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Sign(s) of the Times

3 December 2013

While talking to my pal Christopher this weekend, we were trying to figure out a look for the mid-2000s. By way of explanation — if I showed you a picture of people just walking around taken in 1993, you’d probably correctly guess that it was taken sometime in the mid-90s. If I showed you a picture from 1983, you’d say “yep, that was the 80s.”

But if I showed you this picture:


Without the preceding paragraphs for reference, would you be pretty sure it was taken in the early 2000s? (2003, during the East Coast Blackout, to be specific.)

It’s been, up to now, pretty easy for me to define a decade by its trends, its culture, and even its fashion. But after about 2000 or 2001, it gets kind of murky for me. Apart from better tech, 2003 and 2013 look pretty much the same.

This might just be something I can’t see. So, if someone had to ask you to define the culture of the early 2000s, what would you point to? What cultural movements define the first decade of this century, that cement it in time as different to the decades before and after?

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