It now being December in your neck of the woods, here in the last month of the ’00s, can we at long last now say it? Can somebody just step forward, without disclaimers and sugar-coating, approach the lectern and give the formal announcement?
Sure, the ’70s were yucky, the ’50s were uptight, and the ’30s BLAH BLAH FRICKIN’ BLAH, but by any yardstick of human suffering, idiocy and shitty luck, this decade writ large has been just ghastly and we all need to pat ourselves on the back for having survived it.
Things are never that simple, even in superlative times. On a personal level, I have two aces in the hole, both formed in the ’00s, that bear mentioning: the Lulubeans and Tessa. My wife and I started dating in 2000 (after having met in 1987) and my awesome preciouspants daughter arrived five years later, and when I have two such beings in the world, really, I should just retire, bask in their glow, and never complain.
Also, we do well for ourselves in our job – not that you’d know, since I can barely mention in on the blog – but we happen to be in a business that is so weird that it bears little relationship to the world’s ecstasies and woes.
But I can also say this: in this decade, I breathed in the foul stench of my fellow dead New Yorkers mere blocks away from where they were murdered. I had to be basically hospitalized for PTSD, severe anxiety and depression, and get by on a carefully contrived mix of Celexa and Dexedrine.
Months before, I’d written and co-directed an independent film that was the worst production in the history of terrible film productions, a project so snakebit and low-rent that it will probably never see the light of day. We were lied to by our post-production investor for no reason other than his own sick fantasy life.
For years, I failed at pretty much every career push I tried, leaving me so encased in shit that a 3,000-mile move was the only thing that made sense, even though we left an amazing life of friends and family in the process. And in this decade, many of those people have now spread out around the country, so far away now that gathering them together for an event like my bachelor party seems laughably quaint, and logistically untenable. At this point, I feel lucky when Tessa wants to stay up late enough to watch the Daily Show.
Is that the decade’s fault, or just me getting older? My reply would be, in one’s emotional hindsight, what the fuck difference does it make?
As for this country, the ’00s gave America a thorough fisting. Two financial crashes, a hurricane wiping out one of the last interesting cities (and killing hundreds), an infrastructure collapsing, the worst terrorist attack in history, and the dawning horror that we torture people.
Mostly, this will be remembered as The Decade When Americans Got Too Fucking Stupid To Live, the tipping point when the herd mentality of the reptilian-based idiot faction finally overpowered the last vestiges of intellect, sensitivity and nuance. It was the decade when the National Discourse on actually important issues was debased so thoroughly by cynical neo-conservative vampires that we consider “okay, so we agree the earth probably isn’t flat” as a major fuckin’ victory.
Political punditry is over, CNN is done, Oprah is going home, and all I’ve got left is profanity. We elected an African American man as our President, and I HIT MYSELF IN THE FACE EVERY DAY for allowing myself to hope for a few minutes in January, for believing that we might be rounding the arc to moral justice. Instead, it’s only gotten worse. I live in a country that would rather keep gay people from getting married than provide health care to its children, and that, my friends, is a country that isn’t worth the debt notices it’s printed on.
When trashy produce-aisle, numskull, saviour-fellating dipshits like Sarah Palin are treated as serious contenders for the office once inhabited by Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, you’re talking about a nation that has completely lost its sense of self.
I would never have thought those things before this decade. I posited before that this era should be called “Everything is Unprecedented” because we don’t just dip below previously-noted low-water marks, we shatter them. Honestly, I’ve gotten to the point that I’m amazed when water comes out of faucets.
Am I angry? Do I sound angry? I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled, but I know opportunity lurks in desolation. The tarot card of Death almost never means “death”, it means stripping bare, finding your humility and getting a shot at rebirth. The next decade could suck way worse than the last one, sure, but like most horrible things, you can’t count on it. In the meantime, I hunker down with my ladies and listen to them singing each to each.