Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts on the Noughties

Henry Hill (Ray Liotta):
...When I was broke, I'd go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it's all over.
And that's the hardest part. Today everything is different; there's no action... have to wait around like everyone else. Can't even get decent food - right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles and ketchup...

- Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese

The noughties began on the crest of optimism. It was the height of the dotcom boom. Life in the IT industry felt like a neverending party. The party, which started in the mid-nineties, rose to a giddy crescendo at the turn of the millennium. For a brief moment, we felt like Masters of the Universe.

Then everything came crashing down. September 11 2001 was the symbolic turning point.  The noughties then became our decade of hangover. Nothing felt the same again after that. Everything tasted like egg noodles with ketchup.

Maybe the mobile revolution did finally come of age and social networking might just be that much-heralded Web 2.0. But somehow, it feels like we've sold our souls to the Devil just to recapture a glimmer of  our lost youth--the world now thinks that it has a right to intrude into our lives.

There's no longer any place to hide in that space-time continuum of cyberspace. Big Brother Google watches every move you make. And if you think you can find a bit of safety and reprieve in meatspace, your cellphone will turn snitch at the very first opportunity, pinning down your exact location there.

What does the new decade bring? I suppose one should always look forward with an air of optimism. I'll end my last blog entry for this decade with astronaut Dave Bowman's words in 2010: Odyssey Two (the under-rated sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey):

Heywood Floyd: What? What's going to happen?
Dave Bowman: Something wonderful.
Heywood Floyd: What?
Dave Bowman: I understand how you feel. You see, it's all very clear to me now. The whole thing. It's wonderful.

Let's hope it's going to be wonderful. Welcome 2010.