It’s funny to look back at all the Y2K hand-wringing that was done when the calendar flipped from 1999 to 2000. Who knew we’d close out the decade worrying less about whether our computers would work than whether we could ever afford to retire? Or that we’d be surfing the Web on our cell phones and communicating through tweets and status updates?
Now that the futuristic, monolithic year of 2010 is coming to a close (and I’m still bummed that we’re not all wearing silver jumpsuits, as promised!), we’re celebrating a decade’s worth of bests in this month’s year-end “Best of” issue. But first, a technicality: We realize that some may argue that the first decade of the 2000s actually ended in 2009, but we magazine editors like nice round numbers. Plus, my very unscientific Google search turned up poll results and discussion boards showing that many others also believe 2010 is the end of the decade. So, for the sake of context in this issue, let’s strike it down the middle and call it a “baker’s decade”—2000 to 2009, plus 2010 for good measure.
Our desire to account for the best of a decade’s worth of things we love gave us two options: 1) 500 pages of detailed navel-gazing on what we love or, as we decided, 2) brief (despite weighing in at a hefty 256 pages this month), simple mentions of our favorite people, places, things, trends and events that, we feel, defined the last 10 (OK, 11!) years.
I’ve always felt our Best of the Year issue should be a time capsule of sorts; its pages should sum up our city’s current trends and passions (yes, even my somewhat worrisome obsession with my kids’ favorite local band, Recess Monkey—see page 120), and should generally capture the zeitgeist of Seattle (this year, circa 2010). Nothing better demonstrates Seattle’s nature and social networking culture than the “It Gets Better” project on YouTube (youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject), started by The Stranger’s Dan Savage.
The campaign, a series of video testimonials, was started in the wake of recent teen suicides to help support struggling gay young adults and remind them that life will get better after the teen years. Any teen (or adult, for that matter) who feels different in any way—gay or straight—could benefit from the inspirational messages posted by celebs (President Obama!) and normal folk alike. And it’s reaching people only in the way that this Internet-driven decade could allow. As my oldest son enters his tween years, a time fraught with cruel teasing—a horrifying, broadcast-able new breed of taunting we couldn’t even fathom when we were kids—I am on ultrahigh alert to protect and educate him.
As thrilling as it is to live in a city synonymous with indie bands, Wii and websites with funny pictures of cats, as Seattle moves into the teens of this new millennium, I couldn’t be prouder that we’re also known for great moments of kindness and tolerance.
Until next month,