Vantage point

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Decades To Be Forgotten

The decade we live in, and the next one to come will be pretty remarkable. However, here is a sad fact about them. They will be forgotten. The cultural quirks, the styles, the new genres, and the icons will all be forgotten later on. Well, they won't be forgotten, but they sure as hell won;t be associated with their decade.

It is inevitable, because there isn't a simple single-word name for them. Just think about it. Ayrton Senna ruled the eighties. Michael Schumacher owned the nineties. Fernando Alonso will be the most dominant driver in the.... ummm.... what's the word? The two-thousands? That's not a name for the decade. Maybe a night club. So while we can say, the swinging sixties were known for their hippies, the seventies were known for bell bottoms, the eighties were known for horrible baggy and frilly dresses, and the nineties were known for unexplicably making Nadeem-Shravan successful, what word will you use to refer to the era of web 2.0, reality TV and the worldwide professionalization of offense-taking? Does your mind either draw a blank or then come up with lame alternatives that are so contrived that they will never catch on?

And the next decade has no hope either. What are we going to call them - tens? teens?

So years and years later, be prepared to lose all inter-decade arguments. Someone will say "The best decade for comedy was the 80s, with Letterman at his best". Someone else will respond, "Nope, the best decade was the 90s, which Seinfeld ruled". Now suppose you want to enter the debate and make a case for Jon Stewart, you will take a pause. Unable to come up with a word, you will say, "No no, the best decade for comedy was the decade which fell between the years of two thousand and two thousand and ten when..." by this time, someone from the 20s has already finished his argument.

That's the sad truth, everyone. Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Ricky Ponting, Rumsfeld, Google, et al, sorry. You will always be remembered as greats. But you will never be able to leave your stamp on a decade. Because the decade has no friggin idea what to call itself.