December
30th 2009
Worst. Decade. Ever.

Posted under: American history, childhood, Gender, unhappy endings, women's history

Don’t listen to me.  Listen to those crazy anarcho-stoner Libertarians over at Reason!  (Nick Gillespie qualifies his “Worst. Decade. Ever” claim by calling it “the absolute worst decade at least since the 1990s.”  Full disclosure:  I knew Nick in the 1990s, and I’m taking that remark personally.  Back at you, Nick!)

I think the best line in there was “anytime Dennis Kucinich is the voice of reason, you know you’re really screwed.”  (Remember: this is coming from the Libertarians, folks!) As someone who–much to her amazement–spent most of this decade agreeing with Pat Buchanan (about Bush’s wars and the Bush presidency’s effects on the conservative movement) more than I disagreed with him (on just about everything else)–it has been a topsy-turvy helluva ride.  (What can I say?  Pat knows his Realpolitik.)

Dr. Mister and I spent a lot of the past decade saying to ourselves that we’d happily return to the 1990s–if we could take maybe one or two things with us from this decade.  The 2000s were very, very good for us personally, professionally, and financially–but nationally and globally this decade has been pretty craptacular.  Can we rewind to 1999, take a Y2K meltdown for a few months, and then get back to partying like it’s 1989?

On a more serious note: tonight, PBS is showing A Girl’s Life, a movie by Rachel Simmons about modern adolescent girlhood.  Here’s a preview–I’ll watch it and will post a review tomorrow morning.  If any of you can catch it (it will probably air on your PBS station at 9 p. Eastern and Pacific/8 p. Central and Mountain), come on back tomorrow and let me know what you think.

12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Worst. Decade. Ever.”

  1. KC on 30 Dec 2009 at 9:43 am #

    The aughts were worse than the 90s for the United States, but were they worse for the world? The 1990s had ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the Rwandan genocide, the ongoing civil war in Angola, and the explosion of conflict in the DRC, to name a few large-scale catastrophes off the top of my head. Just a passing thought…

  2. Historiann on 30 Dec 2009 at 9:59 am #

    All comparisons are particular, not universal. Like I said, for me personally this has been a great decade. But for so many of my neighbors and fellow citizens, it’s been teh suck. What I liked about the Reason clip is that it illustrates how pathetically inept and unresponsive our government has been to the challenges it has faced in the past decade. Most of our politicians are still partying like it’s 1989–but for so many who are living in 2009, that’s just not possible.

    Clinton erred in not intervening in Rwanda–he has said that that’s the greatest regret of his presidency. Last time I checked, Congo was still a horror–but I think it’s even LESS likely now that the U.S. will intervene in the predations in Africa now, because of our manufactured wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  3. Paul S. on 30 Dec 2009 at 10:58 am #

    To be fair, a lot of the uglier developments in the USA of the last decade stem back to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which were not the fault of the US government.

  4. Feminist Avatar on 30 Dec 2009 at 11:02 am #

    In terms of the UK, I think the noughties were better than the 90s for most people. The level of wealth growth, beginning in the late 90s and continuing until the last couple of years, has been phenomenal. Home-ownership is up substantially- and while this has been a problem since the credit crunch, it has usually property capitalists (multiple home owners) who have suffered and people who need to sell NOW, rather than Joe Bloggs on the street (interest rates are LOW! Good for home owners.) More people than ever are in or have been in higher and further education- my family is a case in point- we went from no degrees to multiple across several generations, due to children and parents returning to education together in the last decade. Luxury industries, such as cheap airlines, holidays abroad, eating out in restaurants or takeaways, is now a normal part of an average person’s life. The levels on which we measure poverty now are substantially different than a decade ago. When the credit crunch hit, people tightened their belts but for many that meant getting rid of luxuries, not living in poverty. Politically, we were getting a bit conservative for my liking (even with New Labour in power (left wing party)), but the credit crunch has actually shaken this up a bit, although which way we’ll swing now is another question.

    The big problem at the moment is high unemployment, exsperated by a number of business going under, and so few available jobs at any level (skilled, specialist, unskilled- nothing!). But that has only been a problem for the last year or so, so really it will be the next decade that looks to be crap, if things don’t pick up!

  5. perpetua on 30 Dec 2009 at 11:06 am #

    @ Paul – I think the claim you make about what might have or might not have been the “fault” of the US gov’t is debatable. And in any event, the aftereffects of 9/11 are absolutely the responsibility of the US gov’t, especially and obviously the war in Iraq.

    I’m on board with Historiann about the worst decade. I was abroad when the war in Iraq started and I felt like I came home to a completely different – and unrecognizable – country. I’m not sure I’ve recovered from that yet.

  6. Historiann on 30 Dec 2009 at 11:08 am #

    Paul–I think there’s a more than reasonable debate about the role of the U.S. in provoking the 9/11 attacks (e.g. the Blowback hypothesis), but leaving that aside: there was nothing natural or inevitable about the way the U.S. government reacted to 9/11/01. People in government made choices and decisions, and the citizens made choices in the voting booth in 2002 and 2004 that supported the Bush strategy of more & more warfare, imprisonment, and torture. In 2006 and 2008, the people voted to repudiate some of those policies, but so far, the Obama administration’s national security & foreign policies look disturbingly similar to Bush’s.

    $hit happens, to be sure. But we always have several options and decisions to make. Perhaps Hurricaine Katrina is a better touchstone for this decade. A traumatic weather event happened–and what’s been the response? Is New Orleans any safer or more secured–or has the core of the city just been whitened and made safe for tourism and large corporations cashing in? It looks to me more like the latter–and that’s the fault of both of the “legacy parties” (Republicans and Dems.)

  7. A Girl’s Life « AROOO on 30 Dec 2009 at 11:25 am #

    [...] Girl’s Life 2009 December 30 by The Fabulously Mean Mutineer Kitty Glendower Historian informs her reading of a PBS special airing tonight, A Girl’s Life about contemporary adolescent [...]

  8. Rad Readr on 30 Dec 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Nick Gillespie at Reason started wearing a leather jacket this decade and there must be some people who think he’s funny or he wouldn’t make that Daily-Show-wannabe video. So it wasn’t such a bad decade for his public persona. Still, I’m surprised because Libertarians in the 90s (the ones I knew) used to talk about how things were always getting better. (capitalist advancement, new technology). To which the answer is, so much depends…it still depends upon a red wheel barrow.

  9. Paul S. on 31 Dec 2009 at 10:09 am #

    To be clear, I wasn’t saying that the US government does not have responsibility for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was saying that neither would have happened without the September 11 attacks. Even if some individuals supported war before this, I’m pretty sure that there would not have been large-scale support for either war in the “circles of power” or among the public at large.

    As for the idea that anything the US did was an actual “provocation” for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I believe that the main motive was supposedly anger about “infidel” US troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia – at the request of the Saudi government. I don’t believe that in any even slightly reasonable view of reality that this could be considered sufficient “provocation” for attacks of that kind.

  10. nicko-machOan ethics on 31 Dec 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    Thank you for this posting, H-Ann. Disclsoure: I also knew Nick in the 1990s and know for a fact that he does NOT like to dance (I’m referring to his comment about Obama dancing on Ellen). That’s cool I guess even if a really rocking dance party is going on and we’re partying like it’s 1999….

  11. Historiann on 31 Dec 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    Hey, nicko-machOan ethics: I think I remember a party like that one, about 10 years ago tonight! (Weirdly, I remember dancing not WITH Nick at that party, but in proximity to Nick, in a big circle, like a ring shout. Am I totally hallucinating?)

  12. nicko-machOan ethics on 31 Dec 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    dude didn’t dance. stood in the living room examining book collection contemplatively. wife danced though….