Trends we can leave behind - Joel Hall

While the last decade put a lot of people through the ringer, one has to admit it has also provided us with a lot of memories.

Incredible acts of stupidity, terrorism, and natural disasters have been mixed in with more diversity in the White House, more television shows and commercials comfortable with the idea of interracial dating, and a slow progression away from the horrible, baggy fashions of the 1990's.

The past decade, however, has also been filled with lots of stupid trends, many of which I'd like to forget. Here are some I hope won't follow us into 2010.

* The Snuggie -- This, by far, has to be the most annoying invention of the new millennium. If I wanted to go around looking like a Byzantine monk, I would leave my home and move into a monastery. Hopefully, President Obama can devise a "Cash for Snuggies" program, so that people can trade them in before more people get punched in the stomach for wearing them.

* Uggs -- Somehow, these sheepskin boots that were worn by Australian sheepherders in the early 19th Century have somehow made a comeback in the 2000's. As hard as people try, Uggs never seem to match anything the person is wearing. Maybe, it's time to move on.

* The Juicy Couture sweat suit -- These were popular among college co-eds in the early 2000's. Nothing says, "I spent a lot of money on this and still don't care about my appearance," more than a "Juicy" sweat suit.

* The awkward commercial -- Here, creepy awkwardness, more than humor, was used as a marketing tool. The most awkward commercial that comes to mind is the 2006 Ford Freestyle add in which a seemingly happy family pulls into a driveway after a scenic trip. The dad then gets out of the car, tells the mom (who we soon find out is his ex-wife), "Thanks for inviting me this weekend." Cue awkward silence and an announcer, who says "Bold moves -- They happen everyday." I think we can come up with commercials in the next decade that are less of a buzz kill.

* Reality TV -- This may be a hard one for us to quit. From "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," "Flavor of Love," "I Want to be a Hilton," "Next," and most recently, "Jersey Shore," we have all taken joy in watching people fail as human beings. It's like watching a car wreck as you drive by on the road -- you want to see it, but it really doesn't make the situation any better.

* High-profile infidelity -- The 2000's were a decade of powerful men behaving badly. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, presidential contender John Edwards, actor Morgan Freeman, and golf star Tiger Woods were just a few of the many high-profile individuals called out for allegedly cheating on their wives. Perhaps, it's due to the breakdown of society in general, but it just makes everybody look bad.

* Lazy rap -- Regardless of how one feels about rap, it was infinitely easier to defend in the late 1990's and early 2000's from an intellectual standpoint. Many untalented rappers skimmed by through the use of the voice-altering device known as a vocoder (think T-Pain). Songs of this decade like "Stanky Leg," "Crank Dat Soulja Boy," and "Ice Cream Paint Job," can't hold a candle to the lyrics of Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, or Black Thought. Rap music needs to "man up," so to speak, in the coming decade.

* Crocs -- Words can barely describe these hideous monstrosities of footwear. Unless you're a registered nurse working in the sick ward of a hospital, you shouldn't be wearing them. There is no reason for these tacky, ugly, plastic shoes to endure for another decade.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.