30 December 2009

21 Reasons Why The Noughties Were The Worst Decade Ever

The Noughties 2000 2009: A Decade That Changed The World

I can recommend Tim Footman's The Noughties 2000 2009: A Decade That Changed The World for the simple reason that it uses the term Noughties to describe the first decade of the 21s century.  Every decade since the 1980s on, around the last day of the decade, I have compiled a list of reasons why the closing decade was the worst ever.  The Noughties were no exception.  So here is my list:

Reason #21
Freedom Fries.

No explanation needed.

Reason # 20
The Metrosexual

I somehow found myself in the unfortunate position of working as a stockboy in a retail outlet in downtown Chicago at the turn of the millenium when I started noticing all of these guys in their mid 20s who hung out Banana Republic stores and who owned 30 pairs of shoes, 30 pair of Calvin Kline boxer-briefs, a dozen pairs of sunglasses and just as many watches. These same guys had bi-weekly apointments with a stylist (not a barber, a stylist--because barbers don't do highlights). These guys would talk about hair and hair care products and skin products as if they had a Phd in the subject. These guys would shave areas of their bodies that the Good Lord had not intended man to shave. They would exfoliate and moisturize daily and walk around with a small fortune in beauty products tucked away in their "man-purse".

Obviously these guys must be gay. At least that is what I thought, until I found out that these guys had female dates lined up every Friday and Saturday night of the week. Of course they would make their Friday night dates a lamb shanks and risotto for their dinner and then whip up some Eggs Benedict from scratch on Saturday morning mind you. But at least their dates were female.

Reason #19
The Superbowl halftime show

After Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004 no other act, not the Rolling Stones, not Bruce Springsteen, not Paul McCartney nor anyone else has produced one minute of entertainment during these corporate halftime extravaganzas that has come close to destracting my attention from the chip and dip table.

PhotobucketReason #18
The Axis of Evil of Hair styles

Kim Jong Il, Donald Trump and the faux hawk placed the Noughties as the worst decade in hair fashion since the 1980s...again, this may have something to do with the metrosexuals.

Reason #17
The Death of the Record Store/the Rise of Nu Metal and Disney Rock

The transition from CDs to digital downloads shrank the record industry throughout the decade, leading to mass layoffs and artist-roster cuts at major labels. CD sales dropped 48.9 percent during the decade. Approximately 2,680 record stores closed in the U.S. between 2005 and early 2009. In the UK, all the national specialist music retailers collapsed except aong with Woolworths, a variety retailer that was once the UK's largest music retailer.

Meanwhile monster-Rock pop artists Evanescence, Linkin Park, System of a Down, Staind, Papa Roach, and Disturbed littered the radio waves with some of the least creative and most annoying sounds since Gangsta Rap polluted the radio waves in the 1990s. The only thing worse was the over-saturation of Disney Rock. High School Musical, Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers and The Cheetah Girls, etc. (all of which was leading to Justin Beeber-mania). In 2006 and 2007 both High School Musical and Hannah Montana albums were among the best-sellers and reached the number 1 position. Another result of the corporate trend of targeting 'tweens was Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In fact Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock became the first single video game EVER to surpass $1 billion in sales.

Reason #16
(TIE)The Snuggie and Text Addiction

And even worse: wearing a Snuggie WHILE texting!

Reason #15
"Awareness" Bracelets

Awareness bracelets gained in popularity in the early Noughties when the Lance Armstrong Foundation introduced its trademark yellow silicone Livestrong wristband to raise support for cancer research. Silicone wristbands quickly became popular with every charity under the sun, but the bracelets also became linked to a sex game popular among teenagers in which various colored Sex bracelets implied the various sex acts the teen wearing the bracelet was willing to engage in. In October 2003 the principal of Alachua Elementary School in Gainesville, Florida banned the bracelets which led to subsequent bannings in other schools around Florida and elsewhere.

Reason #14
American Idol

Can someone convince me that the The Sham Wow guy, the Extreme Home MakeOver guy, and Seacrest aren't actually all the same guy? American Idol was the pinnacle of the Reality TV (an oxymoron if ever there was one) phenomenon that dominated the decade's TV landscape. Basically these were just elaborate game shows that had very little to do with "reality". Still, they changed the way America viewed TV and helped propegate the emergence of internet participation in tandem with the likes of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.

Reason #13
The Total Loss of Credibility of the Mass Media News

From the NY Times Jason Blair scandal, the leaking of national security information by Bob Novak to Fox New's ridiculous mockery of "Fair and Balanced", American's faith in Mass Media News is all but gone.

Reason #12

Reason #11
Energy Addiction Reaches New Extremes

While countries like China and Brazil have made Green Energy a national priority, the USA continues to lag behind while continuing to consume more energy than any other nation in the history of the solar system.

Reason # 10
The Slacker Mom/the Cougar/Desperate Housewives and the FemiNazi

During the Noughties, the first time in history, the number of womyn in the workforce eclipsed the number of men. Perhaps this explains the glut of negative female stereotypes that the decade produced. Replacing such harmless or positive stereotypes from years past as the valley girl, the soccer mom, Rosie the Rivoter and the all-american housewife, the Noughties saw the Slacker Mom, The FemiNazi, the Cougar and the Desperate Housewife come to the fore within the mainstream culture.

More disturbing was the number of stories in that news of mothers that commits infanticide.

*In 2009, Texas state representative Jessica Farrar proposed legislation that would define infanticide as a distinct and lesser crime than homicide. Under the terms of the proposed legislation, if jurors concluded that a mother's "judgment was impaired as a result of the effects of giving birth or the effects of lactation following the birth," they would be allowed to convict her of the crime of infanticide, rather than murder. The maximum penalty for infanticide would be two years in prison.

*Dena Schlosser, born in 1969 in Plano, Texas, killed her eleven-month-old daughter Margaret Schlosser in 2004, amputating the baby's arms with a knife, supposedly believing that she was offering her to God. On November 22, 2004, the Texas Police arrived at Schlosser's apartment to find the mother of three sitting calmly in her living room listening to hymns. She was covered in blood and holding a knife. Schlosser, euphorically confessed she had cut the arms off her eleven-month-old baby daughter, as the song He Touched Me played in the background. The child later died in the hospital.

*Andrea Yates (born July 2, 1964) a former Houston, Texas resident, killed her five young children on June 20, 2001 by drowning them in the bathtub in her house. On July 26, 2006, a Texas jury ruled Yates to be not guilty by reason of insanity. The ABC-TV show Desperate Housewives was inspired by the story of the Andrea Yates drownings, according to creator Marc Cherry.

Reason #9
The Brokeback Election and the Policizations of Gay Love

How in the world did Gay Marriage become the wedge issue that gave the 2004 Presidential election to the Republicans? Here are some of the stepping stones:

*April 25 2000 – The State of Vermont passes HB847, legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples.
*June 21, 2000- Section 28, a law preventing the promotion of homosexuality, is repealed by the Scottish Parliament.
*April 1st, 2001 - In the Netherlands, the Act on the Opening up of Marriage goes into effect. The Act allows same-sex couples to marry legally for the first time in the world since the reign of Nero.
*May 7, 2002 - Gay Canadian teenager Marc Hall is granted a court injunction ordering that he be allowed to attend his high school prom with his boyfriend.
*November 18, 2003 – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, rules anti-same-sex marriage laws unconstitutional in Massachusetts.

1121morin Pictures, Images and Photos
Reason #8
The 2000 Presidential Election

Reason #7

On September 11th, 2001 twenty Muslim extremists hi-jacked 4 commercial airplanes in the US, successfully crashing one into the Pentagon and two into the World Trade Center buildings in New York while another crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. This led to the NASDAQ, the American Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange being close for six days (the longest close since the Great Depression in 1929). It also sparked a major change in airplane/airport rules and gave the Bush/Cheney/Rove administration their "Pearl Harbor". Although terrorism has been around seemingly forever, it received unprecedented exposure in the Naughties, starting with the bombing on October 12, 2000, in Aden, Yemen of the USS Cole. Then after the events of 9/11 the mass media became obsessed with reporting any event that even remotely reeked of terrorism--thereby playing right into the terrorists hands.

Reason #6
The Lost Decade

The Noughties contained two recessions. The first occurred from 2001-2003 and was in part due to a major downturn in the value of dot-com shares. The US dominance over the world economy continued, but economically rising nations and organizations like China and India showed signs of contending for world power. The second recession was much more sever. As Michael Lind writes in his Book Land of Promise (2012):

"Even before the Great Recession began in the crash of September 2008, the first decade of the twenty-first century was a Japanese-style "lost-decade" in the United States. Compared to the 24 percent overall growth of the 1990s, the US economy grew by only 6 percent in the 2000s.

What little growth there was went to a tiny plutocratic minority. During the Bush years, two-thirds of the income growth in the United States went to the top 1 percent of the US population...By the early twenty-first century, the Gini coefficient, a measurement of economic inequality, showed that the United States was radically different from other developed nations and [instead] resembled other highly unequal nations including Rwanda, Ecuador, and the Phillipines."

Reason #5
The Catholic Church Child Molestation Scandal

After a rash of major lawsuits emerged primarily in the United States and Europe, claiming that some priests had sexually abused minors, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned a comprehensive study that found that four percent of all priests who served in the U.S. from 1950 to 2002 faced some sort of sexual accusation.

Reason #4
A Golden Decade Of Corporate Scandals

In the era of Bush/Cheney/Rove deregulation and a general attitude of not having to be held accountable for unethical actions led to a rash of corporate scandals including:

*Parmalat falsifies accounts to the tune $5 billion.
*HealthSouth Corporation, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.
*Enron and other major accounting and corporate governance scandals (Tyco, WorldCom, Merck, etc) prompted reviews of corporate government legislation worldwide (eg Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
*Pharma Companies rushing untested products onto the market and the rash of overdiagnosis by medical personnel who have stock in the pharma companies.
*Bernie Madoff, operator of the Ponzi scheme that was the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history.
*Heck, even Martha Stewart got in on the action and was indicted for using privileged investment information and then obstructing a federal investigation.

Reason #3
Disasters/Mass-Deaths and the Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur

Like any other decade the Noughties had its unique print on the phenomenon of non-war mass deaths. This included man-made acts of violence like the attacks by the Beltway sniper and the Anthrax Scare (that came right on the heals of 9/11). There wre also a number of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrini in which the U.S's government response was less than stellar. Most shamefully is how our country stood by and watched the Genocide, torture, destruction and rape in Darfur. It is calculated that the killing of 300,000 men, women, and children has taken place since 2003. Another 2.6 million have been displaced from their homes. An unknown number of women and girls have been abducted, raped, and abused while an entire generation of children have reached school-age never knowing a home.

Reason #2
Globalized Corporatization

Multinational corporations took over the world during the Noughties, make no mistake about it. The Noughties saw The People's Republic of China admitted to the World Trade Organization. It saw the The WTO, which began in 1995, grow to 153 members, representing more than 95% of total world trade. The Noughties saw the Euro become legal tender in twelve European Union countries in 2002, making it the largest monetary union in history.

Reason #1
The Bush/Cheney/Rove Regime and their gross mismanagement of the War for Oil In Iraq

Where to start? How about we begin with the war in Iraq actually started BEFORE 9/11 even happened. In fact less than a month after taking office, George W. Bush ordered US war planes to carry out bombing raids in an attempt to disable Iraq's air defense. One of these bombings in a Baghdad suburb killed 3 civilians. Another attack on June 19, 2001 (3 months prior to 9/11) an American missile hit a soccer field in northern Iraq (Tel Afr County), killing 23 and wounding 11.

It wasn't until October of 2002 that Congress passed a joint resolution, which authorized the President to use the United States Armed Forces as he deemed necessary and appropriate, against Iraq.

The debacle that followed has been well documented. But beyond the Mess in the Mesopotamia, the Bush/Cheney/Rove regime perpetrated a number of terrible acts and stupid policies. Among them are:

- Limiting support for federal funding of research on embryonic stem cells.

- The Bush tax cuts for the Rich which in turn leads the US into The Bush Recession.

- Dec 13, 2001, George W. Bush announces the United States' withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

- No Child Left Behind

- CIA leak scandal: Washington Post columnist Robert Novak publishes the name of Valerie Plame, blowing her cover as a CIA operative, after this information is leaked to him by Karl Rove.

- George W. Bush signs the Homeland Security Act into law, establishing the Department of Homeland Security, in the largest U.S. government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947.

- George W. Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, where he gives a speech announcing the end of major combat in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. A banner behind him declares "Mission Accomplished."

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