I used to work at Wired, and later at The Verge, and at both places we had a lot of reverence for “Wired in the 90s.” You’d say it fast like that, too – “wired-in-the-90s” – and it was a universally recognized shorthand for relevance, cool, slick design, smart writers, the “culture of now.” I suspect it probably stands for that for a lot of Kottke readers too.
Yesterday, for reasons unknown, my RSS reader spit up a random Kevin Kelly post from 2012 called “Predicting the Present” that excerpts a bunch of quotes from the early years of Wired. Here are some of them (I tried to pick fun ones):
We as a culture are deeply, hopelessly, insanely in love with gadgetry. And you can’t fight love and win.
– Jaron Lanier, Wired 1.02, May/June 1993, p. 80
The idea of Apple making a $200 anything was ridiculous to me. Apple couldn’t make a $200 blank disk.
– Bill Atkinson, Wired 2.04, Apr 1994, p. 104
Marc Andreessen will tell you with a straight face that he expects Mosaic Communications’s Mosaic to become the world’s standard interface to electronic information.
– Gary Wolf, Wired 2.10, Oct 1994, p. 116
The human spirit is infinitely more complex than anything that we’re going to be able to create in the short run. And if we somehow did create it in the short run, it would mean that we aren’t so complex after all, and that we’ve all been tricking ourselves.
– Douglas Hofstadter, Wired 3.11, Nov 1995, p. 114
Of all the prospects raised by the evolution of digital culture, the most tantalizing is the possibility that technology could fuse with politics to create a more civil society.
– Jon Katz, Wired 5.04, Apr 1997
It is the arrogance of every age to believe that yesterday was calm.
– Tom Peters, Wired 5.12, Dec 1997
Separately, Ingrid Burrington was leafing through a 1996 issue of Wired and found this beauty:
AI-based investment systems will cut a swath through Wall Street, automating thousands of jobs or downgrading their skills.
– Clive Davidson, freely quoting Ron Liesching, Wired 4.12, Dec 1996
And they didn’t even dig into the really early 90s issues.