Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Defining the Decade

Certain images and events capture the spirit of a decade. "The Roaring Twenties" had it flappers. The 60s had Woodstock. The 70s had "Saturday Night Fever". The 80s had RunDMC, ratted hair, and rolled jeans. The 90s had Nirvana and The Matrix.

So last night I was thinking about what would capture this our first decade in the 21st century. These were a few things that came to mind.

My sister and brother-in-law love this show. And we agreed that "American Idol" will definitely have a part in defining the decade.

No doubt. The iPod changed, well, everything.

9/11. Those numbers will never mean the same thing again.

Facebook is the quintessence of Web 2.0. I don't know yet if Facebook has been around long enough to be a defining element of the decade. But its pervasiveness, the way it's changed how we think and talk ("Adam can't quit thinking in Facebook status updates."), makes a strong case for it.
"Google might take over our lives. And I think I'm okay with that," I heard someone say. Some think they're changing how we think. They're organizing the world's information. It would be hard to exclude them from this list.

We're in a huge political season, so I'm not going to explore that realm except to say that President Bush certainly was hugely influential on this decade, but I think Barack Obama will be more of an icon for the decade in our memories.

What about music or television or movies? Have they been overshadowed by these other giants?


Bryan and Meggan said...

I'm trying to think of more. Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? Youtube? Red Bull? Blogging?

Since it is more in my area of thinking I was pondering how every decade has certain things the Church emphasized in it. For instance, the 70's had a ton of stuff on the end times. The 80's went through servant-leader stuff. The 90's went through seeker sensitive stuff. What will this decade be remembered as? The Reformed resurgence stuff? Emergent stuff? Apparently whatever it is it must end in "stuff".


Ben B said...

Adam's 2000s trend-o-meter and Bryan's theo-o-meter is spot on. Except for American Idol--I hope about as fervently in God's return as I do American Idol's demise.

Four other items that come to mind:
1.the Sopranos (changed TV forever)
2. Gadget Culture (think iphone) 3. Hybrid Car,
4. Pentecostalism as mainstream.

I think though that the 2000s may be seen remembered more for the things that ended (or may end):
1. American Hegemony (the Asian century is on)
2. The Print Newspaper (where's my CS Monitor yo?)
3. The Christian Right (its back to the good old apolitical days)
4. Reagan Conservatism (1978-2008 RIP)
5. Free-Market Economics (Comrade Paulson anyone?)

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

Those are all really good insights! I'd go with the "emergent stuff" theologically if I were a voting man.

Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are certainly in the media mix. Maybe Spider-man? Batman? the Action Comics overall? Maybe "fair and balanced" Fox News too?

The "greening" trend is definitely embodied by the Toyota Prius.

I think a decade is known more for what started than what ended, though. We're happy to see things die, but they aren't as prominent in defining the decade precisely because they're on the way out. They don't have much on a hold on our worldviews as when they started.

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