While you may find an exhausting supply of “Best of” lists as 2009 and the “Aughts” decade comes to a close, the Pew Research Center has taken the alternative route: bleak news just in time for the holiday and impending new decade! The title of the report alone says it all: Public Looks Back at Worst Decade in 50 Years.
I suggested to The Other AC that this was perhaps an overstatement… especially considering the massive disappointments in the 80s… namely anything with Regean and Thatcher attached. He might have rightly countered this with the observation that, although there were many downsides to the decade (and we’re talking about more than the pop culture context, of course!), there were also some of the most memorably positive moments, especially with the decade-ending dismantling of the Berlin Wall (the anniversary of which was last month!). The kind of things that for a moment, makes you glad to be a part of humanity. It’s hard to search for similar bright spots in the 2009, muddled as it is in corruption, arrogance, fear, and triviality. Even the groundbreaking election of Barack Obama and shifts of political power in the United States has failed to match much of the expectations for better things.
My favorite part of the data is that, among the social and technological changes respondents were asked to rate, “More people getting tattoos” was included. Hmm….
Nonetheless, people seem optimistic about 2010. Perhaps the ticker starting on a new decade feels like wiping the slate clean.