Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Naughty Aughts

Here we are once again at the end of a decade, or at least everyone thinks it's the end of another decade. I'm of a mind that when you count out 10 of anything the tenth thing is part of the whole, which means that the decade would be 2001 through 2010, but I lost that battle at the turn of the millennium. So, the end of another decade. Naturally everyone's wondering what to call the decade about to be past. We had the swinging 60s, the go-go 80s, and so on. What were the past 10 years?

Some people are calling them the Aughts, but I find that awkward and not at all catchy. It's also not descriptive, and when naming a decade one wants at least to be descriptive. In that sense, there's really only one word that encapsulates our collective experience, only one word that will do to remind everyone what we have to show for the early years of this century. What we have to show for these years is nothing, and it's therefore only appropriate that this decade be known as the Naughts.

Let's look at our economy. We began the Naughts at the end of the tech bubble, then saw growth, then a small recession, then a huge bubble based on bad paper, then a crash. We end the decade with the stock market right about where it was in 2000, with nothing in terms of wealth accumulation to show for it all. Naught. Real estate values soared, then crashed, leaving property values either maybe where they were in 2003. Naught to show for everything, except perhaps for way too much debt. Unemployment? The job market is worse than it's been all century, so nothing doing there.

We were attacked and launched a war on terror, and for that we have gained absolutely nothing while losing thousands of lives. Billions spent in Iraq, nothing to show for it, treading water in Afghanistan, nothing to show for it. Our status abroad is no better than it was a decade ago, so we also have nothing to show for what has passed for diplomacy until recently. We've got the exact opposite of peace in the Middle East, no resolution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict that Clinton tried so hard to resolve before leaving office ten years ago.

Every year fewer and fewer things are manufactured in this country, but the glorious information age where everyone works at home creating ideas and even more information has morphed into everyone sitting at home looking for work while they take quizzes on Facebook. Technology has given more of us broadband and large screens on which to watch HDTV, but not much else. The delivery of information has morphed from the page to the screen, but the quality of that information hasn't increased. We've got naught to show for all our technological advances.

All in all, we have one thing and one thing only to show for the past decade of our lives, and that is the fact that we're all 10 years older. Sure, we've got silicon and Botox and collagen in abundance, for those of us with the inclination and financial resources to attempt to erase the recent past, but again that would just be making physical what is intellectually and emotionally true. At the end, we're left with nothing.


tunsie said...

A professor of mine use 2 say woulda coulda shoulda r all history.hind sight is 20/20.but we should learn from the past.I met a lot of crazy phony people.when somebody is rich with the banks money,they ARE NOT rich.don't believe the hype.when I saw a bunch of construction guys being entertained by some crazy women with over processed hair at the coffee shop across the street where they were supposed 2 be working.I realized then who GOT PARK PLACE.past con artists tried the same thing.wake up.don"t make the same mistake twice. the war on terror is facilitated through an american invention.we gave this son of a bitch{BIN LADEN} hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the russians in afganistan.now we r there because he turned on us with our money and they r exporting opium.we will see a revolution if there is not enough alcohol production in this country 2 try and facilitate our drowning our sorrows over those dumb choices we have made.don't join a cause if the 2 idiots running it r negative.because when tunsie painted the hotel.these people have nothing 2 complain about anymore.my advice 4 the future is 2 look in the mirror and if U don't like the person looking back at u,chances r nobody else is going 2 like that person either.Don't attempt 2 change by coloring your hair or wearing make-up.change who u r from inside.karma.karma.karma comes in may many forms bad luck,the loss of a loved one.bad relationnships.YOU better believe this hype.if you don't know you better ask somebody.......tunsie

Lauren E. Warner said...

This is clever, El.
Tunsie, you get it! My friend Juan says "Rich are those who need the least."

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Anonymous said...

It wasnt the go-go 80's. go-go was in the 60's. Disco was in the 80's. Just sayin.

Philby said...

I like the idea of calling this age of 10 years that have passed to be called ''the aughts'' - aught to do this and should have done that...
I feel that most of these years that passed from 2000 to now have been a time of so many diverse fashions and movements...Anyway I am mostly inclined to liking the 60s 70s and 80s they were less confusing and less intense... but I may change my mind later..

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diverdave said...

Funny-the search continues - what to call this first decade of new century? When it would seem the most logical place to look - the turn of the last. When we refer to that period today, we call it simply that - the turn of the century! So I think regardless of the imaginative labels we come up with, when future generation visit this period, it will always be referred as the same.

Nice blog, though I've only looked at three? obviously new. It's only because FB limits comments to 8000 words, then deletes it! (found that out the hard way) that I'm here at all. Though I expect good things! thanx

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Austinibus said...

I used to think in terms of decades. I can't say the same for the 2000's. In my mind there is everything after 2000 and everything before 2000 was different. 2011 certainly seems no different than 2009, though certainly there are many technological advances from 2001. I like your idea of what to call it, but I can't seem to differentiate decades in the post 2000.

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