Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random Things Of The Decade

I suppose it would be a gross dereliction of duty if I didn't do some post commemorating the end of the decade. The following is a hodgepodge list of stuff without any real evidence to back it up.

Most important person of the decade

Osama bin Laden. No question. Dude made George W. Bush, the most unremarkable of men, a historic figure. Seriously, if there was no 9/11, Bush would have been voted out of office in 2004, there would've been no Iraq war, we wouldn't know a thing about Barack Obama, the Europeans and Americans would still get along, the Middle East would be fucked but not as fucked as it is, and god knows what else. The world really did change on 9/11.

Best leader of the decade

Ummm, donno, really. Let's give it to Hu Jintao for keeping China humming along while no one other than the Indians and East Asians pays any attention. Though it bears noting that I know nothing about Chinese politics. They just seem sane from this vantage point, and that's all you can really ask for, no?

Worst leader of the decade

Again, a toughie. Bush would be easy, too easy. Mugabe matters to no one outside Zimbabwe and South Africa. Let's give to the Uzbek dude who used to boil political opponents. I think that's fair.

Best politician in Pakistan of the decade

Mustafa Kamal. Reformed a city, despite other people's best efforts to derail anything and everything he attempted. Built stuff like, you know, roads and highways. Involved Karachiites in everyday policy. Served the people. Yeah, he belongs to the MQM. BFD. Honorable mention: Nawaz Sharif. If there's someone out there who played his cards better than this guy, I'd like to meet him/her.

Worst politician in Pakistan of the decade

Asif Zardari. When he ascended to power, he had a pliant military, a supportive U.S., a big chunk of parliament, public sympathy over his wife's death, public anger at Musharraf and undemocratic forces and all the rest of it. A year later, none of those things is even remotely true; he fucked it all up. Only he could do that. Kudos. It takes a special kind of talent to display the ineptitude that he has.

Technological innovation of the decade

Youtube. Hands down. The iPod/iPhone can go screw itself, it's not even close. From 2005 on, procrastination has never been the same. Honorable mention: DVR/Tivo.

Athlete of the decade

Lance Armstrong. Dude had cancer, for god's sake. Cancer. Came back and won a gazillion Tours de France. Retired. Came back three years later, and still finished in the top three. Minus points for being such good friends with Matthew McConaughey, but not enough to make him fall below Roger or Tiger (who is definitely something of the decade, I just can't figure out what).

Sporting moment of the decade

The Zidane headbutt. No question. Twenty years later, you're going to be telling your kids where you were when that happened.

TV show of the decade

The Sopranos. Can't be topped. With the caveat that I haven't seen enough of The Wire to make a real judgment. Honorable mention: South Park, The Daily Show.

Movie of the decade

I don't know. Don't watch enough films to be honest. I know I really enjoyed movies like House of Sand and Fog, 21 Grams, Zoolander, The Departed, Closer, etc etc, but I really feel uncomfortable giving them best-movie-of-the-decade honors. I don't know, you guys can decide this one.

South Asian crisis of the decade

Hmm, so many to choose from. Do we go for the simmering tension of the post Kargil age that lasted until the infamous Agra trip (1999-2001)? How about the fury following the Mumbai attacks (2008-present)? Naah. I'm going with 2002, the only time as an adult that I have truly feared war, nuclear war. Maybe I was young and stupid (save the obvious jokes please) but I really did believe it was more than brinksmanship in those days.

Artist of the decade

Beyonce. I don't listen to her music, but no one's going to tell me she didn't own this decade. I mean, she just flat out made it hers. Honorable mention: Radiohead.

Author of the decade

Don't know. I stopped reading fiction in 2005. I need your help with this one.

Annoying trend of the decade

The globalization and decentralization of the media, which allowed us to see just how batshit crazy other people are, from Zaid Hamid to Glenn Beck to crazy bloggers to warmongering op-edders. I'd rather live in a world where I am blissfully ignorant, thanks. Honorable mention: sending thank-you notes after interviews.

Best trend of the decade

Sitcoms without laugh tracks. From Scrubs to The Office (both of 'em) to 30 Rock, there is nothing quite like being liberated from annoying audience laughter, especially when the jokes aren't funny. I'm looking at you, last five seasons of Friends. Honorable mention: low rise jeans for girls.

Readers are encouraged to come up with their own awards in the comments section.


takhalus said...

Peter Jacksons LOTR for filming the unfilmabbale.

best documentry, fog of war and michael moore for turning documentries into polemics.

Jaydev said...

Technological innovation of the decade
Webmail,social networksing(orkut,myspace,facebook)blogging,twitter..
Blogging brought more customized and interactive communication of readers with journos/bloggers. I think webmail(,blogging and social networking needed more attention that youtube.

Most important internet transformation is changing of status of readers/browsing netizens from consumers to content creators..thereby leveling the playing field and dismantling that feudalistic structure of internet by blogs,youtube,wikipedia,social networking.. (web2.0)
Also the influence of peer-2-peer technology in liberating and uniting repressed voices in Middle-East,China like FreeNet,Bittorrent is understated.

AKS said...

Here's my list.

Most important person of the decade

OBL hands down. Had 9/11 not happened, Pakistanis would still be able to get visas, not to mention the wars and the carnage.

Best leader of the decade

Tough one, I'd go with Lula. On of the few heads of state in a continent full of batshit crazy leaders. Has overseen substantial growth and strengthened the country's international ties.

Worst leader of the decade

How about Chavez?

Best politician in Pakistan of the decade

Mustafa Kamal hands down.

Worst politician in Pakistan of the decade

Chaudhry Shujaat. A complete idiot who played a major role in Musharraf's fall from grace - and what a spectacular fall that was.

Ahsan, I think you're being too harsh on Zardari. When he came into power things were hardly as rosy as you point out and since then he's had to deal with one crisis after another. This is not to say that he and his administration are not inept, they are and they have failed but they have failed in the face of tough challenges.

Technological innovation of the decade


Athlete of the decade

Usain Bolt. He's taken the human body further than was thought possible.

Sporting moment of the decade

Liverpool's win over Milan.

TV show of the decade

The West Wing. Came up with ideological politicians and a young, inspirational minority president before the neo-cons or Obama ever appeared on the scene.

Movie of the decade

Lord of the Rings - an epic that is sure to become this era's Ben-Hur. Honourable mention: Dark Knight, changed the face of super-hero movies.

South Asian crisis of the decade

Benazir's death. Imagine this: BB lives, is elected Prime Minister while Mush remains President. Fewer chances of Pakistan imploding.

Artist of the decade

The Black Eyed Peas or Kanye West. Annoying music for sure but they owned the decade.

Author of the decade

Not sure which author had the biggest impact but the books that stand out for me are: 1) Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and 2) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Annoying trend of the decade

Beards / Burqas.
Honourable mention: Movie Franchises.

Best trend of the decade

The amalgamation of Shadis and Valimas into one Wedding Reception.

Ahsan said...


Never watched LOTR so can't say.


Web-based email was around in the 90s. Social networking is way overrated -- anyone and everyone could live without Facebook if it disappeared tomorrow, but people would find it very hard to live without Youtube.


Some interesting calls, especially WiFi, which you're right, is probably the key one. I disagree with you on Bolt vs. Armstrong, I mean I think the facts speak for themselves but whatever. I also don't think things would be too different if BB had been alive -- basically the Musharraf exit would have been uglier and more unwieldy but the same thing would have happened.

Ahsan said...

Oh and AKS? Liverpool over Milan? Who gives a shit? They got lucky once, and Milan showed them who was boss two years later.

Also, West Wing does not hold a candle to The Sopranos. I've seen both (though not all of WW), but honestly dude, The Sopranos was something else.

Gaia said...

Been following your blog for a while now... Loved this list!

Mustafa Kamal is Ace!

Farooq said...

Media censorship of the decade:

Ahsan's deletion of my last comment on this post.

Dick of the decade:

Ahsan, for said deletion.

Butterscotch said...

Most important person Osama..cant think of any..
Sportsman would have to be Roger Federer by a mile

Movie LOTR series
honourable mention The Dark Knight
Million Dollar baby

Politician of the decade
Hu jintao
Honourable mention Putin

Worst Bushy fucker all the way

Best Pakistani politician
Cant name Mustafa me he still remains andho mein kana raja
so no one

Many are leading contenders however someone mentioned Chaudry Shujaat, i would probably agree

TV show
Sopranos without a doubt
honourable mention 24, prison break

Fresh prince of bel air:D..still watch it and loving every min of it

Technological innovation

Sporting moment
Usain bolt thundering his way to the 100 m finals

South Asian crises
Attack on indian parliment followed by the nuclear crises

if it includes composers
it would have to be AR Rehman

umm Khalid Hosseini maybe

Annoying trend
Too many..

Best trend
i started working out

Bubs said...

TV Show of the decade: Should be divided by drama and comedy. The Wire and The Office (UK) hands down.

Movie of the Decade: There Will be Blood

Artist of the Decade: OutKast for being revolutionary and popular.

Minerva said...

AKS definitely had "The Dark Knight" and "The West Wing" spot on. Mustufa Kamal? Really? Do we seriously think that a few bridges made in Karachi make up for all the heinous bloodshed MQM was responsible for, just the last decade? Why oh WHY do Pakistanis have such amazing talents when it comes to short term memory loss?

The author of the decade would have to be JK Rowling. She reinvented the idea of reading for children. Something that was fast losing ground in the face of all these new-fangled video games. Not to mention all the moolah she made off of it that knocks off records.

Zardari has to be the worst politician ever.

Mainly because he never was one to begin with and catapulted straight to being the President - quite, quite, quite undeservedly.

And no. That does not make him an unlikely genius.

1.7 billion dollars, if you please.

Anonymous said...

Sportsperson Federer?

Raza said...

tech innovation:
Streaming Pornography, hands down. (see what I did there?)

Naqiya said...

did someone seriously say prison break?? seriously?? not the wire, not 30 rock, not arrested development, not south park, but prison break? you may as well say gossip girl and have it over with.

i second the j.k rowlling, although the first books came out in the late 1990s right? so maybe that disqualifies her somewhat.

best tv trend:
hbo and showtime series like rome, entourage, dexter, californication, etc.

b3 said...

Death of the decade: Michael Jackson. Cant forget him.

hemlock said...

comment of the decade: the onbe in which AKS tells Ahsan "Movie of the decade" is actually Lord of the Rings...
and his "Honourable mention" for Dark Knight

on the subject of which, a posthumous life-time achievement award for heath ledger for immortalizing the Joker.

btw, i was in the living room watching the final with my brother rooting for Italy - for no reason except that i still cant get over my crush on Maldini.

Umair Javed said...

Show of the decade: The Wire...most def...ten years from now it WILL be the most appreciated tv program of this generation...light years ahead of its time as far as plot themes and direction was concerned...Honorable Mention: Extras and the Office (UK)

Author of the Decade: Dan Brown? for the purest form of trashy fiction...the louvre must be mighty pleased with him as well...

Movie of the Decade: the rest of the star wars movies...okay the first one came out in 1999 but they renewed interest in the franchise and made a lot of money...LoTR is a good choice too..

Sportspeople of the Decade: Armstrong, Federer, Woods (pre disclosure days), Mayweather Jr (40-0-0 25 KO's)?

Sporting moment of the decade: Istanbul 2005..enuff said

takhalus said...

best show battlestar galactica and lost..generational defining shows

Kalsoom said...

Totally agree about Mustafa Kamal - think he's done such a great job.

Another annoying trend: rise of bad reality television and reality celebrities. I mean, honestly, Paris Hilton, Jon & Kate, and Spence & Heidi? Those are the celebrities today. sad.

Mariam said...

worst trend: people who are famous for just being famous. aka the Kardashians and the entire cast of The Hills. How much did Lauren Conrad make for one episode? Last i heard it was $75k, back in 2006. That's a pretty sweet deal for showing the world how to eat salad and drink cold, reduced calorie beverages by day and hit a club by night and then leave 10 minutes later.

best trend: ballet flats. honourable mention: wearing whatever you want as long as you can pull it off. yes its true!

artist of the decade: coldplay

Anonymous said...

Sporting achievement of the decade: T20 WC final, Lords 2009.

karachi khatmal said...

thank you anon...

FFS liverpool and fucking football fans - war ravaged country recovers from abysmal opening to tournament and recent terrorist attack on rival touring side to defeat them in world cup final is not the best thing of the decade? come the fuck on...

also, if you're talking tv shows, in terms of quality, i thought some mention should be given to Hum Sab Umeed Say Hain and 4-man show for reviving satire. and Capital Talk and meray Mutabiq should be in the hunt if people like Dan Brown, Kanye West, et al are being talked about.

best debut novel of the decade - exploding mangoes
east worth the wait novel of the decade - the reluctant fundamentalist

technological breakthrough - the mobile phone shouldn't really count cuz its not form this decade, but then again in 2004 pakistan had a total of 5 million phone lines, landlines as well as mobiles. the number crossed 70 million in just five years.

best trend - fusion music amongst high brow pakistani musicians - mekaal hasan band, overload, the whole coke studio shindig. pakistani music (good music) made a huge comeback this decade.

most astounding success - really, i didn't know how else to put them in, but this enterprise gets mad props for changing the face of the pakistani launda party hang out this past decade - hot 'n' spicy. revolutionary.

most annoying trend - hindu zionists, american agents, taliban, talibanization, the concept of soverignity, facebook, western elitist pakistanis ruining it for everyone, enlightened moderation, zakir naik, al hoda, anonymous trolling, white guys pretending they understand reverse swing, hope and change, 9/11 never happened, 9/11 was faked, cospiracy theories ending with oil, haroon yahya, e-mail forwards about bill gates giving up his wealth,
shoaib akhtar's latest reason for fucking up his career, indians and pakistanis on the web, Danish cartoons and their backlash, neon halogen headlights...

finally 5 Rs guys hats off, you have been my favourite blog of the decade by far. i think the interest generated in this post was another testament to that. my deepest admiration for all members of this blog, past and present.

Ahsan said...


Haha, that's very nice of you to say. But Hot 'n Spicy? Come on man. Their success got to their heads -- the minute they exploded, their quality of rolls went south. I've gone back to being a Red Apple guy myself. (Although I will say that the fries from Hot n Spicy are the best anywhere in Khi).

Ali said...

Musicians/artistes of the decade: hands down Radiohead. Started the decade with Kid A. Ended it with In Rainbows.
Released some of the most relevant and inspiring music ever and single handedly changed the face of the music industry :)


Laila said...

I can't safely comment on best author of the decade (hands down JK Rowling in my opinion but other people might disagree. And also she started out in the 90's but she only gained considerable momentum in the 2000's), but there are a few books that come to mind that can safely be called the best books of the decade. Being an avid reader I would have to go with The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) and the Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood). Honorable mention goes to Everything is illuminated (Jonathon Safran Foer) and Let the right one in [(John Ajvide Lindqvist) and yes that was a book first!]

Oh also best artist, you're right Beyonce is great, but I would have to go with Lady Gaga. Anyone whose seen the video of Paparazzi would agree with me.

Best trend of the decade: one word - headbands.