Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory End of Decade Post - 1909

"You know that history repeats itself.
What you just done so has somebody else.
-S. Tallarico

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 travel back in time. Let's only go back 100 years.
Let's recall the years 1900-1909.
(Harp SFX)

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.

(Harp SFX) Back to the present

Now, see? doesn't your Mark Sanford, iPhone, Obama, 9/11, Janet Jackson showed her tit at the SuperBowl, Bush-Cheney, Wars and Rumors of Wars list look kind of silly?

Get a grip. It's just another year.

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  • "Such a bunch of myopic, egocentric, crybaby prima donna bitches we've become." I could NEVER have said this better. Get your good shit published, my man.

    By OpenID adchick, at December 31, 2009 at 10:49 PM  

  • Thanks very much, Chica. And Happy New Year.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at January 1, 2010 at 12:48 AM  

  • Moscow had a tornado?

    By Blogger mtlb, at January 1, 2010 at 1:07 AM  

  • Glad you caught that, Bill. And yes: Moscow Tornado:

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at January 1, 2010 at 1:14 AM  

  • I'm writing a post today about best end-of-decade teardown posts. Oh, Jetpacks! The gall!

    Would you like to subscribe to my newsletter?

    By Anonymous Oakhurst, at January 1, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

  • I belive the current phrase to be "Jesus F#*k", but it may have changed since I posted this.

    By Blogger thesnake, at January 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM  

  • yer a dick and you sux

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 2, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

  • You are overlooking the face that history - shared world events - and space/time itself is closing in on itself, at increasing speed. This isn't necessarily an illusion based on increased speed of wireless communication. It is not egocentric to note the spring-loaded militarism that resulted from the 911 demolition, the disassociation of young people - through medication, through self-prostitution (see Paris Hilton, Britney's, Lindsay's exposing of their private parts for media attention, the semi-nude photos on Twitter of other Disney Project Monarch girls), the gruesome alienation that has made casual conversation an anachronism...there has been so much wreckage in the past nine years. It is worthy of a pause, as it is quite unlike other decades - at least the 1960's, with its upheavals, had incredible music and cultural infusions from other parts of the world.
    In order to put an end to the cancerous effects of 2000-2009, it is critical to perform a careful, insightful autopsy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 2, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

  • Excellent points, Anon. We are indeed living in an accelerated, and as you argue, fairly debauched era. I am simply pointing out that events per ten years were no less dramatic and monumental (if not, more so) in other decades. We are not living in a time that is any more action-packed and historic than past years.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at January 2, 2010 at 6:42 PM  

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