What a decade!

December 20, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Last year I watched the miniseries documentary by CNN on the decades from the 1960s through the 2000s. Looking at mainly events and pop culture in the United States, it also covered topics around the world. 

What was really interesting was seeing how things like music, television and technology changed and shaped each decade.

With 2020 right around the corner, it’s time to look at some of the big moments of this past decade, and boy, what a decade it’s been, full of ups and downs, controversial events, and shocking moments.

In terms of the political scene, there is only one man who summarizes the decade: Donald Trump. I’ll only say that his election and presidency has been full of controversy that, unfortunately, will carry over into the next decade. 

Across the pond, there was Brexit, and the Arab Spring uprisings. Right here though saw the first half of the decade led by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and now by Justin Trudeau. The 2018 provincial election of Doug Ford was, and still is, a hot topic to touch upon.

In terms of television, online streaming service is at the forefront, with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and recently Disney + taking over the standard satellite/cable experience that’s been the dominant form since its inception. Binge watching has become the norm. Easily the biggest show – in terms of its scale and impact – was Game of Thrones, breaking the barrier between what is a television show and a movie, with its huge production values, intricate stories, deep characters, and a lot of sex and violence that you wouldn’t really find outside the cinema.

Speaking of movies, there were a lot of great ones released through this decade, but the one that takes the cake is Marvel’s The Avengers, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This movie truly cemented the concept of a shared universe in the cinema world, with multiple characters, stories and events converging together, and evolving. 

War, terror, and mass shootings unfortunately, have seemed to become a regular daily occurrence, with the rise of ISIS, so I’ll just round off a few – the Paris Shootings, the Boston Marathon Bombing, the London Bridge and Toronto van attacks, the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings, the Syrian Civil War, and its resultant refugee crisis. 

On a lighter note, in the world of sports, the Chicago Cubs finally ended a 108 World Series drought, while the Toronto Raptors brought home their first championship, and a first major championship for Canada in 25 years.

Some of the biggest watershed social and cultural moments were the legalization of same-sex marriage across the entire United States, Social Justice Warriors and political correctness, the Occupy Wall Street protest and Black Lives Matter movements, while the MeToo movement exploded with allegations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.  

There were no shortages of disasters, either around the world or in our back yard. From the Haiti and Tōhoku earthquakes, to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Michael, the California wildfires, the Fort McMurray Fire, and the Humboldt Broncos bus crash; no one was left untouched to the power of nature or the mistakes of mankind. 

I believe the biggest change, and perhaps what the 2010s will be most remembered for, is in technology and electronics, as it’s taken a stranglehold on almost every aspect of society. Smartphones, Smart TVs with 4k resolution, the Apple Watch, iPads, Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, and Pokémon Go have all enabled technology to be engrained as our primary daily tool, always being connected, always online. An entire generation has blossomed this decade as ‘Digital Natives,’ never knowing a life without the Internet.

Definitely tied in with all this connectivity and issues of online addiction are social media, with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest having changed the way we consume information and interact with the world. 

As we enter the 2020s, we’re left with a bit of uncertainty and a pessimistic attitude. It seems the first half of the 2010s felt like the roaring twenties, the world picking itself up a bit after the 2008 financial crisis, the rise of social and income equality, the idea of hope. But then the second half game around, and seemed to set in a sort of depression. Whatever mistakes or problems we’ve faced this decade, we must learn from to make the next one better.

Whenever CNN decides to release a documentary series on the 2010s, what will be discussed? How will this decade be represented and defined? What will be taken away from these past 10 years?


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