Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Millennial Lament

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AP piece on mangled 60s nostalgia:

If you’re the chain store Party City, you traffic in costumes that will immediately evoke the “fun” 1960s, not James Meredith desegregating Ole Miss. If you’re producing “The Wonder Years,” you gin up grainy home movies for your opening credits and overlay a snippet of Joe Cocker singing at Woodstock.

But as time goes by, these anecdotal stand-ins shift to the front row. Instead of just evoking a decade, they become how we think about it. Then we start misremembering the past. Worse, we don’t even know we’re doing it.

It’s an entirely banal/played-out topic, I realize, but the article is well-written and if you’re a dork about generational navel-gazing (like me), worth a read. It also got me thinking/banal navel-gazing) … What are we going to mythologize about the oughts?

Did the oughts have their own distinct culture? Or was the whole decade just a mash-up of the culture of other decades, with a little bit of September 11th and some iPhones thrown in? Did I just answer my own question—our Gen Y Happy Days will just feature kids in Kohl’s sweaters, asymetrical haircuts and jeggings texting and watching ‘hamster on a piano’ while the best of the feel-good slogans from Bush’s moment of post-9/11 unity-building & the Obama campaign cameo in?

The oughts were my St. Elmo’s Fire decade (the one in which all my road-to-adulthood meandering took place), you know? I’m pretty protective of them right now. Will I find myself explaining to my children, sheesh, trucker-hat hipsters were a distinctly mid-ought phenomenon, you can’t just throw one into the Colbert rally! And—gah!—why is that character twittering if this movie is set in 2004?

Or will I completely forget the subtleties of the era myself?

Here’s what the AP article predicted a 2000s party would look like:

Imagine a 2000s theme party in, say, 2035. Your guests will snack on Mario Batali frozen hors d’oeuvres, dance to “Single Ladies” and wear Snooki outfits. The guy in the corner might be dressed as Tony Soprano or Simon Cowell. Some people, gathered in the kitchen, will be playing the interactive retro drinking game called “Status Update.”

I am not even sure who Mario Batali is … This does not bode well for my decade.

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Written by Elizabeth

November 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

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