Goodbye to the Decade With No Name

December 31, 2009


The first decade of the century 2000-2009 remains virtually nameless. Maybe it should. As far as decades go, this was by far the least favorite decade of my lifetime. In fact, the first ten years of the new century have contained more lows than highs.

Other decades are labeled under collective names such as the 70's, 80's or 90's. Just mention the revolutionary sixties and images and words flood the mind - flower children, civil rights, Woodstock, music, and assassinations.

What will this last decade be called? The oos? The zeros? The 2000s isn't a good name. That could mean all of the years between 2000 and 2099. Maybe it should be defined by a name like the roaring twenties. We could call the 2000s the decade of greed, ten years of disaster, the decade of stress and excess, tens years of financial and moral bankruptcy, or perhaps the sucky, yucky decade. What would you name it?

Whatever it's called, I slam the door on the years 2000 to 2009. Goodbye Jack Abramoff, Ken Lay, and Bernard Madoff. Adios Bush, you election thief. (I wonder what the decade would have been like if Al Gore had actually been inaugurated. Sigh.) Sige tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, droughts and volcanoes. Later wars, terrorism, murderous rampages, suicide bombers, pirates, and senseless killings. Ta-ta greedy bankers, piggy insurance companies, Wall Street thieves, democracy-stealing lobbyists and scheming mortgage brokers. Farewell to some special people who passed on this decade: Senator Edward Kennedy, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, Jun Toves, crew of the space shuttle Columbia, George Harrison, Rosa Parks, Ray Charles, Benazhir Bhutto, John Updike, Paul Newman, Katharine Hepburn, and my mom.

Sayonara zero decade. Too bad no door can ever really be shut on a time period. The wars, political unrest, greed, epidemics and despair are already seeping under the cracks of the door into the next decade.

Still there were a few positive events that glittered through the darkness of this gloomy decade. My picks may not be yours, but here are my bright spots. After years of dedicated work, PL 110-229 became law. Barack Obama was elected the first black president, and Nani and I were lucky enough to attend the inauguration and festivities. President Bush designated the Marianas Marine National Monument which is sure to preserve the beauty and marine life and to increase tourism in the CNMI. Gregorio (Kilili) C. Sabaln became the first elected non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress. The Red Sox won the World Series twice. On a personal level, I met some amazing people and made many new friends. I was able to reconnect with some old friends too. Some of our children graduated from high school and college, two were married and our two amazing grandchildren were born.

The decade featured some excellent films including Slumdog Millionaire, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Wall-E, Milk, the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Ring series, and Finding Nemo.

My favorite books from the last decade: The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank, Nickeled and Dimed by Barabara Ehrenreich, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dali Lama, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, The Human Cost of Food by Thompson and Wiggens, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, and Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall.

A few of my favorite visual artists of the decade are Tomas Concepcion, Romero Britto and Marconi Calindas.

I don't watch much television except news, history and nature-themed shows, but some good entertainment came from Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. Reality TV is too fake for me to tune in to, but it is notably rooted in this decade. My vote for the very best TV performance for the decade goes to Tina Fey portraying Sarah Palin.

Some sounds worth cranking up the volume on came from composers and performers including Yo-Yo Ma, Coldplay, Muse, White Stripes, Radiohead, Green Day, Joanna Newsom, Black Eyed-Peas and of course, Boboy and Asin.

A few new inventions and discoveries: i-phone, i-pods, DVR, online airplane check-in, Twitter, Facebook, You-tube, genome sequencing, stem cell research, and (oh no!) Pluto got eliminated from the planet category. A few words were born from the decade's cultural and political happenings: hanging chad, unfriend, spyware, ginormous, supersize, snail mail, spam, and troll.

Here's the best overall review of the "no name decade":

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i concur. Worst decade ever. Too bad it is never out with the old, in with the new. The thought of 5 more years of Fitial sure puts a dark cloud on the beginning of the next decade.

Anonymous said...

If I could pick the name it would be "are you kidding me?" decade

Anonymous said...

Call it the "Dark Decade." It started with Bush. It ends with Fitial. In between are Abramoff and his boys.

Anonymous said...

For me, the high point was how Colbert humiliated George W. Bush.

The low point was how George W. Bush humiliated all Americans.

Anonymous said...

I contribution is the "Dumbing Down Decade".

the teacher said...

Many positive things happened as well.

It was a technology explosion. Cell phones, hand held cameras and other video divices have protected freedoms from tyrany more than ever before in history. Historically, invading armies were brutal and kept everything classified, but equiptment of the poorest regions can now flash video coverage worldwide. The internet and globaliztion has offered hope for helpless in many ways.

And here in the CNMI, federalization ended a generation of abuses and a two tiered system of servitude advanced by our broken labor and immigration departments.