I’m calling it. The year 2000 is officially retro. Fight me.
Half of you are probably thinking it’s long overdue. While the other half likely still automatically calculate dates by counting backwards from 2000. How long ago was the year 1970? Just 30 years if you use the shorthand I’ve used for so much of my life. But, of course, the year 1970 was 47 years ago.
For those of us interested in the past’s visions of the future, it’s been difficult to figure out when to start studying predictions from the end of the 20th century. I’ve struggled with this question as early as 2007, the year I started the Paleofuture blog.
The year 2007 saw the introduction of technological feats like the iPhone, while the iPad was hot on its heels, being released in 2010. With changes like those, it was hard to know when to declare the year 2000 “old.” But with a fistful of hubris, I’m going to declare it so. The year 2000, and especially futuristic ideas from the year 2000, are officially paleofuture.
What finally convinced me? I was scrolling through the Associated Press photo archive and came across the shot at the top of this post. In the year 2000, this was the American idea of futuristic. And from the perspective of 2017, it’s as dated as anything from the 1950s.
Here’s the description of what the hell we’re seeing in that photo from the Associated Press:
Models display a wireless mini-computers and other high tech gadgets Wednesday June 14, 2000 during the “Brave New Unwired World” fashion show at Bravo! located in downtown Minneapolis. US Bancorp Piper Jaffray teamed up with Charmed Technology to give investors a sneak peak at the futuristic wearable and wireless gadgets that will allow people to accesss the World Wide Web anywhere anytime.
Do you need more evidence that the year 2000 is officially retro? People born in that year can start voting in 2018. And I don’t know if you’ve looked at a calendar recently, but... that’s less than a month away. Kids born in the year 2000 can also buy porn and cigarettes starting next year, though they’re probably more likely to just find porn online and vape.
And they’ll also be able to join the US military without parental consent next year. And all of those kids will have known nothing but a United States at war in Afghanistan (invaded in 2001) and Iraq (invaded in 2003) for their entire conscious lives.
Need more evidence that futuristic ideas and styles from 2000 are officially retro? How about this guy? He’s here to haunt your paleofuturistic nightmares. A description from the AP:
A runner dressed in a futuristic space suit presents the latest type of a mobile phone to visitors of the Information Technology Trade Fair “Systems 2000" in Munich, Monday Nov. 6, 2000.
Have you watched movies like The Matrix (1999) or eXistenZ (1999) or The Thirteenth Floor (1999)? They depict oppressive dystopias pretty accurately. But the technology they represent may as well have been produced a century ago.
Are you starting to feel depressed yet? Don’t. Getting old isn’t so bad. You know what’s bad? Living in a world filled with so much hate and injustice. And while we can celebrate the small wins against the rising tide of fascism, like the narrow victory in Alabama last night where Doug Jones beat the racist alleged pedophile Roy Moore, we still have a lot of work to do.
Living in the future isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Even the most optimistic technological visions of tomorrow from 2000 look pretty silly here in 2017. But we move forward while doing our best. We have no other choice.