2001 — The World Trade Centre is destroyed in a terrorist attack

It is the defining moment of the modern era. If you were old enough to remember it at the time, then you remember how you heard it, remember the image of the plane hitting the second building, remember it all.

Four separate planes were hijacked by terrorists belonging to Al Qaeda. One was brought down by the passengers when they realised what it was supposed to do. The other three were rammed into buildings – one into the Pentagon, one into each of the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Nearly 3000 people were killed in the attacks, and more died in the aftermath, killed trying to rescue others.

The reaction was one of shock, grief and anger. Within weeks, the world was plunged into war, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq – a state from which it is yet to emerge.

Referenced in:
Self-Evident — Ani Di Franco

2001 – The Twenty-First Century begins

Contrary to popular belief, and due to the fact that there never was a year zero (history goes from 1 BC to 1 AD – or 1 BCE to 1 CE) without stopping, the hundreth year of each count – that is, the years that actually end in 00 – is a part of the previous century. So despite all the millenial madness that attended the last day of 1999 and the first day of 2000, the Twenty-First century CE did not actually begin for another year.

Nor will it end until December 31st, 2100 – and if you’re still around that night, you can bore everyone with calendrical pedentry if that’s what floats your boat.

Referenced in:
I Want That Man — Debbie Harry

2001 – The SEC begins to investigate Enron

It was only the beginning of the end, but by the time it was done, one of the greatest success stories of American business would be revelaed to be one of the greatest lies in American business. Enron was an energy provider originally based in Houston, Texas, but which grew to become an international titan with interests in gas, electricity and even non-energy fields such as communications. It was lauded for its innovations in business.

However, it turned out that the most innovative thing about them was their interesting new accounting practices: Enron’s single greatest contribution to the history of American business was their creative – and illegal – account keeping. By the time the SEC concluded their investigation, Enron would have declared bankruptcy and their director, Ken Lay, would be convicted on ten counts of assorted frauds. He died of a heart attck before he commenced his prison sentence.

Referenced in:

Millenium Theater — Ani Di Franco

2001 – Armin Meiwes kills and eats Bernd Brandes

Rather disturbingly, the man now known as Der Metzgermeister (The Master Butcher) is not a simple murderer. Armin Meiwes – now serving a life sentence for killing and devouring Bernd Brandes – did not begin eating his victim without that victim’s consent.

Meiwes and Brandes met through a website called The Cannibal Cafe. Although the website was only intended as an outlet for fantasies, both men wanted to take it further. On March 9, 2001, they did so. With Brandes’ apparent consent, Meiwes amputated his penis, and both men ate portions of it (the remainder Meiwes fed to his dog). While Brandes continued to bleed freely from his wound, he was stabbed several times by Meiwes, and after his death, Meiwes ate approximately 20kg of Brandes’ body over the next few months, before his arrest in December of 2002.

Referenced in:
Mein Teil — Rammstein
The Wüstenfeld Man Eater — Macabre

2001 — Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, is arrested

Gary Ridgway is one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. He was convicted of 48 separate counts of murder – but he has confessed to a total of 71, and some authorities believe that he may have murdered more than 90 people, almost all of them women. Favouring strangulation as his method of murder, Ridgway dumped the bodies in forested areas of King County, Washington state or in the Green River – it was the latter which led to him being dubbed the Green River Killer.

The murders took place over a span of about twenty years, beginning in 1982. Although no murders have been confirmed later than 1998, it is believed that Ridgway may have committed more murders between 19998 and his arrest in 2001. Ridgway’s arrest was as a result of DNA evidence gathered in 1987 – he had been a suspect for some of his killings since at least 1983.

Referenced in:
Deep Red Bells — Neko Case
Green River — Church of Misery
Skeletons in the River — Divine Pustulence
The Green River Murderer (He’s Still Out There) — Macabre

2001 — George W. Bush announces the War on Terror

Nine days after the 9/11 attacks, George Bush gave his country what so very many of them were crying out for: a rallying cry, a cause and an outlet for vengeful bloodlust. The War on Terror – which has, nine years on, failed to achieve almost any of its stated goals (but which conspiracy theorists allege has achieved a number of its unstated goals) – has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Referenced in:
Self-Evident — Ani DiFranco

2001 — Ben Folds releases “Rockin’ the Suburbs”

Folds’ 2001 album “Rockin’ the Suburbs” was his first solo album since the dissolution of Ben Folds Five. It marked a progression for him to a more guitar-based sound, and despite its inauspicious release date, it remains one of his best selling albums. The title track was released as the first single from the album, and became his best selling song to date.

Just to clear up any confusion: the song “Rockin’ the Suburbs” mentions the release of a new cd, and in the clip, Folds brandishes a copy of his new album, also titled “Rockin’ the Suburbs”, which features the song of the same name. It’s all very recursive, and you’ll probably just get a headache if you think about it too much.

Referenced in:
Rockin’ The Suburbs – Ben Folds

2001 – Malcolm Blight sacked as coach of St Kilda

Malcolm Blight was one of the champion Australian Rules players of his era. He played in the VFL for North Melbourne, kicking 444 goals in 178 games, and won the Brownlow Medal, the game’s highest honour, in 1978.

After retiring from playing, he coached for several seasons at different teams, including two premiership victories with the Adelaide Crows. But as time went by, his coaching fell behind the times.

In 2001, he became the coach of St Kilda, signing a $1 million (Australian) contract with the team. The season was unsuccessful. In particular, relations between Blight and players soured increasingly as the season progressed. He was sacked after round 15, having led the team to only three victories in those 15 games.

Referenced in:

Don’t Come Back – Human Nature