What Do You Call a Decade Like the '00s?

The Aughts? The "Decade From Hell?" We still don't have a name for the less-than-stellar decade

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Good riddance. That's what columnists have to say to a decade that was less than wonderful. From September 11 and the war in Afghanistan, to the recession, to the Internet, they say the '00s were a long and complicated 10 years. As the decade finally comes to an end, bloggers drum up a few choice phrases to describe the era. How to say goodbye to all that:

  • The Decade From Hell Andy Serwer of Time Magazine says the American dream is dimmer than it was ten years ago. "Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post-World War II era."
  • The Era of Misplaced Anxiety David Segal of The New York Times says that might be most accurate. "The decade began with a frenzy of fear about the Y2k millennium bug, which many technology experts said would sunder computers, crash jets and wreak havoc in every corner of the globe. As that non-emergency passed, a genuine threat quietly gathered in the form of a plot to fell the twin towers."
  • The 'Whatevers' Decade Danny Groner of Mediaite says Time Magazine got it right when it predicted the era would be the referred to as the "Whatever" decade ten years ago. Now though, Groner says the moniker has assumed a decidedly darker tone. "'Whatever you want, you got' turned into a less involved, less enthusiastic and less caring 'whatever' attitude. Some Americans have adopted a doomsday outlook to cope with a world where bad news never fails to stop piling on. The 'Whatever' generation rolls its eyes, shakes its head, and talks about how things can't get any worse. What hurts most is remembering times when things weren't nearly as bad."
  • The Great Leap Backwards Michael Toth of The Frum Forum says it's fitting. "So here's my nomination for the name to give the 2000s: the great leap backwards! Sound like bad news? Not at all. After all, the future we saw in the 00s didn't always work."
  • Radiohead's Idioteque Explains the Decade At True Slant, Colin Horgan matches the song's lyrics to the decade's malaise. "We panicked through Y2K and 9/11 (Who's in a bunker? Who's in a bunker? Women and children first/ And the children first); we became distracted by something called "reality" television because we couldn't deal with our own (I laugh until my head comes off); ate like moron kings (Swallow 'til I burst/ Until I burst); watched some more T.V. (I've seen too much/ You haven't seen enough/ You haven't seen it/ Laugh until my head comes off); and panicked some more (Women and children first/ And the children first)."
  • The Lost Decade The Atlantic's Derek Thompson spells it out. "Private sector job growth in the last ten years is now negative for the first time since the Great Depression. Income for the median American household fell for the first time in four decades according to the new Census report. And it's possible we haven't hit the bottom in either category."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.