Why People Who Thought the Year 2000 was
the First Year of the 21st Century and the New Millennium are
- Our calendar has no Year Zero. The first year of the First
Century A.D. was 1 A.D. Therefore, the first year of the 21st
Century is 2001.
- Thought experiment: imagine you have a hundred objects of some
kind. To stay within the limitations of those who think 2000 was
the first year of the next millennium, imagine they're cans of
beer. Now enumerate (count) them. What are your results? Did you
count 100 cans, or 99? Did you count from 1-100, or from 0-99?
When you start counting from 0, you can argue that the first year
of a new century ends with 0 rather than 1.
- Let's go over that again, with some help from the Count from
Sesame Street, as he counts the one hundred cans. "Wan! Heh heh
heh! Twooo! Thre-e-e-e! Ha ha! (middle section omitted for
brevity) Ninety nine! Wan Handred! Ho ha ha haaaaa!" Did the Count
teach you to count from one, or from zero?
- We have just departed the 20th Century. Isn't it odd that
according to some, not even one year in the 20th Century actually
began with 20? Perhaps they think it should be renamed the 19th
Century for clarity.
- The year 1900 was widely celebrated as the final year of the
19th Century, not the first year of the 20th. I guess people knew
more arithmetic back then. 2000 was properly celebrated as the
closing year of the 20th Century.
Why Many People Wanted 2000 to be the Big
- They just couldn't wait one more year to par-TEEEEE!!!!
- They thought 2000 was more impressive because all the numbers
switched over, reminding them of their mad celebrations when all
the digits on their odometer flipped over to 100000 miles (if they
avoided totaling their cars before then). These are the same
people who think a product looks a lot cheaper at $19.99 than at
$20.00. A triumph of style over substance.
Words and images copyright by Joe Bergeron.