The early 1990s are not that long ago but this comparison of the 2011 Ford Explorer and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is wistful for this earlier era:
The early 1990s are starting to seem like a long time ago. McMansions were barely a twinkle in the Toll brothers’ eyes. Apple stock was less than fifteen dollars a share. The Iraq war was going great. A tea party was something for little girls. And Justin Bieber hadn’t even been born.
In the U.S. car market, perhaps the biggest difference between then and now is that the SUV, as an automotive force, was in its infancy. Sure, Wranglers, Blazers, Broncos, Scouts, and the like had been bouncing along on the fringe of the American automotive scene for a while, but their numbers were small.
I am interested in this mention of McMansions, which has several connotations in these opening paragraphs:
1. It is not unusual to lump the McMansion in with other consumer objects. Perhaps its most common pairing is with the SUV, often considered an oversized and ostentatious vehicle.
2. The Toll Brothers, a large American home builder, are often tied to McMansions. This builder preferred to call their larger homes “estate homes” but critics ended up dubbing them McMansions. Read a quick summary of Toll Brothers history here. The term McMansions really started being used in earnest in the late 1990s.
3. There seems to be a growing idea that the McMansion might have been a blip in American history. This review pegs the McMansion as beginning in the 1990s and other recent commentators (see here and here) have suggested McMansions are done and will not return. The jury is still out on this one: the size of the average American home grew steadily from the 1950s until just a few years ago.
(4. An unrelated issue: can we already have nostalgia for a time just 20 years ago? Think of this in terms of “oldies” on the radio: it’s hard to even find 60’s music on the radio and now the 80’s and 90’s are considered old. How far can we compress the past in order to develop a prepackaged nostalgia?)