Thursday, December 10, 2009

That's So Aughties

My friend Mike forwarded me the link to this dead on Vanity Fair web exclusive.......

"That’s So Aughties!
The 70s had shag carpets, lowriders, and lava lamps. The 80s had stonewash, Ray Bans, and Flock of Seagulls hair. The 90s had flannel shirts, Clintonisms, and heroin chic. But what will the decade that began with Y2K panic and ended with recessionistas yield in terms of funny and embarrassing nostalgia? Here are 26 possibilities.

1. Pete Doherty Clones (and Other Hipster Subspecies)
Brit rocker (and Kate Moss consort) Pete Doherty’s skinny jeans, propensity for fedoras, and hung-over glare set the tone for a generation of pretentious twentysomethings. Vice magazine was their lexicon, American Apparel their official uniform, and the Misshapes their house D.J. This P.B.R.-sipping, Parliament-smoking in-crowd spawned endless subspecies: the early adopters (Millennium White Belt Hipster), the blue-collar kitsch revivalists (Trucker Hat Hipster), the folksy foodies (Urban Farmer Hipster), and, by decade’s end, the prohibition-style mustachioed mixologists (Handlebar Hipster). They were all irritating for various reasons but all present ample future costume possibilities!

2. Oversharing
The 00s were one big Overshare. The rise of mobile phones turned the world into your psychiatrist’s office, while Facebook status updates, celebrity Twitter feeds, and mommy blogs enabled the relentless broadcasting of personal minutia, from the mundane (“Buying fresh fennel at Whole Foods”) to the shocking (“Just got DNA results. Jason’s the daddy!”). Another source of oversharing? Blog commenters, especially those of the hyper-religious or staunchly partisan ilk, who so often felt compelled to air the most vitriolic, illogical, and hostile opinions under the virtual cloak of “SoccerSue” or “Jimbo01.”

3. Text-Message Breakups
Breaking up has been historically hard to do, but in the aughties it was terrifyingly easy. Just have a few drinks and text, “Sorry. Not n2u.” Voilà! No drawn-out conversations about closure and emotional needs unmet—just a few keystrokes and it’s over. Also popular: the I.M. breakup, the Skype breakup, and the Google Wave breakup (currently in beta). And we’re betting somewhere, someone has broken up via emoticon.

4. Losing Your Job to the Internet
The decade began with the-Internet-as-ultimate-jackpot. Venture capital abounded and 22-year-olds in the Bay Area were making $85K a year as “key-worders” or “platform consultants.” But by decade’s end, the thing we thought would make us all rich was chomping away at profits in journalism, the record business, and beyond. If what you produce could be reduced to 1s and 0s (articles, songs, movies, best-sellers), you got royally screwed. Bleep bloop, enjoy that severance!

5. TV Shows That Are Better Than Any Movie Ever Made
Mainstream film did not exactly enter a new golden age in the early 2000s. In fact, most high-grossing blockbusters were C.G.I.-glutted behemoths of recycled ideas. The last people anyone expected to step into the quality-entertainment breach were the nation’s television producers, but—somehow—they did just that. Whether you were into the gritty urban realism of The Wire, the hypnotic narratives of Mad Men, or the epic Jersey saga of The Sopranos, it was a fantastic decade for TV—and for AMC, FX, and Showtime, networks previously known for little-seen Tommy Lee Jones films or last-resort soft-core late-night porn.

6. Gamer Culture
Behold the emergence of Red Bull–quaffing World of Warcraft players, shut-in Second Lifers, and Halo die-hards. The sheer unbridled geekery of gamer culture, where sophisticated graphics and motion-capture interfaces created a dazzling alternative to boring ol’ human existence, matured into a nationwide obsession, hastened by user-friendly innovations such as Wii Bowling or Guitar Hero, the latter of which allowed a generation of tipsy Uncle Bobs to unleash their inner Jimmy Page, to the quiet discomfort of all.

7. Celebutards
In the past, you usually had to do something significant to become famous, like act or sing or play a professional sport. But this decade, thanks to TMZ and US Weekly, the barrier to entry became absurdly low, as witnessed by the glut of “celebutards”: the young, wealthy, spray-tanned, multiple-D.U.I-receiving, brawling-outside-L.A.-nightclubs, underwear-shunning set. The world changed the day we all clicked to view Lindsey Lohan’s lady business with our morning coffee, and not, one suspects, for the better.

8. The Frat Pack
For some inexplicable reason, movie audiences in the 00s craved guilelessly stupid sex comedies with a heart of gold—a strange and sometimes unsettling combination that nonetheless raked in a ton of cash for one J. Apatow and his many imitators and second-tier collaborators. The existence of a movie tagline that reads, “From the Guy Who Brought You Knocked Up and Superbad” pretty much says it all.

9. White iPods
Whatever feelings you may have about Apple and its smug design-snob branding, it can be argued that the iPod was the innovation of the decade. It helped bring the music industry to its knees, produced an entirely new economic model via the iTunes Store, and created near-total isolation from our fellow man, as we bob along with our earbuds firmly in place. The original white iPod is already on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and one can assume it will eventually take its place in the Smithsonian alongside the telephone and the cotton gin. Which is fine—just as long as they don’t also preserve those poppin’-and-lockin’ iPod silhouette people.

10. Logo Chic
Reasonably edgy at its inception, from Ashton Kutcher’s kicked-to-the-side Von Dutch trucker hat to Lil’ Kim’s Murakami Louis Vuitton bag, logo chic was soon embraced by the public, with mixed results. Ugg boots, Seven Jeans, faux D&G sunglasses, and Juicy Couture jumpsuits were the standard uniform, until the recession (and Jon Gosselin’s Ed Hardy shirt stretched over his protruding, A.T.V.-riding belly) precipitated a crushing dénouement.

11. Food Porn
Food was so hot in the 00s. Haute cuisine went mainstream, celebrity chefs became household names, and even your lunch meat was grass-fed. There was a curious high/low synthesis: mac and cheese, fried chicken, and burgers showed up on menus of high-end eateries, while the humble cupcake became a status symbol. Food was no longer just subsistence but a lifestyle, as the farmers’ market became the new singles bar, twentysomethings expertly brined turkeys on Thanksgiving, job seekers listed molecular gastronomy as a hobby on their résumés, and everyone knew the meaning of sous vide. And yet, somehow Arby’s continued to exist.

12. Internet Acronyms
OMG, LMAO, STFU! Popular Internet acronyms will persist, and likely become even more convoluted and complex as we grow increasingly dependent on our McGoogle machines, but the idea that they don’t belong in dictionaries or in official correspondence may gradually erode. We can actually imagine a future White House document that reads, “OMG, WTF is up w/North Korea?”

13. Terrorists
This was the decade when the terrorists actually won. From 9/11 to the current mess in Afghanistan, the bad guys got the upper hand, and kept it. No American hero saved the day, and there’s no clear resolution in sight. While it may forever be “too soon” to relegate al-Qaeda to kitschy nostalgia, there will be lots of ancillary war-on-terror ridiculousness to mock in retrospect, from airport Threat Level Orange alerts (has it ever been any other color?) to the theory that if we don’t all go shopping, The Terrorists Win.

14. The Housing Bubble
The 00s was the You-Deserve-It Decade. A four-bedroom home, an S.U.V., a new flat screen … who cares if you make less than $40,000 a year? You’re an American, and you need to keep up with the Joneses—who just got a new Sub-Z fridge! You could say that the housing bubble defined the arc of the whole decade, from McMansions and Mad Money speculation, to conscious overspending with money that didn’t exist, through the complete crash of the entire global economy. A new generation of permanent renters will likely look back on this MTV Cribs culture and wonder, “[insert new Internet acronym here]?” "