By Ryan Hoover
The start of a new millennium: The year 2000. When the past decade is analyzed, several events will jump off the pages of the history books. Merely 10 years ago, the world was remarkably different.
What were the top news stories of 2000?
President Bill Clinton was the lame duck, begging to be out of the spotlight. His previous affair with Monica Lewinski had left him in an arena of controversy.
The 2000 presidential election had yet to be decided. Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were so closely locked in the race, votes had to be recounted in Florida, providing the United States with the most confusing presidential race in its history.
Bush’s election, while monumental for the moment, became much more significant a year later when terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The entertainment industry in 2000 was paving the way for new innovative technology and amusement.
The hottest phone on the market was the Samsung Uproar. The device was the first cell phone to feature an mp3 player. It stored up to 64 MB of memory and allowed the user to have 130 minutes of talk-time without a charge.
The new hit television show “Survivor: Borneo” was in its first season and changed the way Americans watch television. The show introduced viewers to a competitive reality show, which successfully grabbed more than 51 million viewers for the season finale.
Russell Crowe had recently starred in one of his biggest roles as Maximus in “Gladiator,” a Roman solider who was betrayed by his country. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film won five Academy Awards in 2000, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
The music industry struggled as Macy Gray won best female vocal performance at the 42nd Grammy Awards. Her song, “I Try,” still ranks as one of the top “one-hit wonders.”
The sports world hosted historic champions in 2000.
In the epic “Subway Series,” the New York Yankees won a third straight World Series. The Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA title on the back of Most Valuable Player Shaquille O’Neal. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the largest margin of victory in a major golf tournament.
The no-name St. Louis Rams began their era of being the “greatest show on turf” by winning Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans. Led by the admirable Kurt Warner, the Rams made a defensive stand in the last second to win the game by a yard.
The Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, displayed American athletic dominance as the country led with all of their competitors with 37 gold medals and 94 total medals.
What does 2010 feature that 2000 did not?
The current, most popular show on television, “American Idol,” was a mere dream in the brain of the show’s creator, Simon Cowell.
A 15-year-old Lebron James was not moving his basketball talents to South Beach, but winning state championships and “Mr. Ohio Basketball” honors as a high school sophomore. Singer Justin Beiber was limited to impressing first-grade girls with his singing ability and silky hair.
Airport security was a breeze in 2000 compared to the rigorous exam each passenger must currently endure. The Department of Homeland Security did not exist because there had not been a foreign attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. The largest potential attack was the “Y2K bug,” which never materialized.
The lakes and swamp around New Orleans were contained outside the city.
International news was filled with joyous reports of the boarding of the International Space Station by three astronauts, not with news of American wars in the Middle East.
America was free of the iPhone, iPad, iPod, iTunes, iTouch, iPod Mini and Macbooks. Apple products were worlds behind Microsoft.
Bombs were not hidden in people’s underwear. Bow Wow was still little and when referring to one’s six best “Friends,” it always referred to the television show.
The 9/11 terrorists attacks, Hurricane Katrina and other events of the past decade have shaped the look of America’s culture in 2010.
What events will shape 2020?