A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Good luck trying to explain the 2010s! So many things went on in the last 10 years it’s going to take us another 50 to actually figure out what just happened. Think about it! Nobody on this planet is the same person they were a decade ago. Ten years ago we didn’t have iPads, Uber, Instagram or Kindle. Drones were a sci-fi nightmare and Donald Trump was a loudmouth businessman. The scariest guy east of the Vistula was Osama Bin Laden, and only nerds had heard of Game of Thrones. History takes time to digest, though, so right now it’s impossible to say what kind of impact the 2010s will have on the Great Scheme of Things. However, even a quick glance over our shoulder tells us that our world has been a little crazy lately. Here are just a few remembrances of things past. You decide how far we’ve travelled into the realm of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.
In 2010, the world was introduced to the vuvuzela, the most irritating piece of plastic in human history. It was so annoying that governments, social organizations and sporting events around the world banned it, and there was even a fatwa issued against its use. (You’ve forgotten about it, haven’t you?)
In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street Movement decided to fight corporate greed — and told us all about it on their 500 dollar iPhones.
In 2012, a tubby little Korean named Psy had the world dancing to Gangnam style, while the more serious among us were worried the world was going to end because – uh — a half-dead, ancient civilization in Mexico carved their calendar into a stone tablet.
In 2013, the Pope resigned, Will and Kate were married and Miley Cyrus added twerking to the dictionary. Meanwhile, Edward Snowden boldly informed us that a bunch of government agencies were spying on us. He was only 30 years late.
In 2014, there was an Ebola epidemic in Africa, the beginning of the ISIS war in Syria, Russia invaded the Ukraine and Kim Kardashian showed us her bum. Take a wild guess which one “broke” the Internet!
In 2015, the Mom Porn phenom, 50 Shades of Gray, a hilarious retelling of The Story of O (1954) was made into a film. According to sales figures from the novel and ticket sales from the totally terrible movie, women feel a lot less sexually exploited if you dress it up in a 3-piece Armani suit.
2016 was just a totally bad year. Trump got elected President of the US and everybody died – John Glenn, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Richard Adams, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Tom Hayden, Edward Albee, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Prince, George Martin, Patty Duke, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Janet Reno, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Florence Henderson and Fidel Castro. Coincidence? I think not.
In 2017, President Trump called Kim Jong-un “the Rocket Man,” it turned out Harvey Weinstein was a bigger pig than everyone originally thought, and there was a solar eclipse. However, unlike every other solar eclipse since the world began, this one travelled across America. Therefore, they owned it.
In 2018, in a weird reversal of Edward Snowden’s dire warning of 2013, Mark Zuckerberg said he was “sorry” for letting Cambridge Analytica steal your personal Facebook information. Apparently, that made everything alright.
In 2019, we discovered the oceans were filling up with plastic. So that’s where all those stupid vuvuzelas went!
And some other stuff happened as well:
We spent a whole bunch of time acting like 12 year old schoolboys, testing the limits of our testosterone. First, we’d do something stupid and then dare other people to do it, too. This brought us the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge and the Tide Pod Challenge. “Hey, c’mon everybody! Let’s eat soap!”
Duck Face, Fidget Spinners and Hipsters all came and went — with nobody mourning their passing.
Gluten became the scariest health risk since the Bubonic Plague.
The government of China banned time travel. That’s correct – time travel! But they weren’t done there. They also made reincarnation illegal — unless you get written permission. The scariest thing about this is these folks also have access to nuclear weapons.
Game of Thrones was born, lived and died. And never in the history of television have so many cool characters been killed off so a useless little twat like Bran could end up running the show – but I’m not bitter.
Instagram beat the crap out of Facebook for social media supremacy — which proves people prefer photographs of somebody’s lunch to cute cat videos.
Media whore became a legitimate employment opportunity, we used YOLO to cover up a lot of pretty poor decision-making and the selfie stick became the weapon of choice for tourists all over the world.
And speaking of tourists – relentless middleclass vacations turned Mount Everest into Standing Room Only and Europe into an overcrowded theme park on the nose of Asia.
The unholy rule of the Millennials continued, unabated.
Twitter unleashed a global lynch mob that made the Spanish Inquisition look like an argument at a church picnic. And careful folks: that Reign of Terror doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon.
Happy New Year, everybody!