Culture in 2010: LeGrand, 'Toy Story 3,' Bieber, Obamacare


One of the most significant moments of my life was seeing the Jonas Brothers live in concert in 2010. Since then, the members of the trio have broken up as a band, gotten married, started families and gotten back together as of this year. 

I was 10 years old at the time, and a lot has happened since the decade of the 10s began. As the decade will be coming to a close in just a few weeks, let’s turn back time. 

PROGRESS

The cultural history of the 10s differed greatly from the first decade of the century with the advent and popularization of new technologies that connected the world in novel ways. In fact, although it wasn’t the first-ever tablet to hit the market, Apple debuted its first iPad in April 2010. On Jan. 4, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, opened to the public in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

FILM

The highest-grossing film of 2010 was “Toy Story 3,” whose successor came out in June this year. Other box office hits included the penultimate film of the “Harry Potter” film series, the third of the “Twilight” saga films and Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.” 

“Iron Man 2,” the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), also made the list. Twenty films later, we’re all well aware of what the Disney-owned enterprise is capable of after “Avengers: Endgame” became the highest-grossing film of all time this year. 

Oscar winners in 2010 included Jeff Bridges for his performance in “Crazy Heart” and Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side.”

MUSIC

The 53rd Grammy Awards saw country music group Lady Antebellum win Song of The Year and Record of the Year for “Need You Now.” At the MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga won Video of the Year for her eclectic bop “Bad Romance.” Justin Bieber, at the tender age of 16, won Best New Artist for his eternal earworm “Baby.” 

Ke$ha’s rebellious anthem “Tik Tok” that launched her to fame spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 List. One Direction, a contemporary British boy band comparable to The Beatles in scale, was formed on “The X Factor UK” by music’s Gordon Ramsay, Simon Cowell. 

The band has since gone on a so-called “hiatus” indefinitely and its members have pursued successful solo careers spanning a plethora of genres since they parted ways in 2016. 

SPORT 

One of the best songs that came out of 2010 was Shakira’s “Waka Waka,” an ode to South Africa and anthem for the FIFA Men’s World Cup. On July 11, in an intense final against the Netherlands, Spain won 1-0 with a golden goal scored during extra time from the since-retired soccer legend Andrés Iniesta. Football here in the U.S. saw the New Orleans Saints win their first and only NFL Championship at Super Bowl XLIV. 

GENERAL NEWS

2010 was the second year of former President Barack Obama’s presidency and the world was still recovering from the global financial crisis of 2007-08. The recession saw the U.S. unemployment rate at a high 9.9%. A large issue that dominated, and still continues to dominate, political conversation was affordable and accessible healthcare. 

In 2010, the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) came into effect. 

In terms of natural disasters, a deadly earthquake of 7.0 magnitude struck and devastated much of the island nation of Haiti. In August, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the swine flu or H1N1 influenza flu pandemic, which began in April 2009, was over.

RUTGERS

On the banks of the Old Raritan, Rutgers—New Brunswick hosted its second annual Rutgers Day. This event takes place every spring and spreads some necessary school spirit to people of all ages from all over the state of New Jersey through fun and free programs. Rutgers also approved plans and further invested in the Rutgers Business School facilities we see on Livingston campus today.

On Oct. 16, Rutgers’ own Eric LeGrand, then a junior defensive tackle for the Scarlet Knights, suffered a spinal cord injury at a football game versus West Point. Today, LeGrand is a symbol of perseverance and hope in the Rutgers community and beyond, and has raised awareness and funds for spinal cord research.

Since 2010, much has changed for better or for worse. As we reflect on a decade of rich and complex cultural history over the next few weeks, it’s important that we ponder on how we can make the 20s an era of greater prosperity and progress.


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