Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Exercise In Near-Instant Nostalgia

In the course of a few recent projects, I found myself wondering "What will the first decade of the twenty-first century be remembered for, pop culture-wise?" Here's an attempt at a list, detailing not what I necessarily thought most memorable about the decade (there's a lot here that I don't like, as well as a fair bit that I do like), but what I think will be part of the broad recollection of it in the coming years. It is also far from complete (and should the reader feel they have something to add, they are invited to do so in the comments section).

In any case, here it goes.

• Cell phone mania.
• Ipods.
• Google.
• MMORPGS, especially World of Warcraft.
• The explosion of blogs.
• TV, DVR and in general, the digitization of the television experience.
• Reality TV (especially American Idol).
• Forensic-themed cop shows (CSI, Crossing Jordan, Bones, etc., with even shows not specializing in this giving more time to the forensics side of things, like NCIS).
• The return of Family Guy.
• Religious-archaeological-Masonic-themed thrillers.
• Zombies, in everything.
• Harry Potter.
• Big-budget fantasy (the aforementioned Potter, the movies based on the writings of Lewis and Tolkien, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, etc.), and superheroes (from X-Men on), at the movies.
• "Frat Pack" and Judd Apatow comedies.
• Michael Moore documentaries.
• Borat.
The Daily Show.
• Janet Jackson's nipple-and the idiot hysteria over it.
• The term "reboot" (and to some extent, the reboots of old media franchises, particularly James Bond and Star Trek).
• Nostalgia for the 1980s (though on the whole, the 2000s seem less obsessed with the '80s than the '90s were with the '70s, politics apart).
• A preoccupation with the idea of the apocalypse happening in 2012 (since the 2000 date had of course passed, with us still here).
• The entry of the terms "red state" and "blue state" into the cultural lexicon.
• An obsession with real estate speculation (even as the cliché of the IT billionaire continued going strong).

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