What Exactly Were the 2010s?
Tom Angell, Staff Writer
What were the 2010s? As the decade after the 9/11-decade comes to a close, it is easy to say there are many answers to a question like that. The immediate, decade-long existential insecurities became more internalized.
It was a decade that included the rapid rise of modernism and influx of technology. There was positive pushback as gay marriage was legalized, and the #MeToo movement sprung up and has helped advocate for women. This was also a decade that saw heightened anxieties and a culture coming to its own self-realizations due to tragic events like gun violence.
Politically speaking the pendulum swung quickly to the right after the election of President Trump. Music reflected these themes and artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce redefined the experience of African Americans in modern society.
This decade also experienced some of the best sporting events to date, 28-3 ring a bell? It was a decade that much could be written about but one word to sum most of it up would be turbulent.
As college students in the midst of the latter half of this decade, many of these changes have been happening right in front of our eyes. We see how the political arena has led to a rise of internal anxieties. Specifically, the shift from the liberal presidency of Barack Obama, to the rise of Donald Trump’s unique brand of populism was one that caused ripple effects still felt in 2019.
The year 2016 was pivotal not just because the Cubs won their first World Series in 100 years, but because it was a hinge year where in stunning fashion the right took power. Many minority communities and those who felt Trump’s policies would have an adverse effect on them felt in crisis. Art and music reflected this tremendously with anti-trump anthems populating all music genres.
One specific issue that has many people anxious and concerned is the well-being of our environment. The threat of global warming, which ten years ago many did not take seriously is something that many in our generation are starting to be extremely conscious and anxious of. Young activists such as Greta Thunburg have been the tip of the spear for combating this issue. To add to these worries about the environment, with the rise of mass shootings many students in this country also feel unsafe in their classrooms. Many anxieties young people face is due to the increase of gun violence and the feeling that we are not being protected.
The recent OK Boomer meme derived from many of these anxieties. Many millennials and members of Gen Z attribute the rise of this new internal anxiety to older generations for placing debt and ecological carnage on us. The recent outcry about these issues is due to years of buildup and frustration at the state our world is in.
Technology is an important aspect of society that is in need of desperate commentating. Although I was only 12 in 2010, I remember it fondly. I would call my friends on their house phone to hang out begging that their parents wouldn’t answer.
We were all jealous of our one classmate with an envy three cell phone complete with the slide out keyboard. The iPhone 4 didn’t come out until June and was nothing like the iPhone today. To us middle-schoolers, an iPhone was essentially an iPod touch you could use to call and text without Wi-Fi.
2010 was certainly a simpler time. Kanye reigned supreme after releasing one of the best albums of the decade, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Netflix was something that delivered movies to your mailbox. How technology has changed, one could argue for the worse. Streaming is now in your pocket. Podcasts have taken over our time replacing mediums such as radio. The iPhone, which is ever present in our lives, is now on its eleventh edition.
In an ever-growing digital age Americans are spending more time in front of screens than ever before. It’s easy to say that convenience has increased. As I am typing this, I could order food on an app and have it sent to my door before finishing writing this article. I could order an Uber while checking my bank statement and paying a bill in less than ten minutes. Without a doubt technology has made many aspects of our society easier.
However, society has created an environment where the public forum which used to be in places like malls and community centers are now on our Twitter feed. Social commentary doesn’t happen in public, but rather in the private glow of an illuminated smart phone. The heightened convenience has led to a lack of being genuine. Real conversations are squished out of schedules as the invasion of working life and technology has taken over.
In the sports world we saw the rise of the Big Three in Miami, a Cubs World Series, another Patriots dynasty,and who could forget the thrill of the Olympics which always produce memorable moments. There are completely new teams such as the Vegas Golden Knights and other teams who have moved such as the Rams and the Chargers.
For New England sports specifically, we’ve lucked out. The Red Sox won it all in 2013 and 2018. The Bruins captured the Cup in 2011 and the Pats won three Lombardi Trophies since 2014. The emergence of Boston as the sports capital of the world was even more realized this decade and that is something to certainly not to take for granted.
Overall, this turbulent decade brought many of the external threats and placed them within. The sports world and the music scene thrived, but as a country and as individuals we seem less connected, and united than we were ten years ago. Nazi protesting capped off a turbulent summer a couple years back and we were forced to ask ourselves is this what our country is now. To add, the digital age of heightened convenience can have a cost and that cost is often the destruction of our inner peace. We see the news in our pocket which reinforces the bad in society on a micro level. Is that a bleak, counterintuitive way of looking at things, sure, but the more aware of our own societal shortcomings we are, the better off we’ll be in the next ten years.