W. Joseph Campbell on the Year the Future Started


In his compulsively readable new book, 1995, American University communications professor W. Joseph Campbell takes us back to what he calls "the year the future began." The Oklahoma City Bombing took place, ushering in the terror fears and security measures that would expand even further after 9/11. Coverage of the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman birthed the 24-hour news cycle. The Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the Bosnian War, inflated a "hubris bubble" in U.S. foreign policy that would pop only after the long, unsuccessful interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. And Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky, an encounter whose endgame would cement partisan loyalties in the federal government and deeply undercut presidential stature.

Perhaps most important, says Campbell, who spoke with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie in February, 1995 was "the year of the Internet." Early iterations of Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, and Craigslist first ap-peared; Netscape held a record-breaking IPO; and the World Wide Web emerged as a mass medium.