We were surprised that 42 percent of respondents to the new Pew Research poll found the 60s “neither” positive nor negative, with positive (34 percent) and negative (15) impressions trailing. We thought the Sixties were supposed to tumultuous.
But we were unsurprised that the 00’s — or the Oughties or whatever you want to call them — drew a 50 percent negative rating versus 27 percent positive, rating as the worst-reviewed of the past five decades.
In fact we wouldn’t have been surprised had Pew gone back further and found this decade the worst of all time, or slightly trailing the 1340s (peak of the Black Death). Ours is an age of superlatives, and we suspect respondents were going for the strongest possible disapproval of the 00s, rather than a thoughtful comparison. (Especially the kids. What do you know about the 70s, you-ain’t-no-punk-you-punks?)
Other nuggets from the Pew review:
When most respondents look back at this decade, they see 9/11. 53 percent call it the most important event of the decade. Obama’s election is a distant second with 16 percent, followed by the financial crisis, George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and Hurricane Katrina. Boy, there’s a slideshow, huh?
When asked about the “increased acceptance of gays and lesbians” (What? Where?), “change for the better” edges “change for the worse,” 38-28, but the result is skewed strongly by age, with people under 50 more than two-to-one in favor, and people 65 and older more than two-to-one against. Clearly the almost evenly split 50-to-64 demographic is the battleground; maybe gay activists should be advertising on boxes of Gold Bond Medicated Powder.
Perhaps related to that: While 59 percent say they expect the next decade to be better, the one demographic group that disagrees is White Evangelical Christians. Which improves our hopes for the ’10s considerable.
Also: By a decisive margin, “The internet… continues to be widely seen in a favorable light.” Yeah — give ’em time.