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…