The years 2001 to 2009 mark the beginning of a new millennium; yet so far, they have been generically referred to as the 00’s, lacking an identifying name such as the Roaring 20’s, Fabulous 50’s, Turbulent 60’s, or Super 70’s. Scott Pedersen ’89, entrepreneur from Ithaca, believes that it is time to name the current ten years, and as such has trademarked the phrase “Naughty Aughties.”
“The ‘naught’ is zero and ‘aught’ is zero,” Pederson said, and the appended “y” is there because naughty things have already occurred in the entertainment, recording, and global arenas during this decade. Examples of this include, “the super-bowl half-time show, Britney making out with Madonna on-stage, … [and] Pete Rose admitting to gambling” Pederson said. “All that is kind of naughty in my book.”
In developing the name, Pederson strove for a catchy phrase that rhymed and intimated the fun and mischievous behavior of the current decade. A few students believe that the name is successful in this arena.
“The name itself is quite catchy and appealing,” said Charles Gibbons ’06 of Zeta Psi fraternity, of which Pederson is still an actively involved member.
“You can’t help but say it with a smirk, giving the headline but leaving the rest to the imagination. I like it,” said Amy Bravo ’05. “I use to call 1995, the nine-nickel, and Naughty Aughties is cute … I like cute names.”
“I have come to like the idea very much, and hope it catches on like wildfire,” said Robert McNair ’04, also of Zeta Psi.
“However, the name Naughty Aughties does more than simply summarize the character of the decade’s events, it also gives the time period an identity that locates it chronologically,” Pederson said.
“I think it’s an identity thing,” Pederson said. “In 20 years from now, when you say Generation X and Generation Y, are people going to know what time period you are referring to?” Pederson asked. Aught and naught, however, should not leave too much doubt in anyone’s mind, according to Pederson.
Pederson submitted the name to be trademarked in the United States in 1998 and received word of its approval three years later. The trademark was reserved in three categories: music and video entertainment, clothing apparel, and cosmetic industry. In addition, the phrases “the dawn of a new millennium” and “the decade of change” are being advertised alongside the trademark, in an effort to define it. The slogan is also being presented in logo-form, though no official logo has been created.
Though naughty acts may imply immoral or negative activities to some, Pederson claims that the word describes a lighter form of misbehavior. “It’s like something you wouldn’t do in front of your parents but you don’t mind doing on stage,” Pederson said. “Like a wet t-shirt contest.”
However, to some, these “naughty” acts may imply moral deterioration. “Unfortunately, [the slogan] does seem to categorize the decline in today’s societal morals,” said Nick Tracz, intern chaplain of Cornell United Religious Works.
This spring, over a period of approximately a month, Pederson plans to embark on a Naughty Aughties tour in an effort to familiarize the public with the slogan. “My purpose for spring break is to familiarize the younger crowd so that it becomes a little bit more well-known,” Pederson said.
Pederson hopes that by allowing the youth to embrace the slogan, companies may decide to use the name to market products. “Maybe we’ll see some Naughty Haughty lingerie [or] cologne,” Pederson said.
In essence, Pederson hopes that the slogan will act as a successful marketing substitute for the ineffective 00’s. “Zeros from a marketing stand point just [do not] look good,” Pederson said. “To call somebody a zero [is] like [saying] you are a loser, would you want your number one hit on that compilation?”
Both Pederson and Gibbons believe that the slogan has a good chance of becoming widely popular. “I think it’s picking up,” said Pederson.
“I think that the name will generate a strong public appeal due to its universal and intriguing nature,” said Gibbons. “Whose ears don’t perk up they when hear about something naughty?”
McNair also believes that the slogan has a chance of becoming popular in the future. “Right now it is going to take a little bit of time, but if he can get the word out there, if he gets it out there on MTV at one point [I think it will catch on] maybe two years down the line,” said McNair.
Pederson graduated from Cornell in 1989 with a degree in engineering. He has since remained in Ithaca referring to himself as one “of the ‘one percenters’ that stay for a while after graduating.” Currently, Pederson is an active member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and is working on the Statler renovation. He has also remained actively involved with Zeta Psi and done much work at other fraternities around campus.
In 1999, Pederson received Cornell’s Fraternity and Sorority Distinguished Service Award. “Almost every house that Cornell owns has been touched by his handywork,” said Gibbons.
Pederson admits that his Cornell experience has been very influential. “Between the wide range of educational opportunities and people at Cornell, [my] mind open[ed] up to all sorts of
possibilities,” Pederson said.
Over the years and recently with the emergence of the Naughty Aughties, Pederson has remained closely involved with many of his classmates and fraternity brothers.
“Cornell isn’t just four to six years of your life; Cornell is a way of Life” he said.
Archived article by David Andrade