Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time Warp

Yikes! It's 2009. Didn't we just cross the millennial threshold? I was trolling through some archives, looking at what happened 40 years ago, in 1969...

  • Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon.
  • Woodstock, a four day rock festival, took place in a small town in upstate New York.
  • Public Television began a new children’s show called Sesame Street.
  • Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th U.S. president and Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.
  • Sirhan Sirhan admitted killing presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, and James Earl Ray pled guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. (He later retracted the plea.)
  • Lt. William Calley was charged with murder for the deaths of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai.
  • MOVIES included Midnight Cowboy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch, and Easy Rider.
  • BOOKS included Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five
  • DEATHS included Boris Karloff, Dwight Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Sharon Tate, Jack Kerouac, and Joseph Kennedy, Sr.

I remember watching the the moonwalk, and hearing about Woodstock and Lt. Calley's trial. But the rest didn't really penetrate my adolescent universe.

It was in 1979, just 30 years ago, that the Shah of Iran fled as his government was overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolutionary forces; the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant released radiation. I remember most of these events, especially the Americans taken hostage from the Embassy in Tehran; they would not be released until 1981.

I can put it all in some kind of perspective. It's 1999 I'm having trouble with. It doesn't seem possible that it's already been ten years since...
  • The world awaited the consequences of the “Y2K bug,” anticipating complete chaos as computers around the world go haywire.
  • Years of unrest in Yugoslovia’s province of Kosovo erupted into war, a reaction to President Slobodan Milosovic massacring civilians and deporting hundreds of thousands of Ethnic Albanians. NATO forces finally intervened with a 78-day air strike.
  • An earthquake in Turkey killed more than 15,000 and leaves 600,000 homeless.
  • Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s increasingly erratic behavior led to his dismissal and appointment of three prime ministers, finally settling on Vladimir Putin.
  • Two students stormed Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, killing twelve students and a teacher before killing themselves.
  • The number of internet users reached 150 million; more than 50% are from the U.S.
  • MOVIES included the Blair Witch Project, American Beauty, Three Kings, The Sixth Sense
  • BOOKS included John Grisham's The Testament, Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese? and Stephen King's Heart in Atlantis.
  • DEATHS included Joe DiMaggio, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Stanley Kubrick, George C. Scott, and Gene Siskel
Ten years since Columbine? Since JFK Jr broke our hearts by plummeting his airplane into the sea near Martha's Vineyard? Since the Y2K hysteria? Vladimir Putin has been in power for a decade?

If time continues getting faster and faster, I'll need a new coping strategy. What is the chronological version of the bends?

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I agree--each decade seems to move faster than the last. Thanks for the trip in the time machine!