In the spirit of the obsessive list-making that has become the traditional way to mark the end to calendar years in the first world, here is a guide to the previous 3 years ending in 9 (in no particular order). Happy 2010!
1. 1989: Still associated with the greedy, giddy 1980’s, but able to affect the distance of an alienated teenager on the brink of discovering his own personal darkness, 1989 was aloof without being undistinguished. The fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that everyone at the time thought was going to “end history” (oh tee hee, Mr. Fukuyama!) is regarded in the 21st century with the same import one would assign to the planned demolition of an outmoded brownstone with crappy plumbing. It meant a hell of a lot to the locals, but garners little enthusiasm elsewhere, except for the hard-core plumbing aficionados, who nobody worth knowing hangs out with anyway.
2. 1979: Memorialized by Billy Corgan in his charming, if unintelligible, sexy bleat, 1979’s veins coursed with disco and the pontifications of the last honest U.S. President. Which is not to say that Obama isn’t honest, exactly; it’s just that there seemed to be virtually no ‘spin’ to Jimmy Carter. The man had lust in his heart. Where’s the spin in that?
3. 1999: Overshadowed by its impossibly cooler younger sibling 2000, 1999 humped along, waiting for it to be over. After an initial romantic fling with Prince in the ‘80’s, 1999 had dropped off into obscurity. 1998 had kicked its ass by impeaching a President. As a pathetic last-ditch attempt at posterity, 1999 strung together the Y2K panic, but knew in its heart it was simply a tired binary facade. 1999, trying to bear it all without cracking, put on the sunglasses, turned up the radio, and just kept drinking until January.