A brief history of Time in the '90s

Instant Nostalgia issue

How better to gain a perspective on the decade just passed than to consult the magazine of record, the arbiter of our times, the school library standby: Time magazine? There is no better way. Senior editor Roger Downey repaired to the magazine archives of the University of Washington's library to find out what really happened in the '90s.

Most frequent cover subject: Bill and/or Hillary Clinton: 16 (That's pre- Lewinsky scandal; there were another dozen after.)

Runner-Up: God (and members of his immediate family): 15

Honorable mention: Saddam Hussein (12)

Obligatory mention: Bill Gates (3)

Most frequent rediscovered crisis: Kids (and Sex/Crack/Guns/Porn/Violence/Pot, etc.), with 10 covers

Most prescient political cover: "Bill Clinton, Is He for Real?" (January 27, 1992)

Second-most prescient political cover: "Lying: Everybody Does It" (October 5, 1992)

Worst call on a political issue: "Roe v. Wade Is a Dead Letter" (May 4, 1992)

Worst Show-Biz Star of the Future call: Jodie Foster, "film director" (October 14, 1991)

Worst Political Star of the Future call: Janet Reno ("The Real Thing," July 12, 1993)

Most extreme wishful-thinking cover: "Dan Quayle Is No Joke" (April 23, 1990)

Most inexplicable Man of the Year: Ted Turner (1991)

Most deserving cover subject of the decade: Bart Simpson (December 31, 1990)

Tails of Our Lives: Fashionable cover maladies year by year

1990: Anxiety (October 15)

1991: Infertility (September 30)

1992: Global warming (June 1)

1993: Domestic violence (January 18)

1994: Attention Deficit Syndrome (July 18)

1995: Cyberporn (July 3)

1996: Prostate cancer (April 1)

1997: Evil mind drugs ( September 29)

1998: E. coli, the killer germ (August 3)

Who are these people?

Nine years; nine Time cover subjects: Can you recall these celebrated newsmakers? (See below for answers.)

1. Marshall Herff Applewhite

2. Jean-Bertrand Aristide

3. Kelly Flynn

4. Nick Leeson

5. Kevin Mitnick

6. Scott O'Grady

7. David Souter

8. Eddie Vedder

9. Kim Zmeskal


1. San Diego cult leader and Nike endorser

2. Good-guy Haitian leader reinstalled by US

3. Air Force lieutenant and home wrecker

4. Financial bungler who brought down Barings Bank

5. Celebrity hacker

6. US pilot who ate bugs in Bosnia

7. Sexually ambiguous Supreme Court justice

8. Surprisingly short West Seattle rock star

9. Olympic gymnast, America's sweetheart

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