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January 12, 2011 9:56 AM   Subscribe

What was so darned special about 2002-2003?

Help me flesh out some research I'm doing for a fiction that's set in urban/suburban North America during the years 2002-2003 (post 911, build-up to the invasion of Iraq, the invasion and it's immediate aftermath).

I'm less concerned with the specific politics and current events than just basic zeitgeist (cool movies, TV shows, music, fashion trends, facial hair advancements). What did you do with your spare time before YouTube hit? How did you connect with your friends before Facebook and Twitter? Did you still buy CDs?

*special bonus favorite to anyone who can tell me what a Betacam-SP camcorder would have retailed for at the time
posted by philip-random to Society & Culture (95 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
2002 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

posted by Joe Beese at 10:01 AM on January 12, 2011


Some dramamine, microfiche, and a library and you are set!

On a more serious note, finding product catalogs from that time period would be helpful. Seeing what the price is for various items and what was the cutting edge is not that hard to do with decent access to a library.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:02 AM on January 12, 2011


I was reminiscing about the musical landscape around that time. Check out the 2003 Top Ten list:

10 - Pharrell featuring Jay-Z - Frontin'
9 - Fountains of Wayne - Stacy's Mom
8 - White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
7 - Outkast featuring Sleepy Brown - The Way You Move
6 - Christina Aguilera - Beautiful
5 - Justin Timberlake - Cry Me a River
4 - Coldplay - Clocks
3 - Beyonce featuring Jay-Z - Crazy in Love
2 - Black Eyed Peas - Where Is the Love?
1 - Outkast - Hey Ya!

I had thought things were skewed towards the hip-hop/r&b end of things, but there's a least a little variety in there.
posted by kuanes at 10:10 AM on January 12, 2011


Nerd alert! The Treo 600 came out in 2003. The resulting drool floods were a problem for many IT departments.

People were still rocking their hotmail and yahoo since Gmail wasn't out yet.

Mp3 sharing in full swing as CDs gathered dust.

Arrested Development was on.
posted by Askr at 10:11 AM on January 12, 2011


'02-'03? Let's see, that's post-Napster but pre-Bit-Torrent, so I suppose that would have been the KaZaA era. The Dreamcast was already dead and gone, PS2 was on the rise and the GameCube was still hot.

Windows 2000 was the most popular OS. We were firmly entrenched in the Web era by that time, even though broadband was mostly a college-campus thing. No YouTube. No Facebook. I'm trying to remember if we had LOLcats back then-- we might have, but they would have been new. People were still chuckling over Hampster Dance and All Your Base.

Cell phones were nowhere near universal yet, and I think that's the biggest change. Landlines were still the standard. That meant no communication on the road or on short notice, and frankly I don't know how we survived.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:13 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can't help with the some of the more fashion-tv-related stuff, as I was in college and we didn't have television. Movies, well, I'm sure looking at what was nominated for Oscars would help.

Music: Well, here's Pitchfork's top 50 list of 2002, which should be a start (hip), and Billboard's top 100 albums from 2002 (popular). We were listening to a lot of the new "indie" stuff and underground hip-hop.

How did you connect with your friends before Facebook and Twitter? This one is definitely AOL's AIM (warning: redundant initialism ahead!), which was the communication tech du jour.

Did you still buy CDs? Yeah, but it was that odd period when pirates were very openly using Kazaa (Napster was dead by then).
posted by General Malaise at 10:13 AM on January 12, 2011


Cell phones were nowhere near universal yet,

I mean to mention something like this. I know my class graduating (2003) was the last to go before cell phones started popping up on campus. I got my first one in 2004.
posted by General Malaise at 10:15 AM on January 12, 2011


You could look at magazines from that time period. I don't know if a public library would keep magazines that old, but a university library would.
posted by apricot at 10:15 AM on January 12, 2011


LeBron James (as well as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony) was drafted into the NBA that year. James was all over the news.
posted by auto-correct at 10:18 AM on January 12, 2011


2002 was the year myself and many of my friends started using LiveJournal.

Top-grossing movies released in 2002; Oscar Winners

The Wire started in 2002. CSI was the most-watched show in the USA. Emmy Winners.
posted by sarahnade at 10:20 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia article on the year 2002. I imagine there's one on 2003
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on January 12, 2011


What age group are you looking for? I graduated high school in spring of 2002.

I definitely had a yahoo AND a hotmail email account. I frequented Yahoo chat rooms, but I used both Yahoo and MSN Messenger to talk with different groups of friends.

By 2002 most of my friends were file-sharing with one program or another (I remember KaZaA, and Gnutella was really popular in 2003).

Online, 2002-2003 has got to be the Era of Homestarrunner - everyone on my college campus was watching and quoting StrongBadEmails.

Instead of Youtube, I think we had AlbinoBlackSheep flash games and videos.
posted by muddgirl at 10:23 AM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife had a work-issued Kyocera cell phone that was seemingly very small but had some spotty reception in areas that now are just assumed to be no-brainers, like on the interstate between Minneapolis and Duluth. Data through the phone was not really a question; it was available but we knew that if it was ever accessed she'd get in trouble for it because of expense.

I was given a Palm Pilot by the place I clerked for in the summer of 2003; it was obsolete even then and kind of a joke to receive. Wifi was catching on huge by then, and I remember taking my laptop with my external wifi radio card to various coffee shops to get internet service. The SARS outbreak happened in that time period, and when I had to go to an emergency room with strep throat in early 2003 I remember a large SARS identification poster for the nurses to get a case to quick quarantine if it presented.

Gas was much cheaper then. HDTVs were much more expensive and there were few channels that offered it.
posted by norm at 10:25 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Windows XP came out in 2001, but plenty of users likely still had Windows 98 and Windows Me in 2002-03.

Some people used Myspace to keep in touch. Web forums were big in my social circle.

Digital DJing was not quite in full swing at that point. Final Scratch was a thing but not standard.
posted by mkb at 10:26 AM on January 12, 2011


This was during the brief window of time when hipsters really did wear trucker hats, but before they drank PBR. I think American Apparel was just beginning to hit it big during this time, back when they were sold as a responsible company making good basics and not as a near-bankrupt porn company.

Fashionwise, for young people, I'd say that this was a time in transition from the thrift-store look for young people to more of a trend for newer clothes, as from Urban Outfitters and such.

I definitely bought CDs during this time. Even Tower Records was still open. DVDs, too. Video rental stores were doing fine during this time. 2002-2003 was before streaming video was practical for such purposes.

I don't remember what Betacam-SP camcorders sold for during that time, but I was using them during that time! I would try to dig up an old B&H catalog from that era. Bear in mind that this was also the era when the Panasonic AVX100 came out. Native 24p, in prosumer digital video? We were astonished at the time.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:28 AM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The first iPod was released in 2001 (with a 1.8" 5 GB hard drive that hadn't been seen anywhere else at that point), and wasn't updated until 2003. The iTunes Music Store opened in mid-03.

People still used Friendster in 2002, though I'm not sure for what—it's functionality was essentially replicating the blank endpapers of your high-school yearbook, where you got your friends to leave a note. Myspace was started in '03, but wouldn't catch on for another year or so. Facebook did not exist as such as of the end of 2003.

Popular movies of 2002 and 2003.

Tried looking in archive.org for old web pages from some online stores to find Betacam prices, but it's sloooow.
posted by adamrice at 10:29 AM on January 12, 2011


Emos everywhere!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:29 AM on January 12, 2011


I had a livejournal and then a blog. I did a lot of organizing for the anti-war movement. I had friends who were cutting-edge proto-hipsters. I didn't have a cell phone. I communicated with my friends via email or in person, or, very rarely, by leaving them voice message :) I remember dancing many, many times to Hey Ya.

I think a key thing for me to remember was that the "zeitgeist" was a bit less zeitgeisty in some ways - people read the news online but there was no twitter or facebook so a topic of conversation might not reach as many eyeballs, and people spent less of their time thinking about people who were not physically in the same place.
posted by mai at 10:30 AM on January 12, 2011


Oh, also, Friendster hit it huge in 2003, at least for us Americans in college at that time. Social networking was a new, astonishing thing to us.

Before Friendster, leaving your AIM open all day was a way to keep in touch with people.

2002-2003 was also around the last few years when you could be a modern young person without a cell phone. Our last straggling friend gave in around this time.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:30 AM on January 12, 2011


Fashion-wise, I think this summary is pretty on-the-mark for 2002 - lots of denim, peasant tops, track-suits being worn everywhere. 2003 was also the period of Ugg boots and "ironic" trucker hats.
posted by muddgirl at 10:31 AM on January 12, 2011


That's when Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped (June 2002) and found (March 2003). Since most victims like her are not usually found alive her story was really big news.

2002 was also the year of the Winter Olympics in SLC and that whole judging controversy with the Canadians and their gold medal.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:34 AM on January 12, 2011


Great stuff. As I read through it, I find I'm particularly interested in personal anecdotes from the time.

What age group are you looking for? I graduated high school in spring of 2002.

I'm imagining more of a mid-20s age group, but that said, anything post-high school would be relevant, even younger if it speaks to a BIG part of the culture. For instance, I'm pretty sure Pokemon was at its North American peak roundabout then. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 AM on January 12, 2011


The disdain and disregard the Bush administration showed towards the massive protests against the lead up to to the Iraq war was a hard lesson for many young people that they weren't living in a democracy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Switch in the MP3 filesharing trends from Audiogalaxy to Soulseek?
posted by galaksit at 10:38 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My friends started buying laptops instead of regular computers, cd burner became standard around 2002. People also started buying ipods instead of nomads. No one I knew had a cellphone yet, still used calling cards although most if my brothers friends had cell phones. Very few people in the US used testing with any frequency but it was common in Europe at the time. You couldn't get pay as you go phones or keep your number if you jumped providers back then either.
posted by fshgrl at 10:40 AM on January 12, 2011


I think a key thing for me to remember was that the "zeitgeist" was a bit less zeitgeisty in some ways - people read the news online but there was no twitter or facebook so a topic of conversation might not reach as many eyeballs, and people spent less of their time thinking about people who were not physically in the same place.

This is a good point, and it bears repeating. 2002-2003 was during a strange trough where information was everywhere, but mass communication was more inefficient. The half-life of a meme was much longer during this time.

Another thing: the idea of chronically refreshing your news headlines was a very post-9/11 thing to do. So much important stuff was going on at this time. It's a bit of a cliche to point out how before 9/11, we were concerned mostly about the sexual proclivities of our President and his interns, but it really is true. The switch caught many people by surprise, especially young people.

I remember lots of feckless protests against the Iraq War - lots of NO BLOOD FOR OIL and papier mache puppets and FREE MUMIA and ALL PATRIARCHAL STATES ARE EITHER IN A STATE OF WAR OR RECOVERING FROM WAR banners. Black bloc anarchists spray-painting Starbuckses and people carrying huge pretzels aloft. The Iraq War protests were around the time when people realized that colorfully-dressed people in mass demonstrations weren't necessarily very good at changing people's minds.

There was a lot of fatalism in the air, combined with a general, seething contempt for George W. Bush. Also remember that most liberals couldn't imagine W getting another term at this point. This was before the political race with Dean and Kerry confirmed all the worst stereotypes about Democrat politics, just as this was also before the Dems finally took over again in 2006.

Aside from political stuff, improv comedy was growing huge that this time. UCB and such.

Also, 2002-2003, pre-YouTube, was during an era where you could still order unseen gems on VHS from eBay. Scarcity of information was still an issue during this time. Want to see David Lynch's On The Air? You had to physically acquire a copy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:41 AM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, also, DC Sniper was big news.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:42 AM on January 12, 2011


More music delivery thoughts:

In 2002, I was using WinMX for filesharing. It was also around this time that I discovered Direct Connect for music sharing (a Radiohead hub and Sigur Ros hub).
posted by kuanes at 10:44 AM on January 12, 2011


I can't think of a better distillation of the era's zeitgeist than ready.gov. Got duct tape?
posted by Tsuga at 10:45 AM on January 12, 2011


I remember in 2002 that I had to start accepting that the news crawl was going to be a permanent part of my life (I believe that it only became a 24-hour thing on and after 9/11) and that news channel's visuals became more complicated and busy.
posted by slmorri at 10:52 AM on January 12, 2011


I was in college then; here's what it was like at my school:

We mostly used AIM to communicate; there were some social networking sites starting to come around, but nobody used them. Agreed that cell phones were not yet universal, but they were starting to get very close.

Music piracy had eliminated most CD-buying among casual music listeners, but those who were more deeply into it (musicians, indie rock nerds, etc.) continued to buy CDs. The iPod was brand new and starting to catch on. The enthusiasm for Apple products in general was just starting to catch on, actually--it had been a cult thing before, when all they were known for was the Mac.

Netflix was beginning to get popular, and VCRs were almost gone. Everybody was really into The Matrix, for some reason, and the LOTR excitement was building. 24 and Friends were big TV hits.

Bush was profoundly unpopular at my school, with the war(s) being the #1 reason, and the police state/secret prison/torture stuff being #2. The Coca-Cola company was probably the second most popular target of ire, for its support of armed conflict in South America.

The news media was declining, but still nowhere near its present sorry state. Jon Stewart was very popular, but still considered more of a comedian than a serious journalist--people would remark on how pathetic it was that this comedian was doing a better job of reporting the Bush administration's abuses than any journalist. (This was a novelty back then.)
posted by equalpants at 10:52 AM on January 12, 2011


More than anything else I remember American flags everywhere. People had those car window flag holders with stars and stripes whipping off them.
posted by serazin at 10:53 AM on January 12, 2011


Not too long ago, I recently came across the journals I was keeping during that time. Most of the cultural highlights have already been addressed, but since I was apparently obsessed with the movie The Transporter during summer 2002, I think it bears mentioning.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 10:54 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lord of the Rings, Moulin Rouge, Royal Tennenbaums, Amélie, Memento, Donnie Darko, and Waking Life were all pretty hot youth culture icons at this time.

I also remember a LOT of excitement for the as-yet-unreleased Kill Bill. The trailer's "Battles Without Honor Or Humanity" was a popularly bootlegged track.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:54 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mashup culture was hitting the U.S. via the output of DJ/Rupture, Kid606 and the Tigerbeat6 label, but it was still relatively underground and wasn't yet Girl Talk.

Probably the peak commercial success of underground laptop music from North America too, through the breakcore and microsound scenes: Kid606's Tigerbeat6 again on the west coast and artists like Doormouse and Venetian Snares getting big. Gold Chains, Kit Clayton, etc., were hot and Keith Fullerton Whitman was still doing Hrvatski. Microsound artists were stilling rocking their expensive Macs and Max/MSP setups at shows and the backlash against all this sterility of performance, such as by the scene's own Kevin Blechdom, was only just gathering steam.
posted by galaksit at 10:56 AM on January 12, 2011


Oh, god, yes, the American flags. And the word "homeland" was seeing wider adoption. It was still weird and terrifying to hear government officials using it; we hadn't been desensitized yet.
posted by equalpants at 10:56 AM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


In 2002 I still used NetZero to get 10 free hours of Internet each month. Downloading music took forever. U.S. flags were everywhere (I was living in Salt Lake City for the first half of 2002), and they symbolized patriotism, and patriotism meant war=good. There wasn't so much "organic" stuff in grocery stores like Smiths, Albertsons, Safeway. I think I might have still been using Altavista's Babelfish for web translation things. It was before Gmail, so my email address changed every year.
posted by aniola at 10:56 AM on January 12, 2011


2003 was the year I worked in the Strand's Rare Book Room and the Strokes came in and our unbearably obnoxious 19 year-old employee whose parents actually bought her a flat in the East Village came over to me and and hissed "THOSE ARE THE STROKES OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD" and in all innocence I replied "Who are the Strokes?" and was met with a look of such disdainful incredulity that I've never forgotten it.
posted by Beardman at 10:56 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Off the top of my head:

Reality TV was really taking off. American Idol's first season was in the summer of '02. America's Next Top Model was spring '03. The Bachelor was '02 as well. Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica started in August '03, so Jessica Simpson exploded in popularity with her "chicken... by the sea" moment. The Simple Life was at the end of '03; Paris Hilton was moderately-well known before then (thanks to her leaked sex tape), but that was the first we'd heard of Nicole Richie, before she lost weight and started looking sickly.

Lindsay Lohan was still red-haired and family-friendly, though there were rumors she was beefing with Hilary Duff.

Sex and the City was still cool and various flavored "martinis" were everywhere.

As for women's fashion: jeans were very low-rise, and the $100+ jeans trend was just starting. Seven for All Mankind was still the go-to brand. Often worn with pointy stiletto heels. If you lusted after outrageously expensive stiletto heels, you probably lusted after Manolos (thanks again to SATC) and hadn't yet heard of Christian Louboutin. Kate Spade, Coach, and Prada bags were trendy among twentysomething women, many of whom also wore silver "Return to Tiffany & Co" bracelets.

Christina Aguilera came out with her second album and revamped "Dirrty" image in late '02. Justin Timberlake and Beyonce were starting their solo careers and getting a lot of exposure. Boy bands were pretty much over. Eminem was riding high.

And I watched a lot more trashy TV, read more celebrity gossip, and spent way too much money on accessories.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:59 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember it as a really politicized time. A lot of friends who were young writers and journalists and wanted to be Taken Seriously suddenly became very conservative. I spent a lot of my own time protesting the war.

That said, I was living in a huge city, being a college student, and hanging out with people who would be likely to be more political than, say, a 16 year old in suburban Ohio.

Pop culture memories:

Missy Elliot and saying "HOLLAAAAAH!" semi-ironically. Outkast. Radiohead. Coldplay. I also remember listening to a lot of Sleater-Kinney (this was right before The Woods came out and they broke up), though I don't think your average suburban teen would have been.

First gen iPods as the Christmas gift of choice.

The Sopranos, Sex And The City, Six Feet Under, and Arrested Development (this might have been a year or so before Arrested Development, actually - I remember seeing it on DVD in 2004-ish) on TV. I also think this was the beginning of American Idol, The Bachelor, and other long-running reality series. Was The Osbournes still on? The Daily Show, definitely, but I think this was before Colbert.

All of the Sex And The City pop culture tidbits were going strong - girls ordered cosmos in bars and wore big stupid silk flowers attached to their lapels. People thought Chris Noth (AKA "Mr. Big") was sexy. Everybody wanted Jimmy Choo spike heels. Kids in Williamsburg were starting to wear Uggs with their jeans tucked in; that probably would have been winter '03. It hadn't trickled down to the suburbanites yet, though. In fact I'd say that most things that are old news, trendwise, were incubating among hipsters in Brooklyn at that time - skinny jeans, Banksy, big sunglasses, This American Life, The Decemberists, the pirate trend, the zombie trend...
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 AM on January 12, 2011


Also, if you can believe it, for a very short window of time, Crocs were actually cool.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:06 AM on January 12, 2011


I remember signing up for Friendster, I think in 2003. Economy was a little rough for graduating seniors from college in 2002, compared to the tech boom a year or two back (though not at today's levels). I first heard of boing-boing in 2002-2003 (working in an office in nyc), and 'black table' was an internet magazine I read. Music I got loaned from other people: And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead 'Source Tags & Codes and Rammstein. AOL IM was around and used (started using Trillian during this period; I had stopped using IRC and ICQ, though some people still did I'm sure).

For TV, it was I think second season of 24 in 2002, and the first season of One Tree Hill (2003).

It's also the first year I didn't have a landline, just a cell phone.
posted by ejaned8 at 11:07 AM on January 12, 2011


Some more thoughts:

In terms of blogs and social networking, As Joanne McNeil notes in her history of blogs:
Not Blogs
pre-2002: Geek notes, diaries, frequently updated zines. Things that looked like blogs but went by other names

Linkblogs
1999 – (2011?): Perhaps even earlier than 1999. Linkblogs were either quick links or a blockquote and a link. Nothing labor intensive about sharing cool stuff but some people have better taste than others. Are they dying? Maybe? Twitter seems to have taken over for directions on how get lost online

Warblogs
2001 – 2004: You know how everyone has something to say about Wikileaks? Imagine that times twenty and that was the post-9/11 blogosphere. Here’s all you need to know about this frenzied media landscape.

Post-Diaries
2003-2005: Pre-Facebook, although concurrent with Friendster and Myspace. Years before we had any kind of meaningful public vs private discussion as the sense was, with so much out there on the web, who is going to pay any attention to me? The post-diarists used their blogspot pages as nascent social networks, a way to reach multiple close friends. You probably knew all your best friends’ IP addresses because Sitemeter never clocked more than ten visits a day.
In terms of iPods, I only knew one person with one, as at the time (I think), they could only be used with Macs. I only started seeing them everywhere in 2004-5.

People had started buying mostly DVDs, but everybody also had a ton of VHS tapes they were still regularly using.

And, to second Sys Rq, it was definitely the golden age of emo (Taking Back Sunday's first album dropped in 2002).
posted by General Malaise at 11:07 AM on January 12, 2011


Well, Homestar Runner was still cool, I can tell you that much.
posted by cmoj at 11:16 AM on January 12, 2011


2002 was the year that the Hipster became more readily discernable from the emo/indie-kid from which it evolved, embracing defensive irony as opposed to irritated earnestness as the attitude of course. In an unconscious attempt to disavow the mainstream white power structure they were heir to, instead of co-opting African American culture, like many prior white urban youth cultures, they went the other way and mockingly adopted all of the most overt signifiers of "white trash," wearing trucker hats, aviator sunglasses and faux-vintage baseball t's, smoked + drank cheap beer, joined bowling leagues, listened to music like Southern Culture on the Skids and Kings of Leon (you know, before they got big).

2002 seemed to me the year by which just about everyone had a cell phone. Friendster started, and blew up really fast. I was in my early 20's but had just re-enrolled in college to finish up my degree, and I remember being stunned by the degree to which internet technology had integrated itself into the lives of kids not that much younger than me. Everyone had AOL IM up on their computers all the time, including at the library. They sent texts to each other with that frustrating "press 3 two times for E" numeric keypad interface. Rumors spread around campus so much faster than ever before - whereas my friends and I spent many Friday and Saturday nights trolling around campus trying to find where the parties were, the new class of students had all of that info IM'd, texted and Friendster'd to them instantly.

Although Eggers and McSweeney's had been around for a little while, with the publishing of wunderkind Jonathan Safran-Foer's Everything Is Illuminated (and news of his 7 figure advance) and Fortress of Solitude, along with the post-pulitzer popularity of Kavalier and Klay, '02/'03 was kind of the peek of the nerd-boy intellectual fiction phase. People were starting to talk about the mainstreaming of comic books and other forms of old nostalgia-dripped nerd culture.
posted by patnasty at 11:19 AM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Get Your War On was pretty popular then.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


even though broadband was mostly a college-campus thing

I don't think this is true - I lived in a shared loft with artists in late 2003, and we definitely had dsl or cable or somesuch, wireless (though a lot of us didn't have wifi-enabled computers yet) with routers and the whole 9, just like now. The new iBook G4's had wifi capability, I believe.

Of course, I also knew people who were doing torrent-style downloads (possibly via IRC?) in that same space by early 2004. So maybe we were just ahead of the trend.

the iTunes store was new, and there was this promotion via Pepsi where 20oz bottle-caps would give you a free download.
posted by Sara C. at 11:25 AM on January 12, 2011


I connected with friends via phone, email and blogs (theirs and mine). I still bought CDs in 2002-2003. I had also just gotten a cell phone in 2003 (much later than most people I knew /due to laziness and fear that the job I had at the time would use it to keep me "on call" in a way I didn't want to be - more than anything else). I kept a landline (probably until 2004). So, for about a year, I had two places to check messages which irritated me into getting rid of the landline in 2005. Spare time was spent doing homework, reading, listening to music on a stereo/cd player, surfing the internet and reading blogs that - at that time - didn't necessarily have any photo/video content (that completely changed in 2004/5 - so did the amount of people with blogs/exploded just after the time period you are researching from my point of view). I was bartending in those days - cigars, which had become a big thing in the late 1990's were still big, and everyone was drinking anything that came in a martini glass - whether it was a martini or not. And midriffs couldn't be covered even if you wanted them to be (long waisted female, here). That was also when I started buying things used almost exclusively (CDs, books - especially) and this rounded out my otherwise outright stealing of music (Napstar - still totally acceptable at that time) making 2002-2003 part of a brief time period where I paid almost nothing for music (I'm sorry!).
posted by marimeko at 11:25 AM on January 12, 2011


That was the end of college for me. Let's see... Folks at my school (strong tech school) were very optimistic about jobs. Lots of math/physics guys going in to Wall St. We were all using Google as a search engine by then. Heh, there was a pattern I noticed with my (male) friends in EE - when they got a job and started making diatribe of $$ for the first time, they all seemed to buy a car (usually a Jetta), a black leather couch (ugly!), and a big TV with big ass speakers. About half the folks I knew had cell phones but it was still perfectly reasonable not to - that said, almost everyone got one when they graduated and got an apartment because why get snowmaking? You were going to move soon anyway.
posted by maryr at 11:30 AM on January 12, 2011


reading ebooks on my Palm Pilot
finally getting DSL at home
carefree travel (flying) all over
cheap-o pay-as-you-go Virgin mobile cell phone
finishing grad school (using my original iMac)
those were the last couple of years I bought music CDs
my husband had a terrible Law & Order addiction
started getting BBC America television via satellite TV
posted by hms71 at 11:33 AM on January 12, 2011


I graduated from college in 2003. Most people at my college had desktops in their dorm rooms, which is definitely not the case today when lots of students have laptops. Everybody used AIM, and status messages were actually relevant because you could tell people where you were (in class, at lunch in the dining hall, etc) and they could come and find you. Text messaging was expensive and not many people used it.

In 2002 one of my friends had studied abroad in Japan and gotten a cell phone there. I remember being amazed because it was in color and soooooo advanced when compared to my fliptop Nokia. However, I'd had a cell phone since 1997, so cell phones were not really new or fancy; lots of people had them.
posted by zoetrope at 11:34 AM on January 12, 2011


I was 24 in 2002-03.

My friends and I were really into karaoke (in the northeast U.S.). Lots of bars had karaoke nights on weekdays (and maybe still do?).

A bunch of friends kept journal-type blogs on various sites (livejournal, diaryland, their own domains) -- pretty much all of them had stopped by 2006.

A friend's girlfriend spent $160 on jeans and I thought that was insane, so I think the designer jeans trend started around then.

Still bought CDs. Signed up for Netflix in 2002.
posted by bethist at 11:36 AM on January 12, 2011


Diatribe should say fistfuls. Weird autocorrect choice.

And yeah, I don't think many people bought CDs. You might want to look in to when that big lawsuit alleging price fixing or whatever it was was filed against the big record companies. Before that CDs were like $15 a pop which was ridiculous. When the prices dropped a bit and after 2003 saw some great albums people started to get back in to buying CDs.
posted by maryr at 11:36 AM on January 12, 2011


Ebaum's World!

Also, I definitely had a cell phone. I was in high school (sophomore/junior, suburban TX) and my mom made me carry it in case something like Columbine or 9/11 ever happened again. I barely ever used it and didn't sent my first text until 2004. It was a nokia. The Columbia space shuttle disaster happened on a Saturday in Feb. 2003 and I remember waking up to the sound of my parents fretting over the computer, and I thought another 9/11 had happened.
posted by jschu at 11:41 AM on January 12, 2011


Cell phones were nowhere near universal yet, and I think that's the biggest change. Landlines were still the standard.

This would have been the case just a couple years before, but I got my first cell phone in 2002 after every. single. person. in my life demanded that I have one. Granted I was a college student, but yeah, cell phones were not an exotic thing anymore, they were a basic need.

One thing, though, is that unlimited mobile-to-mobile didn't exist yet, so you did have to be really careful about your minutes. I don't think texting and data plans were really the done thing yet, if they existed at all.

I remember texting being really new. In 2002 I was a junior in college, and incoming freshmen were racking up huge bills texting their boyfriends and girlfriends back home. This seemed incredibly stupid to me - why not just CALL THEM.

Having a camera in your phone was also really new.

Also Friendster. Has anyone mentioned Friendster?
posted by Sara C. at 11:46 AM on January 12, 2011


For a clear cut look at the way blogs/websites looked/functioned in 2002-2003 use the way back machine:

It's crazy how much the internet has changed in just seven years.
posted by marimeko at 11:51 AM on January 12, 2011


track-suits being worn everywhere

Oh god. The Juicy Couture velour tracksuit. If real life took place in the Infinite Jest universe, 2002 would have been Year Of The Juicy Couture Velour Tracksuit.
posted by Sara C. at 11:52 AM on January 12, 2011


Vice Magazine from 2002-2003 and The Onion AV Club during that era would be good places to check out what nerd/hipster people were up to during that time.

Even just taking a glance at the Vice stuff, I see a story on Russian rangefinder cameras. I'm now struck with vivid memories of vintage/toy cameras being popular, but before Urban Outfitters and such were selling refurbished ones. Those cameras were especially popular because they were (sometimes) good, always cheap, and because new film SLRs were already sort expensive and out of date, but DSLRs were even more expensive, and they weren't really ready for prime time. It was a very in-between time for that kind of technology.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:52 AM on January 12, 2011


I'm pretty sure Pokemon was at its North American peak roundabout then.

Another "incoming freshman" anecdote - one of the freshman girls on my floor (who interestingly enough eventually became my post-college BFF) came to school for the '02-'03 school year with a Picachu scarf for winter. We all thought it looked hella childish.

Hella? Was that a thing then? Or did I just have too many college buds from California around that time?
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 AM on January 12, 2011


the LOTR excitement was building

The first of the LOTR films was already out by this time - I wend to see Fellowship Of The Ring at Christmas 2001.
posted by Sara C. at 11:59 AM on January 12, 2011


I started college in 2003, and I remember watching Chapelle's Show pretty religiously, thinking it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen (still kind of think that).

I was pretty much done with CDs by that point, though I don't think I was using a bittorrent client; SoulSeek, maybe? Got an ipod for Xmas 2003, and did not own a cell phone for another year or two – though by that point all of my friends at school already had one.

And yes to ebaum's world. Me and my roommates would be up all night on that thing, as well as break.com sometimes.
posted by earlofrochester at 11:59 AM on January 12, 2011


Interestingly enough, 2002-2003 was also when Francis Fukuyama, often regarded as one of the leading lights behind neoconservatism and related movements, began to distance himself from those movements, eventually coming to be against the Iraq War in 2003.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:05 PM on January 12, 2011


Online chat services were just getting rolling - I think MSN messenger and AOL messenger were big hits at that time.
posted by angab at 12:09 PM on January 12, 2011


Online chat services were just getting rolling

I was chatting online via AIM by 1998 or so. Probably earlier, but I remember summer of '98 AIM chatting with my friends from boarding school who were spread out around the state for the summer. Before that chat would have been reserved for online friends from fandom and reaching out to strangers with "A/S/L?" and the like.

When I left for college in late '99, it was already the thing to have your AIM open all the time so you could be in constant contact with friends (as many others have said).

If anything '02-'03 were probably the height of services like AIM, not the beginning.
posted by Sara C. at 12:15 PM on January 12, 2011


That was also the time period that the "us against them" conservatives started becoming mainstream in US culture. People like Ann Coultor became widely known and it began to be acceptable to be openly hateful or intolerant. (not the case in the 90s). Young people started adopting all kinds of conservative viewpoints and you started seeing the "ignorant and proud of it" mindset being publicly flaunted. It was profoundly depressing. The place I worked at the time was about 65% foreign workers and by 2005 we had almost all left the US. There was a real shift towards aggression and mean spiritedness in the media and the public.
posted by fshgrl at 12:17 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The first of the LOTR films was already out by this time - I wend to see Fellowship Of The Ring at Christmas 2001.

Indeed it was, and people were excited about it, and looking forward to the next one.

Forgot to mention environmentalism--the SUV backlash was underway, and hybrids were starting to appear. CFLs were getting popular. But still there was nowhere near the enthusiasm of recent years; I don't think the term "green" had even fully caught on yet.
posted by equalpants at 12:22 PM on January 12, 2011


Ah, 2002-2003. I was 17.

Red vs. Blue debuted in early 2003 and I recall it was a BIG HIT with my friends. Ditto Homestarrunner. Fark.com was a popular source for lulz. A lot of people loved The Best Page In the Universe (Maddox)

We still purchased CDs, but it was common for friends to trade their CD collections and burn the albums they wanted for themselves. Mix CDs were often exchanged between friends or couples. I remember analyzing every song for hidden meaning on a mix CD from my crush. A few kids had iPods but it wasn't widespread yet.

Most of us communicated through MSN chat, but AIM was sometimes used. Sharing online journals was also popular (especially Livejournal). My friends and I set up a Yahoo! group which was used like a pre-Facebook...we'd coordinate events, create polls, and message each other.

Michael Moore's work was popular for the liberal folks (Stupid White Men, Dude Where's My Country?). Ann Coulter for the conservatives.

For non-poppy, non-hip-hoppy music, my friends and I were very into Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, A Perfect Circle, System of a Down, the White Stripes, Weezer...the guys liked Mudvayne and Slipknot. Also Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age.

Office Space seemed to hit cult status right around then.
posted by castlebravo at 12:23 PM on January 12, 2011


uh, somehow dropped a sentence. The second LOTR was in late 2002, I believe.
posted by equalpants at 12:24 PM on January 12, 2011


track-suits being worn everywhere

Yes. Also hoodies, which were always there, and came on the scene in earnest in the early-nineties - became ubiquitous by the early 2000's. Purses were small 'baguette' style, often carried with a backpack (anyway). As well, flared pants. But in 2003 I noted a simplicity happen in fashion that was over taken in 2004-5 by something very drape-y/biased cut that still is happening. This is an interesting time period because the retro 1980's fashion (big bags, chunky jewelry) had not yet completely come on the scene. Goth was still (at that point) very 90's inspired (tatoos/pierceings).
posted by marimeko at 12:27 PM on January 12, 2011


What, nobody's actually mentioned reading MetaFilter? I practically lived here in 2002. Go check the archives for what was weird/newsworthy. Just skimming July 2002 turned up this post:
Doubtful that the US will strike Iraq by the end of this year, says chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph Biden (D-Delaware). "I'm convinced the administration has not made up their mind yet," Biden said. Should we go to Baghdad and topple Saddam, or not? Is Saddam an immediate threat?
posted by epersonae at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2011


This period was definitely before the HUGE popularity of craft beers we're having now (outside of the west coast, anyway). I remember the most off-beat thing to order in a bar, even bars that in New York are now likely to have a variety of ultra-local microbrews and really offbeat German and Eastern European imports, was Brooklyn Lager, Yuengling, or maybe Stella Artois or Bass IPA. A select number of bars had Guinness on tap. Even cool people drank Heineken and Corona, whereas now they're definitely considered gauche. Amstel Light was not quite considered the D-bag drink it is now.

For that matter, the notion of separating out "douchebags" as a phenomenon was not yet known. Hipsters were just starting to receive similar treatment, though as others have said, that that time trucker hats and all the stalest hipster cliches were actually true.

To generalize outside NYC, I'd guess that your typical bar would have one "local" "microbrew" specialty, like Sam Adams, Yuengling, or Brooklyn Lager, and aside from that it would be the ersatz selection of Amstel Light, Budweiser, Heineken, Stella, and possibly Bass or Guinness on tap (if it was a really impressive bar). They would offer Corona in bottles and Pabst and Miller High Life in cans for outrageous prices ($1 PBR's, iirc). A really fancy place might have lambic or some West Coast microbrews available, but none of my friends (18-25) ever ordered that stuff.

Only bars for true beer nerds (I'd guess there were under 5 of these places in Manhattan in 2002-2003) had stuff like Delirium Tremens, Dogfish Head, or European imports from further east than Amsterdam. I remember discovering Spaten in 2004-ish and feeling like I was A True Connoisseur Of Beers Of The World. Nowadays I'm bored with Kostritzer and Wienstephaner which it seems like every two-bit pint slinger in Brooklyn has on tap.
posted by Sara C. at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2011


The winter of 2002-3 was my first year in the US. Because it was my first long-time exposure I didn't realize that it was a completely insane time. I don't think I can emphasize that enough how crazy things were. The media completely lost their shit in a way that makes the various failings we have today look positively benign. I remember watching Aaron Brown, that shitnosed little pissant of a CNN news anchor, go on about how wonderful and brilliant Donald Rumsfeld was, and this was in the first few days (if not the first) of the invasion of Iraq. The mainstream media were all rah rah rah jingo jingo jingo about the invasion of Iraq and everything the Republicans did. Even the goddamn New Yorker endorsed the invasion of Iraq (for which, as far as I know, they've never apologized or discussed even). There was barely any dissent in the media and what existed was rhetorically beaten down. Public disourse was completely divorced from reality. If it hadn't been for The Daily Show I would've thought that I was the one who had lost the plot, not the media, so overwhelming was the atmosphere of craziness. TDS wasn't the institutions that it is today. Jon Stewart was the only voice in the traditional media that was consistently anti-war and anti-Bush. At the time that felt like a very brave thing to do. I mention all this because watching The Daily Show became a ritual for me and a lot of my friends. It was our four-times-a-week dose of sanity.

But the media doesn't exist in a vacuum. American society was going through something akin to post traumatic stress disorder. During the first anniversary of 9/11 I saw people crying in public. I remember a general feeling of edginess, of unease, that I thought was just a feature of American society until I moved back in 2005. It was a weird time. Which, I suppose, makes it perfect as a setting for a novel.
posted by Kattullus at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


April 2002 also saw the Tribute in Light.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:16 PM on January 12, 2011


I was 2 years out of college and going to grad school in Milwaukee, so my guess is I may (just maybe) have missed some of the most hippest parts of the zeitgeist.

But I remember Adult Swim starting, me and my friends did not have cell phones yet, I learned about Friendster in 2003 after basically everyone else, and I wasn't really online. I mean I was using the internet, but only for very specific tasks not for everything and anything. Oh right, and feeling like we were completely fucked post-9/11 with Bush.
posted by grapesaresour at 1:22 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually I think Adult Swim started a little earlier, but it was still big.
posted by grapesaresour at 1:23 PM on January 12, 2011


From a perhaps somewhat older-person perspective:

I think one of the hallmarks of that period was its transitionalness. A lot of people had DVD players by then, but a lot of people also still had VCRs. A lot of people had cell phones, but it was nowhere near universal, or people simply had a TracFone for emergencies. Some people had switched over to digital music, but most people were still buying CDs. Broadband was gaining in popularity, but dialup was still a viable option. Some people were starting to buy flat-panel TVs, but most people still had tube TVs. We used AOL IM, Yahoo IM, or IRC to talk to friends. Google was growing but not yet all-powerful, and it was still mostly search. It was pre-Gmail, and the term "web 2.0" wasn't being seriously talked about yet.

Paying a buck fifty for gas seemed like an outrage.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 1:31 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


To add to what SomeTrickPony said, it's also a time when laptops are fairly rare. A few of my friends had laptops the desk computer was still much more common. In cafés you'd see one or two people with laptops, often no one, but they weren't nearly as ubiquitous as they are today.
posted by Kattullus at 2:15 PM on January 12, 2011


Yeah, no one brought laptops to class. No one. Well, one guy did. He was seen as a freak.

It was weird going back to (law) school and seeing laptops being de rigueur for people of a certain generation. (It was also funny seeing laptops getting progressively more and more banned from classrooms, due to rampant in-class browsing and chatting.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:37 PM on January 12, 2011


I was 33 then, and going back to school. One thing that struck me about the 20somethings on campus was how passionately they detested 80's fashion. The term "mom pants" was coined around then. I used to crack people up by telling them that, no, I really did like tapered pants back in the day, and would wear them again were it socially acceptable.
posted by selfmedicating at 2:41 PM on January 12, 2011


A lot of people have mentioned the build-up to the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, I'd like to emphasize that for those in high school (say, me) or around that age, it was the first time they had ever been witness to war. Desert Storm/Shield happened when I was 6 and Bosnia was an ongoing thing that nobody seemed to understand or care about and never ended (and I would consider myself fairly well-informed for a high schooler).

I turned 18 in 2003, six months after the invasion of Iraq. Between Afghanistan, Iraq, and the warmongering of Bush's "Axis of Evil," there was certainly trepidation that there would be a draft. I don't know how widespread that feeling was, but I certainly heard it. It was bad enough that peers who had decided to join the armed forces after graduation were now being sent to war. How many wars can you really run with an all-volunteer army? It certainly sounded at the time like the administration was ready and willing to march all over the globe dispensing with regimes it didn't care for.

Also, Kazaa. Yeah.
posted by hafehd at 3:22 PM on January 12, 2011


Law school from 2001-2004 was absolutely a heavily laptopped zone. Everyone had one. All notes were taken on laptop. It's why I had a wifi card. My first year was 2001-2002, and it was the second year that exams could be taken on laptop at my school. I took almost every one of my law school exams on laptop. They wrote an encrypted file to a floppy disc with an assigned anonymizing number preprinted on the floppy label. But yeah, laptops were everywhere.
posted by norm at 3:25 PM on January 12, 2011


Coldplay "Clocks" = Iraq War in my mind. I remember feeling so helpless as we slid down that slope.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:39 PM on January 12, 2011


Huh, I turned 30 in 2002. Take this with a grain of salt, but it's accurate.

Wired covers for 2002

Wired covers for 2003

- "Rave" was dead, ambient and trip-hop were big, but indie music was starting to crush pop
- The Osbournes ruled reality TV
- Bowling for Columbine
- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy made everyone want to be metrosexual
- The Simple Life introduced me to Paris Hilton's friend, Nicole Ritchie, previously unknown
- Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson had a new TV show on about being married
- People were just starting to talk about Cougars, i.e. Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake
- The Atkins diet was everywhere thanks to Jennifer Aniston
- I was reading Fast Food Nation
- The dollar suddenly seemed like it was going to go in the shitter thanks to the new "euro" currency (oh...) and everybody was scrambling to get rid of their old foreign coins/money
- The Vespa was some Hot New Shit for proto-hipsters


This seems trivial now, but I was still getting AOL disks in the mail - sometimes in spectacularly wasteful packaging - and my friends and I were finding all kinds of creative crap to do with them. Not just coasters, but fake armor and crap.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:43 PM on January 12, 2011


I went to a lecture in early 2002 about climate change that had a graph showing the rise in temperature was statistically significant. This appears to be backed up by the IPCC reports, where 2001 is the first report that talks about definite observations of climate change. I also remember 'sustainability' as a concept taking off.
posted by kjs4 at 5:06 PM on January 12, 2011


The metrosexual reference reminds me: you might get something out of watching Seasons 6 & 7 of South Park. (There's a metrosexual episode, which is pretty funny, although I prefer the Lord of the Rings-themed episode.) South Park always seems to have a good grasp of the zeitgeist.
posted by epersonae at 5:22 PM on January 12, 2011


Absinthe was still illegal in the United States.
posted by oreofuchi at 5:42 PM on January 12, 2011


After 9/11 many (most? all?) of the theaters were playing patriotic and inspirational videos before each movie. Not sure when that died down but where I was it probably carried into 2003 at least. Specific videos I remember was one that had various multicultural pictures of people from across the US set to an annoyingly earnest version of "Proud to be an American". And a series of schlocky videos from The Foundation for a Better Life. My friends and I thought this was tedious and quite lame but I suppose some people appreciated it.
posted by 6550 at 6:20 PM on January 12, 2011


A student from Japan had one of the new, still fairly rare, phones. We had a brief conversation about whether to call it a mobile phone or cell phone and she said in her country they called it a hand phone.
posted by Anitanola at 6:41 PM on January 12, 2011


> she said in her country they called it a hand phone.

Just FYI "hand phone" is still used all over SE Asia to this day.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:12 PM on January 12, 2011


Maybe it was just a New England thing, but the Catholic sex abuse scandal was a major news item.

"Mission Accomplished"

Martha Stewart insider trading.

Johnny Cash released his cover of "Hurt" and then died soon thereafter.
posted by giraffe at 7:37 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was about 19-20 then. Definitely left AIM on all the time. Obtuse away messages and/or song lyrics were common. One AIM account that was popular on my campus listed parties in their away messages.

I spent too much time on Direct Connect for music/movies. I drove everywhere, even the two miles to school, because gas was so cheap. I signed up for credit cards because I got a free t-shirt. Me and my roommates sat down each month to figure out our long distance charges on the land line. Said 'hella tight' all the time.
posted by shinyshiny at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2011


I was in the throes of college, trying all sorts of new things like acting and writing and science research.

My strongest musical associations with late 2002 are The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and Ben Folds Live. My second date with a young woman was to a Ben Folds concert on our campus. She then turned me on to the Lips. We watched Amélie and The Royal Tenenbaums on my first DVD player in my first apartment. She also introduced me to Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Postal Service. We went to a few Guster concerts. The Counting Crows covered Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi", which I'm currently listening to on a mix CD I made in December 2003. Here's another mix CD of mine from that time period

I think people wore pea coats a lot in 2003, but I didn't.
posted by knile at 2:30 AM on January 13, 2011


Aserejé ja de jé de jebe tu de jebere sebiunouva majabi an de bugui an de buididipí ...

Try to find the blog archives of a real person who was, in 2002, something like your fiction's character is supposed to be. Depending on the age and sex of the character, you might the character to be, for example, either singing a Britney Spears song or be completely ignorant of Britney Spears.
posted by pracowity at 5:01 AM on January 13, 2011


Las Ketchup weren't popular in the US, pracowity. I know because I was there and escaped the whole thing :)
posted by Kattullus at 6:29 AM on January 13, 2011


Those were my first couple years in college. I was probably a proto-hipster then, though there wasn't much of that scene at my school in the Midwest. I was blogging then, on blogspot, and indie and emo were emerging trends. I had a laptop with a docking station for the floppy and CD-R drives, along with a wifi card. I only took it to class to play flash games during the boring lectures. I kept in touch with people on AIM. Status messages were in many ways a precursor to Twitter. Some people had cell phones, but I did not. I could text message them by sending emails to their phones. I was using hotmail.

We used soulseek for mp3s and the occasional movie (which took 12+ hours to download on a fast connection). The first ipod was very cool and not yet ubiquitous. I burned a lot of mix cds. I could give you a huge list of bands I was into but they were still mostly under the radar. A bunch of my friends and I went to a Coldplay concert at a small-ish hall. We were all guys and nobody thought it was gay. I introduced my friends to The Shins before Garden State came out.

Kurt Vonnegut was still alive. So it goes.

There were people who thought Ashton Kutcher was cool. Punk'd was on MTV and he wasn't with Demi Moore yet. MTV still showed videos occasionally. 50 Cent had his big break with "In Da Club." Mash-ups were gaining notice, and Go Home Productions was one of the big names.

CollegeHumor.com was one of our favorite link sources for the stuff that would now be considered viral, like gifs and flash animations and funny videos that you actually had to download. Pitchfork was new and still cool. Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction wasn't until the 2004 Super Bowl, so most events were broadcast live with no tape-delay. The Oscars coincided with the beginning of the invasion and might be worth watching. The space shuttle Columbia explosion was in February of '03.

In those years, the red state/blue state dynamic was still on the rise. There was still a semblance of a shared monoculture. The Sopranos was the best show on tv, but there wasn't much competition. I was finding myself and falling in love. I'm nostalgic for it all but would never want to relive those years.
posted by kyleg at 2:43 PM on January 13, 2011


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