Thursday, October 14, 2010

#29: Hating The Font Comic Sans

Above and to the left is the Wall Street Journal's artistic rendering of Vincent Connare, creator of Comic Sans, the most hated typeface on Earth.

Like DaVinci, the artist who drew Connare must be trying to communicate the deep well of esoteric secrets hiding behind the impenetrable smirk of he who sired the demon font. Consider that "Vincent Connare" is an anagram for "Can Reinvent Con." Also, legend has it that Jesus' birth certificate was written in Comic Sans. Coincidence?

"Hey Dave, as a hip, technologically savvy twenty-something with deliberately/hilariously overwrought opinions on such pop-cultural trivialities as typefaces, how do you intend to approach Comic Sans in the coming decade?"
"Well Holly, my initial thought was to occasionally use it ironically with a knowing wink and nod to its many detractors, but lately I've been considering post-ironically embracing it. How about you?"
"Yeah, I was planning on utilizing the latter approach. I may even write a contrarian blog post about how underrated it is and perhaps inflect that blog post with a twinge of 90's nostalgia to really set it off. I might also include a top-ten list of the best times to use Comic Sans set in a slide show to increase my page views!"
"Nice! I was thinking about writing my new blog entirely in Comic Sans without even commenting on the fact that I'm using it. Sort of a post-post-ironic take, you know?"
"That would be truly advanced."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#28: The Phrase "I'm a Grown-Ass Man!"

In the aughts, any old shlub off the street with a dick and a dream could be a grown man provided they were able to stay alive long enough. But some aspired to something more. They were not content with just being run of the mill everyday grown men. They wanted to be grown-ass men.

The grown-ass man is strident. He has opinions and principles, and he's not afraid to share them. The benefits of grown-ass mandom are many, but the most notable is being able to say "I'm a grown-ass man!" whenever someone questions his motives or actions. There is no adequate response to this.

Unfortunately, this statement can work against the grown-ass man, for if he fails to live up to the many expectations required of his station, then someone can say "You're a grown-ass man!" the implication being that the grown-ass man in question has disappointed the speaker. The grown-ass man must take care to act grown at all times, a responsibility that is not required of the standard grown man, who is free to act like a child as often as he sees fit.

"Have you finished your homework yet?"
"Don't come at me like that moms! I'm a grown-ass man! You can't tell me nothin!"
"Ira, you're 13 years old."
"You can take that shit up with Rabbi Birnbaum. Don't act like you ain't heard what he said in shul Saturday."
"Ira, it doesn't exactly work like that, sweetie..."
"Hit me up when dinner ready, I'm fi'in to go to Moishe crib. He got some fine-ass bitches up in there."
"Moishe's sisters are not bitches. They're very nice girls."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

#27: The Phrase "It Is What It Is"

Like yada yada yada of the '90s and wubba wubba wubba of the '80s, the aughts needed a disposable phrase to use as a dismissive form of punctuation, or as a stopgap, between 'like' and 'you know'. IIWII lacked the whimsy of its predecessors, reflecting the post-9/11 pre-recession dyspepsia of a generation convinced that America's course was now determined by a chaos theory whose primary variables were some arid sheep farmers and their neighbors' split-level ranch being reclaimed by National Bank of Schindler.


This: "This book report on 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' fails to consider the malaise of post-Soviet Czechoslavakia as it relates to Tomas's relationships. But it's due in 3 hours. It is what it is."

Not this: When the mind can take itself as an object it is what it is.

Usage Note: In lighter moments one might substitute "That's what she said". Most people in the aughts believed they came up with this joke before it was popularized by the television program "The Office".

Friday, June 25, 2010

#26: The DaVinci Code

In 2003, America decided they'd like to give this whole "reading" thing a try. Since they were all laughed out from the hilarious shenanigans of the families on Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens, they wanted something a bit darker. They yearned for mystery, suspense, a large number of easily digestible short chapters that could be read while taking a shit, and a heaping serving of Jesus.

Enter Dan Brown.

The marginally successful author of Deception Point and Angels and Demons struck gold with his fourth novel, The DaVinci Code. Based on the 1982 theoretical non-fiction account of Jesus' progeny, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The DaVinci Code was translated into 44 languages and sold over 80 million copies worldwide. Stephen King once referred to it as "the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese."

"I love readin'!"
"Really? Me too! My favorite author would have to be either Roth or Mailer, but I'll always have a soft spot for the works of Tom Wolfe; Bonfire of the Vanities was my first love. How about you?"
"Me, I like that Brown fella what wrote them books about Jesus' family and the English babysitter what had written the ones about the wizards n' such."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

#25: Turning on Dave Matthews Band After they Released Everyday

In the 1990's, The Dave Matthews Band were beloved by nearly everybody. Their pop sensibilities, masterful musicianship, and racially diverse lineup made them the act we could all agree on.

All of that changed in 2001 when the band teamed up with Alanis Morisette's producer to release their fourth studio album, a slicker, more electric, and less rootsy album called Everyday. From that point forward, hating Everyday but loving everything that came before it (while making sure to praise the bootleg Lillywhite Sessions in the process) was the only acceptable position for any serious DMB fan.

Luckily for Dave Matthews and his band, everyone who hated Everyday also purchased the album. Newly armed with the knowledge that they could release sub-par material with minimal effort and still become increasingly wealthy, the band continued to release successively worse albums, culminating in 2009's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, a dissonant amalgamation of nonsensical syllables and musical phrases that sold over 1,000,000 copies and was nominated for two Grammys.

"I used to like Dave Matthews."
"Yeah, me too, you stopped listening to them after Everyday, right?"
"No, I'm really only into Remember Two Things and some of the early Trax recordings. Not the officially released 'LiveTRAX' series of course, but the soundboard recordings from the actual club Trax where they used to play in the early 90's. Once Peter Griesar left, it just got too commercial."
"I see. Well played."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#24: The Word "Redonkulous"

In the aughts, every group of friends included one person who continued to use the word "redonkulous" long after it was cool* to use the word "redonkulous." These people are all now.employed as celebrity commentators for US Weekly.

"Hey girlfriend! Me and Skyler went to see Herbie: Fully Loaded last night! The ending was straight redonkulous!"
" (sigh) . . . "
"Get out."
"What? Why?! What did I say?!"
"Just . . . get out."

*The only time it was cool to say "redonkulous" was a brief but memorable three week period between April 15th and May 6th during the spring of 2001.

Friday, May 21, 2010

#23: Lost

In 2003, a man named Lloyd Braun, who was the president of ABC at the time, became aware of the popularity of stranded-on-an-island-based entertainments and decided he wanted a piece of the action. He hired the dude who created X-Files and one of the writers from Nash Bridges and set them loose. Then he went to play a little golf.

When he got back, Braun learned that ABC was planning on firing him. Naturally, he spent his remaining time at the company trying to fuck things up as much as possible. He stole office supplies, used the copier to make thousands of pictures of his genitals, and greenlit pilots for three separate Family Matters spin-offs.* Perhaps most notably, he spent $12 million to film the first episode of his island show that had now been re-written to include a secret underground hatch, a polar bear, and a people-eating column of black smoke.

Thus, the last truly great network television drama was born.

LOSTaholic4: "What about Friday Night Lights?"
DRivEShAFt8: "Yeah! I love that show!"
SawyersBallz15: "THAT SHOW SUCKS. B===D~~~~"
Mr_Cluck16: "IMO, they intentionally chose not to mention Friday Night Lights as a meta-commentary on the nature of good vs. evil."
DRivEShAFt8: "Interesting take."
LapidusTheFetus23: "Re: Mr_Cluck16, they time traveled back in post #15, so the authors of the blog wouldn't even be aware of the existence of Friday Night Lights."
LOSTaholic4: "OIC Good point, Fetus!"
MzJackShephard42: "omg i luvs awtsblog its hilarius and sooooo awesum lolz!"
Mr_Cluck16: "::Bows to Fetus' superior ANB knowledge."
DRivEShAFt8: "Do you guys think Corey is the smoke monster?"
LOSTaholic4: "Corey is the smoke monster and Ben is going to take over for Jacob as the protector of the blog, but he'll have to die in the final post to do so."
Mr_Cluck16: "Am happy they're going to kill Ben off. He's the Nicki and Paulo of AughtsNostagliaBlog."

*     *     *

* Urkel in Space, in which Urkel builds a spaceship and travels the universe accidentally knocking over space wedding cakes and constantly pestering the space-Winslows; Did I Do That!?, a hidden camera show hosted by Jaleel White in which actors infiltrate restaurants and family gatherings, accidentally knock things over, and them scream "Did I do that?!?" as the crew rushes on scene; and Family Matters: Special Victims Unit, in which Urkel graduates college, joins the police force, is partnered with Carl, and the two investigate rapes and molestations in metropolitan Chicago.

Monday, May 17, 2010

#22: High End Macaroni and Cheese

You're at that new Tom Colichio restaurant on the firm's dime, sitting next to that tenderoni who's dating that douchebag Todd from accounting. You're scanning the menu, but you only recognize every third word. Shallot? (A potato of some kind?), Babaganouj? (that Who song?), Jerusalem artichoke (still illegal in three states?). But then up pops a familiar face. Macaroni and cheese.

Sure, it's $11, but hey, you're out of college. Kraft Easy Mac is no longer the only thing standing between you and a life spent on the street turning tricks. You pull the trigger.

Raul the waiter plops it in front of you served in a little ceramic dish, or a sterling silver ramekin, or a hollowed out capuchin monkey skull. You take a bite. Your mouth is alive. Is that bourbon? Aged gouda? Creme fraiche? What's an ementaller? Who cares!?

"Say, this restaurant is somewhat expensive. Just look at the price of this Beef Wellington!"
"Hey, this place must be both hip and with-it. They offer Meat Loaf stuffed with olives and virgin goat's milk."
"Can you taste the truffled butter in the organic red mule grits?"
"Yeah, of course I can taste the truffled butter. Why? Can you not taste the truffled butter?"
"No, of course I can taste the truffled butter. I just wanted to make sure you could."
"Yeah. No, I'm definitely good."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

#21: Having Lil Wayne Do A Guest Verse On Your Track

Dwayne Carter spent most of the aughts sitting alone in a cavernous chamber deep within Wayne Manor for 16 to 18 hours a day, clutching a snifter of cough syrup while mumbling barely intelligible stream of consciousness ramblings into a microphone, pausing only for sleep and the occasional tooth-shining. These recordings were then sent to a top-secret room where a team of elves worked round the clock to separate the actual words from the codeine-addled jibberish (of course, some jibberish did slip through the cracks. The elves were good, but there was an awful lot of jibberish). These words were then grouped together by theme or tone of voice to form 30 to 45 second long verses, the best of which were paired with beats to be released as a mixtape or, in rare cases, a proper LP bearing the Lil Wayne name. Each verse that was not lucky enough to make it onto a Wayne release was loaded onto a USB memory stick, placed in an unmarked envelope, and mailed to a rapper chosen from Wayne Manor's detailed rapper database, which contained the names and addresses of every MC alive. Each day, rappers all over the world would wake up really early in the morning and run out to their mailbox in their pajamas to check and see if they had received a verse, which they would be free to use on their own album, mixtape, or "even though I'm in prison, please don't forget about me" time-released track.

It is estimated that 95 to 99 percent of rappers received a verse from Lil Wayne at some point in time in their career. Those who didn't were laughed at and called names by the other rappers and were forbidden from joining in any rapper games.

"Hey Gavin, what's up?"
"Not much Justin, how are you?"
"I'm cool. Have you heard the new Gucci Mane track? It's awesome."
"No, uh, I'm not really into him."
"Yeah, his music is a little too . . . uh . . . 'street', if you know what I mean."
"What? I don't follow."
"You know, his sound, it's, um, how do I put this . . . a little 'hardcore' or 'dark', if you will."
"Oh, OK. I see what you're getting at. Well, that's a shame, this song is really good. Wayne's verse is sick."
"Lil Wayne?!?! Why didn't you say so in the first place?! I saw him on The View once! I love that guy!"
"Fuck you."

Friday, April 30, 2010

#20: Even Losers Get Blackberries

The Original Blackberry weighed in at like 7 pounds. It had email and a screen big enough to house an IKEA Ektorp. And that was pretty much it. But that didn't stop you from putting it on the table at Nobu next to your actual cell phone, for all the world to see.

One day while you were drinking a Clearly Canadian you were shocked to see your assistant's boyfriend furiously typing away on something that didn't flip open like a kickstand. You knew this moment was coming. It was finally here. People were getting averageberries. And what's worse, their Abercrombieberries did more than the prickberry Bain gave you. They even made phone calls.

Smaller, more powerful, cheaper mallberries started showing up on the street. They infiltrated the chattering classes, the slums, and soon, teenagers. It wasn't long before every MetroPCS on the block was slinging rockberries.

Soon every Brandy, Buzz, and Xander could get updates on clearance blowouts at (gulp) Hot Topic, Yellowcard concert presales, and Thirsty Thursdays at Minor League baseball games with their slutberries and Clarksonberries.

Gregberries and Claireberries from down the streetberries brought them over for potluckberries. Kids talked on theirs over their morning Frankenberries. Every yoberry and broberry was talking on their Jagerberry in Burberry at the barberry.

"I have a blackberry."
"Me too."

"It's amazing how many different ways you can communicate on it."

"It is."


"Uh huh."

"Well cool, I'm gonna run."

"Yeah. Cool. Talk to you later."

Monday, April 26, 2010

#19: Flipping Houses

"Hello, we're the nice new Hispanic family that moved down the street. You can tell that we're non-threatening because we dress exclusively in Canadian tuxedos."

In the aughts, houses were like prostitutes. Sure, you had your bottom bitch. But then you had to get some other girls to work for you if you ever wanted to get off the corner you were on. And thus, "flipping houses" was born.

"Did you hear Gulliver was shot in his new '20s era Craftsman-style bungalow down near the Zoo?"
"Yes. I heard it was an up-and-coming neighborhood. Isn't there a really good shabu shabu place down there?"
"Yes, there is. Really good."

The craze was deepened by shows like "Trading Spaces" where couples donning primary colors redecorated their friends' homes. They incorporated inventive homey touches like painting, sprucing up, and moving a couch from one side of the room to the other. These were the sorts of things that passed for creativity in the aughts. It was a slow decade.

Friday, April 23, 2010

#18: Using A Picture Of Yourself Surrounded By A Few Bitches As Your Facebook Profile Picture

In the aughts, there was no better way to spruce up your Facebook Profile than including a picture of yourself accompanied by some fine-ass bitches. It didn't matter if you knew the choice pieces of ass in question or if the sum total of your interactions with these broads was limited to the aforementioned picture itself, communicating to everyone the fact that you hang out with straight dime-pieces on the reg was what mattered, bro.

"Did you see Brad's new profile pic?"
"Yeah, who are those girls he's with?"
"I don't know, probably just a couple of sluts he met downtown."
"Yeah, they did look like total sluts."
" . . . . . . . "
" . . . . . . . "
"Do you think that someday maybe we'll be in some asshole's profile picture?"
"Yeah! Of course! Don't worry, it'll happen for us sooner or later!"
"I sure hope so."
"Yeah. Yeah, me too."
" . . . . . . . "
" . . . . . . . "
"So, you wanna go see New Moon again?"
"Heck yes I do!"
(high fives)

Monday, April 12, 2010

#17: The Rise of Mixed Martial Arts

The aughts were truly a wonderful time to be a latent homosexual. What with the social acceptability of metrosexuality and the near ubiquity of Hollister clothing stores, never before had it been easier for a man to hide his true sexual orientation. But of all of these, perhaps the greatest boon to the covertly queer was the meteoric rise in popularity of mixed martial arts fighting competitions. Finally, the closeted gay man had a sport to call his own. Other than lacrosse, I mean.

MMA really had it all. Besides the obvious pleasures of watching near naked men, their perfectly sculpted bodies glistening with sweat, writhing on the ground with limbs entwined, engaging in the savage ballet that is hand to hand physical combat... You know, besides those pleasures, MMA also provided an outlet for the frothing rage that builds up in one's mind after years and years of hiding one's true sexual proclivities. Additionally, from Affliction tees to tight spandex TapouT skivvies, MMA fandom comes with its own unique wardrobe. What more could a closeted homosexual want? I mean, besides feeling safe enough to reveal his true self or living in a country whose government doesn't seek to deny him rights at every turn?

"I am very much enjoying watching this mixed martial arts match with you, Bryce."
"And I you, Marco."
"Oh! Look at that! A near-perfectly executed rear naked choke!"
"Indeed. It was, in a word, exquisite."
"Yes, Marco?"
"I want you to know that I definitely do not have a boner right now."
"I also do not have a boner. Surely, my penis has never been more flaccid."
"Yes, of course. More brie?"
"Please, but I'm afraid we're all out of the toasted rosemary artisan bread."
"Not to worry, I have another loaf in the kitchen. I'll just go get it now."
"Yes, Marco?"
"I . . . um . . . . I ---"
"Shhhhhh. Sweet, dear Bryce. Say no more for nothing needs to be said."
"Of course. I'll just go get that bread."
"And I will be here, patiently waiting your return."

Friday, April 9, 2010

#16: Under Armour

The aughts were the sweatiest decade of all (minus the Roaring twenties, and of course, 2300 BC). Liberals will tell you it's because of global warming. Conservatives will tell you it's because of the liberals' tofuvolvofarts. But it is this humble narrator's opinion that the departure from Rollerblading to jogging meant less windshear and thus greater inertia of sweat. Enter Kevin Plank, a football player for perhaps the most irrelevant Division I NCAA football program with an amphibious mascot, the University of Maryland. His business started modestly, but his fate was soon inextricably (and inexplicably) intertwined with that of Jeff George, who wore one of their formfitting shirts on the cover of USA Today. Under Armour's fate was sealed.

Soon pro athletes were wearing them on the field and off to run away from the cops. Liberals wore them to this really great little bagel shop that's only open on Saturdays from 10-1. Conservatives wore them in Church and also in Church.

"Hello, would you like to go to a local brasserie?"
"Yes, please permit me to change first."
"But you are appropriately outfitted.
"Aye, verily. But I am susceptible to the meatsweats*."

*--This blog post is dedicated to the millions of men and women who die of meatsweats every year.

Monday, April 5, 2010

#15: The Death Of Cynicism

Throughout the latter half of the aughts, the tide was turning. After suppressing all forms of earnest emotion throughout the previous two decades, young people were finally beginning to tire of appreciating things ironically and began appreciating them post-ironically, or for the truly advanced, simply appreciating them. Yes, irony and cynicism were in their death throes, but without someone to finish them off, they may have been allowed to fester beneath the zeitgeist only to return one day and flourish like never before.

Enter our pale knight of justice: Conan O'Brien. Sired in the wealthy suburbs of Boston by a lawyer and a doctor, he forged his razor sharp wit in the halls of Harvard University. In what was seemingly his and our darkest hour, this flame-haired champion rode into our homes, informing the world that the road to success was not merely open those entitled few who happened to be born into extremely favorable circumstances, but was built anew by each man with the asphalt of hard work and the yellow lane dividers of kindness.* And thus cynicism received its death blow. The monster had finally been slain.

Since then, the authors of this blog have been working tirelessly to resurrect it.

Conan: "All I ask of you, especially young people . . . is one thing. Please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen."
Audience Member 1: ". . . . Well that was lame."
Audience Member 2: "Or was it?"
Audience Member 1: (awed silence)

*Technically this happened 22 days after the aughts ended, but you'd have to be a real cynic to point that out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#14: Kabbalah

Sick of Punking people? Burned out after years of being an oversexed icon named after the mother of the Son of God? In the '90s you might have tried yoga or, if you were averse to sweating through your shirt, pilates. But nothing cured what ailed the soul in the aughts quite like a little touch of Kabbalah. What is it? Don't ask the Jews. Most of us don't really know. Yet in the aughts, some of Hollywood's biggest names (Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears) sought out some of Judaism's most famous names. I'm talking bout Solomon ibn Babirol. I'm talking bout Bahya ben Asher. And my main motherfucker, Rabbi Isaac Luria.

"Hello, Molly. How's it going?"
"Bad, in general. I just finalized my petition for a legal separation of marriage. Evan is about to move out of our mutual domicile. But at least there's the tax benefits."
"That sounds like a precarious arrangement. Are you using any sort of ancient Eastern tradition to help ease the transition to celibacy?"
"Well, I was considering primal scream therapy, but I just started a class on Kabbalah at the YMCA instead"
"Oh, yes. I heard about the book of Zohar from Oprah's book club. Much better than
The Corrections."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#13: Chappelle's Show

Chappelle's Show was a television program created by comedians Neal Brennan and Dave Chappelle that aired on networks around the world from 2003 to 2006. Almost universally beloved by the crucial 18-24 year old demographic, the show was noted for its intense, Pryorian focus on racial stereotypes. When comedian Carlos Mencia attempted the same on his show later in the decade, it was instantly reviled by that same demographic, proving once and for all that we prefer our racial humor to be delivered by thin, African American men rather than stocky hispanic ones.

To this day, TBS still refuses to accept this fact.

"Hello Greg, what are you working on?"
"Oh, hi Neil. I just converted my traditional IRA to a Roth account."
"That's very smart . . . Diversify yo' bonds, n****!"
"My goodness! Did you just say the 'n' word?!?"
"Well yeah, but it was a quote from Chapelle's Show. You know, the one with Wu-Tang Financial."
"Oh, OK. My mistake. I didn't realize you were quoting Chapelle's Show. No harm done. In fact, I now think what you said is funny, and, even though I haven't see the episode, I may use that quote in conversation in the future!"
"Sounds like an excellent plan. Almost as excellent as that Roth IRA of your's!"
"Right. Well then, good day, sir. Say hi to Bridgette and the kids for me. Oh, and before you leave, I'm riiicchhh, beeyotch!!"
"Hahahaha. Well said. We are both quite rich. Quite rich indeed."

Monday, March 22, 2010

#12: Carbohydrates

Villainized by Robert Atkins and countless local TV morning shows, the carbohydrate was a food item that prior to the advent of the aughts was practically unheard of, much like tilapia in the '90s and the Jews in the '30s. But unlike tilapia, it soon became the scapegoat for a nation in unrest. As waistlines expanded, the calls for answers from parents' groups and Tony Little grew more shrill. The carb's time had come.

Soon, they were rounded up and isolated or altogether eradicated on the menus of American gastronomical bastions like TGI Friday's in favor of new dishes like the "Chicken La Boca" (from the Boca region of France). Suddenly burgers went without buns. Corndogs without the cornbread condom. And the yeast infection was but a whisper.

It made for uncomfortable discussions around the family dinner table.

"Father, Billy O'Connor was talking about carbs in Ms. Johnson's class at school. What is a carb?"
"Billy means carbohydrates. Carb is their street name."

"Well what is it?"

"Well you know what HIV is, right?"

"Well, sure. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus."

"That's right. It's just like that but for sandwiches."

So it was. Much like the condor and the virgin, the carbohydrate was nearly extinct by the aughts' close. But for the onset of the transfat in 2006, the carbohydrate might have only been read on the menus of blogs like this one.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

#11: The Octomom

The Octomom's existence raised a variety of questions that raged in the hearts and minds of pop culture commentators everywhere. Questions like: What race is she? Should I use only the straight on picture of her grotesquely bloated stomach for my blog post or should I also include the profile? What am I doing with my life? And of course, Is she pretty?

But above all, the great debate that plagued these purveyors of popular opinion to no end and raised doubts about their fundamental nature was the following: Should I make snarky comments about the Octomom, or should I piously criticize her? Throughout the blogosphere and primetime celebrity tabloid show-o-sphere, mud was slung and high horses were mounted. No matter which side you fell on, the important thing is that we got people talking! Free speech had truly had its day.

"Can you believe this Octomom woman?!?"
"Yeah, I know, she fine!"
"Wait . . . what?"
"Uh, I mean, yes. I am now and have always been staunchly anti-Octomom."
"Yeah . . . yeah, me too."
". . . . ."
". . . . ."
"So, I guess I'll see you around this weekend?"
"Yeah, uh, sure, I'll give you a call or something."
"All right. Well, uh, bye."
"Yeah. Yeah, bye."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

#10: Livestrong Impostors

In the '90s, cancer was mostly the stuff of legend. It occasionally served as a plot arc in romantic comedies and less frequently in spy thrillers (see CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER). But by the aughts, showing people that you were not only aware of cancer but super hated it as well became paramount. There was perhaps no better way than by wearing a yellow, silicone bracelet endorsed by perhaps the greatest monotesticular athlete of our time. Jog with it. Beat Greg from Accounting in squash in it. Stretch an arm across the bar in it while waiting for a Michelob Ultra.

But before long, there was a silicone bracelet for everything.

Breast cancer ad executive: We need a successful ad campaign.
Prostate cancer ad executive: Those testicular douchebags seem to be on to something.

Breast cancer ad executive: What if we chose a color?

Lung cancer ad executive: I kind of like that.

Breast cancer ad executive: We call pink!

Colon cancer ad executive: We call brown!

After Big Cancer got their mitts on the nation's silicone reserves, the lesser known causes got in on the action.

Abortion holocaust awareness!

Anaphylaxis awareness!

60's baseball awareness!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

#9: Crocs Backlash

Crocs are a brand of shoes. That's it. They're just shoes. Crocs never told a single racist joke. Crocs do not care if gay people get married or not. Crocs have never asked to borrow money from you, nor have they ever tried to sleep with your sister. Crocs have never hung the toilet paper in improper overhand fashion. Crocs do not prefer Jay Leno to Conan O'Brien. Crocs do not enjoy the music of Panic! At The Disco. Crocs have never saved over your Final Fantasy XII game slot. Crocs never hit 72 home runs in a season, and even if they did, they would not have used illicit performance enhancing drugs to do so. Crocs have never deleted the most recent episode of Burn Notice off of your DVR before you got to see it. Crocs have never allowed your best friend to cook them chicken tetrazzini. Crocs have never outbid you by one dollar on contestant's row.

Crocs never once came over to your house and took a shit in the tank, rather than the bowl, of your toilet.

And yet, this Facebook group boasts one and a half million members, while this one only has 125,000. The aughts sucked.

"Crocs are so stupid."
"Yeah, they're stupid."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

#8: The Word "Fail"

Fail is an English verb that was commonly used as a noun on the Internet throughout the aughts. Its purpose is to sardonically highlight the mistakes of others. Often it was combined with another noun or phrase. For example, someone might see the picture above on a blog and type "google search fail" in the comments. This was theoretically funny.

"Would you describe Britney Spears' comeback performance at the 2007 VMAs as a 'fail' or an 'epic fail'?"
"Dude, I don't even know anymore."

Monday, March 8, 2010

#7: The Investment Banking Collapse

The good times had to end. Eating Sushi off of Thai hookers and tooting hog rails in Saint Tropez couldn't last forever. You were up to your ass in derivatives and your managing director was found tits up in a bathtub filled with 18-year-old Scotch. Lesson learned. You packed up the Black Lab and called up some buddies you once shared a NetJet with for biz school reccs.


DATE: 4 March 2010 02:26
SUBJECT: Admission Status

Dear Sirs,

I have extensive experience writing strategic documents on monetary instruments in world markets, analyzing pro forma effects of M&A activity, and participating in public equity process.

I further wish to communicate to you that I am a white dude and I understand that Harvard Business School has an illustrious history of liking white dudes.

Also my dad says hey.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

#6: Complaining That Your Parents Are On Facebook

When the social networking website Facebook exploded in the late aughts, everyone with Internet access created a profile, including many existing user's parents, which endlessly vexed these users for a variety of reasons that they were only too happy to relate to other Facebook users in conversation.

"My mom is SO RIDICULOUS on Facebook. She's on it ALL THE TIME."
"Yes. Yes! I want to have this conversation with you. Please, tell me more. Perhaps you could relate a humorous anecdote about some risque content you generated on Facebook that your mother ended up seeing? I am eagerly awaiting this anecdote. Surely, it will be hilarious."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

#5: The Diamond Rio mp3 player

At the turn of the aughts, and before all those shadowy dudes nancing around to Feist, there was the Diamond Rio 300. The very first device of its kind, it weighed in at 32 MB, and played about 12 songs (more if you used mp2's with 33% less mp). It came preloaded with a couple tracks from bands you had never heard of like Ozomatli and Floetry.

It lacked the highly developed sense of irony, sleek design, and detached-slack-shouldered-loner meme dominance of its iPod counterpart. Like the Laser Disc, Minidisc, and HD-DVD, the low mass techniks had spoken. Eventually, kids with Rios, Nomads, and the HP Paperweight were forced to buy white headphones and stuff their mp3 players, with their cheaper pricepoint and superior data storage, safely in their LEI's, hidden from judgmental eyes.

"Would it give you pleasure to listen to the new Hoobastank album on my mp3 player?"
"What is an mp3 player?"
"I mean an iPod."
"Produce the iPod. I would like to enjoy this Hoobastank. I hear they are of a similar auditory experience to Incubus."
"Come closer."
"Please remove the device from your pocket."
"I'd prefer not."

"But you must."
(removes mp3 player)
"Say! This isn't an iPod at all! Where did you get this? Service Merchandise? Good day, sir!"

Another popular aughts game: cut moody CBS footage over shitty country songs.

Friday, March 5, 2010

#4: Blogs Like The One You Are Reading Right Now

During the latter half of the aughts, blogs like the one you are reading right now proliferated throughout the Internet. They are really easy to write because they're just giant lists of things and potentially lucrative because they could become viral and get you a book deal.

"Hey Ben, you wanna start an aughts nostalgia blog with me?"
"Somebody may buy it and make it into a book...."
"Where do I sign?'"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

#3: Bringing Up The Voyage Of The Mimi in Conversation

The Voyage Of The Mimi was a multi-part semi-educational PBS miniseries that was the most important cultural touchstone in the life of anyone who went to middle school in the mid-nineties. Once these people got to high school and college, they would begin referencing the series in conversations with their peers to hilarious effect.

"Dude, remember Voyage Of The Mimi?!?!?"
"Yes. Yes I do."
"Remember Sally Ruth?"
"Yes. I do remember Sally Ruth."
"Remember the part where the two dudes got into the sleeping bag naked together?"
"Yes. I also remember the part where the two dudes got into the sleeping bag naked together."
"Oh man, remember how Ben Affleck was in it?"
"Yes. I remember that as well. You have now sufficiently impressed me with your knowledge of Voyage Of The Mimi. Let us laugh uproariously together, not because you have said something funny, but because you are referencing something that we both remember from our childhood and that is what passes for humor in a post-Family Guy world. You have convinced me that you are a lighthearted, clever person. Perhaps we can be friends. Now, as I said before, let us commence with the laughter in order to consummate this important bonding experience we just had."
(laughter ensues)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#2: The Word "Meh"

Throughout the aughts, Simpsons references became so commonplace that people began referencing the show without even knowing they were doing it. One of these references was the word "meh," which was used to convey profound indifference. It even has its own Wikipedia entry.

"An unbelievably massive tsunami occurred in the Indian Ocean today. It killed almost 230,000 people in 14 different countries. The earthquake that triggered it reached 9.3 on the Richter scale, making it the second largest earthquake ever recorded. It was truly a disaster of epic proportions. I'm about to make a donation to the worldwide relief fund, wanna join me?"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#1: Garden State

Garden State was a movie released in 2004 that, depending on how advanced you were at the time, either marked the point in time when you first became aware of The Shins or the point when The Shins stopped being cool forever.

"Garden State? That movie sucked pipe. Oh, you liked it? Yeah, I used to like it too . . . I guess."