Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Best of the Decade (Part 1)

With the decade nearing its end, magazines, newspapers, TV shows, websites, blogs, and Tweeters alike are scrambling to commemorate the era. According to various sources, this decade gave us:

--The end of pop music.
--The glorious rebirth of pop-ulist music.
--Popular culture as an incredibly sad, self-sustained, detached farce.
--Popular culture that was as accelerated and vital as ever before.
--Paris Hilton.
--Barack Obama.
--The death of America.
--The resurrected life of America.
--And everything in between.
--And absolutely nothing in between.

Perhaps nobody knows what to make of the Oughts yet, and perhaps nobody will until they're well behind us. Unlike other decades, I can't pinpoint a definitive artistic movement. I can't isolate one iconic individual. Technology accelerated popular culture so rapidly in the last ten years, I'm not certain any one artistic movement could've lasted long enough to "own" the decade. Also, I struggle to pick the quintessential work of the Oughts from each medium. That is, what one movie sums up the last ten years? What one rock album will we point to and say, "that's as good a description as any of what it meant to live at that time"? As I've written before, popular culture in the 2000's has been marked by its declining popularity. While more people are watching television or reading tabloids than ever, each fan-base is a tiny plurality, not a national majority.

Americans have more options than ever, but less things are universally shared.

But in the interest of trying, in the interest of classic interwebsite rogue democracy, and in the interest of fun, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Between now and January 1, I'm going to periodically post a Top 10 List from the Oughts. The goal isn't to quantitatively define who won and who mattered most in the last ten years. The goal is to see if there's some kind of perceived, consensus front-runner in each category. The theory is that there is front-runner exists; fanbases are fragmented, the culture is niche-driven, and I'll get a 1000 different responses to every question. On paper, we shouldn't agree on anything. I'm just curious to see if we do.

So, I wanted to hear from you first. Below you'll find several polls with simple "Best Of the Decade" questions: "Best Rock Album," "Best Sitcom," etc. When I say "Best Of," I'm completely letting each voter define that for themselves. I will say, however, that my only constant rubric would be something that you would call of the decade. It--whatever IT is--has to characterize for you what it meant to be an American in the last ten years.

Alright, let's get voting! Here's what you do:
1) Find the polls on the right sidebar.
2) Sign in. Don't worry. This isn't involved. If you've basically ever used Google, you're ready to sign in...just click on through.
3) Answer all three poll questions.
4) Join in the comments if you'd like to suggest specific candidates, or if you've got a bone to pick, or if you'd like to make the case for any one vote.
5) Come back Thursday for Part 2.

Until then...


Organized Living by Amy said...

I signed in. Still not letting me vote. Sad.

Chris Milam said...

Arg! Hopefully I can get it straightened out.

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