The Top 10 Decades of the Century: How The 2000s Compared

#5. The 1950s

What Was Better Than the 00s?

Call it superficial, but holy shit we looked good in the 50s. Of course, this was also the decade where America perfected silent repression, but what better way to bottle up all those frustrated emotions than with a smart fedora and a gray flannel suit? It's easy to be a conformist when it makes all men look like Don Draper and all women look like Joan Holloway.

Rock and Roll scared the hell out of the world, while Rhythm and Blues sat back and nodded at the carnage with a slick smile on its face. We bought TV dinners and hula-hooped and dreamed of going to an actual Magic Kingdom that the Mouse-Guy put in southern California. But that was nothing compared to the opening of our skulls by Science Fiction. The genre never was as alive or as respected as it was in the 50s, partially due to the optimism and "Golly-Gee-Whiz" attitude of your typical American, and partially because we had no way to gauge how cheesy and corny some of these stories really were. Giant, rampaging Lizard Things farting atomic fire? Malevolent, giant ant swarms? Martians with fishbowls on their heads falling before the might of superhero scientists with iron jaws and perfect teeth clenching a corncob pipe with Patricia Neal clinging to his calves? Fuck yes, said the 50s, we'll take seconds, please.

What Was Worse?

Over 30,000 Americans died trying to fix things for Korea, and by the time the conflict was halted, nothing was (again) really resolved. The conflict also ensured the eventual rise to power of Kim Jong-Il- the bespectacled, malignant, non-sexual equivalent of Prince. Joe McCarthy was also busy getting his Salem Witch Trials on in the Senate. People think Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are bad, but their combined Wonder Douche powers would be but a dim glimmer in the white hot glare of titanic asshattery Joe McCarthy perpetrated on America's sanity.

#4. The 1980s

What Was Better Than the 00s?

Peace broke out on a global scale: the Berlin Wall fell, the Cold War ended after Gorbachev decided that the decades-long dick measuring contest had gotten old and Superman threw all the world's nuclear weapons into the sun so we wouldn't have to worry about World War III ever again.

So why did everyone stop with the communism and start playing nice with America? MTV. Back when it played music videos, there was no better way to indoctrinate the world with our stubbled, sportscoated, no-socks-havin' cool than to let people watch Duran Duran videos for 24-hours a day. Everyone wanted to eat cheeseburgers, ride purple motorcycles in acidwash jeans and the moonwalk was the entire world's preferred method of locomotion. America was crazy and drunk on its own culture, dancing topless with a lampshade on its head, and everyone wanted to hit that ridiculous shit.

What Was Worse?

A lot of our crap broke at really inopportune moments: Chernobyl melted down, the Challenger blew up and the Exxon Valdez vomited black gold all over the Alaskan coast. Also, we weren't all that nice to gay people. The gay community wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms in previous decades, but homophobia was never as mainstream as it was in the 80s. The popularization of the term "gay" as a negative happened here, casually ostracizing "fags" right out in the open much like our grandparents would casually drop the N-word without so much as a change in pulse. There were advances made for the cause, but the President basically ignored AIDS for the entirety of his two terms, opting instead to focus on the futile "War on Drugs" that needlessly overcrowded prisons and kneecapped the justice system. The War conveniently ignored the cokeheads buttfucking the stock market like Patrick Bateman (but without even the basic courtesy to lay down some Visqueen first,) but that's all right because Reagan was like the Picasso of the corporate bailout. Obama might as well be fingerpainting with his own turds in comparison.

#3. The 1920s

What Was Better Than the 00s?

Women finally got the right to vote. Black people not so much, but the Harlem Renaissance exploded on the scene, unleashing Nora Zeale Hurston and Langston Hughes on an unsuspecting public. White writers got their drunken funk on too: Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway drastically changed the face of fiction and became legendary figures in and of themselves, setting a bar for two-fisted, naked masculinity that most pencil-neck typewriter addicts would give their left nut to approach. Hemingway was slaughtering bulls off a fifth of rum in his free time. Meanwhile in the 00s, James Frey is getting cuckolded on Oprah for making up a memoir to sell to couch-bound hausfraus.

The 20s were also the first decade in American history where more people lived in the city than in the country. History will say this had something to do with the amazing growth of industry, but it was really because the 20s are when America learned how to fucking party. The war was over and money was rolling in, so we got dolled up, hit the club, danced like maniacs and got blitzed like 1940s Britain. There was a metamorphosis that occurred in the 20s, a solidification of America's identity, and a cutting loose that resulted in one of the most vibrant artistic periods in American history. We were simply too rich, too happy and too drunk to really pay attention to anything else. The hangover of the 30s was a motherfucker, but the party was almost worth it.

What Was Worse?

Prohibition: One of America's biggest failed social experiments. But in keeping with the overall tone of the 20s, even that turned into a party. Little kids play cops and robbers to this day because of the way the 20s mythologized criminals. It's easier to have a heart for the bad guy when he's the one responsible for getting your goddamned whiskey after a hard day's work. Nevertheless, America's major problems with organized crime, and all the heartless, cold-blooded murders that went along with it, started here, all thanks to prohibition. And like any proper rager, it all ended abruptly and severely. The 20s came to a horrific close on Black Tuesday, when the stock market crashed, and it was raining men on Wall Street. The failure was so complete and so devastating that it took the worst war the world has ever known to restart the economy.

#2. The 1990s

What Was Better Than the 00s?

We got rich, bitch! The decade began with a recession, and ended with the biggest surplus in American history. Personal incomes doubled over the course of the decade, and the DOW topped 10,000 for the first time in recorded history. Apartheid finally ended in South Africa, and Nelson Mandela was set free and made leader of his country. Germany unified, and the Soviet Union finally broke apart. Hell, even Ireland finally agreed to stop bombing the hell out of itself, and just got bombed at the pub instead.

What Was Worse?

For as ugly as the 70s were, at least it was earth-toned and relatively subdued. The 90s were full of day-glo vomit that people proudly wore with no irony. We were fanny-packed and heat-activated; we wore condoms on our backwards Starter jerseys and kept the tags on our Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls so everybody would know just how much we'd be willing to pay to look like an extra from a Will Smith video.

The World Trade Center got bombed, Oklahoma City got bombed, The Unabomber became a punchline on Jay Leno and yet we were still concerned more with Bill Clinton's dick and Jennifer Aniston's hair. In a similar lapse of good taste, the reality show jammed its foot in the door of public consciousness, thus legitimizing fame-whoring for the sake of fame-whoring and suddenly making blowjobs a legitimate qualification for stardom (we're looking at you, Paris Hilton. Which is probably all you've ever wanted, come to think of it).

#1. The 1940s

What Was Better Than the 00s?


"Wait," you might say, "that was a giant WAR. There was a Holocaust, atomic bombs--people MELTED, man."

It was a different time.

All true, but as far as U.S. involvement goes, it was justified. And we won. WWII is basically the reason people still like America, even after Michael Bay made Pearl Harbor. The war also gave us legends like Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton. WWII could apply for a patent on masculinity and it would be granted. But when you get down to it, any decade that features a bullet entering Hitler's head is a great decade.

What Was Worse?

Stalin was kind of a monumental dick. The aforementioned Holocaust clearly sucked. Also the war that claimed the lives of millions upon millions of young men and women fighting against the worst crimes man has ever attempted to perpetrate on his fellow man. But mostly the 40s sucked because the soldiers that did come home immediately started banging their wives like rabbits on a strict Cialis diet. That doesn't sound like such a negative... until you realize that their children became the insufferable hippies of the 60s, the Junk Bond trading vampires of the 80s and, finally, the confused, worthless old farts wearing teabags on their liver-spotted, croaking, froglike faces in the 00s. But still, we can probably forgive all that; because without the influence of the Greatest Generation, Indiana Jones would have nobody to fight and roughly half the first person shooters ever made would be oddly anti-climactic. Plus there was that whole "saving the world" thing, too.

So there you go: The 40s were probably the best decade of the century, and while the 00s weren't exactly the prettiest girl at the dance, at least they weren't the buck-toothed, acne-scarred, she-male suckin' dick for bus-fare behind the gym like the 30s.

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