Introducing That Was the Decade That Was

Now that we’re here in December, I thought it would be a lovely time for me to share with you some of my thoughts on the people, things and events that have made the last ten years so very decade-licious: A retrospective on the aughts, the zeros, the two thousand somethings or whatever you want to call them. So I’m creating a series of entries called That Was The Decade That Was. You’ll know them because the above graphic will be featured on each of these entries.

I was originally thinking I would feature one TWTDTW entry a day, but then I remembered that I have the organizational capacity of a squirrel. So I’ll just say that TWTDTW entries will show up through December when I feel like posting them. That said, Lord knows there is enough about the last decade to talk about, so you should expect a fair number of them in the next month. Some of the topics I expect to be fairly obvious, but I’ll probably sneak in a few unexpected ones as well. I think you’ll have fun with it.

That’s my end of the year, end of the decade project here. Prepare yourself.

28 Comments on “Introducing That Was the Decade That Was”

  1. Not to pick nits, but didn’t the decade (and century, and millenium, for that matter) begin 1/1/2001, and will actually end 12/31/2010?

  2. Oh, you’re totally intending to pick nits, my friend.

    However, as happened with the turn of the millennium, everyone who isn’t a nitpicker rolls over decades, centuries, millennia, etc when the number at the end is a “0,” not a “1”. I’m perfectly happy to go with this less nitpicky convention.

  3. You wouldn’t call 2000 part of the 1990’s would you?

    In responding to the nitpickers do we one ourselves?

  4. OK, you got me: I am an unrepentant nit-picker.

    I won’t ask you if our current counting system began in the year 0 or the year 1.

    I will bow to your judgment about when the decade ends, and look forward with pleasure to your insights about the aughts.

  5. Well, up until Jan. 01, things were going okay for me, but then started sucking more and more every year since, so I’ll gladly cut the decade short by using your method of counting, Mr. Scalzi.

  6. A decade is simply a civil measure of a period of time: a continuous 10 years. It doesn’t matter when you start it; April 13, 1997 through April 12, 2007 is also a decade. Same for scores, centuries, and millennia.

    But if you still want to nit, not every decade is exactly the same length of time due to variable things like leap years, leap seconds, amount of Master of Malt consumed, etc.

    However if you say “The 20th Century” or “The 1990s”, those do refer to some specific period.

    So Scalzi could have a TWTDTW start at any time he so wishes.

  7. Okay, who else gets a mental echo on the “was” in the graphic?


  8. I’ve always thought that The Future officially begins on January 1 2010. So very soon, we will be living in The Future! Still no jetpacks or flying cars, but hopefully it will be a better decade than this one (which will by then be The Past, and thus, another country).

  9. I would comment here, but since the Y2K bug, I’ve been too busy smashing the windows of long-closed supermarkets in hopes of finding an unopened can of sardines.
    Whoops, gotta run. Mutant wolves chasing me again!

  10. The next decade will be called “Not that Stupid Decade.” Because this past decade? Was stupid.

  11. I hate the 2000’s. In the 1980’s, the Cold War wound down to a close. The 1990’s brought the Internet. The 2000’s?

    Dick Cheney, Hurrican Katrina, a tsunami, Tea Parties, Glenn Beck weeping, Kanye West’s ego, ug boots, and Paris Hilton.

    But Julia Roberts perservered through it all by hugging herself and orgasmically crying out “Me! ME!! MEEEEEEEE!!!!”

  12. This is going to be a very interesting series for me. Not just for your posts John, but for the wide range of commenting the gang around here will bring to the discussions after.

    I’m already starting to giggle when I think of some of the possible topics(and the resulting conversation) will bring.
    I’ll take Hunter safety and Dick Cheney for 500, Alex. 8D

  13. rotorhead @1, Deron Meranda @9:
    This is why, back in 1999, I was telling people that I recognized Jan. 1, 2000 as the start of the new fiscal millennium.

    And I believe that Robert Heinlein already named this decade, though he may have been a little off on its placement on the timeline. He called it “The Crazy Years.”

  14. A lot of awful stuff happened in the ending decade; with one of the most momentous disasters happening in september 2001. Still, both of my children were born in it, so I can’t find it all bad.

  15. #14. I haven’t thought about Julia Roberts in a very long time. Obviously, she’s had a huge impact on you this decade.

  16. Kevin B@20

    Naw, I just saw her Me-gasm on Family Guy the other night. I honestly don’t care about Julia Roberts one way or the other, but the bit still has me laughing three days later.

    Damn Fox Network took down the YouTube video, or I’d post a link here.

  17. I’ve always wondered why we wrap up the year at the first blush of December. If we did the same with the entire decade percentage-wise we’d have started this discussion March 1st.

    Anyway, a rough decade. Globally it’s tough to say that a lot got appreciably better though personally things went fine.

    BTW, congrats on your “Best of the Noughties” mention on abebooks you noughty man. ;)

  18. @ eviljwinter #14

    You totally called it. Ugg boots – wtf???

    (People, if you have to wear them, and I mean *really* have to, can’t you sodding well pull them over your heel properly???)

  19. While I’ve heard ‘The Nought-ies’ more than once, and ‘The Oh-Ohs’ seem fitting as well, I think I prefer ‘The Awful Oughts’…

  20. Adding to the confusion, it’s common for historians to say things like ‘the long nineteenth century’, meaning the period running from 1789-1914.

  21. @aphrael:

    You make a good point. We’re in the middle of it, but future historians may not even consider the 21st century to have started yet. We don’t know if there’s a major watershed moment ahead of us, or if something recent will become a definitive milestone as the years go on.

  22. The top two names I’ve heard for this Decade that is and almost was:

    1- the Naught-ies
    2- the 0-0’s (pronounced uh-oh, like ooops)

  23. Buck @ 26

    We’re in the middle of it, but future historians may not even consider the 21st century to have started yet. We don’t know if there’s a major watershed moment ahead of us, or if something recent will become a definitive milestone as the years go on.

    If it’s something more definitive than 9/11 (and all the crap that has flowed downhill from that), I really really hope that it’s a good watershed moment.

    Like the development of a cheap, plentiful, clean, and decentralized source of energy. Or the widespread propagation of a meme-set that strips tyrants, demagogues, militant religious fundies, and MediaCorp pundits of their influence. Or the invention of an open source universal fabricator that uses easily grown and recyclable organic material as feedstock. Or the arrival of wise and friendly aliens promising magic ponies to anybody who wants one.

    Because I’m not all that fond of cities, but losing one would suck.

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