Name for a Decade

SUBHEAD: Is the fact that we have not come up with a proper name for this last decade or the next mean anything?

By Juan Wilson on 28 December 2009 For Islasnd Breath -

 Image above: Detail of cover of January 1st, 1910 cover of the Saturday Evening Post by J. C. Leyendecker. It was a time of great optimism symbolized by the earliest days of human flight. From  
Back in 1982, the artist then (but now formerly) known as Prince, released the album titled "1999". The title song lyrics began with:

I was dreamin' when I wrote this Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin' Coulda sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple There were people runnin' everywhere
Tryin' 2 run from the destruction U know I didn't even care
'Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999.

Well, during the Eighties and the Nineties we knew the names of our decades. All my life that was true, beginning in the 1940's (the Forties). But, when Prince sang "cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over, oops out of time" I realized we had no good name for the first decade of the coming millennium.

By the time the actual New Year's Eve 1999 party came around, I had not heard anyone come up with a good name for the new decade. Everybody was too concerned with the Y2K Bug and whether our computers would cough up a hairball when midnight struck and the whole power-grid would wink out.

In 2000 I had two favorite names for the new decade - The Aughties (as in "aught" meaning "zero", like "nineteen-aught-four" or 1904) and - The Naughties (as in "naught" meaning "nothing", like "it was all for naught", nada, zero.).

I asked people what name they preferred. Some wiseguys said we did not have to think about it for another year because, strictly speaking the new millennium would not start until 2001. Even well into that next year, nobody had come up with a generally accepted name for the decade.

Then 9-11 happened and nobody spoke much about something so trivial as a nickname for a decade. Everything was either "pre" or "post" nine-eleven.

Now the whole decade has slipped away without a moniker. Looking back at our behavior since 9-11 I have settled on the name The Naughties (as in "naughty" meaning "improper, tasteless, indecorous, and indecent") for a characterization of the this last decade.

In a couple of days we will begin a new decade. It will likely be more tumultuous than the one we are finishing up. Certainly we will be entering a time of having less of many things we are used to. Less wealth, less oil, less energy, less food.

I have not heard a decent name advanced for the new decade yet. If we don't come up with something we will have to wait until 2020 for the Twenties for roll around again and give us a proper decade name.

Here's my proposal. The decade of 2010-1019 should be called the "Teensies" (as in "teensier" meaning smaller). Isn't that appropriate for our need to Downsize and embrace Demand Destruction?

So Hau'oli Makahiki Hou to all on Kauai and in Hawaii Nei!

1 comment :

Scottie P said...

The only NUMERICAL & MNEMONICALLY correct phrases to name the century's first decade are AUGHTIES, NAUGHTIES, NAUGHTS, AUGHTS or NAUGHTY AUGHTIES.

A few suggestions use one or more specific events that occurred during the decade. They will probably never be used from a radio and broadcasting point of view because they do not encompass this whole decade and they aren't pleasing to the ear. Radio stations introduce their programming along the lines of “Music from the 80s, 90s and Today”. Soon, they’ll be replacing it with “Music from the 90s (NineTIES), ______TIES and Today”. The best choices contain either AUGHTIES, NAUGHTIES, NAUGHTY AUGHTIES, NAUGHTS or AUGHTS. Using events usually requires one to use adages like "The Age of" or "Era" which is more descriptive of a time period, not necessarily an actual decade. There is a huge difference between what a decade is "remembered for" versus what a decade is "referred to as". The suggestions reported on your show (Age of Confusion, , Era of Misplaced Anxiety, Decade of Disruptions, North goes South, etc) do NOT pass this simple litmus test. Any suggestion that would require you to be a history buff in the future, shouldn't even be considered.

The media needs to embrace the only viable choice from a NUMERICAL & MNEMONICAL point of view. The first decade of previous generations did not have this sense of urgency as mass marketing really didn't exist. The mass marketing concept was introduced to the public with the advent of radio broadcasting of the mid 1920's (Roaring Twenties) and heightened in the 1940's with television accessibility.

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