6 Famous 2000s Things (That Were Actually Awful)
By our extremely lazy calculations, nostalgia lags twenty years behind the current date, meaning we can finally bid adieu to the 1990s (again) and prepare to reminisce about the Y2K era with unreasonably rose-tinted specs. That said, 2000s culture was worse than you recall. In fact, it was a decade filled with dubious choices that left us shaking our heads ... or at least it should have.
LimeWire Was Intentionally Made to Be a Cesspool, and It Landed Innocent People Under Arrest
Back when peer-to-peer networks flourished, those too cool to pay for their music library found an answer in LimeWire. Any movie, album, or video game you could imagine free for the taking, as long as you could stomach the glut of extremely dubious mp3s that sounded like they were recorded on a wax cylinder.
But along with this veritable cornucopia of Hoobastank and Jimmy Eat World tracks was an absolutely comical amount of malware. Unless you opted for the subscription version (thus defeating the entire purpose of pirating stuff) adware/spyware was automatically installed on your computer, tracking browsing history, and possibly hijacking your homepage and spamming you with ads.
An inevitable chunk of downloaded files also contained viruses, Trojanware, or other illegal stuff. Yes, "that kind" of illegal stuff. Peer-to-peer trading programs don't have any method of confirming the file is the exact thing you typed in, only scrounging for matching keywords. You could wind up downloading files others never intended to trade, or vice versa. The unlucky faced prosecution, and at least one man was sentenced to life on a sex offenders registry for child porn he claimed was unintentionally downloaded and immediately erased in horror. The LimeWire people likely knew but did nothing to stop it. Metallica was right to warn us?
Borat Is a Sleazy Exploitation Movie Posing as Social Commentary
One of the most grating parts about being alive in 2006-07 was being bombarded by terrible Borat impressions every waking second, inspired by the Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentary of the same name. The human race subjected to a non-stop, six month, international publicity tour, where Cohen -- remaining firmly in character -- repeated the same exact five scripted jokes verbatim again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again ...
If that seems horribly repetitive, Borat was already a recycled character from Cohen's British comedy interview program, Da Ali G Show. You can sort of dismiss the unoriginality, but he also dunked on Kazakhstan, a country with no history of significant anti-Semitism, that is literally surrounded countries that still have rampant anti-Semitism. If he really planned on lampooning anti-Semitism, he could have just stayed in his own totally enlightened homeland. Plus, remember those goofy villagers seen in Borat's "hometown" at the beginning of the movie? Yeah, they were actual Romanian townspeople without running water or education, debasing themselves in exchange for the three US dollars an hour. Woof.
Owning An Early iPod Was A Pain In The Ass
iPods were the must-have 2000s accessory for the fashionably aloof music aficionado. They were also planned obsolescence gone mad. You see, Apple's newfangled technology had a glaring flaw. The battery, promised to last the life of the device, never came close to fulfilling that obligation, thus leaving users shelling out for a replacement battery that was half the price of the $200 music player, with batteries rarely holding a ten-hour charge as advertised.
Enterprising owners tried to find workarounds, busting the things asunder to dislodge the battery, which oh-so-conveniently voids the warranty. The average life of the iPad's battery was estimated at about 18 months. The warranty, as you already guessed, only applied to machines under 12 months old. Apple refused to acknowledge the issue until the Neistat Brothers initiated a guerrilla marketing campaign shitting on the iPod as a $200 brick. No amount of Steve Jobs spin could solve this.
Playing it off as a disposable object, Apple assumed their customers would just toss it in the trash and buy a new one. Despite a battery so worthless that it killed the device and a screen so ineptly designed a class-action lawsuit needed to be filed to bring attention to the situation, Apple's legacy remained intact. Consumers had fine print to suffer through just to find out if they qualified for a measly $50 compensation.
GTA San Andreas Is an Ugly, Clumsily Designed Game (Even By 2004 Standards)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas remains a gaming classic. Remarkable, as it's built on a geriatric engine laughably out of date even back in 2004. While games like Half-Life 2, Doom 3, Far Cry, and Thief: Deadly Shadows were pushing the boundaries of available technology on a fraction of the budget, San Andreas featured awful lighting, firearm sound effects that sound like a stapler, lousy AI, blocky models, and nonexistent physics. See if you can spot the difference compared to the original Far Cry.
Playing the unmodded game today and you'll notice CJ's head frequently blocking the reticle. When you try and back away in a shoot out, you'll turn your back to enemy gangbangers and shoot straight up in the air. The RPG elements should have brought depth, but only wasted hours of your life. One mission involves swimming ability, so the game requires you to dive and resurface for like twenty minutes to fill that meter in order to progress the storyline should you have ignored that otherwise useless ability. The dating simulation boiled down to driving around in circles for fifteen minutes to fill up yet another arbitrary meter.
As for the giant open world you recall lovingly, it was absolutely barren and a pain to traverse. For every edgy gamer that espouses hatred for Ubisoft and modern open-world games for having lifeless, sprawling maps with meaningless collectibles, thank GTA: SA for popularizing the trend. The game's turf wars turn into endless babysitting territory, the game packed with filler and inane missions that were inadequately QA tested -- one mission so reprehensible it spawned a classic meme.
We didn't even get into the mission that had to be redesigned because it was so monumentally annoying.
The Company Behind the Snuggie Screwed the Real Inventor Out of Half a Billion Dollars
The Snuggie was an oversized backwards bathrobe that shocks you with static build up. Unbeknownst to the public, it is extremely difficult to safeguard a patent on clothing or textile designs, and with better intellectual property laws and a passing tinge of conscience, the Snuggie wouldn't exist.
The Snuggie is a rip-off of the Slanket. Gary Clegg invented the it back in the 1990s while living in a freezing dorm room with crappy heating. Within a few years he developed a modest business from the bottom up. In 2008, he realized that Snuggie had swiped his $400 million idea and with it the majority of the marketshare, leaving Clegg shit out of luck with no recourse to sue.
On top of this, Allstar Marketing Group, the owner of the license to the Snuggie and countless other as-seen-on-TV products, had for years been engaging in unethical activity. According to the FTC, Allstar had been duping customers into fraudulent billing and shipping and handling fees since 1999 through confusing marketing tactics, such as refusing to honor 30-day-money-back guarantees. Buyer beware, indeed.
Paris Hilton's Sex Tape Was Revenge Porn and We All Blamed Her For It
Paris Hilton achieved mainstream fame on reality TV. Most of us didn't care until her sex tape, One Night in Paris, debuted on the internet in 2004. Filmed by her then-boyfriend, Rick Salomon, the video turned her into a running joke. The details make this more creepy than funny. Hilton was eighteen at the time. Salomon was in his thirties. She wasn't old enough to legally drink for another three years, implying that Salomon illegally supplied her with drinks. The only bad decision she is guilty of is trusting her boyfriend.
Hilton claims she was drunk at the time, which makes Salomon's choice to film her all the more scummy. Hilton, as a court found in her favor, never authorized the tape released and never counted on it making it big as an amateur porn star. Journalists and social critics back then uniformly ridiculed her, claiming that she deserved to suffer because she got famous.
But she didn't need the tape to be famous. She already was, with her own reality TV show (back when that meant something), a successful modeling career, and a cameo in Zoolander as herself before the tape hit the web. Between the way society treated Hilton, Monica Lewinsky, and Britney Spears, what the hell was wrong with the past?