To be fair, this is a mixed bag. First off the good stuff: telecommunications.The Internet threatened to be a receptacle for the sum of human knowledge, but sanity quickly prevailed and it became a delivery vehicle for a diverse, pluralistic pornography and a collection of forums which finally allowed strangers to call each other “faggot” as much as they had always wanted to.
This century has also been a zenith for cultural enrichment. The preeminent artistic modes — Hollywood and pop music — finally realised that creating new content was a foolish endeavour and have used the 21st century to replay all pop-culture from the last two decades of the 20th century, as some kind of clever homage to our immediate past. This has been fantastic.
But there has also been some unwanted repetition, like the rehashing of tired old motifs like the environmental movement and the suggestion that we should alleviate poverty in Africa. Fortunately, these have been overshadowed by more vital concerns over what ratio of toning to strengthening exercises one should do while at the gym.
And now the bad. Where is the generational challenge of our century? The forging of a meaning through a mass bloodletting? The Lost Generation had the glory of the War to End All Wars, which (excepting its titular claim) was largely successful; and the Greatest Generation had the ecstasy of the death camps. Hopefully swine flu or some kind of savage resource war will allow us the catharsis of a mass death toll from which we will emerge morally enriched.
This article originally appeared in Woroni in 2011.