Monday, November 23, 2009

Two-Thousand-Ten or Twenty-Ten?

As the decade odometer is about to roll over to 2010, I've been suspecting that we may see a concerted push to get people to pronounce it as "twenty-ten" instead of "two-thousand-ten." Just a suspicion, but it won't go away.

And my suspicion is also that it will be primarily liberals and blue state types who will be pushing for us to say "twenty-ten." You know, on the general grounds that "two-thousand-ten" is imperial and retrograde, and that we must stand against anything grand or ornate, and in favor of blonde wood, modern concrete-slab architecture, and tighter federal control of your every fugitive sleeping cry in the middle of the night.

My suspicion is not without its empirical correlate. Out here in deep rural America where I live -- a thoroughly red-state part of the country -- almost everyone says "two-thousand-nine" and "two-thousand-ten." Whereas in the media -- y'know, media, liberal bias -- I often hear announcers and talking heads saying "twenty-ten." They can't quite get away with "twenty-nine," though I've heard that one too on occasion; but often from them it's "twenty-oh-nine," which has been just awkward enough so far to give "two-thousand-nine" a hairsbreadth edge. But with the coming of "twenty-ten" they'll be in the clear, and in a position to pull ahead on the straightaway.

So in the months ahead don't be surprised if you start hearing voices in the media chiding or shaming those of us who stick to the imperial "two-thousand" format, and not so gently pressuring us to say "twenty-ten" as a way of proving to our cultured despisers that we're not so hopelessly Neanderthal after all.

May be just my paranoia, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised.

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