Obligatory End of Decade Post - 1909
What you just done so has somebody else."
Man, I can't wait for tomorrow. (Or to be more in tune with the zeitgeist: Jesus God, I can't wait for tomorrow. Or is it "Christ on a corndog?" Or on a Popsicle stick? Or some such phrase that suggests all at once how funny, irreverent and tragically hip you are.)
Tomorrow means we can start to stop recollecting 2000-20009, as if those 10 years were all that ever happened in the History of Earth. Such a bunch of myopic, egocentric, crybaby prima donna bitches we've become. Let's all make a list suggesting that the passing decade was somehow so monumental, momentous and epic, that it will be a long time before we ever experience ten years like the ones we've just been through. Make a list that will become ephemera before you even hit the "publish post" button. Most of these lists are a collection of rehashed scraps anyway; stuff someone heard or read and regurgitated for the amusement of a few readers; and more likely for their own amusement.
Let's recall the years 1900-1909.
Oh, dear readers! What an epoch we have come through! What an era of change! I dare say we are marked for it, and I know not whether we are marked for better or for worse.
Ah, 1900! Remember the promise? The joy of ushering in a new century? We were all so full of hope! And then, on the very first day of this new century, Hawaii asks for a delegate to the Republican Convention! We might've known right then that we were in for a decade of comic disaster. And then! The assassination of Kentucky Governor William Goebel! Things were starting off ever so bleakly. In March the decade was already officially ruined when in France they passed the law making the legal length of a workday for women and children just 11 hours. It seems so long ago now, looking back from the eve of 1910, but that one act would usher in a spiral of decline, perhaps making this the "What in The Name of All That is Good is Happening to Our World" Decade.
Boxer Rebellion, Philippine-American War, King Umberto I of Italy is assassinated, the devastating hurricane that killed 8,000 souls in Galveston! And we were only getting started.
The death of Queen Victoria. New York State requiring license plates on automobiles! (The tyranny!) Stock market crash of '01. The assassination of President McKinley! The Southern violence that erupted after Booker T. Washington was received at the White House. Were we surely not on the precipice of ruin by the end of 1901?
Cuba gains independence from the United States! If you could not sense the end of our nation's Providencially Ordained Dominance by then, my friends, you surely had your heads buried in a sandy San Juan hill! Miners striking, Guatemalan earthquakes. I shudder as I recall it all.
Mudslides in Alberta, the King and Queen of Serbia assassinated, flash floods in Oregon, Paris Metro train fire, theater fire in Chicago kills 600, Orville and Wilbur Wright defy God and all that is natural and fly through the air! The Great Baltimore Fire, Russia declares war on Japan, the Great Toronto Fire, the steamboat fire in the East River kills 1,000, Governor General of Finland assassinated, Moscow tornado, 20,000 killed in Indian earthquake, Norway achieves independence from Sweden, the beginning of the naval arms race, the start of the Russian Revolution AND the murder of Frank Steunenberg, ex-governor of Idaho!
Coal mine explosion kills 1,000 in France, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the San Francisco earthquake claims 3,000 lives while 20,000 were killed in the Chilean earthquake and 10,000 by the typhoon and tsunami in Hong Kong AND The Grand Duchy of Finland becomes the first nation to include the right of women to stand as candidates when it adopted universal suffrage!
The invention of the submarine, working class children in Rome get a school! School? For WORKING CLASS Children? Good God, Man! The Wall Street Panic of '07, more mining disasters in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the King of Portugal and his son are murdered in Lisbon, the Young Turk rebellion and the earthquake and tsunami of Messina, Sicily and Calabria that killed over 70,000 people.
And as I write this, more progress, more tragedy, more immense undertakings the likes of which man has never seen continue, including the recent opening of the Manhattan Bridge, meaning the City will soon be teeming with Brooklynites! What hath we wrought, my dear readers?
Here's to a more subdued and genteel 1910. Let us usher in a decade of new promise, of understanding and goodwill. We are surely marked for the time through which we have passed, but let us learn from it and forge on more learned, more reflective, and better for it.
Get a grip. It's just another year.