By most standards of assessment, the last decade was more disappointing than the fact that Bill Paxton, essential comic relief to any James Cameron film, did not make an appearance in Avatar. Obviously, war is never a good thing, even if necessary, and a shit economy doesn't help matters either. However, a depressed society usually produces some very interesting culture (think of all the punk bands that started when Jimmy Carter was in office). But unfortunately, even the music in this wretched decade was downright terrible as Wek has already pointed out.
I thought this Seattle Times editorial summarized it all up pretty well. And I recall a quote from Fight Club (a 1999 movie) that was sort of a precursor to this decade:
God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.Well, we got our war and sort-of depression alright, but I'm not sure how it's all going to end up in the end. Maybe we'll turn out alright, and even if we don't, it's more enjoyable to live in the decline of an empire than the rise of one. Just like Caligula.