Monday, December 28, 2009

Farewell to the ... uh ... Aughts?

Speaking of intense debates about which you care nothing...

What do we call the decade that ends on December 31st?

This is not as trivial a question as you might think. When we look back at the 20th century, the names of the decades call important events and lessons to life: the "Roaring Twenties" and "the Fifties," "Sixties," "Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties" all call to mind their defining characteristics and events. "The Forties" was the decade of the Second World War. But what do we call the first decade of the 21st century?

Numerous articles have been written about this critical question, and many suggestions have been made. How about:

"The Two Thousands?" Too ordinary.

"The Aughts." Getting better, but still a little bland.

"The Oh's." Oh, come on...we can do better than this.

"The Oh-Oh's." I like this one...calls to mind such events as 9/11, the gutting and collapse of the economy, and increasing political and religious polarization.

"The Naughts." Not bad...especially when we look at the smoking holes where our retirement savings used to be before Congress helped the financial mismanagement industry loot them, and we think that all our hard work was for naught.

"The Zeros." A possibility, given that there are lots of those before the decimal point on the national deficit as we enter the next decade.

and my personal favorite,

"The Naughties." Yes, there were lots of naughty people in this decade - Osama bin Laden and his pet snake Ayman al Zawahiri, Bernie Madoff, all 535 members of Congress, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Kanye West, Rush Limbaugh, Amy Winehouse, and the person who dreamed up the concept of "reality TV," to name just a few.

I'm voting for "The Naughties." What's your choice? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know, and don't forget to explain why you think it's the right name. No prizes...just the satisfaction of knowing you were able to give a name to the unnameable.

And what could be better than that...except maybe a double date with Christina Applegate and Alyssa Milano? Now, there I could really get into the naughties...

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



KKTSews said...

I agree with you--the "naughties"!

Leslie David said...

Naughties is good--enough bad stuff happened, didn't it? And we had such high hopes for the 21st century.

Christina Applegate and Alyssa Milano? Agnes would kick your butt!

Mike said...

At the rate things are going this could be the OH OH century.

John A Hill said...

Does that mean on New Year's Eve we'll be singing Aught Lang Syne?

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I like the Naughties too :)

Scottie P said...

The only NUMERICAL & MNEMONICALLY correct phrases to name the century's first decade are AUGHTIES, NAUGHTIES, NAUGHTS, AUGHTS or NAUGHTY AUGHTIES.

A few suggestions use one or more specific events that occurred during the decade. They will probably never be used from a radio and broadcasting point of view because they do not encompass this whole decade and they aren't pleasing to the ear. Radio stations introduce their programming along the lines of “Music from the 80s, 90s and Today”. Soon, they’ll be replacing it with “Music from the 90s (NineTIES), ______TIES and Today”. The best choices contain either AUGHTIES, NAUGHTIES, NAUGHTY AUGHTIES, NAUGHTS or AUGHTS. Using events usually requires one to use adages like "The Age of" or "Era" which is more descriptive of a time period, not necessarily an actual decade. There is a huge difference between what a decade is "remembered for" versus what a decade is "referred to as". The suggestions reported on your show (Age of Confusion, , Era of Misplaced Anxiety, Decade of Disruptions, North goes South, etc) do NOT pass this simple litmus test. Any suggestion that would require you to be a history buff in the future, shouldn't even be considered.

The media needs to embrace the only viable choice from a NUMERICAL & MNEMONICAL point of view. The first decade of previous generations did not have this sense of urgency as mass marketing really didn't exist. The mass marketing concept was introduced to the public with the advent of radio broadcasting of the mid 1920's (Roaring Twenties) and heightened in the 1940's with television accessibility.

Bilbo said...

Katherine - good call!

Leslie - Agnes knows all about it. She's just glad I've gotten over Brooke Shields.

Mike - it IS a useful expression!

John - har, de har-har-har!

Andrea - there's a little naughty in all of us...

Scottie - wow! You even have a "naughty aughties" cool is that?

Anonymous said...

Naughties is good, but in many ways it feels more like the nasties have taken over.

Nice blog!