Remember when? America evolved this decade

As you know, this decade will be over in 28 days. I know that it’s hard to comprehend. We haven’t even come up with an official name for it yet (The Oughts? The 2000’s?). Even harder to comprehend is how much times have changed over the last 10 years. Let’s jump into the wayback machine to January 2000. I was 11 years old and in the fifth grade. I had a bowl cut that put the kid from "The Shining" to shame. I was addicted to Pokemon; Fred Durst and Kid Rock were my heroes (I will now slam my head against the wall to punish myself for that). Today, only some of those things are true, and I write these columns every week for you fine people. But enough about me.

At the dawn of this decade, broadband Internet was still in its infancy. People were still buying CD’s and had to drive to Blockbuster to rent movies. Tom Brady was underachieving at Michigan and Peyton Manning was still considered a choke artist. American comedy was ruled by Adam Sandler and the Farrelly brothers (shiver). Britney Spears was still sane (sort of). We had to use VCR’s to tape TV shows. Carson Daly was still relevant. CBS still hadn’t had a regularly occurring gay character on any of its programming (actually, that’s still true). People bought and read newspapers. This was clearly a strange and frightening time.

Obviously, a lot can change in 10 years. The Internet now controls nearly every aspect of our lives. We can rent movies, order food and watch any random clip we’ve ever wanted to see online. We never have to miss another show thanks to Tivo and Hulu. Thanks to HDTV’s, we can see the plastic surgery history of anyone on television. With iTunes, we can download music and cripple the RIAA from anywhere. Judd Apatow and Will Ferrell saved American comedy. But we also have to put up with American Idol, 24-hour cable news, Auto-Tune, the Black Eyed Peas, rap music being in the same stage as heavy metal was in the late ‘80s, and a lot of other travesties.

But we all know what this decade will forever be remembered for, and that is September 11, 2001. 9/11 was a generation-altering event on par with Pearl Harbor and the JFK assassination. It was one of those events that divide time into two halves: everything before and everything after. Everything else is cast in its shadow. People were changed. Policy was changed. All kinds of interactions and systems of thought were forever altered.

The obvious question at hand is what will the next decade bring us? How will people change? How will politics change? How will music, movies, and television change? Will Ryan Seacrest finally come out of the closet? Will the Rolling Stones literally die on stage? How many more bands will Jack White start? Will the Snuggie completely destroy America’s dignity? Well obviously, nobody knows yet. But it will definitely be interesting to see. And in 10 years, I’ll just copy and paste this column to write about it.

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