This was supposed to be the year of the meltdown. Our clocks would strike the first champagne-fizzy second of the 21st century, and suddenly everything would fritz out — computers, satellites, phones. Hoard beans! Stockpile water! Hide in the basement! Well, chaos failed to materialize; those Y2K Cassandras were wrong. Or were they? Looking back at the pop-cult highlights of 2000, it’s easy to see traditional infrastructure collapsing all over the place. Napster, the file-swapping technology that allows people to build up arsenals of free music, scared the Bizkit out of the record companies. Reality shows like Survivor looked like they might send sitcom jokesters to the soup kitchens. A looming labor strike threatened to paralyze Hollywood. David Letterman had heart surgery; Tom Green turned testicular cancer (his own) into comedy. Network news anchors watched their authority dribble away as the presidential election sank into a baffling quagmire — and viewers turned to Conan O’Brien for insight. Even Jennifer Lopez got into the smash-the-establishment spirit, showing up at the Grammys in a gown that seemed to nullify the very idea of a gown. Thank God we didn’t stay down in the bomb shelter. Otherwise we would’ve missed the fun…
Posted December 23 2000 — 12:00 AM EST
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