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Millenimania (2000)

Millenimania (2000)

©2000 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (2000). Millenimania. Transgender Forum.






It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

And I feel fine




 by Dallas Denny


The new millennium isn’t here, of course. Technically, it won’t arrive until 1 January, 2001, a year from now. Whatever craziness may have transpired between the time I write this on December 20, 1999 and the time you read it early in 2000 doesn’t count. It’s chickenshit compared to what will happen next year, when the real millennium rings in.

Just kidding. The universe, doesn’t, of course, attach any special significance to temporal landmarks dreamed up by the bipedal primates inhabiting the third planet from a G-type star two-thirds of the way out from the center of an arm of our spiral galaxy. But it’s certainly significant for us. Although we consciously realize that 2000 and 2001 will be much like 1999, at some level many of us secretly, sneakingly believe that soon, very soon, either (1 it will all be over or 2) everything will change. I know I do.

The ends of centuries have historically been conservative, and this one has been no exception. In an age of microelectronics, space travel, and human genome mapping, much of the population has been backwards-looking, concerned with fighting against civil rights for gays and lesbians, the teaching of evolution in school, being “hard on crime,” waging a war against drugs, and preserving “family values.” Rather than looking to the future, for the past twenty or so years there’s been a growing nostalgia for things “the way they were,” or rather, the way we like to remember them being. Of course, things were never all that great. We forget the Great Depression. We forget unheated outdoor toilets, cars without power steering, tires that were bald at 5000 miles, carrying buckets of water into the house after pumping it, and iceboxes and, later, refrigerators that didn’t defrost themselves. We forget the great influenza epidemic of 1918 and the McCarthy witch hunts and remember the idyllic ’50s families we saw on shows such as “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Donna Reed Show,” which featured interpersonal dynamics that never existed away from the 17″ screen. We fight against the complexities of the modern day by dreaming of an earlier, simpler time, forgetting that folks back then dreamed of one day possessing just the things we all have today. And we call, many of us, on a monotheistic God to protect us from the George Jetson-like future toward which we seem to be zooming.

We’re about to turn a corner. A year is ending. A decade is ending. A century is ending. A millennium is ending. We all know it, and we’re all excited and a bit frightened by it. We’re wound up like clockwork toys, ready to party like it’s 1999, ready to see the great comet come out of the sky and smash into the earth. We’re prepared to meet Jesus.

So—what will happen? My best guess is that at worst there’ll be some assorted craziness as terrorists and anarchists and end-of-the-worlders take advantage of the moment to disrupt things as much as they can. Things we expected to crash because of Y2k won’t, and things we thought were bulletproof will crash and burn. We’ll indeed party like it’s 1999, those of us who don’t simply go to bed as usual on the 31st, and then the weekend will be over and it’ll be Monday, time for us all to go back to work. After a week or two of the same old same old, we’ll realize in the backs of our minds that the new millennium is indeed here and things are as they ever were, and we’ll largely put it out of our minds and get on with our lives—but with a difference. Most of us will find ourselves with an increasing tendency to look forward, to the future that can be, rather than backwards, toward a past that never was.

This is my last column for TransGender Forum. I’ve enjoyed my two-year tenure here. I’d like to thank to Cindy Martin and JoAnne Roberts for giving me this platform.