Why the 1610s were better than the 2000s
There’s been a lot debate lately as to whether the 2000s irrevocably sucked. Bad presidents. Bad wars. Bad bankers. Did it really suck that much? The press have carved it up by every metric you can imagine in the past few weeks, but as the final days ebb away, we’re all still wondering about how it stacked up compared to the most important benchmark of all – the 1610s.
After full consideration of all the facts, expert opinion is that one decade just had MORE.
MORE grisly public executions.
The 2000s was the decade of Abu Graib. Of the Taliban filling soccer stadiums with spectators for public beheadings and The Execution Of Gary Glitter on Channel 4. But was there enough salacious grisly death to go around? Probably not and this is where the 1610s come in. This, after all, was the decade of people spit-roasting other people's entrails while they were still alive, and waving them in front of their dying faces before they were torn into quarters by packs of horses. In 1610 Ravaillac assassinated King Henry IV of France, and for his troubles was scalded with sulphur, lead and molten oil, then had his flesh picked apart by pincers. It was the sort of era where, instead of inventing digital watches or Newton's Laws, people put all their creative energy into devising elaborate punishments for just about everything you care to name. The historical graph between severity-of-punishments and invention-of-better-technology describes an inverse relationship. Coincidence? No.
MORE Cardinal Richelieu/
Cardinal Richelieu was about as sexy as they come. And come they did. Again and again, ladies would be smitten by his charms. Cardinal Richelieu absolutely rocked in the 1610s. Not only that: he'd shag your brains out, then forgive your sins. What's this decade ever given us? Orlando Bloom? What a ghastly little troll.
LESS use of the term "minibreak".
While Shakespeare was still coining words like the Franklin Mint in the 1610s, all of the following terms had yet to be invented:
Cardbury's Crème Egg
But foremost amongst these is 'minibreak'. 'Minibreaks' are holidays for idiots who treat foreign countries like trendy bazaars. Why don't we go to Portugal? The wine's fantastic. Why don't we go to Salzburg and browse the cheese markets? Why? Because people have fought and died to preserve the sovereignty of the nations that you now treat as different annexes of the same Euro-mini-mall, you dolt.
MORE use of the adze.
The adze – an agricultural device which resembles both an axe and a hoe, was a big winner in the 1610s. People would adze the living fuck out of things they owned: bits of wood, animals, more bits of wood, fields, and so on. These days, sure, we have the bandsaw. But let's face it: the bandsaw is a bag of crap. In contrast, by the middle of the 1610s, the adze had become practically a fashion statement. Adze: because you're worth it. That sort of thing.
The world was MORE empty.
Look at the world. Literally go look at it. Right now. Go up into space in a rocketship, then peer back down at it. What do you see? That's right: a seething, broiling mass of overcrowded people. six billion so far – due to be ten billion before the next decade closes. That's a lot of people. And yet you still can't find love with any of them, can you? Sob.
Now think back to 1610, and see a virgin earth. A cool, green planet of a few hundred-million, that wasn't being raped at both ends by the oily pizzle of commerce. A world with an awful lot of quiet-zones. Had you gone up in a rocketship, all you would have seen up there was a sign telling you that it's an urban myth that you can see the Great Wall Of China from space.
Nutmeg was MORE valuable than gold.
That's right – this was an era when getting your hands on the world's worst teenage drug substitute was like owning a big fat ingot of pure blingo. Gold wasn't worth shit compared to what nutmeg could bring in for you. In the age of hydroponics, there’s no longer any equivalent object of food fetish. You think it’s difficult to get a table at The Fat Duck? Well just try getting enough nutmeg to cover your amuse bouche in the 1610s.
MORE witch trials.
On the “ravings of one 13-year-old boy,” six young women were put to death in Leicester in 1613. And if you raved hard enough, you could have an even greater number of ex-acquaintances turned into human joss sticks. This was a time when witching wasn't just a weird quirk of history – it was 100% true scientific fact. Life was therefore a constantly entertaining parlour game of bluff and double bluff in which you and your friends attempted to frame each other on charges of witchery. You'd call them witches, they'd call you witches. Then it would be up to an angry mob of townsfolk with pitchforks and torches to decide the truth once and for all. What have we got with that sort of intrigue now? Deal Or No Deal?