The 00’s: Worst. Decade. Ever.
2010 is important because it means that quite literally the worst decade in the history of decades, the aptly named “Double Zeroes” (named as such because it fails twice as hard as regular decades), is over and perhaps mankind can move on from such crippling things as terrorist attacks, an emo economy, and Luke Wilson advertising AMERICA’S NEXT 4G NETWORK and focus on the more (de)pressing matters like even more terrorist attacks, an economy so emo that it now combs its hair over both of its eyes, and more than likely Whoopi Goldberg advertising the inevitable “5G” network.
I kid; I have high hopes that the 10’s will turn the world around because seeing “10’s” gives me a mental picture of a monster truck completely destroying everything, doing a backflip, and bursting into flames while the judges literally shit their pants and hold up cards reading “10” while tacking all of their other score cards onto the end of it trying to give Grave Digger a score of “10,987,654,321” (that’s almost 11 billion points folks, beat that Maximum Destruction). At the very least if the Mayans are right with their 2012 nonsense then this decade won’t even have a chance to turn bad so think of it like that, it’s always great to stay positive!
Time and other magazines have already covered the obvious bases of what sucked last decade, things like 9/11 and idiots from the 1980’s and 1990’s “futurefucking” our economy by giving lots of loans to lots of financially irresponsible people (they blew it on Pokemon cards). This article is about the nuances of the last decade that I personally can’t wait to never see again until VH1 goes and creates I Love The New Millennium or something so I can hear what Michael Ian Black has to say about the New Kids on the Block reunion album. Oh wait — they already did.
As hypocritical as that sounds (because I am using the magic of the Internet right now), yes I am sick and tired of the Internet — the “new” Internet specifically. When the World Wide Web became commercially available to the masses thanks to America Online there wasn’t much you could do except browse text and look at pictures on your 14.4K modem. Want to read an article online? Great, just fire that modem up and get busy reading with the added bonus of not letting anyone be able to call you! But if you want that JPEG picture of the boobie lady to load you better break out the Monopoly board and play a few rounds while you wait. The early Internet, or rather “BAAACK IN MY DAAAYS”, was pretty bland and boring; minimalist if you wish. Most websites displayed in Times New Roman, the “page not found” error screen was just a wall of gray, and watching “streaming video” required you to view the newest National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation trailer in a forum avatar-sized QuickTime video. Oh, and Bejeweled was called Diamond Mine. But you know what? I kind of liked that.
I liked the moderately rugged look of tables embedded on a website, I liked those old “web rings”, and I liked the simplistic nature of the media. The Internet functions the exact same way it used to back in 1995; it’s mostly for the exchange of textual and graphic media except things are bizarrely over-complicated and needlessly intricate now. Perhaps Flash and CSS have made the Internet “easier” or on the other hand maybe they’ve completely driven web developers mad by adopting new regulations and stylistic compatibilities non-stop. Do you want to know the only thing I hated about 1990’s Internet? Comic Sans MS. I hated and STILL hate that font. Do you know what I hate about 2000’s Internet? Let’s just say sticking Comic Sans MS on the pages would be an improvement.
I may have missed the “golden era” of the arcade, and the Atari 2600 for that matter, but I at least had the pleasure of being able to enjoy the rebirth of video gaming after Nintendo saved the market’s ass thanks to the mistakes of Atari and equally as guilty third party developers. I got an NES when I was pretty young followed by a Sega Genesis and ultimately a Super Nintendo (and a Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation too). Back in the days of Atari games were not about pretty graphics, they were about playability and fun. That yellow block on the screen was an adventurer and that thing that kind of resembled a duck was supposed to be a dragon. You knew this only because the sticker on the cartridge showed your guy fighting a dragon in a hedgemaze; there were no ducks and ducks have no reason being in a castle anyways. That’s called context clues, people. With the advent of 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit gaming graphics were allowed to be prettier but many developers still focused on keeping games enjoyable and fun; case in point is the original Super Mario Bros for the NES. By the standards of NES graphics when Super Mario Bros 3 was released, the original was butt-ugly but retains its playability to this very day because it’s an inherently fun game.
Somewhere around the turn of the millennium people started getting the idea that video games were more about appearances than having fun playing the games themselves. Halo may be a game with beautiful graphics (that’s arguable but bear with me here) but the game plays like a sack of rocks that was basted with the fetid bathwater of an incontinent stroke victim and left to get tangy for a few months in the back lot of Nickelodeon Studios (more on them later), and a lot of modern games today suffer from this problem. People don’t buy games to see something visually pleasing, they buy them because they want to be engrossed in a mesmerizing and enjoyable experience; good graphics are a bonus if the primary goals of playability are attained. If Master Chief had a raw turkey for a head, half-rendered alligator feet, and borrowed the gun models from Goldeneye 007 people probably wouldn’t care so long as the game was addictively fun to play (not to be confused with “addictive” in the sense of “I need to play this for fifty hours to get this achievement”). Enemies in Goldeneye 007 had cubes for heads and levels consisted of paper-thin doors and the same 8 “owch I’ve been shot” clips but people didn’t care because that game was about 48 different kinds of fun to play. It’s a sad time for gamers everywhere, especially the new ones who never got a chance to properly appreciate the classics in a time when pretty pixels weren’t everything and just assume that hoity-toity cutscenes and blocky gameplay is to be expected.
If you are reading this article and you are kind of similar in demeanor and demographic to me then there is a good chance that Nickelodeon was a pretty big part of your childhood. Watch, I’ll prove it by saying one word. Kel. Did I just make you think of orange soda while getting the theme song to Kenan & Kel stuck in your head? See? Nickelodeon was an awesome television station in the nineties with a plethora of memorable series and production bumpers. I have yet to run into someone my age who doesn’t melt into nostalgic bliss when I start to acapella the All That theme song or when, in regards to their guts, ask “Do-do-do-do you HAVE IT?” If you were a kid and existed in the 1990’s you watched Nickelodeon, it’s as simple as that. You watched shows like Rocko’s Modern Life and Are You Afraid of the Dark and told Fox Kids where they could go shove Eeek the Cat and Goosebumps. You wanted a piece of that Aggro Cragg and you wanted it badly enough that you’d be willing to play bungee sports while Mike O’Malley screamed commentary about you not being able to catch Velcro-covered soccer balls flying at you in excess of 50 MPH.
But somewhere around the “Nickellennium” the train derailed and crashed through the side of the Fail Station. The cast of All That grew up and that was the first thing to go prompting Nickelodeon to try and find a replacement cast and fail miserably on all counts. You know you’re in for a ride when you’ve exhausted so many potential cast members that Jaime Lynn Spears shows up next in line followed by “that fat kid from Malcom in the Middle“. Kenan & Kel also grew up and left the station, a crisis answered by taking Drake Bell and Josh Peck from The Amanda Show (wherein Amanda Bynes also left to become an actress in teen drama movies) giving the world Drake & Josh, a tolerable show that’s okay to watch but leaves our generation yearning for someone, anyone, to barge into the scene and ask “Who loves orange soda?!” After X number of teen dramas and a slew of failed cartoons modern-day Nickelodeon has only one shining relic that they feverishly hold onto, a terribly god-awful animated series that emerged from the bowels of Hell itself at the turn of the millennium. Spongebob Squarepants. THIS IS YOUR FUTURE, WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?
Mentioned earlier in the article, the notion of “social networking” encompasses the general ideology that everybody needs to have a Twitter and a Facebook and a MySpace and a LiveJournal and their own Wikipedia article because everybody is important and everybody has something of merit to say. The truth is, no, no you do not. Some people need to understand that their existence is pointless and that they need to shut the hell up, because nobody cares to know that you were just charged for 2 packs of Ramen instead of 1. Much like Roastmaster detailed in a previous article here, Twitter is the bane of the Internet. It is the omega. Twitter is aiding in lowering both the usefulness of the Internet and the average intelligence of people one tweet at a time. MySpace is having a similar effect in regards to the number of 16-year-old camwhores taking upskirts of themselves, and Facebook users being guilty of being pretentious college students who post a picture of them in their military outfit right next to an image of them having a penis drawn on their drunken and passed-out body.
These social networking websites only aid in perpetuating a kind of belligerent narcissism making people think they’re some kind of special celebrity that deserves attention and fame when in reality no they are not. They are a talentless wage slave at a Wal-Mart with no special abilities or merit of any kind and while that’s not a bad thing it is a bad thing that an overabundance of ordinary people are claiming to be newsworthy; Reality TV is bad enough as it is. I write for this website, this article will be read by about 50 people total most likely, and I understand and accept that. I don’t expect to be stopped by someone within the next 15 minutes and be asked if “I’m that one guy from that one site” even though my resume of credits, appearances, and projects is worth at least a passing mention. Prior to the 2000’s if you had your own self-promoting website it was because you actually spent some time learning how to assemble a website and use code, or you simply had personal access to the Internet in the first place which was an expensive commodity. That was then, and with the advent of free providers like GeoCities (Rest in Internet Peace?) and widespread networking websites this is now. Everybody and their dog (literally) have a Twitter. Unless you are taking strides to work and make yourself known in a serious manner you are nothing special.
At the risk of sounding completely xenophobic I’m just going to be out with it, the Middle East is an example of how religion screws things up and in general the extremists who perpetuate the stereotype of Muslims and the such need to shut up, grow up, and quit crashing planes into buildings or trying to blow buses up. They think by doing so they’ll be greeted with 72 virgins in their version of Heaven. Really? Is that Heaven for you? 72 awkward first times with inexperienced lovers in exchange for taking your own life and the lives of others while the victims of your pointless “attack” theoretically go on to a Heaven where, you know, they could nail any supermodel who ever lived? What if those virgins are all World of Warcraft players? What now? Great work.
I’m tired of hearing about the Middle East. I’m tired of hearing about the quagmire of a war in the Middle East. I’m tired of hearing about how it’s apparently our responsibility as a “democratic” nation to spread democracy to other places when the places in question have a bigger problem with mindless teens with no direction in life blowing up a van outside of a school apparently under the impression he’ll get laid at least 72 times by people of a dubious origin. Think of it like American teens being told by Hannah Montana or The Jonas Brothers to kill their parents, they’d believe her. It’s not our business to screw with the Middle East’s agenda because their shit was broken before we went in there and guess what it’s still broken even after a hefty application of red white and blue duct tape. The Middle East may have been where life began on Earth but honestly right now it’s in a state of disrepair so bad I think the best option is to kinda cover it up and focus elsewhere. Just put a big ol’ snowglobe on top of it and see if that magical ecosystem can spawn a new breed of life all over again. Maybe people will evolve to have bombs already inside of them at birth! Or maybe the dinosaurs will come back instead. On second thought, we really need that snowglobe cover now. I want dinosaurs in 2011.
Here’s to 2010, and here’s to a new decade. Don’t let me down.