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

2007: The death of Whitney Balliett. Many great ones passed in these years, of course—Mailer, Bellow—but the four-decade achievement of New Yorker jazz critic Balliett had been so discreetly and unsprawlingly perfect that his going seemed a measurable adjustment to the universal balance of excellence. On Billie Holiday: “a dark-brown sound, sometimes fretted by growls or hoarseness, in the lower register; a pliable oboe tone in the high register; and a pushing, little-girl alto in between.”

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James Parker is an Atlantic contributing editor.

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