Archive for December 22nd, 2009

Aught to Be

December 22, 2009 @ 9:15 pm | Filed under:

The other day, Scott pointed out that we, all of us, haven’t yet settled upon a name for this decade. You know, like the Eighties, the Nineties, and so forth. I remember speculating about this in 1999, wondering if the decade-about-to-dawn would be called the Aughts like the first decade of the 20th century. It seemed too quaint to be possible—and too quaint it must have been indeed, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use “the Aughts” this time around.

In 1999 my HarperCollins editor was going over publishing schedules with me, and she referred to the year 2002 as “2K2.” Evidently that’s how they were referring to the dates of the new century there, at that time, for a while. I don’t think it stuck. (I should ask.) I remember telling Scott about it after I got off phone and saying, “Do you think that’s what we’ll all say, instead of Two Thousand and Two?”

We didn’t. Whew.

But what are we going to say ten years from now, when the Teens are winding down? “Twitter? It came along in the Aughts.” The Os? The Zeros?

Ha, I just looked up “Aughts” to make sure I was spelling it right and it seems there’s a Wikipedia entry on this very topic. Wikipedia suggests we’ll be calling this decade “the 2000s.” That just seems silly to me. Speaking of silly, this line made me laugh:

“Unlike previous decades such as ‘The Fifties,’ ‘The Seventies,’ and ‘The Nineties,’ the 2000s never attained a universally accepted name in the English-speaking world.”

Seem a bit presumptuous to you? The decade’s not over yet and we’re already declaring it “never attained a universally accepted name”? Surely once a little time has passed we’ll settle upon a way to talk about this crazy, tumultuous span of years. Wikipedia says, and Scott mentioned this too, that some wags have suggested we call it the Noughts or the Noughties to reflect both the zeroes in the digits and the tanking economy. I can see that taking off in the UK but my guess is we Americans will wind up saying the Os. Or do I mean the Ohs?