Dispatch December 2009

The Top Pop Culture Moments of the Decade

From Radiohead and James Frey to Jackass and Jersey Shore, 10 daring and sometimes inane creative acts that defined the ’00s

2005: Grizzly Man. Werner Herzog’s tragicomic documentary about wildlife nut Timothy Treadwell, eaten in Alaska by the bears he loved, presaged in a freaky way the philosophical conflict that would erupt a couple of years later with the coming of the New Atheists. Treadwell was no punk (“If I show weakness, I’m dead!”), but he looked in the eyes of a bear and beheld a promise of cosmic fidelity. Straight-man Herzog, dourly Germanic, saw only “the cold indifference of nature.” Which side are you on?

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James Parker is an Atlantic contributing editor.

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