Born in the 60s of parents from the 30s, I was on holiday in Edinburgh in the first days of the 10s discussing the noughties with a beer in hand. Over many superbly kept and poured Deuchars IPA’s a friend and I discussed the impact of the last decade. More sober minds than ours had produced the inevitable decade’s end lists so we decided upon some uncommon awards.
End Of Western Civilisation Award: The insistence on cycle helmets for toddlers on tricycles to protect them from the risk of gravity. Parents who carelessly let their children fall 500mm without a helmet, knee pads, gloves, and counseling for PTSD are regarded as monsters. In fact, they are preparing the child for an apparently alien concept: reality. That’s the real reality and not the TV/PC one. In second place was the fact that 45% of voters in the US actually desired to be a heartbeat away from having a button-stroking President who believes that the End Times started in 1948 and is a prophesy from a God that created the Earth 6,000 years ago.
Leftist Schadenfreude Award: The decade’s volte-face from “Free market! No subsidies!” to “Bloody Chinese! Bail us out!”.
Absurdity of the Decade Award: Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize must merit the top spot in this category, especially as he’d recently signed off on the largest US military budget since WWII; much of it for the maintenance of US nuclear weapons. In the decade that brought Finland success in the Eurovision Song Contest with Lordi, it’s only fitting that Finland should get a mention here. The mournful peal of irony’s death knell continued in the noughties with a Finnish government Education Department spokesperson stating that Finland has the best education in the world: the PISA report said so! Not mentioned was the fact that the PISA group’s post-report evaluation process determined that the report was statistically flawed and no such conclusions could be drawn. If the spokesperson’s education was so good, she would have known that. She would have also known that saying such a thing is exactly the same as saying that the foreigners in Finland have had an inferior education. Try telling Nokia that. Irony: nul point. The art of the self-contradicting statement: cinq point. Inherent racism: dix point. Très bien.
Best of Decade Award: Bandwidth. The noughties heralded a massive increase in internet bandwidth and the explosion of communication technologies, many of them free. The fiction of Star Trek’s communications has truly become fact for those with the technology. High definition video calls across the planet, swift media transfers and the sheer wonder of video/radio on demand. It will be interesting to see what is created in the 10s to fill that bandwidth.
Watching the swirling storm in a fresh pint of IPA clear to reveal an alluring amber clarity I smiled at the improvement in air travel communications. The Finns can soon easily travel to Edinburgh to experience Deuchars art in a glass and the Scots can sample the succulent Plevna IPA in Tampere, thanks to Ryanair’s new service between the two cities. Perhaps things aren’t so bad after all – and let’s hope that Tampere airport’s terminal 2 is upgraded from Stalinist Chic.
Good luck for the 10s. Sláinte and Kippis.