Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Farewell to the Uh-Ohs

Ah, nostalgia. Who could forget those last halcyon days of 1999. The world was about to grind to a halt because all of the computer systems would think it was 1900. And/or the Apocalypse was coming. Several rap CDs from 1999 (e.g. Extinction Level Event by Busta Rhymes) were based on Apocalypse/End of Days themes.

And don’t forget all those phrases and clichés based on “Y2K.” It’s probably been ten years since you’ve even seen or heard “Y2K.”

And most unforgettable of all — those armies of tight-lipped furrowed-browed nitpickers who insisted on boring the shit out of everybody with “The new millennium won’t start until 2001 because blabbity blabbity bla bla…” Even if they were technically right (I know, I know, the calendar starts with the year One and not Zero, etc.) — So F#$%&#!# What? When all four digits of the year change — which happens once every thousand years — people are gonna call it the new millennium. Next.

I always figured those “the new millennium doesn’t start until next year” types were the same people who interrupt you mid-sentence to correct your grammar. Back in high school they were the ones who would raise their hands to remind the teacher that she forgot to assign homework over Christmas vacation. Anyway…

I thought the Uh Ohs — as Leonard Pitts referred to this decade a few weeks ago — sucked, especially the first two years. Not because of anything political, or anything specific I could put my finger on. It just seemed like Murphy’s Law, in all its variations, reared its head at every opportunity. Beginning on New Years Day 2000, as I was returning the videos we’d watched the night before, there just seemed to be this vague unsettling feeling of things being out of whack or somehow “not right.” That general sense of unease, that “off on the wrong foot” feeling, pretty much summed up 2000 and 2001.

As far as politics were concerned — I voted for Gore in 2000 but I didn’t feel that strongly about it. I knew nothing about George W. Bush, and he was pretending to be a moderate. And Gore did more flipflopping and personality changing than any candidate I’d ever seen. So I voted for Gore, but I figured it wouldn’t make much difference who won. When they started having all those delays and snafus and recounts after Election Day, I was just wishing they’d hurry the fuck up and pick somebody and get on with it.

After the 9/11 attacks, I even candidly admitted to a few people (I’ll probably get shot for this) that I was glad we had a Republican in the White House. I didn’t turn against Bush until the summer of 2002 when he and Cheney went on this nationwide barnstorming tour to drum up hysteria about Iraq. It was a shrewd slick calibrated political campaign, and the public fell hook line and sinker for it. It didn’t help that the Democrats pretty much stood around with their thumbs up their yinyangs, basically saying either “Yeah, me too, I think” or “gee, uh, I don’t think so.”

Sometime around then, Bill Clinton gave a speech telling Democrats that the public would rather have a leader who’s “strong and wrong” than right and spineless. And the Democrats proved his point by getting voted out of office in droves in the 2002 election. And we all know the rest.

Happy “Teens” to everybody. Oh wait, that’s right, the new decade won’t start until 2011 because…


Blogger Ricardo said...

Yeah I felt pretty much the same as you did around this time Tom. I was not thrilled with Al but figured Bush was moderate enough that things wouldn't go crazy. I wonder if 9/11 never happened how crazy he would have been? I'm guessing more right than I'd like but nothing on the level of what we saw. We lost a lot of civil liberties in the name of patriotism BTW.

what a dud the Y2K thing was. I knew one right wing nut job who bought into t and loaded up on gun ammo, food, medical supplies and all. It was as if he wanted some Mad Max scenario to happen. He couldn't wait. spent a fortune.

December 27, 2009 at 11:59 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Ah, when things were (more) rotten.

I saw Bush coming and wanted no part of him being president. The shocker for me was what a complete nasty POS Cheney turned out to be. But you're right about what a lackluster and erratic presidential candidate Gore was. He should've taken cues about his persona, clothes and such from Tipper and no one else. He's a good example of someone you know would probably do a good job as president; it's just that he's not very good at running for the office.

One additional reason you might've started the decade with a bad feeling is that the tech bubble burst and we had a pretty bad recession right out of the gate. Then came 9-11. Ugh.

December 28, 2009 at 1:57 AM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

The "Naughties" or the "Uh-Ohs" will be with us for another year, the years 2000-2010 have at at least two zeros, then we get 2011 and 2012, two odd-ball years before we hit the seven year "Teenies". Phew, think I'm going back into hibernation until Y2K+20.

December 28, 2009 at 5:29 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Man, I fucking hate those technicians. Look, the calendar is fucking arbitrary anyway since we based on when some fucking dead guy was born and even that's likely wrong.

Dude, Back in Black is one of the best albums of the 70s! Fuck off.

What's a 9/11?

December 28, 2009 at 6:16 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

I am happy to survived the first 10 years of the new millenium.(Yes, I'm counting 00 as the first year!)
It is an adjustment physically and mentally to go from thinking and writing 20th century to the 21st century.
But here we are and nothing much has changed, so we have that.
Things like continued war mongering, hate groups, bombings of clinics that perform abortions, political drama, a corrupt two party system...
Looking back, it seems like the world slipped relatively seamlessly from the 20th to the 21st century with barely a bump.
Wake me up when something actually happens that feels 21st centuryish - like world peace or universal health care.

December 28, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

It was the decade of ought naughts for me. We ought naught have done anything we did then and we'd be better off.

December 28, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Good summary - I felt kind of the same way about Bush v. Gore at the time. The old man Bush The First hadn't been all that bad in my memory so I figured how bad could W be? Well, we know the answer to that.

I remember Y2K very well - my half sister actually stocked up on big cans of food and other stuff just in case. I was pretty sure nothing was going to go wrong at midnight that year. But some other stuff sure went wrong during the past decade.

Let's hope the next one is an improvement.

December 28, 2009 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I remember that time also. The economy was going really well but, strangely, that didn't affect me at all. On the other hand, now the economy's in the shitter and it still doesn't effect me at all.

I suppose I shouldn't have bitched that I wasn't getting to take part in the boom if the bust also passes me by.

December 28, 2009 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: In retrospect I think Gore would have made a huge difference if he'd gotten elected. Not that he was anything great, just that Bush was so Godawful. The whole Y2K mania seems so funny in retrospect -- people gearing up for some sort of apocalypse.

SW: Yup, Cheney was a surprise. He gave that speech in the early '90s about why it was better that we didn't stay and get quagmired in Iraq -- and then he pulled a Big 180 on us.

Good point about Gore. He probably would have done a good job of running things; he just wasn't a good enough politician to get elected. Sort of the opposite of Obama.

Holte: That's true, the "teens" won't be until 2013. I guess somebody will think of a name.

Randal: Now now, we know how the calendar got started. Some psychic dude "knew" that an infant had been born in Israel and would become the Messiah, and this psychic decided "hey, let's start a calendar, and this will be the Year One."

Rockync: World peace? Universal health care? Sorry, you'll have to wait until the 22nd century for that :)

Dave: Yup, the Ought Naughts would be a good name.

Mauigirl: I agree, let's hope the next decade is an improvement.

Thomas: It's always good to be immune from those boom and bust cycles.

December 28, 2009 at 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

I was perfectly aware of what Chimpy was, having seen him make fun of someone whos death warrant he'd just signed. I figured he was a soulless son of a bitch right then, back in 1998. He didn't let me down.

And frankly.... we all backed the President in the aftermath of September 11, but (1.) I was aware of the steps taken to spirit the bin Ladens out of the country not too long after the attacks, and (2.) I knew this monkey's life history. I KNEW he'd find a way to fuck everything up.

He didn't let me down. Again.

December 28, 2009 at 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Ten Bears said...

It has long been my contention the Y2K nuts had it right, they just didn't quite get their fingers wrapped around it.

December 29, 2009 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

I give every elected preznit about 6 months to see what they'll do. The problem now is that there's 40 republican senators against him and a handful of racist dems that don't want him to win either. It's all controlled by corporations now. Doesn't matter what puppet they install. Unless the campagn financing is changed nothing else will. And we know that's not going to happen any time soon.

So as I see it the last ten years was the greatest robbery in world history. And you sat and watched it happen.

December 29, 2009 at 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I knew what BushII was too, and would have burned down the local elementary school/voting precinct before voting for him.

Ricardo: I always thought that without 9/11, BushII would have served one term, and would have been, at best, an ineffectual president. 9/11 occurred, though, and allowed the little boy who liked to pull wings off flies come out in full force. And I had one of those nutso co-workers who built a bomb shelter in her back yard and stocked it from Sam's Club. She was a hoot, lol.

December 29, 2009 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: That's true about Dumbya. If you know his history and what to expect from him, he won't let you down.

Ten Bears: That might be it. That worldwide computer crash that never happened might have been the least of our worries.

Demeur: How can you be so cynical :)

There's a great quote from George Carlin at this post, saying the same thing you said, only more bluntly. I'm afraid it's all true.

Bee: I think you're right; without 9/11 Bush would've been a one term president. He'd be just a footnote by now.

December 29, 2009 at 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Y2K. I was in my Corporations Y2K committee watching my company pay consultants 500 an hour to run around with floppies loaded with "Y2K corrective software" stuff we could have done ourselves.

If you read the Columns of the Late Molly Ivans, you knew what to expect from W long before he starting running.

Bush calling himself a "compassionate Conservative" and other Conservatives letting him get away with it was a red flag as usually Compassionate Conservative is a death wish for being a conservative.

This is the man who refused to meet the grieving family of the black man in Texan who got tied up to the back of a truck and dragged through the streets by rednecks.

Can anybody name a new face in his administration no they wer all recycled Reagan/Bush Sr. People.

Insiders placed Gore as one of the smarter people in the Clinton Administration who push him to stop waffling. Gore had a long Washington Resume as well as being well studied on Environmental Issues. His father was voted out of the Senate for being too moderate on Civil Rights.

Though he was analytical and dull (and showed none of the fire when he made Ross Perot look like a fool on the NAFTA debates). I took that to mean he would be more substance then style and pick a competent staff.

When 9/11 hit I agreed with Roger Moore that W would no longer be a one term president.


December 29, 2009 at 4:58 PM  
Anonymous People in the Sun said...


First of all, the teens start in 2010. Now, the century started in 2001, but I think the Millennium started in 2000. Maybe I'm wrong...

And don't mess with me!

When I was 16, I heard someone saying the 21 century will start in 2001. The next day, my favorite radio show had a phone in quiz about that. I was the second caller. The first one said January 1st, 2000. He was wrong. Now it was my turn...

This was summer holiday, and a month later, when I came back to school, the cute girl asked me if I was on the radio. WHICH MADE ME VERY HAPPY.

Sorry. Didn't mean to shout.

December 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

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