This summer heralded and end of an era, and I didn’t even realize it. In fact, I’m not sure much of anyone realized it.
I’m not talking about the end of my freshman year of college, or the death of the old-white-male politician stereotype, or even Google Chrome. I’m talking about something much simpler: two thumbs.
On August 17, the phrase “Two Thumbs Up” quickly and quietly disappeared from our current zeitgeist. I didn’t even know it was gone. But true enough, neither Ebert nor Siskel nor Roeper is on television any more—and when they left, they took their trademarked thumbs with them.
So that’s it. Never again will a film score two thumbs up. Or two thumbs down. Or two thumbs in any given direction. The last film—ever—to garner the coveted two-thumbs-up approval was “Tropic Thunder.” Fitting, maybe.
What’s weirdest to me about all this is the eerie silence around it. There was no public outcry, no unbridled rage, no rending of clothes or wailing mourning—the phrase just vanished into the tenebrous mist of pop culture. A cultural touchstone since 1986, gone.
And now this phrase I’ve grown up with my entire life, so long entrenched in my movie-going psyche, is merely a memory. Another fond bit of nostalgia from my childhood, left to collect dust on some shelf in the back corners of my sepulchral mind.