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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

January 2, 2004



The new century dawned on January 1, 1900 or January 1, 1901, depending on who you talk to. Both sides make a pretty persuasive argument. Anyway, shortly after the new century dawned an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz, who was upset over the spelling of his name, assassinated President McKinley. With his death Teddy Roosevelt became president and immediately began busting trusts and establishing national parks. New animals had to be imported into the parks as Roosevelt had killed most of the animals in the west. They later put his face on Mount Rushmore as a warning to any animals that might get out of line.

In 1914 Europe got embroiled in the First World War, also known as "The Great War" or "Seward's Folly". After they pretty much killed every able bodied man between the age of 18-35 they turned to the United States for help. Being a sap, Woodrow Wilson went against the isolationist mainstream to enter the war. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, allowing Germany a twenty year breather until they started World War II.

The 1920's were a time of prosperity and national vigor. Also known as "The Roaring Twenties" or "Seward's Folly", the decade saw young people dancing the Charleston, sitting on flagpoles, drinking bathtub gin and generally making fools of themselves. I blame Prohibition. Did I mention Prohibition? No one liked it except the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Mob, who made a LOT of money (the mob, not the WCTU). Organized crime spent most of the decade bootlegging, killing, extorting and stealing until Congress decided that the criminals were cutting into their business and finally repealed it.

The president at this time was Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge is known to history as "Silent Cal". Most people have been led to believe that this is because he rarely spoke, as in this popular anecdote about a Washington dinner party:

Society matron: "Mr. Coolidge, I made a bet that I could get you to say more than two words."

Coolidge: "Bite me."

The fact is, the name "Silent Cal" is factitious, like calling a fat guy "Tiny" or Bill Clinton "moral". People couldn't get Coolidge to shut up. He would prattle on all day, annoying everyone to the point where his entire cabinet resigned. As it was a slow news decade, his every thought, observation, bon mot and aside filled the 250,277,942 newspapers then publishing (6,975 in New York alone). When he announced "I do not choose to run in 1928" the price of newsprint and ink plummeted in anticipation of the lack of quotes. This is what caused the Great Depression.

After Herbert Hoover pretty much botched things, Franklin Roosevelt became president, a position he would hold for the next 84 years. He instituted the "New Deal" which, everyone reasoned, must be good because it was New. Thanks to work projects, social security and World War II the Great Depression ended. In retrospect, it wasn't THAT great, as anyone who lived through it will happily tell you. I dare you to try and stop them.

Anyway, after Germany went 0-2 in World Wars, we entered into an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity, unless you count the Cold War. A cold war beats a hot war (especially since nuclear weapons had been invented by this time), but everyone still had to check for the Red Menace under their beds every night. Still it was worth it, as everyone was able to move to the suburbs and raise 2.3 children.

People got bored with peace and prosperity, so they decided to start the 1960s. This involved the Space Race, Vietnam, Woodstock and a lot of drugs and ugly clothes. Still, we had color television.

After the 60s came the 70s, also called "The Disco Years" or "The Nadir of Civilization". If you thought the clothes were ugly in the 60s, they looked tame compared to the 70s. Plus, everything was Avocado Green or Harvest Gold. The less said about the 70s the better.

The 80s dawned like a cool breeze after the long, sunburn of a decade. It was the era of corporate raiding, video games, personal computers, sport coats with t-shirts and Bill Gates' inexorable march to world domination. The Cold War ended spontaneously when someone discovered that the Berlin Wall was really made of styrofoam. The Soviet Union promptly broke up and Ronald Reagan took the credit when no one was looking. Germany was too busy reuniting to start another world war.

The 1990s were a lot like the 1980s. Avocado Green or Harvest Gold were only a distant, painful memory.

As we move into the 21st century, we can only wonder what the future will bring for our great nation. Just to be on the safe side, I've copyrighted the name "Seward's Folly".



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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11