The Washington Post lists what it thinks were the worst ideas marking the decade. Not surprisingly, the BlackBerry is included in the list ("Once upon a time, elevator rides were silent..."). Other worst ideas included are the endless sports season ("Selfishly, we should... care because day by day, sports is eating up more of our time. And more time is one thing even ESPN can't give us"), the prosperity gospel (although this has been around for so long that it should have been included on a "worst ideas of the last century" list instead), and even tv dancing competitions ("This was the TV decade of the real and the grotesquely unreal"). The list, while interesting, is hardly conclusive. I would have also added Facebook and Twitter, as both of those have contributed to the growing egoisom that will surely be a mark of this generation.
I found the book 3 months ago when visiting a used bookshop in North Carolina. The title and cover first caught my eye, then on turning the pages I discovered some charming illustrations and what looked like a lovely story of a small New England town at Christmas. I turned to a blank page inside and discovered that the author, Kate Douglas Wiggin, had inscribed a postscript to her story and signed her name beneath it. I bought it, along with some other exciting finds, and then I carefully packed it into my suitcase and managed to get it home without damaging the frail binding. Once here in Texas, I placed it in a safe location and promptly forgot about it - until recently, when on a lazy Sunday afternoon I retrieved the book from it's temporary home and read, in a few short hours, of a charmingly diverse group of women in a small town in Maine at Christmastime in the early 1900's. The narrative's pinnacle is reached when, on Christmas Eve, lonely and 30ish heroine Nancy is given the gift of romance when her once-upon-a-time lover returns after many years of absence. Pensive reminiscing and hopeful dreams of the future are skillfully woven into the story, which, incidentally, must have created a refreshing and surprising read for single women in the early 20th century, who were often considered too old for marriage when once into or past their 20's.
The book was originally published in 1905; my edition was published in 1907. It doesn't seem to be in print any longer (what a shame!) but is available for download if you have a Kindle.
Dockers has created a "man-ifesto." They use odd phrases like "Once upon a time... men took charge because that's what they did" and suggests that our "genderless society" now needs men to "put down the plastic fork... and untie the world from the tracks of complacency." Go read it. It's a daring statement. I'm sure they are only trying to think of a new, creative, eye-catching way to sell men on their khakis when jeans are so much more commonplace, but it still begs the question: is it just advertising or is something more serious being offered for our consumption? If the former, that's a risky way to sell khakis; and if the latter, that's a refreshingly strong statement in support of masculinity.