Unit 8: 2000's
You will examine how pop culture responded to the rise of the internet in the 2000’s
You will identify how the connectivity of the world changed who influences pop culture
You will assess the role of technology in influencing pop and american culture
The 1990's was a period of great economic prosperity and social revolutions that propelled the United States into the 2000's with an overwhelming amount of new information, new technology and new distractions; and, America took advantage of all of it.
The decade begins with scandals about steroid use in sports, led by the U.S. Congress, that shakes confidence in the professional sports leagues and puts young athletes at risk if they use these same drugs to find shortcuts to success. The scandal changed the way sports are regulated and what athletes can do to gain a competitive advantage. Outside of sports, business owners were looking for ways to gain an advantage as well and as a result the early 2000's also gave rise to corporate fraud. Businesses like Enron stole millions in employee pension funds and client investments wiping out the life savings of millions of Americans and ultimately bankrupting several businesses and sending many people to jail.
As the United States looked to social issues the topic of same sex marriage arises once again and for the first time in American history states like Massachusetts officially recognized same sex marriage and begin a movement to fully legalize the practice. Over time homophobic policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell would be repealed and soldiers could be themselves as they defended our country.
In September of 2001, everything changed when four planes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field (on the way to the White House). These attacks by members of the Taliban, a middle eastern rebel force, sent the United States and the world into a major military conflict. The U.S. looked for answers as to how they missed their own intelligence on an attack of this scale and what they could do to ensure this never happened again. This was the most deadly foreign attack on US soil since the Pearl Harbor attacks during World War Two and within 50 days of the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act was signed into law. This law among other things gave the government a broad right to spy on American citizens, sometimes through the use of a secret court system, to protect national security.
The 2000's also brought a number of natural disasters that tested the resiliency of Americans as hurricane Katrina hit southern parts of the United States and the newly formed Homeland Security department oversaw the Federal Emergency Management Agency as it failed to act and put millions of American lives in danger. This was another moment in American history where the American people saw fellow Americans in need and the federal government either unable or unwilling to act. These fears would be further magnified as the country's service industry began to soften and the United States entered an economic recession that is amplified by an overextended housing market. The United States was in need of a new direction and in 2008 they got it.
The 2000's brought perhaps the biggest moment in American History in 2008 when Barack Obama became the first African American President in our nation's history. Barack Obama quickly worked to help stabilize the nation's economy and begin to scale down a war in the middle east that had turned into a war about oil rather than American security. By the time the decade came to an end the country was still struggling, but it had a new vision for where it was headed.
While many factors played a role in the changing American culture there is no doubt that globalization and the expansion of mass media played major roles throughout the 2000s.