Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Year's Name Game: '00S Were the 'Downhill Decade'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Year's Name Game: '00S Were the 'Downhill Decade'

Article excerpt

With all those zeroes, some are calling the first decade of the 2000s the 'Noughties.' But whatever they name it, most Americans think the decade was pretty much a bummer.

Everyone seems to agree that the decade just ending has had more than

its share of sobering experiences, but what should those 10 years be


The Noughties? The Oughts? The Zeroes?

Maybe the decade that spanned from the 9/11 attacks to a "great

recession" will never have a catchy name, but if it ends up being

called the "downhill decade," you'll be able to thank 36

anonymous people who responded to a recent Pew Research Center poll.

The Pew survey asked people to characterize the decade of the 2000s

in a single word. Call it a high-stakes game of free association. Of

779 respondents, the highest number who thought of the same word was

36. The word they converged on was "downhill." Some other

responses that made the Pew list were also "D" words, by the way:

decline, disappointing, disaster, depressing, and difficult. Rivals

from other parts of the alphabet included turbulent, scary, and


The Pew Research Center is far from the only one trying to name this

decade, though. Some of the other catch phrases may draw on the twin

zeroes that anchor each year's numeric name during the decade.

'The Big Zero'Economist and columnist Paul Krugman recently dubbed

the decade "The Big Zero," an era in which the US gained

virtually zero jobs, the typical US family made zero economic

progress, and stock prices failed to rise.

Since "nought" means zero, some are calling the decade the

"noughties." But that moniker seems to beg for an adjective to go

with it, the way "roaring" went with "20s."

And another commentator's riff on the rising power of Google

during the decade makes one wonder: Is it just a coincidence that

Google (ticker symbol GOOG) has double-O's in its name just like

these past 10 years have had in their names? …

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