Jewish World Review Jan. 5, 2001 / 10 Teves, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, way back in early 1999, people were getting ready to spend the entire year waiting for something called "the new millennium." For those of you who spent that year vacationing on the planet Venus or who were engrossed in a really good book, let me tell you it was the number one media event of the year. Advertisers, marketers, promoters, and politicians along with assorted pitch-men, hawkers and others who routinely engage in hyperbolic exercise were completely in their element. It was Y2K fever wherever you turned. Sometimes you didnít even have to turn -- it was right there in front of you. The entire world, or so we were told, was waiting for the new millennium to usher in ...er, well, whatever it is new millenniums are supposed to usher in.
Throughout that year, as we dutifully bought our Y2K logo merchandise and planned our millennium parties, we were told that on the stroke of midnight all the corporate and governmental computer banks, digital clocks and PCs would implode and we would experience a world-wide high-tech electronic collapse of apocalyptic proportions. So, in addition to the other junk we were buying like over-priced Barbara Streisand end-of-the-decade concert tickets and "Happy Millennium" scented candles and cocktail napkins, we ran out to the survival store to stock up on all the necessary items one needs for impending disaster. You know, the usual stuff like flashlights, bottled water, towels, first-aid kits, a six month supply of canned goods, all the cash we could put our hands on in case the ATMís were out of order, and (remembering that bomb shelter Twilight Zone episode) a semi-automatic military assault weapon to keep our friends and neighbors at bay.
Of course, new yearís day 2000 came and went without the computer calamity we were warned about. Even the clocks on our VCRís made it through without a hitch. As a matter of fact, the entire Y2K millennium ballyhoo wound up a little anticlimactic -- make that a LOT anticlimactic. All Y2K did was consume us totally for a year with media exaggerated nonsense.
I, for one, was thrilled to have it over with. It got in the way of normal living, if you know what I mean. Every magazine, every newspaper, television show and talk radio program doted on Y2K. But now it was over. Behind us. Now it was time to move on. So what did we move on to? The 2000 Presidential election.
Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the waters of normalcy, we found ourselves facing another all-consuming "national event." We all knew that the presidential campaign would eat up quite a lot of the year, we couldnít have known then just how voracious an appetite the thing possessed. For the PR and marketing gang, "Decision 2000" filled the promotional hole left by Y2K quite nicely . This is the stuff the media really lives for -- these year long "event" stories. New logo graphics on every station -- itís so exciting!
And how the media loves to "count down." "The DNC is getting Los Angeles ready for convention time next week, actually less than a week now, just five days. With more of the story, letís go to Matt Lauer in Downtown Los Angeles." "There they are, Tom, construction workers constructing the frame which, when finished, will serve as the official podium for the Democratic National Convention here at the Staples Center." Only five days to go now." "Thanks, Matt. Weíll check back with you tomorrow."
The hype, promotion and insanity of new millennium fever was easily transformed into the hype, promotion and insanity of presidential campaign fever. It seemed that almost from the beginning we knew the contest would come down to Bush and Gore. In 1999 it was "Y2K," in the year 2000 it was "Y These 2?" But those two it was -- for better or worse.
And on and on it went -- all year long. The campaign that wouldnít end. The soap opera to end all soap operas. Opinion polls changing every day, every hour it seemed. Where would it all end? Would it EVER end? Well, everyone was having such a good time I guess nobody wanted it to end. So on it went -- passed November 7th, passed November entirely, and well into December. Some people were warning about a "constitutional crisis." Other countries were laughing at us. People screamed and marched, and protested, and threatened. Then, finally, some 36 days after election day we managed to elect a new President.
And then suddenly it was a new year -- 2001. And just as in the year which came
before, we had no calamity. The year long media event was over. Anticlimactic. Time to move
on. Just another new year ahead. Does this mean we are at last back to normalcy? Could it be
that the year 2001 might be a relatively quiet year? A year without a hyperbolic media event?
Maybe. But Iím holding onto my bottled water and semi-automatic military assault weapon just
JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.
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