Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Decade!

Yes, it's a new decade. Of course it's a new decade. The 2010s by definition include 2010. If this isn't a new decade, 1960 wasn't part of the 1960s (but 1970 was). You're not really going to assert that, are you?

Those who are mounting Walshian objections to this reality are getting it confused with the fact that 2000 wasn't the start of the 21st century or the new millennium. Again, it's a matter of definition: The first century is 1 through 100, the second century is 101 through 200, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on . . .

As I observed 10 years ago, there is a weird disconnect between the way we define centuries and the way we define decades -- and between the two most common ways of referring to centuries. The year 2000 was the start of the decade we call the 2000s, and of the century we call the 2000s, even if the 21st century didn't begin until 2001.

One loyal correspondent raises the question of whether it's the start of the second decade of the 21st century. In-ter-est-ing. On the one hand, it's obviously not (see definition of century above). On the other hand, if the decade we call the 2000s was the first decade of the century, isn't the decade we call the 2010s the second?