Pre-surveillance society from a webcam's point of view [SLYT]
June 15, 2017 10:21 PM   Subscribe

Video Camera Demo Tape Behold some wonderful femullet, epic unibrow, terrific 90s coat collection, the hair, the Cosby sweaters, CD longboxes, and early selfie culture.

Back in the '90s, dude buys a floor model video camera from Fred Meyers. It comes with demo tape of people shopping.
posted by linear_arborescent_thought (30 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's like a window into a thousand years ago.
I wonder if we will ever understand what those people were thinking and how they lived their lives?
posted by bystander at 1:03 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


I used to see those demo video cameras in shops, and I'd see myself staring off at a funny angle, and think "god, I look horrible." and scurry past quickly.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:24 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


I used to take longboxes, if they had a full-print front, and cut the front out and hang them on my wall like mini-posters. I actually got a bit sad when they were eliminated, but I entirely supported why they had to go.

I still have some of those from all those decades ago. Also, still have some Cosby-era sweaters.
posted by hippybear at 1:57 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I don't believe I watched the whole thing. Fascinating peek into the past.

Those longboxes were a PITA, storage wise.

The hair cut on the cashier boy just screams THE 90'S.
posted by james33 at 2:52 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Say what you want about Gen X, but we stopped the longbox, maaaaaaan.
posted by thelonius at 3:01 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


Say what you want about Gen X, but we stopped the longbox, maaaaaaan.

Also Motor Voter laws in a lot of states are a product of Gen X activism. Off topic, but worth pointing out.
posted by hippybear at 3:09 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


Future historians will be thankful for surviving documents like this, after sifting through hundreds of thousands of hours of birthday candles being blown out.
posted by bendybendy at 3:51 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


after sifting through hundreds of thousands of hours of birthday candles being blown out.

Even then, fashion in clothes and hairstyle and background details like furniture and things on walls will provide a lot of information of the sort that historians love.
posted by hippybear at 3:53 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


- Three formats, count 'em, three!
- Given that a grocery cart rolls through this is most likely a Wal-Mart or Kmart, right?
- Identifying the top 21 longboxes here (minus the first few from each row) might allow dating the video to within a few weeks
- The general population is still pretty thin compared to today
posted by bendybendy at 4:10 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


You can make out the obvious-Garth-Brooks box at #5, which is "Ropin' the Wind." At #4 is the Wayne's World soundtrack, and #6 might be Springsteen's "Human Touch." If you assume the numbers above the discs are Billboard chart positions, there isn't a week where that is strictly true, I don't think, but it suggests that it's probably in April or May of 1992.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:50 AM on June 16


I remember as a young teen commenting to a friend that the previous decades all seemed to have a fashion 'look' (bell bottoms for the 70s etc) and wasn't it weird that the 90s just didn't?

Does a fish know it's in water when it's in it?
posted by freethefeet at 5:22 AM on June 16 [12 favorites]


Much to the degradation of my lawn, hipsters have brought back high-rise acid-wash jeans, but (as far as I've seen) have left shoulder pads in the past where they belong. I guess that's a bridge too far even for them.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:54 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


So, the clerk is definitely Matthew Gray Gubler, right?
posted by tobascodagama at 6:10 AM on June 16


Just as a side note - on the back wall is their cassette tape collection.... Notice how many empty slots there are by that point in the 90s.

Anybody placed the week by figuring out based on the album covers (and Billboard rankings) / corroborated by the Tracy Chapman song playing in the background? I'm betting this is like 1995 / 1996...
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:39 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


- Given that a grocery cart rolls through this is most likely a Wal-Mart or Kmart, right?

It's Fred Meyer.

The guy who would be played by Paul Giamatti in the movie version sure spent a lot of time going through ALL the records!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:49 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Completely riveting.

The past really is a different country, isn't it?
posted by MrVisible at 8:12 AM on June 16


the previous decades all seemed to have a fashion 'look'

Sure, but there's something to be said for the fact that this 'look' is referred to as normcore: it's almost the absence of a look, even in retrospect. Say what you want about the tenets of disco-era outfits. At least it's a look.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 8:18 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


PNW fashion hasn't progressed that much really.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:45 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Comments on the video place it at April, 1992, based on the Billboard chart and some of the promotional materials on display.

Kellie Rogers, the YouTube user who uploaded this video, has uploaded 3 videos total in the past 10 years: This one, something about cats, and the very first video she uploaded: Dance Machine. Do yourself a huge favor and watch Dance Machine, described as "I dance around to my cover song". In 10 years it's gotten barely 1600 views. It should have 1.6 MILLION. (It has two comments, one of which is "oh my god. This is amazing to watch blazed", which it probably is, but don't think that being blazed is a requirement.)
posted by jjwiseman at 9:51 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: don't think that being blazed is a requirement.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on June 16


(unless you're a moderator. I'd have to be totally blazed to have their level of equanimity.)
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on June 16


Kellie Rogers, the YouTube user who uploaded this video, has uploaded 3 videos total in the past 10 years: This one, something about cats, and the very first video she uploaded: Dance Machine yt . Do yourself a huge favor and watch Dance Machine, described as "I dance around to my cover song". In 10 years it's gotten barely 1600 views. It should have 1.6 MILLION. (It has two comments, one of which is "oh my god. This is amazing to watch blazed", which it probably is, but don't think that being blazed is a requirement.)

Watched, cackled at, and even upvoted.
posted by Samizdata at 10:00 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Everything on here predates by a decade my awesome Chess King bomber jacket.
posted by lagomorphius at 1:02 PM on June 16


I remember as a young teen commenting to a friend that the previous decades all seemed to have a fashion 'look' (bell bottoms for the 70s etc) and wasn't it weird that the 90s just didn't?

Does a fish know it's in water when it's in it?


I feel like that's been true and accelerating, or slowing, depending on how you look at it.
This certainly looks like a view of the past, but it was 25 years ago, shouldn't it be more starkly different? You almost have to go that far back to find something that looks really different from now.

25 years prior to that was 1967. How much did fashion/music/art change between 1967 and 1992 vs 1992 and 2017?
posted by bongo_x at 1:28 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


This one, something about cats, and the very first video she uploaded: Dance Machine . Do yourself a huge favor and watch Dance Machine

thank you
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:59 PM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Bowie: Low
posted by davebush at 5:42 PM on June 16


According to Reddit, this was recorded in mid-1992 in Renton or Bellevue, Washington. Did you notice what fashion style you don't see anywhere? If you told a TV show costume department in 2017 that you wanted something set in Seattle in the early 90s, they would give you grunge flannel as far the eye can see.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:41 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Don't confuse Bellevue with Seattle.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:13 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I'm a little surprised at the lack of Starter jackets, but maybe they didn't really explode until 1993?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:51 AM on June 17


Hah, this is funny. I was just at the mall today, a place I go years without stepping foot in now but would have semi-frequented back in '92, doing a compare-and-contrast.

Sick mainstream looks that have died since this video:

:30 - Segmented display font =~ high tech!
:35 - Dude rocking a fanny pack and headphones only airlines use anymore.
1:31 - Lady in cutoffs that have been pegged back. I guess this comes and goes? Great period hair.
2:39 - Older guy leaving the CD racks with strong sideburns, mustache and old-man pompadour-ponytail. In the 90s said you were cool in the 70s. I have no idea what this guy looks like at old age. I think they all smoked themselves to death. Otherwise pretty fashion-neutral.
3:30 - Merlin's has modern contemporaries. Striped, short-sleeved shirt + tie is an extinct older-guy look. This guy and my dad would have been bookends.
5:40 - SATIN JACKET + USA JACKET GUY.
7:06 - ZOMG, Dad's shirt? Coat? So Flock of Seaguls.
10:03 - Sweater + t-shirt, male.
11:27 - Clerk's runway walk. So baggy. So earth tone. Super-fab. Great 90s pattern on the shirt.
13:38 - Great 90s look: baggy "workout" pants, fanny-pack, Member's Only-style jacket. Fanny pack.
13:50 - "Professional mullet", long-sleeve stripes with tie.
15:08 - Acid washed denim jacket
17:32 - That lady's shorts, color combo on that rugger. I feel like rugby shirts kind of come and go but that's a signature color pair.
18:36 - ZOMG, dude's sweater

There are some things in here that I think have become mainlined which are kind of funny to see from back then. PNW was I think kind of forward with the Columbia action fleece look that's persisted and spread.

This certainly looks like a view of the past, but it was 25 years ago, shouldn't it be more starkly different? You almost have to go that far back to find something that looks really different from now.

25 years prior to that was 1967. How much did fashion/music/art change between 1967 and 1992 vs 1992 and 2017?


Fashion-wise:
It bears noting that this is a bunch of middle-aged, middle-income largely white people shopping in the middle of the day at a middle-of-the-road retailer. (Fred never made it this far south but I always seek them out because they are so great and kind of weird like a small-town hardware store.) Fashion in this space moves slowly and I think there's a jeans + t-shirts normalization threshold back in the 60s which was watershed -- we're just fooling around with the same looks since then. The old men in suits have largely died out, replaced by old men in sweathshirts. Things are more disposable and just don't stick around as much.

* Rave Culture, EDM
* Hip hop; many, many variations
* Nu Country + line dancing
* Goth & Industrial
* Whatever the deal is with kids and their purple hair these days.

Nothing earth-shattering like Disco or The Love Generation or Grunge. I think modern personalization of media may end up killing huge cultural shifts through its radical diversity. There's not enough centralized mass anymore to pull eveyone towards a given direction though the, um "hipster" look and ethos is maybe the most marked one here for (perhaps largely white) Americans.

What's super-weird to me are the throwbacks which seem to flare up to some bad-fashion approximation of our parents when they were young.
* Xers - 60s, tie die, rise of Phish, resurgence of The Dead. Huge pants.
* Early Millennials - 80s. Bad sweaters, sterotypical hirsuite guy with overly small clothes. Those fucking glasses which used to get you clowned, highwaisted pants + midriff shirts, most damningly the resurgence of acid wash but thankfully briefly. All of these seem attributable to thift store picking.
* Later Millennials - 70s. Refined hirsuiteness, long hair for men, denim/shearling jackets, trucker hats (again). I don't think there are enough grampa jackets to go around so I'm not sure what the deal is. Maybe those Coors ads work or something.
The awfulness of some of these make me think perhaps its a distancing thing. Like early cave people would have look two generations down and go "ugh, kids today wear the worst skins. I mean, remember how awful it was when we wore goat and look at these fucking hipsters and their goat like they didn't get the memo."
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:02 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


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