As the various “Decades Best” lists begin to appear in the old media and around the blogosphere, it has occurred to me that, as we approach the final days of this decade*, we still don’t have a name for it. Last decade was the Nineties. The decade before was the Eighties. Next decade will, presumably, be the Teens. But what do we call the first decade of the twenty-first century? Various things were proposed (“The Aughties”), none, as far as I can tell, stuck. Right now we can still refer to it as “this decade.” And for ten years we can say “last decade.” But what then? This is, of course, a particular problem for us historians.
The first decade of the 20th century doesn’t even provide much of a model. I usually refer to that decade as “the nineteen hundreds” (which itself has a certain ambiguity because one can also refer to whole centuries that way….though I prefer not to as it makes the first decade of those centuries hard to name). But you can’t say “the twenty hundreds.” And “the two thousands” sounds awkward.
So this is an opportunity to show that we are truly the cutting-edge history blog that we think of ourselves as being. Let’s solve this problem for our profession and for future generations of educated citizens!
What should we call the first decade of the twenty-first century?
* Or at least what everyone will consider the final days of this decade….calendar pedants can file this post away and read it in a year.