorly regarded today; the fact that Herge proved early on that he was very capable of writing biting satires about the absurdities of various societies only makes his uncritical hagiography of Belgian rule in the Congo stand out that much more by comparison.
  • While the earlier Wonder Woman comics did have some outdated moments, the comic as a whole pioneered female superheroes and how they were just as capable as their male counterparts. It also stated the importance that femininity and kindness are strengths to be valued, not weaknesses.
  • X-Men's storyline "God Loves, Man Kills" has its relevance in the power of televangelism that can be seen today with their power of persuasion and funding's on anti-homosexual groups. X-Men in general also tend to be looked upon favorably by various autism rights groups.

    Comic Strips 

  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • One arc has Calvin and Hobbes get so sick of the pollution on Earth that they decide to move to Mars. When they find that Martians don't trust Earthlings, Calvin realizes, "We ought to fix up our own planet before we go messing around with other people's planets." The early development of space tourism in the 21st century correlating with rising climate change concerns has led to criticisms of this exact nature.
    • One 1992 storyline had Calvin chew out Hobbes for making "original art" (a clay tiger) instead of "popular art" with recognizable characters and merchandise tie-ins. While merchandising was obviously a source of discourse at the time (with Watterson famously being against merchandising his own comic), the increasingly easy production and distribution of sequels, spinoffs, revivals and reboots since then, as well as the increased prominence and success of franchise films, has kept this satire relevant.
      Hobbes: And how are the movie sequels this summer?
      Calvin: Great! Man, there's nothing I hate more than paying five bucks and having to deal with some new plot.
  • Garfield: With the rise of the internet, celebrities like "Weird Al" Yankovic, and mainstream revelations of niche hobbies and/or holding onto one's childhood, that might be featured on shows such as The Big Bang Theory, and recognition of disabilities that spur these interests (such as autism and ADHD), Jon can be seen less as a loser, and more of an outcast of restrictive normative society. This, as well as his previous inability to find a romantic partner, resonate with those aforementioned disabled and outcast odd individuals who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and their interests have been seen as less and less quirky and tasteless, and more compelling and personality-revealing.
  • Quino's Mafalda derives much of its humor from the observation of human nature, which is so accurate that it remains relevant to this day… Let's not forget we're talking about a work from the 60s here. This is something that didn't make Quino himself happy in later years, considering those issues attacked back in the day still subsist.
  • Peanuts contains some parts that remain more revelant:
    • The bullying can fall into this and Dissonance as well - the characters do bully each other, and it's Played for Laughs, but many of the actual instances bullying rarely veers into Troubling Unchildlike Behavior, and when it does (such as Lucy throwing Schroeder's piano to the kite-eating tree), it's not shrugged off.
    • Save for a few controversial instances, Franklin's skin tone is barely commented on.
    • Charlie Brown having girls play on his baseball team, even before Little League started letting girls play.
    • From a modern perspective Peppermint Patty's trouble with schoolwork reads a lot like someone suffering from undiagnosed ADD or ADHD. She is clearly intelligent, but her main problem is her inability to concentrate on things she has no interest in. In turn, her teacher(s) seem resigned to her just being a poor student and they never try to figure out if there is something that might be done to help Patty's school performance.
    • An arc in the 70s dealt with the school enacting a dress code and Peppermint Patty not being happy about being forced to wear a dress, and doing everything she could to get the dress code removed. Despite some jokes, this is largely played sympathetically, and that a person shouldn't be forced to wear something they're not comfortable in. Considering there are still a lot of schools that force gender conforming dress codes even today, it's a message that's still just as relevant now as it was back then.

    Films — Animation 
  • An American Tail focus about an immigrant family trying to make a life for themselves in America and facing discrimination, as these themes become more relevant in the 21st century where immigration is a hot button political issue.
  • Beauty and the Beast, which came out in 1991, contains a very powerful message on the nature of a woman's choice, depicting Gaston's Entitled to Have You attitude towards Belle as what makes him the villain. The fact that he goes to such extreme lengths to get her attention, despite her turning him down multiple times, only emphasizes his villainy. Even in today's world, women can still be vilified for not returning feelings or for not liking someone who's effectively sexually harassing them, so its message of showing that it's Belle's choice that matters and not Gaston's is very refreshing. There's also the whole criticism of the film glorifying Stockholm's syndrome, completely ignoring the fact that Belle goes out of her way to get to know the Beast better and see his gentler side, as well as the Beast willingly allowing Belle to go home, fully expecting to remain a beast forever, and it is Belle who makes the choice to return, surprising the Beast who freed her without expecting her to ever return for him.
  • The Brave Little Toaster:
    • The intended satire of the cutting edge appliances isn't lost to time. With technological advancement happening faster than ever and average consumers relying more and more on technology, things that are state of the art become obsolete faster and faster, with some being incapable of doing their intended job without extensive, expensive upgrades (this is known as "planned obsolescence" and was a major theme in the sequel). The new appliances eventually going out of style despite their bragging was inevitable and intentional, but it's safe to bet that the filmmakers didn't know how much worse it would become in the ensuing decades.
    • Rob/The Master not only wants to continue using older but still reliable appliances instead of buying new ones, but goes to the trouble of repairing the toaster after it's most likely been mangled beyond use, just because he believes in getting as much use out of it as possible without having to buy a new one (and considering his success, he probably knows how to do that with all of the appliances, meaning they'll be around for quite a while). From an emotional standpoint, it shows he appreciates them as much as they appreciate him, but from a practical standpoint, he's wisely avoiding the vicious cycle of buying things only to eventually throw them away, thus preventing pollution through mass consumption. Today, using things like appliances for as long as they're functional or buying them secondhand is often promoted as a useful, even fun, way of undoing the negative effects of pollution (up to and including climate change) while also saving money, which makes Rob not only look more compassionate but more responsible as a result.
    • Related to the above entry: Rob wanting to keep and repair his old appliances continues to be an admirable trait with the concept of "Right to Repair" being a hot topic in the 2010s-20s.
    • Rob and Chris being an interracial couple without it defining them as characters. While real-life interracial relationships are significantly less taboo than they were in the past (this movie came out only twenty years after Loving vs. Virgina, mind you), depictions thereof (especially ones that don't make it an issue in one way or another) are still a rarity in mainstream movies, let alone animated ones.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: In her video about the movie, Lindsay Ellis defends the movie from accusations that it lost the real meaning of the original novel, firstly because the original theme, the lack of care for the architecture of France, is no longer relevant considering how much care France has for its historical buildings now, and the themes that the Disney adaptation has, justice for the oppressed, fascist behavior, treating women as objects and so on, are much more relevant to the time it was released. She ends the video by saying that those themes are even more relevant on the time of the video (2017), and the movie would probably be much more popular and less scrutinized if it came out now.
    Lindsay: It's still a cut above what people give it credit for and I think it would be more appreciated if it came out today. Because we need stories like this today. Fascist abusive Frollo, justice for the oppressed, the focus on how some men really do loathe the object of their desire, the wholesale demonization of ethnic groups. Maybe this movie wasn't really appreciated in its time because it didn't resonate as much in 1996, but it does resonate more in 2017. [...] And consider that hokey as it may be at points, like Hugo's message about the importance of architecture in the 1830s, this might be what we need in our time.
  • As time has gone on, The Little Mermaid and its protagonist Ariel, have come to be seen in a better light. For years she was dismissed as a shallow character who abandons her home for a guy she barely knows — but there has been a considerable backlash to Slut-Shaming and bad faith criticism towards a female character's flaws. Nowadays, many fans have come to Ariel's defence for her display of a three-dimensional personality — someone who is flawed and makes mistakes, but still has a lot of virtues and an active role in her story. What also helps is that she is a teenager who has to put up with King Triton's downright abusive nature, and that her abandoning of her home was the result of him going too far and driving her towards the manipulations of Ursula.
  • Pocahontas does get a lot of flak for its liberties with history, but it also contains a powerful message about prejudice and how innocent people are still going to be hurt in a conflict, regardless of how justified it is. Even in the 2000s, media could often paint a Black-and-White Morality view of a conflict, so its messages about not dehumanizing your enemies hold up very well. And the fact that Pocahontas is undeniably the lead character — shown as powerful and brave, while also intelligent and caring — and she chooses to help her people rather than follow her love interest, still ending the film happy and whole even with the sadness that comes with separating from John Smith. Her actress Irene Bedard agrees:
    "I think it is a beautiful story that talks about how we look at each other as human beings first, before anything else. We all share the same mitochondria."
  • Despite all the writing issues with Quest for Camelot, Garett is a surprisingly positive and well-rounded depiction of a disabled protagonist (both for 1998 and nowadays). Although his blindness does have obvious disadvantages, he's not portrayed as a completely helpless and pitiable figure; he's learned to work around his blindess, and he's proactive and largely independent. His being blind also doesn't diminish his appeal as a love interest for Kayley in the slightest. At the same time, the film avoids going down a glurgey Inspirationally Disadvantaged route; Garett's blindness does still occasionally cause problems for him and he feels understandably insecure about it in certain situations (which he initially covers up with stoicism and snark). There's also nothing to suggest he magically gets his eyesight restored in the endingnote , but he still becomes a knight and gets the girl.
  • Sleeping Beauty:
    • The film had quite about of criticism about how it's a prince rescuing a Damsel in Distress. However, many have pointed out that the three good Fairies and Maleficent all have their own distinct personalities and drive the film's events. In fact, the prince needed the fairies' help to defeat Maleficent. This actually was pretty Fair for Its Day, but in many ways it still has aged quite well as the film reaches its seventieth year.
    • There is also a plot point in which Phillip decides to marry for love, when he was betrothed to another girl. Sure, it was a Perfectly Arranged Marriage (as the girl he met was the girl he was betrothed to!) but this still gives a pretty good message.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Arthur argues with Ector over Merlin's magic, with Ector dismissing it as wicked and dangerous despite knowing little about it (or perhaps even because he knows little about it). Arthur's line "Just because you can't understand something, it doesn't mean it's wrong" can be widely applied to other situations, and is just as relevant and meaningful nowadays as it was in 1963.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Andy Griffith Show might come across as quaint and hokey at times, but in a time of increased tensions over Police Brutality and frequent police-involved shootings, a friendly, compassionate lawman who wants people to respect him for his integrity and commitment to justice, rather than fear him for his gun (which he rarely carries anyway) is very refreshing.
  • The final season of Babylon 5 has its critics, but one element that's held up well is what happens to Lennier. At the time, his Entitled to Have You attitude to Delenn and his growing hostility towards John Sheriden which led to him leaving Sheriden to die upset the fans who were rooting for him, but the general attitude shift against 'Nice Guys' has made the situation ring a lot more true for people. And he at least realised what he did and self-exiles himself, showing that he hadn't lost his decency.
  • In Blake's 7, Blake rebels against a totalitarian government that drugs its populace. He gets framed for molesting children. The entire series starts with a shot of a CCTV camera monitoring the citizens — before such cameras became ubiquitous in the UK.
  • While the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "I Robot, You Jane" is clearly made in the late nineties and occasionally veers into New Media Are Evil territory, the basic message of the episode — about being careful online, as people aren't always who they say they are — is more relevant now in an era when every teenager spends most of their time online, than it was when it aired back in 1997, when the internet was still a fringe interest and social media wasn't really a thing.
    Xander: I mean, sure, he says he's a high school student, but I can say I'm a high school student.
    Buffy: You are.
    Xander: Okay, but I can also say that I'm an elderly Dutch woman. Get me? I mean, who's to say I'm not if I'm in the elderly Dutch chat room?
    Buffy: I get your point. I get your point! Oh, this guy could be anybody.
  • The Japanese tv show Bukkomi Japanese was criticised for the premise which debunks “faux Japanese culture”note  based on Foreign Culture Fetish by teaching “real” Japanese culture with the experts, for being “nationalistic” and “intolerant toward cultural fusion”. However, their criticism toward false representations of Japanese culture is somehow relevant to the Western society note  during The New '10s and The New '20s, where the cultural appropriation is a bigger deal than in Japan.
  • The infamous Diff'rent Strokes episode "The Bicycle Man" is best remembered for dealing with molestation, but the writers actually threw in a line that shot down the notion that All Gays Are Pedophiles, with a detective telling Willis that there's a world of difference between gay men and child molesters.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The last few episodes of "Doctor Who and the Silurians" involve London dealing with a plague epidemic created by Silurian scientists. These episodes examine humans' resistance to quarantine and vaccination measures, the rise of conspiracy theories, the inability to keep the virus under control, and the scapegoating of a species due to certain members' involvement in the plague. This plotline feels far more relevant in the post-COVID-19 Pandemic world of the new '20s than it did when it came out in 1970.
    • "The Curse of Peladon" was an allegorical story about Britain's relationship with the European Economic Community, and all the xenophobia and genuine wariness such a thing entailed. It gained relevance again in 2016 when the Brexit referendum happened.
    • "Carnival of Monsters", which involves a couple of carnies stuck in a nightmarish airport security line due to xenophobia, and ending up scapegoated as terrorists in a political coup, works a lot better in the post-The War on Terror era of zealous airport security and refugees being blamed for terrorist attacks, which is seen by another section of people as a way by unscrupulous politicians to gain support.
    • The 1978 story "The Sunmakers" combines this with Broken Aesop. In 1978 it was a right-wing allegory about how taxation is evil, but in the late 00s and 10s, it's a left-wing Occupy allegory about how forcing the tax burden on the poor to benefit big corporations is evil. Complete with a gas that makes everyone afraid being pumped into everyone's houses — an allegory for news media, which has become much more omnipresent and sensationalist since 1978.
    • "Vengeance on Varos", despite being made in 1985, could easily be seen as parody of certain modern Reality TV shows, seeing as Varosian society (with televised Bread and Circuses entertainment and viewers voting if people live or die) almost seems to resemble Big Brother or The X Factor meets Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Family Matters:
    • The episode "Good Cop, Bad Cop", in which Eddie is profiled by a racist cop, distressingly holds up water after the murder of Laquan McDonald revealed the racism and corruption in the Chicago Police Department.
  • Full House:
  • Kamen Rider Fourze: One early two-part episode deals with a student turned willing Monster of the Week who got rejected by several girls and uses his newfound powers to get revenge on Yuki by destroying the locker that doubles as a portal to their secret headquarters to 'see her cry' then attempting to send a bus full of girls who also 'rejected him' off a bridge to their deaths. With the rise of violence and victim blaming in incel culture in the late 10's and early 20's, it's much more relevant today as it was in 2011.
  • Early 90s episodes of Law & Order condemn hate crimes committed against members of the LGBT community.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • In one episode, Hal casually mentions that one of the family's cousins has two dads, which nobody seems to regard as unusual or noteworthy, besides Reese who says that their house must be a "dude's paradise". Additionally, Francis' classmate and friend Eric is shown to have two dads which is also treated as unremarkable. The show was broadcast at the Turn of the Millennium, when gay marriage/adoption was illegal in many states and queer people were considered acceptable to mock in most pop culture.
    • In another episode, Craig comments to Francis about how he figured out a life hack that allows him to travel anywhere he wants for free: Go into a chat room, pretend to be a horny teenage girl with daddy issues, scam the lonely pervert on the other end of the chat into buying "Debbie" a full-fare round-trip plane ticket when he's ready to arrange to meet her in person. This episode aired in 2000, years before To Catch a Predator and a full decade before Catfish.
  • In one episode of M*A*S*H Hawkeye chews out Frank Burns for making fun of his mentally handicapped neighbor. These days, when we're just beginning to understand how hurtful ableist humor is, this comes across as quite refreshing.
  • At the end of one episode of Monkey the narrator says, "To some of us, opinions are so precious that we will die for them". And then the internet came along...
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has the "Prejudice Sketch," which not only portrays racism as ridiculous but does the same to homophobia in the 1970s; the "Blackmail" game show that looks almost tame compared to some modern reality shows ("no we don't morally censure sir, we just want the money!"); and all of the self-deprecation and the letters of complaint about The BBC still rings true, given how much flak the corporation often gets from other media outlets and Moral Guardians: "I'd like to complain about people who hold things up by complaining about people complaining, it's about time something was done about it".
  • Similar to the "Family Matters" example above, the TNBC sitcom "One World" had an episode called "The Race Car" which dealt with Neal-a black kid adopted by a white family being arrested by a cop due to him sitting in a nice car that he didn't own(one of the other adopted siblings won it in a contest) along with his white adopted brother Ben. Ben gets let out of jail but the racist cop does not want to let Neal go refusing to believe he's innocent and once his adopted parents show up to bail him out, the cop is shocked to find out they are white and Neal makes a speech to the cop calling out racial profiling that still rings true today.
  • "O.B.I.T.", an episode of The Outer Limits (1963), is about an all-seeing surveillance device that constantly monitors the workers at a US government research lab, creating an atmosphere of paranoia by destroying their privacy. The O.B.I.T. machine turns out to have been invented by alien invaders who are using it to demoralize humanity, thus making it easier for them to take over. For a story written decades before The War on Terror and the resulting surveillance state, the episode is eerily prescient.
  • Perfect Strangers: "Sexual Harassment in Chicago" has a magazine editor named Olivia make a pass at Balki and then threaten his job when he refuses her advances. The episode makes it clear that what this woman is doing is wrong and that sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable. What makes this episode especially great is that it came out in 1987 while a lot of modern fiction treats harassment or abuse of men by women as acceptable or funny.
  • Power Rangers Time Force: "Trip Takes a Stand" has become one of the most relevant moments in ‘’Power Rangers'' history, especially in the 2010s, because of it's allegory for race-based violence involving law enforcement. Even though the victim of the incident in question is a mutant instead of a human, the message is still very clear.
  • Raven: The fact that Raven never comments on some of the warriors having disabilities and instead treats them equally to their abled peers comes across as showing abled viewers how these warriors are just as human as anyone else without falling into the Positive Discrimination or Flawless Token tropes. That (possibly unintentional) lesson is just as important in the 2020s and beyond as it was in the early 2000s.
  • Saturday Night Live's epic 1983 "Buckwheat Dead" sketch was originally meant to satirize the way the American media handled John Lennon's murder and the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Today it seems to be even more relevant than it was in the early '80s, as the problems/phenomena the sketch presented (inadvertently glorifying killers by extensively focusing on them and turning them into celebrities; desensitizing audiences to violence by showing it repeatedly; inappropriate product placement) are still with us, even more so. Additionally, it showcasing how everyone who knew killer John David Stutts was aware of his plans to murder Buckwheat but did nothing about it became far-sighted in wake of the Columbine High School massacre, which sparked debate about whether it could have been prevented if those who knew the assailants would have seen the warning signs and intervened. Multiple states have since enacted "red flag laws" to this effect.
  • Star Trek has managed to come up with many stories that are excellent examples of this trope.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • The episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" demonstrates the absurdity of racism when an alien with a half white / half black face expressing contempt for another of his race because "His face is white on the right side. All his people are white on the right side!" This was relevant during the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960s when it aired. It still applies unnervingly well to all the racial and religious fanaticism of the early 21st century.
      • An episode of Star Trek: Enterprise made during the 21st century depicted a similar issue but with regard to the destructive power of religious extremism, purposely made as a tribute to "Last Battlefield" to show that this type of story is just as true, if not more, today.
      • The theme of TOS's "A Taste of Armageddon", about the dehumanizing effects of computerized warfare, was haunting enough in 1967, when the computer was still in its infancy. Today, with things like UAVs and computer-guided missiles becoming indispensable parts of modern warfare, it hits harder than ever. Its message that when war becomes convenient and easy people stop trying to find peace is also relevant in an America that spent 20 years fighting a war in Afghanistan that cost trillions of dollars and resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths while most Americans went on with their lives completely unaffected and barely thinking about it.
      • "The Devil in the Dark" has always aged beautifully with a Green Aesop theme that gradually becomes obvious in a natural way.
      • "The Omega Glory" is extremely divisive, especially among international Trekkies, but its message of how dangerous jingoism and nationalism can be still rings true, particularly since the surge of hyper-jingoism that emerged in the US after the September 11th attacks. Especially after how NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick peacefully protested against police brutality by kneeling during renditions of the national anthem, only to have conservative critics claim he was "disrespecting" both the flag and anthem. Kirk makes the admonition that "these words must apply to all, or they mean nothing!"
      • In "Charlie X", Kirk's speech to Charlie about how his feelings aren't the only ones that matter and he isn't entitled to have Rand just because he wants her resonates just as much in the era of #Me Too.
    • The Next Generation:
      • "The Drumhead" and Deep Space Nine's "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" both carry strong messages of not sacrificing liberty in the name of security, messages that remain very important to this day.
      • "The Measure Of A Man": Data fighting for his right to bodily autonomy, and against being subjected to surgery against his will, has been taken in more recent years as an easily fitting analogy for abortion rights as well as transgender and non-binary rights. Notably, Maddox's insistence on referring to Data as "it" for most of the episode has been compared to misgendering a trans person.
      • The episode "The Outcast" explored sexual orientation through a monogendered race, and their society is very strict on any individual who deviates from their norm. While the episode got flak for other issues (all of the monogender aliens were portrayed by women, making it seem more like militant lesbians harassing a heterosexual traitor), it took on new life as the in-show outrage over the violation of individual rights still hit hard and the sci-fi analogy made it applicable to many sexual orientation and transgender issues beyond its original intention.
      • The TNG two-part episode "Unification" has Spock traveling to Romulus and helping a youth movement trying to restore peaceful ties between the Romulans and Vulcans. Nowadays, it isn't hard to compare Spock with politicians like Bernie Sanders in the US or Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, or for that matter progressive Trek actors like George Takei, as elder statesmen who strike a chord with younger activists hoping to make their world better. Spock's last lines to Picard still resonate thanks to the populist wave of The New '10s.
      Spock: An inexorable evolution toward a Vulcan philosophy has already begun. Like the first Vulcans, these people are struggling to new enlightenment and it may take decades or even centuries for them to reach it but they will reach it... and I must help.
    • Deep Space Nine originally aired in the 90s, but the series themes of handling the fallout from an occupation, religious extremism and necessary terrorism all became even more relevant after the invasion of Iraq. Dr. Bashir having been non-consensually genetically “enhanced” because his parents couldn’t deal with his unspecified learning disability is still quite a relevant topic to autistic people in an age where autism is considered a literal Fate Worse than Death by anti-vaccination proponents, and autistic kids are still generally treated like they're idiots that can't do anything, or get abused (by family or other caretakers), fed bleach or murdered.
    • In the episode "Blood Oath" Kor greets his old friend Dax by her old name Curzon, but when told it's Jadzia now immediately corrects himself and uses her proper pronouns from then on. Even decades later it's one of the best examples of straightforward acceptance of a transgender friend in television.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • The episode "Critical Care" — in which the Doctor is forced to try to ethically navigate an alien crapsack hospital where treatment is given based on the wealth of the patient, not medical need — would be an on-the-nose commentary about US healthcare if it aired today. Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, when the very wealthy were much more likely to afford treatment and recover than those that weren't wealthy.
      • In the episode "Blood Fever" Tom Paris refuses the advances of a Pon Farr-suffering B'Elanna Torres because she isn't in a state of mind to properly give consent. This has resonated with a lot of viewers with the increased publicity of various sexual assault scandals and the growing awareness of when a person cannot consent to sex.
      • The episode "The Voyager Conspiracy", in which Seven of Nine absorbs months worth of information in a few hours and begins to hold paranoid delusions that both the captain and her second-in-command deliberately stranded the ship in the Delta Quadrant for a sinister purpose, has only gotten more relevant with the passing decades. Not just because real conspiracy theories have only gotten more popular since the episode aired, but because the nature of Seven's malfunction is very on-the-nose in the infobesity age.
      • The end conflict of "Author, Author" surrounded a publisher feeling free to steal the Doctor's holonovel without permission because he is not legally considered a sentient individual. Later real-world experiments with Artificial Intelligence include feeding thousands of pieces of art, from paintings to novels, to a computer and being able to spontaneously create new art through piecing together that content through different tags. Some AI films have been made through filming the screenplay exactly as made (which are nonsensical), while AI digital art have won awards under the belief it was made by a human. This has caused some debate on the validity of the art and possible copyright infringement when it just slightly modifies an existing piece. Furthermore, potential stories and scripts written by AI is one of the many contentious issues that led to the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA both going on strike in 2023.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is a classic episode about aliens who use good old-fashioned human prejudice and hysteria while they just watch and laugh. This was an allegory for the Red Scare, warning how communism is a danger, but the self-destructive anti-communist hysteria among the American people at the time was actually the best way for the real communists to win. The episode was remade for The Twilight Zone (2002), with the communist threat changed to terrorism. No other changes were made... or needed.
    • "He's Alive" is another good contender, on how we keep monsters like Adolf Hitler alive so long as we spread intolerance, no matter of what kind.
    • "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" and its theme of over conformity and the Hollywood obsession with beauty (especially female beauty) is probably even truer today than it was back then. Eerily, it takes place in the year 2000.
    • "Eye of the Beholder" has similar themes. The Closing Narration even invokes this:
      "Now the questions that come to mind: Where is this place and when is it? What kind of world, where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is...it doesn't make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet... or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned... in The Twilight Zone."
    • "The Night of the Meek" (the Christmas Episode) carries an Aesop about belief and the goodness of charity and giving, as opposed to blindly and selfishly asking and receiving. Its message is even truer today, as the commercialization of the holidays is greater than ever.
    • "The Shelter" is a good example, whose message is somewhat similar to 'The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street', showing how when people turn on each other in times of crisis, it only leads to destruction. Incidentally, "The Shelter" is one of only a few episodes that keeps a fully realistic setting (no science fiction or supernatural elements), driving the point home that much harder due to the fact that it comes off as something that could actually happen in real life.
    • Thanks to theories on global climate change that are increasingly agreed to be true, the depiction of people going mad and dying from extreme heat in "The Midnight Sun" is far more unsettling today. And that's an episode that wasn't intended to be a moral lesson at all!
  • While Will & Grace receives a lot of criticism for its rather muted take on gayness (due to a mix of what the network would allow and what the writers genuinely believed) but one element that is still well regarded was having Will and Jack be gay men who are Just Friends. The stereotype of gay people being highly promiscuous and going after anyone is sadly still prominent to this day, and while Jack certainly isn't helping in most regards even he still has enough boundaries to have gay friends. There are occasional Ship Tease moments but in a sitcom that's hardly uncommon, and the show makes fun of the idea of them hooking up just as often.
  • It's surprising how relevant some of the political issues explored on Yes, Minister (though by no means all) still hold true in later decades. For example, one episode deals with upgrading the British nuclear deterrent to Trident, over time the issue has been replacing Trident; despite being set in the Cold War, it's portrayed as just as ridiculously pointless as many think it to be now. Other issues including government waste, data-gathering and privacy concerns, Britain's place in Europe... The episode where Hacker becomes Prime Minister, partially through twisting truth about a new EU directive and then claiming a great victory over Brussels, can even seem like an allegory for Boris Johnson, who is widely believed to have supported Brexit so he could become PM and before doing so made a name for himself in spreading fictitious stories about Brussels directives. He and Hacker even both have an obsession with portraying themselves as Churchill, which is used as a way to mock Hacker in that despite his pretensions of being a great statesman he is often hopelessly out of depth, which is an accusation often levied at Boris Johnson.

    Music 
  • "Das Lila Lied", a German cabaret song written in the 1920shas lyrics that can make you think that they were written sometime after the Stonewall Riots or in the era of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. The phrase "different from the others" (in German, "Anders als die Andern") comes from a 1919 movie which was among the first ever to deal with LGBTQ topics, and was inspired by the contemporary advances that were being made in sexuality research in pre-Nazi Germany.
    "And yet most are proud
    to be cut from a different cloth!
    We are just different from the others
    who have only loved in step with morality. (translation credit)"
  • "He's a Rebel," sung by Darlene Love and credited to the Crystals, seems to be a song about a girl who's in love with a "bad boy." In the chorus, though, she makes it clear that she loves the "bad boy" because "he's always good to me/Always treats me tenderly." In other words, it doesn't matter that he doesn't fit in. He treats her with respect, and that's what's important to her.
  • Randy Newman's song "Political Science" could be seen as a pinpoint satire of the American political climate at the height of The War on Terror...if not for the fact that it was released during The Vietnam War.note  The singer bemoaning how, "Noone likes us, I don't know why...All around, even our old friends put us down" reflected how Anti-American rhetoric and protests against The War on Terror became common even in steadfast American allies like the United Kingdom. The mention of bombing France reflected the anti-French sentiment that briefly surged among American conservatives in 2003 as a result of France refusing to support military force being used against Saddam Hussein.note  He advocates sparing Australia, which was one of the few countries that supported the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The singer then excitedly proclaiming "WE'LL SET EVERYBODY FREE!!" as the United States nukes the world into oblivion reflects George W. Bush's now-infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech and how his administration continued to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as bringing "freedom" to the Afghani and Iraqi people as they dragged out and became increasingly violent and deadly. For his part, Newman re-released the song shortly after Operation Iraqi Freedom concluded in 2003 and performed it frequently during this time.
  • A large number of old blues songs deal with topics that would be taboo for decades afterwards, including divorce (Ethel Waters's "No Man's Mama"), exploitation of the poor (Lead Belly's "Bourgeois Blues"), and lesbian identity (both Lucille Bogan and Ma Rainey, the latter of whom is also wearing a collar and tie in "Prove it On Me Blues"). Many of these songs were bowdlerized or banned, but the original recordings have survived and regained a new audience from rereleases.
  • The Jerry Reed song "Lord, Mr. Ford", first released on the album with the same album in 1973 and criticizing the car-obsessed United States resonates quite uncomfortably in the Era of SUVs, global warming and Peak Oil.
    Lord, Mr. Ford, how I wish that you could see
    what your simple "horseless carriage" has become.
    It seems your great contribution to Man
    to say the least, got a little out of hand.
    Lord, Mr Ford, what have you done?!
  • Swedish singer Karl Gerhard wrote the song "Nu ska vi vara snälla" ("Let's be nice now") in the 1930s. One verse is about how Sweden has a minister of defense, but no actual defense, since what military it does have is constantly being reduced and downsized. Karl Gerhard's suggested solution to this is that when the enemy planes arrive in Sweden, all the Swedes will simply hide, so the enemy won't have anybody to fight. Now, over seventy years later, it's safe to say that the observation about the state of the military, as well as the suggested solution, is as relevant as ever.
  • "I'm Afraid of Americans" by David Bowie was initially written as a commentary on Americentrism and the colonialist undercurrents of corporate globalization (with Bowie specifically citing his irritation at seeing McDonald's come to Java). Over 20 years later, it remains the most popular track from its parent album, Earthling, in large part because of its resonance with 21st century disillusionment with American exceptionalism and anxiety towards the increasingly chaotic state of the country.
  • Michael Jackson:
    • While initially written as a song promoting racial harmony in the context of the Rodney King beating, "Black or White" easily resonates in the latter half of The New '10s as a call for both races to come together and tackle white supremacy with many agreeing that "Black or White" is especially necessary nowadays.
    • The Earth Song is more relevant now than it was back in 1995 due to light of worsening global warming and climate change.
  • The song "Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo features lyrics condemning "the sickening taste" of "homophobic jokes" and "images of fascist votes", lyrics that, while nowhere near as bad as back then, do continue to ring true today.
  • A lot of the Pop Punk from the late 1970s onwards sounds more contemporary than one might think. There are rock songs from 1978 that for many listeners could pass for songs from 2008. (Try playing Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" or Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" for a group of 14-year-olds sometime and kidding them that it's a "new" song; odds are at least one person will believe you.) It certainly helps that the style of and philosophy behind those earlier hits has made a major comeback in the 21st century. Most amusing of all, those '70s tunes have aged a lot better than the '80s New Wave hits that replaced them.
  • "Biko" by Peter Gabriel was an ode to slain South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. While apartheid has ended in South Africa, the lyrics remain relevant, with increased awareness of ongoing police brutality against black people in the West. With the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and dozens of others, the song shines more light on the uncomfortable truth that killings like that of Biko are most certainly not the exception for countless black Americans.
  • "Media Overkill" by Scorpions is about media manipulating people with lurid stories, which is just as if not even more relevant today.
    • Also "Wind of Change", which was originally written about the end of the Soviet Union and being hopeful for the future, is now pretty relevant again with North and South Korea having a historic summit and finally putting an end to the Korean war after over 70 years. Ironically "Wind of Change" was played during the end credits of The Interview which features North Korea's dictatorship finally being broken up.
  • Bruce Springsteen:
    • His music remains popular around the world to this day because the themes of working-class desperation, growing cynicism, and hoping for a better life in the future are so timeless and universal. It's even explored in the 2019 film Blinded by the Light, a Coming of Age Story about a Pakistani-British teenager in the late '80s discovering Springsteen's music and realizing just how much the lyrics about '70s middle class New Jersey perfectly describe his own life's situation.
    • If you listen to "American Skin (41 Shots)" you could be forgiven for thinking that it was made in response to the various controversial police shootings in the mid 2010s like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was actually released in 2001, in response to the controversial shooting of Amadou Diallo, who was indeed shot at 41 timesnote , after pulling out his wallet.
  • The Rolling Stones' song "Mother's Little Helper" deals with prescription drug abuse, which is as relevant today as it was in the '60s.
  • The message of just living in a simple of the world where there's nothing worth fighting or dying for presented in John Lennon's "Imagine" is just as relevant today as it was back then.
  • Chicago's "Dialogue (Parts I and II)," from 1972, is a conversation between two young people; the first is concerned about such things as war, starvation, and repression, while the second maintains that "everything is fine." As Part I comes to a close, the first character seems to endorse the other's worldview:
    Thank you for the talk, you know you really eased my mind
    I was troubled about the shape of things to come
    Well, if you had my outlook, your feelings would be numb
    You'd always think that everything was fine
  • Great White's song "Lives in Chains" is about the ridiculousness of talk shows and how those that watch them are far too obsessed with watching other people air their dirty laundry, that song came out in 1996 and has only grown more relevant in the two decades since then.
  • The name and basis for Devonote  came from the group's beliefs that people were starting to regress and become dumber based on the dysfunction and herd-mentality of early 70s society. Fast forward to today where world events are shaped by unregulated and unaccountable social media, groups like the Flat Earth Society and anti-vaccine movement are gaining traction, and the American political system struggles to address the rise of terrorism, gun violence, and racial tension in society.
  • The B-52s "There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)" features the line "If you're in outer space, don't feel out of place, cause there are thousands of others like you". At the time, it was a veiled message to reassure the gay community that if they lived in an area that was hostile to them, there were many more in the same boat. In the days of the internet, many people are finding that they can relate more closely to online communities made up of similar people to them than they can to people they know in real life.
  • Aaliyah's music has endured in the years since her death not just because of her singing talents but because her songs avoided The Unfair Sex and usually made good statements about female sexuality.
  • The Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me" was probably the first hit single to treat a relationship between an adult male and a teenage girl "half his age" as negative and something to be avoided, for the social stigma both of them face, if nothing else. The fact that Sting later confirmed that the teacher raped his student and was deservingly fired for it adds greater resonance, especially after the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 resulted in a large number of prominent figures being exposed and punished after years of getting away with sexual abuse, including cases of child molestation.
  • The Cars' hit "Let's Go" had the singer respecting the wish of the girl he was singing about to not lose her virginity just yet.note  This was more unusual at the time than it would be now.
  • S Club 7 and their debut single "Bring It All Back" — while giving a simple family-friendly 'follow your dreams' Aesop — is still a good anthem about working hard to achieve your dreams rather than waiting for them. Likewise, the message that the world is going to get tough while you're trying to work your way up resonates even more with the current generation of aspiring artists and creatives.
  • Queen's "Scandal". A searing assault on sensationalist tabloid media is just as relevant today as the press continues to sell sensational sleaze.
  • Red Rider's 1981 single "Lunatic Fringe" was written as a response to the resurgence of antisemitism that had developed through the 1970s. With the rise of alt-right, nationalist and antisemitic fringe groups in The New '10s, galvanized by increasingly nationalistic right-wing political parties and culminating in the infamous 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the "lunatic fringe" is just as big a concern now as then.
  • The Replacements' song Androgynous came out in 1984, and with the defiance of gender roles becoming more mainstream in The New '10s, the rise in people identifying as non-binary, and the subsequent backlash, the song's simple message of love and sympathy to those not conforming to conventional gender roles is more relevant today than it was even at the time. It even discusses the trope and its inverse in the lyrics, claiming that the song will be Values Resonance in the future, and aggressive gendering will be considered Values Dissonance in turn.
  • The Bob Seger song "Old Time Rock And Roll" was released in 1978 but the song could have easily come out in any year since then when one reminisces "about the days of old with that old time rock and roll".
  • Aerosmith's "Walk This Way", released in 1975, is a double example. It relates the story of a virgin losing his virginity to a sexually experienced woman, and both the narrator and his partner are treated very well. The woman's experience is treated as a positive, and her enthusiasm helps the narrator along. In turn, the narrator is seen as a fairly well meaning person who only needs a little bit of instruction as opposed to a deficient person for being a virgin. In an era where Slut-Shaming is being questioned more and more, and where a good deal of debate is being had around Virgin-Shaming, a 45-year-old song feels almost refreshing in its discussion of both ends of that spectrum.
  • Weezer's album Pinkerton deals with themes of loneliness, sexual frustration, isolation, and unsatisfaction with one's life. While the album was first released in 1996, its themes are still relevant today as birthrates and romantic relationships decline and as people argue that social media and the social isolation brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown have made people more unhappy and isolated from one another than ever before.
  • Part of the reason behind The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd's public longevity in spite of Progressive Rock's short mainstream lifespan is that the themes tackled by the album, including job anxiety, mortality, the frailty of mental health, and the ills of war culture and capitalism, have only grown more relevant with each passing decade since it first released in 1973, especially in the 21st century, where the 20-year War in Afghanistan, the disastrous Iraq War, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantines all remain fresh in public memory.
  • Marilyn Manson:
    • "Antichrist Superstar" uses its premise as a metaphor for perceived fascist elements of conservatism. The resurgence of the far-right in The New '10s shows that the album's themes are still relevant two decades later.
    • "Mechanical Animals" focuses on fame and drug use damaging one's life, as well as the media's glorification of such. Death of celebrities (including ex-bandmate Gidget Gein) by overdosing since its release in 1998 still show the album's relevancy.
    • "Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)" was created as a response to the media falsely accusing the band for influencing the perpetrators of Columbine, and criticizes media for capitalizing on mass shootings and scapegoating entertainment for such. The themes of the album continue to be relatable as mass shootings are still a regular occurrence in the U.S. two decades after its release.
  • Elvis Presley: "In the Ghetto" describes the cycle of poverty, crime and violence in impoverished areas such as it was in The '60s, but describes the cycle of poverty, crime and violence in impoverished areas today just as well.
  • Ray Stevens:
    • From 1970, we have "America, Communicate with Me". Although the second verse clearly ties to its release year by referencing the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., lines like "the answers aren't all yes or no / To or fro, stop or go / Everything's not left or right / Black or white, day or night" hold up very well as criticisms of how petty political differences can split people apart.
    • His 1987 hit "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex" was at the time a Religion Rant Song against the then-blossoming televangelist movement. His criticisms of flashy, telegenic preachers who push a message of God-given wealth while still soliciting their viewers for money are still valid criticisms of more contemporary "prosperity gospel" evangelists of the 21st century such as Joel Osteen. The second verse also takes a shot at preachers who push their political views ahead of a religious message, a criticism that has also persisted into modern times.
  • Phil Ochs' 1966 song "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" is an indictment of Bourgeois Bohemians who only support left-wing and progressive aims as long as it isn't personally inconvenient to them, and still holds a lot of water today. Even covers that change the lyrics to fit modern social causes often leave "And I love Puerto Ricans and Negros / As long as they don't move next door" mostly unchanged, as redlining and NIMBY-ism remain very significant problems in wealthy liberal areas.
  • Garth Brooks' "We Shall Be Free" came out in 1992 and was inspired by the Los Angeles riots, but lyrics such as "When there's only one race and that's mankind" and "when we're free to love anyone we choose" have held up considerably well as protests against racism and homophobia have gained considerable prominence in the 2010s and 2020s.
  • In 1985, Hank Williams Jr.'s backing band The Bama Band released a song called "What Used to Be Crazy". The first verse includes the lyrics "Grown men wearing dresses, women in three-piece suits / Psychiatrists say it's normal, they're just trying to find their roots" and "You can be a man or a woman, no matter what you were before / What used to be crazy ain't crazy anymore." Regardless of the originally intended tone, the lyric can definitely read to modern ears as a tacit support of the transgender community.
  • "Mister Integrity" by L7 is about a dogmatic, overly self-righteous punk, but its lyrics could apply to any left-wing activist movement that inadvertently excludes others: "Mister Integrity/I'm not the enemy/Please don't preach to me."
  • Sawyer Brown's 1998 single "Another Side" is about a soldier in The American Civil War fighting for the Confederacy but having conflicts due to his brother fighting for the Union. While the divided family eventually unites, the narrator comments on the divisiveness and wishing how there was "another side". This lyric has only become more relevant in the 2010s and 2020s, as sociopolitical divisiveness has become a much bigger part of the conversation.
  • "Feed Jake" by Pirates of the Mississippi is another early-1990s country song (1991) with a Gay Aesop. The third verse points out that not everyone adheres to stereotypes, and pleads for : "Now if you get an ear pierced, some will call you gay / But if you drive a pickup, they'll say no, you must be straight / What we are and what we ain't, what we can and what we can't / Does it really matter?" Even at the time, this lyric was seen as a surprisingly progressive viewpoint (especially given country music's historical conservatism), and more than thirty years after its release it is often held up as an extremely ahead-of-its-time Tear Jerker.
  • Eminem's 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP is filled with outdated pop culture references and uses language about gay people and women that was controversial at the time, let alone now. However, it's still his most beloved album, rediscovered constantly by younger generations, and has endured for decades for good reasons:
    • The concept of the whole album is Eminem expressing confusion ("Who Knew"), rage ("The Way I Am"), despair ("Marshall Mathers"), delight ("The Real Slim Shady") and occasionally fear ("Stan") about the size of the platform he suddenly has, the fact that he's being campaigned against by both left-wing activists and right-wing reactionaries because of his offensive jokes, the damage he's doing to the people who do take him seriously, and people he does not know or care about being obsessed with him and demanding things from him he can't give them, ruining their own lives in the process. In the year 2000, this is a position that only very famous people, like Eminem, would have ever been in. Due to the rise of social media, non-famous people now also share the opportunity to experience fear of backlash, unwanted parasocial obsessions from strangers, and vast seas of anonymous hate, making Eminem's lyrics highly relatable to anyone who's ever had a persistent creep in their DMs, or had a Tweet go viral for the wrong reasons.
    • Songs like "The Real Slim Shady", "Who Knew", "I'm Back" and especially "Criminal" argue that everyone is responsible for how mad they get about the stuff he's saying to piss people off. While it's difficult to come out with a firm answer over whether it was morally okay for him to have made a sick joke about the murder of Versace, it raises questions about how helpful performative outrage actually is, since his songs stress that he doesn't mean it (and this is supported by his real life actions, in which he's campaigned and donated money for LGBT+ rights and against racism). In her essay "God Sent Me To Piss The World Off", Ciara Moloney credited Eminem's music with helping her overcome her indoctrination into shallow, essentialist, privilege-checking "Vampire's Castle" social politics, and move towards a more progressive and positive view of free speech maximalism and focus on class.
    • "Stan", a song about an obsessive fan of Slim Shady who becomes increasingly unhinged when he doesn't get a letter back from his idol, to the point of committing a Murder-Suicide of himself, his girlfriend and their unborn child, has become so relevant in the era of social media fandoms that 'stan' is now used as a word to mean a specific, devoted fan subculture. The song also does a good job explaining why toxic parasocial fandoms happen in the first place - Stan in the song comes from an abusive family and doesn't have anything other than Eminem in his life, something relatable to a generation that came of age with limited resources and moved straight onto internet fandom.
      I can relate to what you're sayin' in your songs
      so when I have a shitty day, I drift away and put 'em on
      ‘cause I don't really got shit else, so that shit helps when I'm depressed
      I even got a tattoo with your name across the chest
    • In "The Real Slim Shady", Slim makes comments about sexualised, Crosses the Line Twice pop culture, which argue in favour of gay marriage, and point out the link between cultural censorship and antifeminism. By comparing it to bestiality and making a cartoon 'eurgh' adlib, as you'd expect from Slim as an Anti-Role Model character, but the fact that Eminem supported gay marriage outside of kayfabe suggests he meant something genuine here.
      Sometimes I wanna get on TV and just let loose
      but can't, but it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose
      My bum is on your lips, my bum is on your lips
      and if I'm lucky, you might just give it a little kiss,
      and that's the message that we deliver to little kids
      and expect them not to know what a woman's clitoris is.
      Of course, they're gonna know what intercourse is...
      [...] But if we can hump dead animals and antelopes
      then there's no reason that a man and another man can't elope
  • Jamiroquai: According to Jay Kay, "future's made of virtual insanity." And twenty-five years into the future, the omnipresence of the internet thanks to the social media boom has, indeed, led to more and more people experiencing their fair share of insanity in virtual spaces. It's gotten even more insane than it has back in '96 when "Virtual Insanity" was first released in the advent of cryptocurrency causing chip shortages and NFTs negatively affecting the environment, so in essence, people's lives have become, "governed by this love we have for useless, twisting, other new technology."
  • Bob Dylan's song "The Times They Are A-Changin'", originally written to criticize opponents of the Civil Rights Movement, can apply towards opponents of any progressive movement, such as the LGBTQ+ movement.
  • The 1969 Zager and Evans song “In the Year 2525” describes life in several future time periods with a pessimistic outlook. Among the future scenarios depicted include over-reliance on machines and technology destroying people’s agency, Designer Babies, Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, and catastrophic environmental disaster from overuse of non-renewable resources. While the portions talking about the potential for a religious Judgement Day (albeit a less biblically accurate one where God considers whether to continue or recreate the world) may strike less in the present, the other scenarios are becoming increasingly discussed in the almost half century after the song’s release.
  • The Øystein Sunde song "Smi mens liket er varmt" ("Strike While the Corpse Is Hot") criticizes journalists who like to tear down people and don't bother to check their facts. Sadly, it is just as relevant today as it was at its 1989 release.
  • The Clash: "Guns of Brixton", with it's message of isolation, paranoia and fear of authorities in general and police brutality in particular, among young black men, rings every bit as true, if not moreso, in the US of 2023 as it did in the UK in the '80s.
  • Tata Young's most well known song "Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy", is surprisingly feminist for an otherwise bawdy 2000s era pop song from Thailand (which is known for being quite conservative about sexuality), with the singer being unapolegetic about her own sexuality and appeal, but goes out of her why to call out the double-standard on how girls are expected to be pure and chaste.
    People think it's intimidating when a girl is cool with her sexuality
    I'm a 180 to the stereotype girls like staying home and being innocent.
  • The 1995 song "Run Away" encourages people to reject the mentalities of modern society: glorifying meaningless sex, being controlled by money, keeping a facade of being perfect to the outside world while having no soul inside, trusting the government, and instead think for yourself and embrace freedom. This lifestyle has become more glorified than ever in the 2020s, so the message resonates strongly.
  • The song "Blank File" by Sonata Arctica is about protecting your privacy in the internet age. It was released in 1999 and has become only more relevant since.
  • Peter Tosh's 1976 song "Legalize It". As of 2023, 24 states and 3 US territories have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
  • "As Long as You Love Me" by the Backstreet Boys emphasizes the reciprocity of a relationship, as its chorus has the singer not caring about who their lover is, or even their origins or previous actions. With the recognition of LGBTQ+ rights in the decades that follow the song's release, the chorus really ages like fine wine.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Classical Mythology is best known for the Values Dissonance, but some of its myths do manage to resonate through the ages:
    • When Dionysus saw how his sleeping around was hurting his wife Ariadne, he promised to never do that again and turned her crown into a constellation as a symbol of his promise.
    • Eros and Psyche. The gods actually help Psyche through her trials and reunite her with Eros, with Zeus making her a goddess so they could be together. No murders, no tragic twists, just a cute love story with a genuinely happy ending.
  • A lot of things in Mesopotamian Mythology are shockingly prescient, showing that no matter how much things change, they stay the same:
    • The Epic of Gilgamesh throughly deconstructs hero standards of the time, showing its semi-divine overpowered ruler not as a flawless example but rather as a rapist brat who needs a serious lesson in humility. Compare for example anyone supposed to be heroic in Classical Mythology.
    • Prostitution was not seen as illegal or wicked for either the woman or the man partaking in the woman's services — in fact, it was seen as a sacred act done by priestesses of Ishtar. Shamhat in the Epic of Gilgamesh is one such sacred prostitute who has an important role in turning Wild Man Enkidu into a civilized man. Even the Code of Hammurabi, which is definetly draconian compared to modern laws, protects the rights and good name of said prostitutes and makes it illegal to slander them. Thanks to the general increase in sex-positivity and attempts at destigmatizing sex work, this resonates in modern times more than at any other point in history.
    • A recovered text on Humbaba shows it as a noble guardian of the wilds and lamenting the destruction of the environment by humanity.
    • Tiamat is a monster, but only on the most literal of senses. She is depicted as a grieving wife who's forced to retaliate against her own children. Quite a lot of sympathy at a time when the combination of being a woman in power and a non-human being would make the end of her portrayal one dimensional.
    • Many stories allude to the honour and respect intersex people had in ancient Mesopotamian societies, which definitely resonates with the current LGBT rights struggle.
  • There are reasons why millions of people believe The Bible is the word of God:
    • The Four Gospels: A major reason why the story of Jesus has endured the test of time is that (most of) the teachings and the overall narrative still resonate today: Jesus is a Working-Class Hero whose Apostles are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, struggles against a contemporary Corrupt Church in the form of the Pharisees that perverted the Laws to their personal benefit, and really wants him dead. The teachings encourage pacifism (Jesus is a Martial Pacifist at most, but even then He never kills or maims anyone) instead of Pay Evil unto Evil. Jesus also spoke against sectarianism with his parable of "The Good Samaritan." Ripped from its context, lots of people think it's just a story about strangers helping each other. But Jews and Samaritans hated each other, and suggesting they could be anything other than enemies was controversial at best at the time Jesus lived. This is to the point that even people who are critical of the Bible and/or religion as a whole tend to respect Jesus and His teachings for the most part. Not bad for a millennia-old holy text.
    • The letters of Paul had quite a bit to say about equality, which may have been rather radical at the time but is considered good sense today. In particular, the notions that men and women are equal partners in marriage and that every person has intrinsic worth in God's eyes.
    • Many portions of the Wisdom books in the Hebrew Bible have retained their positive message.
    • Book of Exodus (and Leviticus and Deuteronomy): Despite so much Values Dissonance that is associated with the Mosaic Law (executions for disobeying parents stands out), the laws were actually quite progressive for the ancient Near East. They contained the earliest animal rights and environmental protection laws, laws that protected rape victims, a refusal to punish children for their parent's crimes, and restrictions on the power of a monarch. Yes, these were considered innovative for the time and not just common sense.
    • The Judgment of Solomon isn't just a tale of a wise king, but how motherhood is not about possessing a child, but loving and caring for one. Quite progressive in a time when the nuclear family wasn't all that common.
  • The Chinese folk tale of The Fox and the Scholar has as its moral a pro-LGBT message, stating that love is love no matter what. It features a scholar and a fox, who were husband and wife in a past life, but reincarnated as males. Nonetheless, they still want to make it work and succeed.
  • Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan emphasizes respect for nature and the environment, and regards things like sex, dance, and revelry as good things, celebrations of the goodness of life. As society simultaneously becomes more open about those things and is dealing with a climate crisis, Shintoism seems shockingly relevant to the modern world.
  • Since its inception in the 15th Century, Sikhism has had surprisingly modern views on women and their rights: spiritually, men and women are considered complete equals as sides of the same coin, and Sikh practices and rituals make no official difference between men and women. Politically, it radically advocated for women to have all the same rights as men and also stood against many contemporary ideas that were accepted as normal and taken for granted in the day, but are considered misogynistic today: the Gurus spoke against the idea that women are inherently sexual and 'tempting' or that birthing and menstruation cause 'impurity', advocated against veils, dowries, female infanticide and Sati (an Indian practice in which a widow burns herself in her husband's funeral pyre). Many women had major roles in Sikh history, both as leader figures and warrior-saints.
  • The idea that punishing children is ineffective for managing bad behavior, or that positive techniques of behavioral management work a lot better, can be found prior to 20th century, sometimes in otherwise "conservative" religious circles. In 1877 (that's 26 years before Dr. Spock was born), the Catholic priest St. John Bosco wrote a treatise in which he contrasted his own preventive method of behavioral management with the traditional "regressive system" which relied on reward and punishment.

    Podcast 
  • Discussed in the Escape from Vault Disney! review of Life with Mikey, where the scene where Angie’s father is revealed to be a recovering alcoholic in rehab is treated with a surprising amount of compassion and sensitivity for the 90’s, when addiction was more criminalized.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Wimzie's House: For a late 1990s-early 2000s preschool show about daycare, it’s pretty progressive.
    • Wimzie being a dragon-bird is meant to be a metaphor for biracial children, but they don’t make it her defining trait and treat it like it’s a normality.
    • Graziella and Rousso have full-time jobs and don’t appear much because of it, but at the same time are Good Parents and Happily Married. They even clearly enjoy their jobs. Graziella also has a traditionally "masculine" job (she's a pilot) and this is treated as perfectly normal.

    Radio 
  • The Adventures of Superman features a story arc where Superman battles against a a thinly veiled pastiche of the Ku Klux Klan. The story famously tackles themes of racism, discrimination, and how people who exploit racial tensions are out to make money off gullible people who want to feel better about themselves by thinking they are better than someone else. This was in 1946. As the storyline’s themes became more relevant in the 2010s with rising racial tensions, its popularity led to a modern reimagining that didn’t need to change the political commentary.
  • Stan Freberg:
    • His 1958 radio play "Green Chri$tma$" with its attack on the commercialization of the holidays still happens to be relevant in modern times.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978), upon hearing the mice's plan to take to the chat show circuit with the Ultimate Question, which is what the philosophers did while Deep Thought spent 7.5 million years working out the Ultimate Answer, Arthur asks if anyone does anything except appear on chat shows. This was in 1978. Since then, the number of such shows have only increased since they are very cheap to produce.
  • The writer's guide for The Lone Ranger radio series made it very clear that Native Americans were never to be the villains of the story. This was unique for Westerns at the time, and carried over to the TV and film adaptations.

    Theatre 
  • Andrea Chénier: Stalking is not romantic or even impressive. When Charles Gérard confesses to Maddalena de Coigny he has been stalking her for ages using first his job as a Beneath Notice servant and then his position as a revolutionary leader with a spy network, Maddalena is horrified and cries she’d rather get lynched by a mob than accept his feelings. For that matter, Gérard himself admits he is a textbook case of Love Makes You Crazy. This opera was composed long before it became a legal offence, but though Gérard is a tragic character and his feelings for Maddalena run deeper than Entitled to Have You, his stalking of her is clearly depicted as major creepiness.
  • Chicago (both the stage musical and the movie). Its view of the celebrity that comes from scandal seems to be getting more relevant every year. A lot of people took interest in the whole "celebrity defendant" phenomenon after the OJ Simpson trial and the 1996 revival has been running ever since. In fact, the program for one touring production described it as "scandalous in the 20s (when the nonmusical play came out), controversial in the 70s, and now just reads like a documentary".
  • The Clouds, by Aristophanes, mocks both conservative and left-wing Strawman Political types, with the former being portrayed as not using actual arguments, just saying "this is the way we've always done it" and "Doing it differently will make you gay" and the latter controlling most of Socrates' Academy and being able to convince anyone of anything, including that the only reason it isn't acceptable for sons to beat their fathers is that there's a law that says there isn't. Today, gay rights and moral relativism are actually points of debate.
  • Arthur Miller stated that The Crucible goes through waves of popularity when people feel that tyranny is coming, or has just fallen. Apparently, people in China found it especially relatable after the end of the Cultural Revolution and the Reign of Terror wrought by the Gang of Four.
  • Fiddler on the Roof:
    • Every production that has ever run on Broadway (and there have been several since it premiered in the early 1960s) has come out in a time where there are news stories about refugee crises or religious persecution, the most recent aligning with the Syrian refugee crisis.
    • The play wound up being unexpectedly popular in Japan, where the older generation found themselves identifying strongly with Tevye's struggle in traditionalism vs change.
  • H.M.S. Pinafore: While a lot of the other Victoriana hasn't aged particularly well, the mocking of political appointees with no experience in their field and over-inflated egos (in this case, a First Lord of the Admiralty whose closest connection to the Navy is a partnership in a law firm), will probably never cease to be funny as long as back-room political dealing and nepotism are a thing.
  • Inherit the Wind: With the rise of the power of the political Religious Right and later the countering rise of the more assertive New Atheism doing battle in the courts like over religious pseudo-sciences like "Intelligent Design," this play's conflict between faith and secularism is still powerfully relevant today.
  • An Inspector Calls tells of a young working-class woman Driven to Suicide by poverty, and sharply interrogates the culpability of the British upper and middle classes in the desolate lives of the working classes — each member is not to blame individually, but functioning as a class they oppressed and hounded a woman to her death. The play depicts and mercilessly deconstructs the every-man-for-himself individualism of the bourgeoisie as represented by Mr. Birling, with the central Aesop being that all people are connected and that the rich and powerful must take responsibility for the impacts of their actions on others: "If mankind will not learn that lesson, then the time will come soon when he will be taught it, in fire, and blood, and anguish." Written in the 1930s and set in 1912, and extremely resonant in Conservative-governed Britain in 2015, when 6 million people tuned in to a BBC TV film adaptation.
  • Lysistrata has an overriding message of peace and, like many Aristophanes' plays, claims war is being prolonged by corrupt politicians. Due to this, the play ended up being performed a lot in the year the Iraq War began. It also has quite a bit to say on feminism and the kind of power women have. Not bad for a play that, even back then, was a raunchy sex comedy.
  • Shylock's famous "if you prick us, do we not bleed?" speech from The Merchant of Venice. That Jewish people are people, with all the same wishes and foibles as their neighbors, is something that still rings true.
  • The Music Man: Harold using a spurious claim that a pool table will corrupt the youth to rile up the Moral Guardians only becomes funnier the more time passes and the less "edgy" pool becomes.
  • Lessing's Nathan der Weise still resonates with its message of tolerance, even though it is only limited to Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the narrative and the famous ring parable that even (daringly for its time) suggested that all three of them were wrong. Dust off the somewhat antiquated language and you could make it a modern movie with little to no effort, even though some of its narrative devices have not aged as well as the message.
  • Othello. By William Shakespeare. For North American audiences, a lot of baggage was added by the use of Africans in larger-scale Atlantic slavery. But generally speaking, the play has a lot that resonates with modern audiences; attitudes to cultural/ethnic minorities, minority attitudes, the troubles of career military men in domestic settings, the destructive power of rumors.
  • One of the reasons Romeo and Juliet has endured over the years is because of its Aesop about how parents pass things down to their children — including prejudices. The young have to suffer from the mistakes of the old, and it takes the death of the two lovers to finally make the families realize how senseless the conflict was. One of the reasons there are many Whole Plot References to it is because the story is one that's easily applicable to modern life. In fact the majority of fans of the 1968 film version were the teenagers of the day, who could relate to the passion of the story. Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet in that version, says she continued to get fan letters from young teenagers decades after the film came out.
  • The Skin of Our Teeth, written in 1942, has a lampshaded reference to the question of taking in refugees. At the time, Wilder wrote it in reference to issues concerning Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis,note  but over time, debates in various countries (especially the United States) over accepting refugees from the Middle East have made the reference relevant again.
  • The Snow Maiden: For a fantasy play written in the 19th century, it brings up quite a few issues still pretty relevant today:
    • The relationship of Grandfather Frost and Spring Beauty, with the latter only keeping it up for the sake of the child, would be familiar to quite a few families nowadays. In addition, the clashing parenting styles of the two (Grandfather Frost is the custodial parent who cares for and protects the Snow Maiden, while Spring Beauty is the flashy, flighty Missing Mom who pops up occasionally with rich gifts) would also resonate with many children of divorced parents.
    • Not only are Mizgir's stalking and Attempted Rape of the Snow Maiden played to the full horrifying extent, but Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male and Stalking Is Funny If Its Female After Male are also averted. The Berendeys stop Bobylikha from physically abusing her husband, and Lel is shown to grow extremely uncomfortable when the Snow Maiden keeps following him
  • Spring Awakening (the original play) was written just before the 1900s, but still holds a lot of Values Resonance on cultural/religious repression and sexuality. The musical outright invokes this by using contemporary style/slang for the songs. And it works. The show is about what happens when you refuse to give teenagers The Talk. It was radical when it was written, but today it seems like a massive takedown of the abstinence-only subculture.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire:
    • The play symbolizes the struggle between the Old South and New South that was taking place at the time. Blanche was an antebellum Southern Belle left over from before the Civil War (being played in the movie by Scarlett O'Hara herself, Vivian Leigh, only added to this), and Stanley was a more modern, industrial blue-collar immigrant, symbolic of the direction the South was heading, and the clash between those who wanted to go back to the Good Old Days and those who wanted to embrace progress. Important in 1947 since the South was still recovering, but the same Old Guard vs. New Blood debate has reemerged, with a younger generation of more diverse, liberal, and progressive Southerners butting heads with the much more religious, staunchly conservative and heavily white previous generation.
    • Blanche's line, "What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the heart of a human being?" In context, "straight" just means "proper" or "okay", but the statement resonates with many people because of the modern meaning of the term.note  The fact that the line does relate, albeit indirectly, to a question of sexual orientation (that of Blanche's late husband) only makes it more poignant.
  • The Trojan Women was a play written by Euripides that focus on the women's roles and perspectives in The Trojan War. It resonates well throughout centuries as it's one of the very earliest pieces that taught War Is Hell and marked the tragedy of the innocent civilians who suffers from it (especially the women). It was especially relevant back when it was written, as Euripides wrote this during The Peloponnesian War when the Athenian were subjugating and enslaving the people in the Island of Melos.

    Urban Legends 
  • Fake Values Resonance is a common theme for Urban Legends, examples from Snopes follows. Unless noted otherwise, these are false:
    • The circumstances of the 2000 election supposedly mirror an 18th-century professor's predictions of the fall of democracy: Here.
    • The rationale for the invasion of Iraq supposedly mirrors a 1944 Reuter's article concerning the invasion of Nazi-conquered France: Here.
    • The rationale for removing troops from Iraq mirrors another supposed 1944 Reuter's article concerning the removal of troops from World War Two's European Theater: Here.
    • A quote from Julius Caesar supposedly explains how to use the threat of war to convince citizens to fall in line with the government: here.
      • This similar quote from Hermann Goering also drew attention—however, this one is real.
    • A (real) article from 1922 warns that climate change is melting Arctic ice and disrupting wildlife: here.
    • Kurt Cobain predicted (and implicitly endorsed) Donald Trump's presidency in 1993. A different debunk by factcheck.org noted that Kurt could be politically outspoken in interviews, and did once note he wished someone who was not a career politician would run for president... but in the same interview he dismissed third party Ross Perot because "he's rich, I don't trust him as president".

    Video Games 
  • Alpha Centauri became more relevant in The New '10s as its context — both gameplay and lore — of conflict based on political-polarization with each faction, and environmental consciousness.
  • While our planet hasn't thankfully turned into the Crapsack World of Deus Ex, the game's messages about mass surveillance, mass hysteria caused by terrorism, increasingly oppressive laws passed to combat it and government favoritism towards corporate elite at the cost of ordinary citizens rights hit much closer to home today than they did in 2000 after events like 9/11 attacks, War on Terror, Occupy movement's protests and the disclosures about NSA's national surveillance program starting in 2013. Even in the original game (released in 2000), the New York skyline lacked the Twin Towers (in reality, because of memory issues), because they'd been destroyed in a terrorist attack.
  • El Viento: Created in 1991, it is still unheard of in video games today for a main character like Annet (a dark-skinned Peruvian woman) to exist, let alone not be condescending towards her.
  • Final Fantasy V has a Green Aesop about overuse and misuse of natural resources that is demonstrated largely in the first half of the game. When the party travels to Walse, they attempt to convince the King to shut down the crystal amplifier because one crystal already shattered from it, but he dismisses them based on a "lack of evidence" that is obviously motivated by his reluctance to take the political risk. In Karnak, the inventor of the amplifiers actually tries to shut them down, but Queen Karnak throws him in jail and then censors any further dissent by building a wall between the town and the Great Library, whose scholars have also been raising the alarm. In both cases, the denialism does nothing to alter physical reality and both crystals shatter. It is quite prescient about the political mess that would surround climate change in The New '10s, which involves a cocktail of denial, discrediting of scientists, and apathy. Additionally, Exdeath's origin story (the second world using a tree in the Forest of Moore as a trashcan for various evil spirits) has parallels in the real world with toxic waste dumps and ecological "sacrifice zones" that eventually result in worsened natural disasters, floods, and contamination illnesses — various scholars indicate that Galuf's world used to be a lot like Bartz's until their toxic waste dump grew a brain.
  • As cited by The Angry Video Game Nerd's review, Final Fantasy VI's overarching themes of loss, grief, and hope resonate with a lot of people, especially those who have played the game as kids and are revisiting them as adults. The Nerd even compares the game's events to the real world's state of affairs in The New '20s, with the World of Balance being an equivalent of Earth before the COVID-19 Pandemic (and the "good old days" in general), the Cataclysm to the pandemic itself, and the World of Ruin to the post-pandemic days, where there's still uncertainty about the world's stability no thanks to the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts.
  • Final Fantasy VII's Green Aesop on the short-sighted policies of Shinra Corporation on the extraction of Mako energy without concerns for the planet's decay mirrored real-life energy companies' tendency to profit from environment-damaging methods while avoiding the consequences of the law thanks to their wealth and influence. In addition, it also included the influences of private enterprises over social and political level along with abuses towards employees and citizens emphasized by Midgar's socioeconomic inequality and sufferings thanks to Shinra's prioritization of profits over welfare.
  • Great Greed: This 1992 role-playing game is one of the earliest video games to feature Gay Option. At the end of the game, Sam (a male hero) is offered a Standard Hero Reward for his trouble where he can propose to one of the five princesses, but with repeated interaction he can choose the others, some of which are male. While it's a short scene and there's some level of comedy to it — you can marry either the queen or the king, which naturally gets them divorced — the marriage is not considered anything strange regardless whether Sam's partner is male or female. Many years later, as such features and topic have become more common with games like Fallout 2, Great Greed is regarded as a game ahead of its time for highlighting same sex marriage in a video game.
  • Guild Wars sets its two expansions, Nightfall and Factions, on the in-game world's equivalents of East Asia and Africa and manages to build a detailed world that draws upon real life mythology in both cases without resorting to stereotypes.note  Both Cantha (Asia) and Elona (Africa) have their own independent history, society, and cast of heroes and villans that's depicted as equal in all ways to that of Tyria (Europe) ingame (and perhaps even superior to it, as the original game sees one Tyrian kingdom completely destroyed and another secretly being led by evil extradimensional beings). While it is possible to complete both of the expansions as a White Savior Tyrian character, characters created in the expansions look Canthan or Elonan (and can similarly travel to Tyria and complete the original campaign). The majority of characters in the game (at least the "good" ones) also worship the same pantheon of five gods regardless of which expansion they're from. In particular, given the debates about the inclusion of people of the color in media, it's difficult to imagine that a major video game could release an expansion set on a swords-and-sorcery equivalent of Africa without significant outrage and accusations of forced diversity today, let alone in 2006 when Guild Wars: Nightfall was released.
  • While the War Is Hell message of the Metal Gear franchise wasn't particularly new for its time, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty made a lot of novel points regarding the then still relatively new Internet, particularly how disinformation and "Memes" (referring to cultural messages that are spread) would be used to manipulate the population at large as mass communications get more and more normalized.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has no less than two scenes where characters react with complete indifference to crossdressing — the first being when showing that Largo LaGrande has had a bra dry-cleaned, and the second being in which Guybrush wears a dress to gain access to Elaine's party (in context, he wins a probably-stolen ticket in a game of roulette, and the dress has been reserved for the ticket holder).
  • The Oddworld series has a heavy anti-corporate, pro-environment message with corporations being depicted as evil bastards who will do anything to make a profit including slavery and torturing their employees, and are polluting and destroying the environment of the world. With the rise of corporatism in America, corrupt business practices and sleazy laws favoring corporations over people, as well as climate change and pollution being a big issue now, the message of the games is more relevant than ever. Furthermore, it also shows that the reason these big corporations came into power was partly thanks to the apathy of those who could have stopped them.
  • Persona 2 Innocent Sin is notable in that it has a canonically bisexual main character in the form of Tatsuya, who has amongst his potential love interests Jun, who is canonically gay - in a game that released in 1999, where even the idea of LGBT characters in protagonist roles in games (that don't fulfill that niche) was practically unheard of. This also wouldn't be seen in future games in the series at all, with no Gay Option to speak of despite the future games higher focus on Dating Sim-like aspects.
  • Phantasy Star I: The game starred Alis as its female protagonist in the first installment of Sega's flagship role-playing game series Phantasy Star, which was a notable decision in 1987 and only got better over time. Alis avoids pitfalls that some other video games of the time are criticized for: her character doesn't revolve around pursuing a love interest (her goal is to avenge her brother's death), her outfit is a standard suit of armor with Modesty Shorts instead of something impractically skimpy like Leotard of Power commonly associated with JRPGs of its time, and the story never once treats her, a leading lady of the party who excels at swordfighting, out of the ordinary.
  • Rolo to the Rescue was released in the early 90s, at a time where an elephant saving his friends from the circus would be seen as a fantasy. Fast forward to The New '10s, and Rolo's cause is certainly a lot more heroic now that the general public has turned against traveling circuses for their mistreatment of animals.

    Web Animation 
  • Lobo (Webseries): While it came out in June 2000, some parts aged so well.
    • Sunny Jim is a rather realistic portrayal of an incel and trafficker. He intended to sell Darlene for money, who is a human female.
  • In "Arms & the Main Man", a third lavatory for non-binary people can be seen.
  • Blue from Overly Sarcastic Productions notes that Confucius' beliefs that a government that fails in serving its people has lost legitimacy because it is no longer fulfilling its intended purpose is shockingly appropriate, especially since the video came out during the 2020 protests against police brutality.

    Real Life 
  • "We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind, and tide... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."—Thomas Edison, 1931. However, in this day of fluctuating gas prices, environmental awareness, and resource scarcity, this quote is more relevant than ever.
  • "No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him, except by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." — Magna Carta. Not bad for 1215, though part of the reason that the Magna Carta resonates with our values is that our values are in many ways descended from the Magna Carta.
  • John Laurens was the son of a wealthy plantation owner and a colonel in the Continental Army during The American Revolution. In contrast to most of his contemporaries, he believed that black and white people were equally human, and it was disingenuous of the nascent nation to espouse liberty while keeping a subset of humanity in bondage.
    "We have sunk the Africans & their descendants below the Standard of Humanity, and almost render'd them incapable of that Blessing which equal Heaven bestow'd upon us all."
  • The American Declaration of Independence is an exquisite distillation of much of the philosophical thought and political theory of the Age of Enlightenment. As such, its text forms the underpinnings of practically all Western-style Democracies today, clearly elucidating what government is for, and why: to serve The People. In particular, the first half of the second paragraph is specifically cited by most countries when forming a democratic government as the guiding principles of how that government is to function. Not bad for almost 250 years.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
  • Through his work, William Blake advocated for an end to slavery and total racial equality, equality of men and women, per his admiration of Mary Wollstonecraft, who was the first feminist, and argued emphatically against homophobia and the shame and stigma against sex work. Not bad for someone who died in 1827.
  • Friedrich Spee (1591 — 1635) was a German theologian who had been complicit in the torture of accused witches, became horrified with his actions and wrote a book, Cautio Criminalis that highlighted the absurdities of torture, note  documented the barbaric and cruel acts performed on women accused of witchcraft, and was an early advocate for the right to a trial, an attorney, and legal counseling, which most modern countries provide. He also pointed out the Original Position Fallacy of advocating for torture to get confessions out of suspected witches, since they would inevitably be tortured into naming accomplices, those accomplices would later be tortured to also name accomplices, and so on, until the original advocates of torture are the ones named as accomplices.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre wrote The Anti-Semite and the Jew in 1944, shortly after the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation. He discusses the mentality of the kind of person who would argue from a position of hate solely because that hate gives them certainty, and how they will argue the indefensible in bad faith simply because it serves that certainty no matter how little sense it makes in any other context, in part because they find it amusing and affirming of their own certainties to offend and confound others. In the information age where conversations and debates in digital public forums are routinely invaded by people who come to argue without intent to persuade or being enlightened, or drop short, pithy, and wrong arguments just to move on, or simply come to start fights and derail threads, or brigade in the name of trolling, or gaslight others into believing what they both know to be wrong, his analysis seems remarkably prescient, particularly considering the emergence of post-truth demagoguery and the alt-right:
    The anti‐Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith; at the outset he has chosen to devaluate words and reasons. How entirely at ease he feels as a result. How futile and frivolous discussions about the rights of the Jew appear to him. He has placed himself on other ground from the beginning. If out of courtesy he consents for a moment to defend his point of view, he lends himself but does not give himself. He tries simply to project his intuitive certainty onto the plane of discourse.
    ...
    Never believe that anti‐Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti‐Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. It is not that they are afraid of being convinced. They fear only to appear ridiculous or to prejudice by their embarrassment their hope of winning over some third person to their side.
  • Records of the Grand Historian, one of the greatest ancient works on Chinese history, recorded this condemnation of appeasement 2000 years ago.

    以地事秦,譬猶抱薪救火,薪不盡,火不滅。
    ("To serve Qin with land, is like fighting fire with firewood; so long as the firewood is not exhausted, the fire does not extinguish.")
  • In order to combat obesity, one should avoid sugar, bread, rice, potatoes and beer, instead eating root vegetables, cabbages, other seasonal vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and lamb, and mineral water or light wine. One should also avoid excessive sleep and exercise as much as possible. A rather modern take on healthy living? Try 1825. This diet is exactly what the French gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin recommends in his book Physiologie du goût.
  • “You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.” — Barry Goldwater, 1993. In that era, this statement might not have been surprising had it come from a liberal, but Goldwater was a staunch conservative, even considered one of the primary founders of modern American conservatism.


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