I was a senior in high school when the Berlin Wall came down. I was in my late twenties on 9/11. What was it like in between those events? It wasn’t “like” anything. It was the thing itself. It was just…life. Phones stayed attached to desks and walls, and it was still possible to live a normal routine without involving the internet, but other than that, it was the same blooming, buzzing confusion that we have right now. On July 3rd, 1995, I saw Type O Negative play a show at a small club in my hometown. I had no idea that in another thirteen months, they would release an album that would still be one of my favorites today, or that Peter Steele had just under fifteen years left to live. I certainly wasn’t huffing any Spenglerian/Hegelian flatulence about the grand scheme of History, nor was I conscious of any sense of turning and turning in some widening gyre or what the hell ever. What Hochman seems to be fantasizing about is what it would be like to live in the 1990s with the self-consciousness of a visitor from the 2020s. But the 1990s, when we were in them, were just “now,” just like July 3rd, 2024, is “now,” and in both instances, anyone who claimed to have a god’s-eye-view was full of it. Nostalgia is always contaminated by this kind of observer effect. That’s the bitch of linear time — context and clarity only appear in hindsight. Ahead of the present moment, there is only fog.