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USB Can-openers and Israeli Hockey Teams: My Take On The 21st Century
by PyThomas

Well, a Happy New Everything to all. I hope you partied down big time, I hope your hangover isn't too bad and I hope all your electronic appliances are still working.

And to all you anal nitpickers whining at us that the 21st Century/3rd Millennium isn't upon us yet, that technically it doesn't start until 2001:


No one is listening to you. No one cares. Quit being so technical about a year system with very inaccurate un-technical beginnings.

Yes, I know there wasn't a year zero. But tell me, between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, who was REALLY keeping accurate track all that time of what year it was? We sure as hell weren't globally synchronized. And the stress and confusion from barbarian attacks and burned cities certainly made the masses lose count somewhere along the way. The 21st century may have already come early for all we know, especially if we number the years from the point Jesus was born (which historians now believe to be 4 B.C.). So let's all mark the official observance of the New Millennium at the point where the nines turn into zeroes, get on with our lives, know your role and shut your mouth, and overall quit your bitchin'.

Now that we've started a new decade, and relegated the nineties to classic grunge compilations and a future round of nostalgia for coffeehouses, flannel, the Macarena and Crystal Pepsi, the race is on to stake claims for what the trends, sounds, and looks will be for the..... uh.... um... errr..

Well, there ya go. Claim number one: What are we gonna call this new decade?

The Zeroes? Oh's? Naughts? Thousands, Two-thousands or 2K's? We'd consult the archives section of our local library for what our ancestors called the period from 1900 to 1909, but it turns out our forefathers weren't inclined to abbreviate everything like we do now. Back then, it was no big feat to say the "first decade of the new century" or the more vague "turn of the century". I'm sure many will try to use the latter phrase now, but come on, when I think of "turn of the century", I visualize Model T Fords, wringer clotheswashers, streetcar trolleys and record players that look like wooden crates with a brass horn sticking out of them. Basically, too archaic for our lingo-happy world of today.

My own preference... call it the "Double-Os" or "dubbeloes". It'll be unique to this here time (until 3000-3009, anyway). There may be a good many people saying "two-double-o-one" instead of "two thousand one". Rolls off the tongue just as well. And 2000, although it has THREE zeroes, won't be left out, since it's two-digit abbreviation is simply '00 or "double-o".

But back to the claiming. It's a sure thing that everyone in the entertainment and advertising biz is gonna hype their new products as "The First Great ________ of the New Millennium". And in many cases, this has already started.

Oh, and there WAS a bit of a mad rush to have the first BABY of the New Millennium. So I believe we have another super-sized generation in the making. Expect a whole new culture and lots of media attention focused on the "millennials", those born from 1999 to say, 2009.

Other predictions for the next few decades:

There will be one last gasp at a Woodstock concert in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the original.

Medical science will find cures for cancer, AIDS, and the cold/flu, or at least come pretty fucking close to one. The last two may meet their doom once a new form of medicine called "antivirus" (already prevalent in the computer world) is developed.

And what about them computers? Bigger and faster is the way to go, obviously. Personally, as a Mac owner, I'm pulling for Apple to crawl back to equal footing with Microsoft's Windows system, to hopefully end up as the Pepsi to MS's Coke. At any rate, look for household appliances to sprout computer-access jacks as computers truly integrate themselves into the home.

What's gonna be the next big thing in music? Well, this rap-metal thing is nice, but don't expect it to rule the next decade. Actually, what happens will all depend on the attitude of promoters and radio stations. Currently, trends seem to last only a year. Remember how ska was supposed to get big, but only did so in 1996? How about the neo-swing movement of 1998? The guys who give it to us are fickle, and we have the short attention span to follow our rock stars one day and discard them the next. Until those attitudes change, we're not gonna have another long-lasting megastar to define our times.

Finally, brush all talk of "dumbing down" aside, because I predict the world will get smarter in the next 30 years. This will come courtesy of the Internet, which I think everyone will agree was THE biggest pop-culture development of the 1990s, and has brought the world together, making it a lot smaller. Look for a major revolution in a major country to occur (Cuba? China?) and for the Internet to play a major role in rallying people together and passing secret information.

And you know what? I think we just might see universal peace finally. Oh, we have a hell of a long way to go, especially in the department of conflicting religions. But I believe the smarter we get, the less fearful we will be and the more friendly we will be to those with different rituals and lifestyles. It IS possible, y'all. I think the key to world peace is more professional sports.

Think about it... Americans haven't had a civil war since the first professional teams started playing. North vs. South has evolved into New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys. We have relegated our regional pride and our aggressiveness to safe and intense contact sports. We should do the same with all the world's countries, way beyond the scope of the Olympics. And if the Israel Prophets beat the Iran Scuds in the Global Hockey League Ultra Bowl one year, Iran can just try harder to beat them the next. All without the use of guns or bombs. It's something worth looking into, at least.

At any rate, have a wonderful new century, everyone. Let's be careful out there.

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originally posted: 01/05/00 05:44:30
last updated: 01/05/00 05:49:51
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