It's 2000: do you know where the Devil is?
As the apocalypse nears, A&E tries to swallow the best (and worst) of the year (and millennium).
January 1 is rollin' around again, and our culture stands before the judge of good taste (who's in no mood to be lenient, given the big two-triple-oh). The question from on high, posed to A&E: why are we all going to hell come midnight, and what are we still digging from cursed 1999 while we burn? Swiftly, the verdict: the millennium will be fucked, and so will we.
Ann Ritter: In 1999, America enjoyed its umpteenth white trash renaissance, embodied this time by Korn, Limp Bizkit, the WWF and, in its purest, most grotesque form, Christina Ricci. Moby and the Chemical Brothers have proved that they still aren't very interesting, but the Roots came correct, creating one of the most poetic rap albums of the decade. Note to messiah: Book of Life for Spike Jonze, Wes Bentley, Mos Def and Chris Rock; Burn In Hell for Blink 182 and the ugly Backstreet Boy. I'd also appreciate it if you'd get this neo-imperialist Asian fetishism crap out of my fashion. Thanks in advance.
Larry Switzky: I have been to the Stygian abyss, and it's listening to an endless loop tape of Ginuwine and Massive Attack. Despite what Entertainment Weekly says, 1999 is the year culture went to hell. Film blew: the fragmentation, silly philosophizing and temporal tomfoolery of Run Lola Run, The Matrix, Dogma and Being John Malkovich were a bogus revolution. If I run down the street with a camcorder declaiming Nietzsche and hitting the on/off button a lot, is it art? Meanwhile, blockbusters like Wild Wild West were two hours of hell on earth.
No one cared, but theater and lit were the only true genius to be found. The Met finally revived Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with the fattest tenor and soprano ever to sing the leads. The O'Henry Awards finally picked decent short stories, and Stephen King finally got hit by a large moving vehicle. Despite this crapola culture, there is one consolationwhen we get to hell, it'll probably look like home...
Robby O'Connor: In my eyes, the surest sign of the encroachment of the apocalypse has to be the current trend of "dissatisfaction" films. In the past year alone The Matrix, American Beauty, and Fight Club have dealt with this theme. All three hinge on the main character's realization that there's something wrong with the world, as if a long time ago a small miscalculation was made and now we look around and find ourselves millions of miles off course. As the millennium approaches, it's natural for people to look back and wonder if we could have done a better job. Apparently, some think we couldn't have done a worse one.
Daniel Silk: Six reasons the world is obviously ending: 1) Rudolph Giuliani has judiciously reviewed the evidence and decided there is far too much obscenity on Planet Earth, and he will cut funding at the start of the next fiscal year. 2) Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard released three albums this year, and none were good. Maybe he's the devil. 3) Many people liked South Park: The Movie. 4) End of Days. If Arnold Schwartzenegger says so, who am I to disagree? 5) Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, an Englishman, wore the coolest Mets shirt I've ever seen at a New York show in March. 6) Y2K: The Movie. If NBC says so, who am I to disagree?
Matt Wiegle: Given my failure to check "yes to Jesus!" on my Jack Chick pamphlets: I'm doomed. Still, cartoonists besides Mr. Chick offered good reasons to actually look forward to Judgment Day. Dirty Danny Hellman won the martyr award for exposing the Village Voice's tired editorialist Ted Rall as the big vat of hypocritical pus that he is. Al Columbia showed us that the apocalypse will look like a Fleischer cartoon, only with blood and butt sex with animals, in Blab #10, the best anthology of the year. Chris Ware worked childhood hell into century-spanning opera while blowing up a luckless blimp commander in the brilliant Acme Novelty Library #13. And, to ready us for the coming horde of fiends and monsters, Richard Sala gave us Evil Eye. So recall a lesson from the Dan Clowes' David Boring: when your world ends, grab your funnies, then flee to an island and read 'em slow.
Ian Blecher: There was a lot of competition for the worst stuff of 1999. Here are my picks. Worst movie: Fight Club. Brad Pitt is an idiot. Worst magazine: Talk. It's not so bad, but Gwyneth Paltrow looked like shit in Issue one. Worst university administration: Yale. A Kafka-esque web of bureaucracy. Glib about it too. Lost in court to GESO but won't admit it. Won't act on sweatshops. Worst trade organization: the WTO. The new evil empire has the chutzpah to overturn American endangered species laws. Worst disappointment: Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet. The legendary author's latest book just sucked. Worst attitude: Ian Blecher. See above.
Sam Frank: It's about time the millennium cut us down to size, 'cause our culture's in the Cabaret, glorying before the fall: the Magnetic Fields, all pretense, all the time; Kiki and Herb, shit-faced drag queen Britpop manglers. Or it's gone back to preschool: Lightning Bolt, bangin' around in masks and capes; the Music Tapes, where id-ful singing TVs rule the roost.
So where's the rock gone? To Japanthey've stolen it: Guitar Wolf's three flavors of spittle; the Boredoms' cut-and-paste, one-riff workouts. We may have the decadence and diaper rash, but they have The Rock. Just like Akira, when doomsday hits, Neo-Tokyo's gonna be the last place on solid ground. So when the clock strikes 12, no boozing or thumb-sucking for me. Yet again, I'll be constipated on painkillers, bleeding from the mouth, and watching Gummo, doing my darndest to punk-fucking-rock once more before I burn.
Nathan Littlefield: The End is here, and it's called Limp Bizkit. And I don't know how Kubrick accrued enough bad karma to die after Eyes Wide Shut, a movie about as sexy as bacon fat. Granted, lard would have gotten better grades than George W. Bush, DC '68. If the apocalypse isn't here quite yet, President [[Delta]]KE will take care of that. At least Elf Power released a second album. But if they don't save us, give me the Velvet Underground, a case of Moët, and a good place to watch Satan ascend to earth "for the nookie."
Eliot Rose: Musically speaking, I've been damned from the beginning since the first tape I ever purchased was Def Leppard's Hysteria. This year the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin offered some hope of redemption, or at least good listening material for the trip down. However, I don't know if even that can save us now. God hates hubris, and when Guided by Voices proclaimed that Do the Collapse was "the last great album of the millennium," they ensured that a fat helping of almighty wrath would be doled out to everyone. But hey, wasn't '99 a great year to be a pedophile?
Nathaniel Rich: Ol' Dirty Bastard sums up this millennium best in his new single, "Got Your Money," when he warbles, "I don't have no trouble with you fuckin' me, but I have a little problem with you not fuckin' me." 1999, however, should not be remembered as the year that spoiled the millennium. This year was salvaged by a great release from Stereolab, but more importantly, New Haven's own hometown symbol of cultural decadence, Cutler's, has finally gotten the comeuppance it sorely needed with the opening of Secret Sounds. But if our Kultur is indeed headed towards an apocalypse, don't blame Big Baby Jesus. He did what he could.
Aaron Zamost: Who can say that they know the greatest thing to come out of the millennium? There are hundreds of possibilities: Television. The chastity belt. Pasteurized milk. Sewer systems. Chicken McNuggets. Calvinism. The telephone. Electricity. Boxer shorts. The salad shooter. Armor. Railroads. Anti-trust laws. The dungeon. Motion pictures. Toothpaste.
But none of these things is as important as e-mail, without which I could not have written this piece in my underwear in three minutes, and turned it in without leaving the comforts of my room.
Graphic compiled by Matt Wiegle and Shawn Cheng.
All materials © 1999 The Yale Herald, Inc., and its staff.
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