At least it is steadily loosing ground to Python and for reason.
None of those dynamics have ever occurred in a Python shop?
The second half of the nineties was a bad scene for code readability all around, or did you somehow not notice the Herman Miller office furniture bubble?
There was a lot of Perl written during this era. Perl was the only language that could keep up with the Vogon rapture of all things brick and mortar. The ferryman threw in the towel, auction off his ferry on eBay, bought two cords of dynamite (mail order), and simply diverted the river. Pretty much everything was still where it had been, but traditional commerce was all on the other side now.
My development platform circa 1996 was NT 4, on a P6 200 with 32 MB of EDO system memory, a 640 MB disk drive, and a good quality 17" Dell CRT. It was tolerable, but hardly coding nirvana. The world was shifting under my feet almost daily: Linux, BSD, 2000, LBA, AMD64, SATA, DDR, broadband, Mozilla, Google, DVI, PHP, Python, Ruby, C++, STL, and not an open source version control system worth a crock of shit for love nor money.
I wonder why my coding standards at the time did not optimally favour my future self in the mid 2000s with my CoreDuo workstation, 4 GB of ram, 200 GB of disk space, and twin 19" monitors.
Do recall the little puzzle with the sliding digits 1-15 in a 4x4 grid? Trying to get any significant piece of glue code to run on NT and Linux and able to survive unscathed a major upgrade of each was a lot like that. Or have you blacked it out? Many ugly lines of code were written because the tiles were sticky. In the stupidest possible ways. And it was all going to be Ruby next year anyway. Whatever language you were working in was next up against the wall after the demise of B&M (if any wall could still be found). Soon the Wall was up against the wall, but I digress.
Programmers were in such short supply that vast numbers of people were coding in languages they only pretended to know. Have you forgotten that, too? If Visual Basic had been a better scripting language, Perl would have come out the other side better loved.
The great thing for the smart young programmers about becoming trendoids is that it helps to insulate them from the ugly job of cleaning up yesterday's bubble's giant mess.