The Aughts

28 December 2009

Much has been written about the decade:

  • What should we call it?
  • How will it be defined?
  • What will we remember?
  • Who is the person of the decade?
  • What is the legacy?

I can’t answer all those questions; I can try answer to what we should call it. The 1970’s were the “Me Decade.” The 1980’s were the “Al Franken Decade.” The 1990’s were the “Grunge Decade.” Now the Aughts or the Zero’s or the Single Digits are leaving and I say let the door hit you on the ass as you depart.

Time magazine recently named it the “Decade From Hell” and “Worst Decade Ever.” This has prompted lawsuits for obvious plagiarism from Richard Lewis and Comic Book Guy.

When I think back at the big events of the 2000’s one thing becomes clear, I want to forget them. Both personally and globally, the decade was filled with disasters, economic ruin, corporate bankruptcies, unemployment, shitty music, catastrophes, unfettered greed by corporate executives, unending wars and the general destruction of the everything that seemed solid about 10, 20 or even 50 years ago.

In 2003, New York City based band The Strokes, released an album called “Room on Fire.” The first song, “What Ever Happened” had the opening lines “I want to be forgotten, and I don’t want to be reminded.” That could describe the whole damn decade. It sums up how a lot of people felt in the aftermath of the most horrific event to happen on US soil (Bush’s stealing of the election of 2000?), the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I know that after a certain point, I got sick of seeing the footage. Who needs to be reminded daily that we were attacked and 2995 people died for the crime of going to work on a gorgeous sun-filled New York City morning?

Who wants to remember things like: the dot.com bubble, hanging chads, 9/11, the economic collapse, Katrina, Reality TV, the futility of the first year of the Obama Administration, the 204 Tsunami, Enron, Bernie Madoff, the economic destruction of Detroit, John and Kate, the numerous bailouts that helped no one who needed help, every sports star on steroids, the wars that won’t end in this decade or the next or the next etc?

Then there is the Bush presidency. We will be feeling the effects of that baffled, addle-pate’s mismanagement of the country for the rest of our lives. If anyone put a thumbprint on this decade, it was he.

Personally, my most hated imbecile of the decade is not W. I dare not mention his name but it rhymes with Beve Startman. (No way am I including that video. It’s still too painful.)

There were shining moments personally and globally including: my running a second marathon, re-connecting with my religion, the Cubs had five winning seasons; made the playoffs three times and won a playoff series in front of me for the first time in 95 years, The Sopranos, seeing my nieces and nephews grow up even though they promised not to, Facebook, my blog, the election of someone we thought could make positive change and the rise of the Internet.

Perhaps we should call it the China decade? As this decade collapses (literally) in to the next, China is the wealthiest nation on earth. They have the most people. They have the largest military. They control the world’s economy. The US alone owes China almost $1 trillion dollars. Just about everything we as American consumers buy is made in China. During the Cold War we left China alone and focused on the real threat of war with the USSR, maybe we should have paid a little more attention to China, which as any North Carolina High Schooler can tell you, is located east of Russia.

I remember reading an editorial in 1999 by a writer, I forgot whom, stating the new millennium was a do over. We should forget what happened previously and start anew. A new millennium was the ideal way to begin again, however, the following 10 years were our worst fears coming to fruition. We should not forget that they happened but to quote Declan Patrick MacManus, “Let’s talk about the future now we’ve put the past away.”

What should we call it? I propose the “Decade to Forget” Do we really want to remember all the bad things? Whilst I researching this piece I went to Wikipedia and all they listed were the tragedies. Things like terror, nuclear threats, wars, etc.

I say to the Aughts, “Go, and never darken my towels again.”

##

Belated birthday wishes to my niece Emily. Last year she grew her hair for 18 months, cut it off and gave it to Locks of Love. Would it have killed her to send a few thousands strands my way?

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