The Tens, A Look Back
January 4, 2010 in The Future Is Here
Dateline: Friday January 3, 2020 If the aughts were the decade of shrunken expectations, corruption, and denial, the tens were the decade of acceptance. Our standard of living did not spike. We never expected it to. The empire’s growth metrics of the last century are quaint and distant relics. Crime, terror, disease and injustice did not go away, but culture wars receded, two wrenching foreign entanglements were resolved and we elected our first female and Hispanic president.
News Magazine reported last month that Americans are happier than they’ve been for 40 years. Maybe money wasn’t everything. Ten years ago in the exhilaration and frictions of our first African American Presidency, the nation howled as influence and power were torn from its grasp. Historians generally agree that it was during the tweens that the mantle was finally relinquished. By the mid teens America had reconciled its demotion in the world order. That’s when the fun began.
Did we learn to make honest livings and quit beating up on rivals? Of course not, we are still the bitchiest, pettiest, litigiousest country on the planet, but we ended our resistance to the forever erosion of middle class entitlement. Two-car, two-income soccer mommyism is gone! We passed the baton to nobody, slept later and quit flogging the American Dream. We live smaller but better now. And we got beyond our fascination with identity. This was the decade when we paused and let our technology breathe. After 20 years of frantic computer & Internet installs, we allowed the fantastic to settle along side other modernity. In 2010, hipsters (ha!) boasted about their cellphones. Today that seems as silly as demoing your flush toilet. The Internet got better! Yes we pay more and my content bill grows every month, but I have tons of fun on The Internet Free State and journalism works.
Perhaps I’m happy just to have survived. I’m thankful for forgettery because lots of bad stuff happened these past ten years. The Wisconsin Rape Scandal was shocking and the epidemic of suicide boomers is a reminder of what VF editor Choire Sicha refers to as “affluence and crumble pie.” Like most Americans I was horrified on August 19, 2016 when former president Bill Clinton parachuted to his death on live television. The event is still defined by President Sotomayor’s unwittingly miked, “Wow, he went splat,” and subsequent withdrawal from her reelection bid. No one was happy with the sewage crisis that gripped the east coast in 2018 and we still mourn 714 who perished at a Long Island Wedding Castle.
On a personal level, the decade was one of transition mostly because I aged ten years (this keeps happening). I joined AARP! Hey, I’ll take the discounts. I braved it out in New York City as friends and family abandon hope that I would ever relocate. I had a health scare in 2016 when I lost balance in a yoga class and crushed my testicles on a titanium water bottle. Super MRI said I was okay and I resumed vigorous exercise three weeks later. My doctors were paid in promissory value chits from the US treasury. – part of the weirdest, stupidest, most misguided and wonderful reimbursement program ever concocted. I dabbled in new fitness; Hop Scotch Pilates, Restraint Training and Harness Fusion were all fun but I settled on Boy Meets Girl Bikini Thrill Abs (3 days a week at The Bloomberg Center).
I liked a bunch of stuff that happened in the 10s:
Point and shoot ipods were a cool innovation! How fun is it to point your player at a stranger and send them a song. That was progress. I was thrilled with the inauguration of then 68 year old President Gore in January 2017. My favorite band forever, Crazy Ridiculous Cows happened in the tens. They reinvented the guitar like no one had reinvented it since Eddie Van Halen. And no one will argue that the best show in the history of television is, Kiss My Ass.
Take that, Twentieth century + 10!
I’m looking forward to the twenties mostly because the name makes sense for the first time in 20 years.
The Tens? An agreeable decade, but it never sounded right.