There are a little less than three weeks left in this, the so far awesomest decade of the 21st century. But bizarrely, no one seems to have settled on a name for it yet. Where the 80s and 90s came pre-loaded with catchy nicknames (the "80s" and "90s"), this, the most futuristic of all decades has struggled when it comes to labeling itself. That's not to say there haven't been attempts; a handful of contenders have emerged over the last few years. However, under close inspection, all of them appear to be 10 times worse than a thousand turd burritos. Maybe you'll see what I mean when we have a look together...
Contender #1: The Zeros
This makes some sense numerically, but seeing as the word "zero" can also mean "failure" or "worthless," the downsides should appear obvious. Sure this has been the decade of American Idol auditions and
dudes marrying pillows, but there's no reason to dwell on that, is there? It's like naming your kid "Urkel" or "Tobey Maguire." You're just setting them up for failure.
Contender #2: The New Millennium
Far, far too vague. This has been the go to choice for people in the media who need a label to attach to whatever ridiculous trend piece they're working on. They've been getting away with it so far, but as the label technically applies for the next nine hundred odd years as well, this is no way for us in the here and now to identify ourselves and our great accomplishments.Contender #3: The Singles
As in "the single digits." I'll go ahead and declare that if you ever have to explain what a label means, then it's a terrible one. I mean, if we're going to go that route, why not just say that as the bottom decade of the 21st century, this was
The Bottoms?Contender #4: The Aughts
The "Aughts," or their cousin the "Aughties," stem from an archaic word for zero, which fell out of disuse some time around when people started shitting indoors. This name does have the distinct advantage in that it was probably actually used by people in the first decade of the 1900s, so there is some historical merit behind it. But only dictionary editors or mirthless pedants really know what "aught" means any more, and would be the only ones capable of deriving any amusement from such a label. And as we like to say around here at Cracked: "Fuck the pdants."
Contender #5: The Naughties
Tightly related to the "aughties" above, and more popular with pedants who enjoy thinking they're clever, this label stems from "naught," another infrequently used word for zero, and one still somewhat popular with English sports announcers (who, it should be noted, do still shit outdoors).
There is some merit in the name, as this was the decade of the wardrobe malfunction, celebrities getting out of cars without panties, and that one Christina Aguilera video. Any of those things would have gotten someone strung up as a witch as recently as the 1980's, so it's fair to say that this has been a fairly ribald decade by historical standards. But naughty? That sounds a little too tame. Maybe the ProminantGutterTramp decade? Or, if we insist upon something shorter, how about
The Testes? That one even rhymes with all the existing decades, which should really help when it comes to integrating it in the lyrics of any children's songs.
Contender #6: The Bush Years
Usually accompanied with a facepalm, this label for the decade is a little inaccurate, in that the first and last year of the decade belonged to different, blacker presidents. For that reason alone it's a poor label, although there's also the minor fact that Bush didn't have everything to do with everything in the decade. The baffling success of Everyone Loves Raymond for example. That's all on us.
A common thread running through all of the proposed solutions so far lies in their focus on strict logical interpretations of the calendar dates. The problem with this is that there's an enormous void in the English language when it comes to properly branding the group of the first ten digits - the so called "ass end of the natural-number system." The English language wasn't created by marketing professionals, instead being developed over generations by the collective will of our ancestors.
(Thanks, jerks.) Which means if we're going to break out of this jam, we're going to have to forsake this childish attachment to using "real words" or "making sense."
Instead, let's approach this like the advertising problem it really is. What would Don Draper do were he hypothetically asked to work on the "Decade Account?" I mean, aside from mopishly fuck someone who wasn't his wife. Why he'd break it down using these classic advertising brainstorming techniques:
Who are the customers?
People in the future.
Ok, I know, this is technically the customer for everything but bear with me for a second. Whatever label we come up with isn't going to be used within this decade (it's too late for that now.) No, it will be retroactively applied to this decade by observers in the future. To properly label it, we need to find out what those people want and expect from a decade's name.
What do they want?
Well, they're in the future, so we can't just ask them. However, a close study of historical trends, sociological tendencies, and a knowledge of basic statistics tells us that at a minimum, people in the future will almost certainly want to destroy the past by sending waves of killer time traveling robots into history to punch through our torsos.
Holy shit! How do we stop them?
Seeing as only a tiny fraction of the population (and only half of the Cracked audience) are capable of kicking a titanium robot in half, as a civilization, we would have next to no chance of fighting off an army of murder-bots when they arrive. Instead, we have to convince the future that this decade isn't worth destroying. That this is a time in the Earth's history when its inhabitants were so pitiful and weak that sending a single murder-bot to destroy it would be a waste of resources. That's why, after much thought, I have come up with the best name for our decade:
The great thing about this is that it lines up so well with our actual character and makeup. An example: raise your hand if you spent more than 20 hours playing World of Warcraft this week. Even if you said no, the fact that that's actually a plausible question, and that there are people actually raising their flabby pale hands right now, should sicken you. Seriously. This is the decade of Fantasy Football, the Rickroll, vampire novels, video games based on vampire novels and losers making jokes about video games based on vampire novels. We fucking suck. Not only is calling this decade The Dorkade out best bet for avoiding getting run through by a robot fist, it's the most accurate name we've got. I strongly suggest you all begin using it everywhere, even up to the point of putting large decals on your car or face.
Alternately, we could fuck everything and just call it The Arby's. Maybe if enough of us do it, they'll give away some free Beef'n Cheds.
Sign up for the Cracked Newsletter
Get the best of Cracked sent directly to your inbox!