Back in 1990 I remember reading an interview with a popular youth television presenter who has since disappeared off the face of the earth. He had recently had a baby with his girlfriend. The interviewer asked him about people who were concerned that he was having kids out of wedlock. His reaction was something like, “Hey man, this is the nineties. If people can’t handle it, it’s their problem.”
Ten years later people are still doing the “it’s the nineties, man” thing.
I recently read an article about a woman who was awarded a settlement after being sexually harassed at work. She was quoted as saying she as shocked at the level of harassment she had received from her co-workers because it was the nineties.
It’s like on 1 January 1990 suddenly people’s attitudes changed. That after consuming copious amounts of alcohol instead of waking up with a hangover people woke up with enlightenment.
“Oh wow, it’s the nineties! I will welcome my pothead dole-bludging son and his de facto wife and kids back into my family with open arms and unconditional love!”
It didn’t happen. All the wankers out there are still wankers. If they want to be dicks, the decade isn’t going to stop them.
But hope is on its way. The next decade has no easy way of describing it. Whilst saying “it’s the nineties” sounds kind of cool, saying “Get with it man, it’s the zeroes,” sounds dumb. And it’s hard to say “Lighten up, it’s the new millennium!” without sounding like a new-age flake.
The new year, the new decade, the new century, and yes, the new millennium will come and be celebrated, but it’s not going to change people’s lives. It takes more than a sunset and a sunrise to do that.