Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

What Millennium?

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

What Millennium?

Article excerpt

What Millennium?

Whether the third millennium begins in 2000 or 2001, it would seem appropriate to mark the onset on the new age with some Janus-like words of wisdom, looking knowingly back to the past and confidently forward to the future. It has been suggested to me--facetiously, I hope--that the Annals publish a millennium issue sometime in 2000. In keeping with the comments of the editor of Vanity Fair, lack of such an issue may be chalked up to laziness, incompetence, or just plain millennial ennui. The ennui is best encapsulated by the cover of the New Republic, which shows three people asleep on a bench under the headline, "The Millennium Dawns." Despite all of the publicity and advertisements about the significance of the event, the general reaction has not been overwhelming. It seems as if the new millennium is coming in with a yawn, not a bang.

Perhaps a thousand years is too much for us to deal with. We really do not know much about life around the year 1000 except that it typically was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutal, and short." Although the last century has been the most bloody in history, life expectancy has doubled, and we enjoy conveniences that our forebears could not have imagined.

The reality is that education, as we know it, is a modem phenomenon. Jefferson's concept of an educated citizenry and universal education would have been anathema 500, let alone 1000, years ago. …

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