Letter to the Editor: The new millenium



I am so tired of seeing the new millenium as being portrayed as something that is only ten months away, rather than when it will really roll around in twenty-two months on the first day of 2001. It's difficult for me to understand how so many journalists have failed to check the accuracy of their sensational promotion of the dawning of the new century and millennium at the end of this year. Even President Clinton has made reference to the "new millennium" when he gave his State of the Union Address in January. He said that we would cross the bridge in to the new millenium in less than 350 days.

A century equals 100 years and is not finished until a year that is a multiple of 100. A millennium equals 1,000 years and is not finished until a year that is a multiple of 1,000. Therefore, the last of the 20th century (20 x 100 years) and second millennium (2 x 1,000 years) has to be 2000. The 21st century and third millennium cannot begin until Jan. 1, 2001.

This is not rocket science, but simple math. There are really 697 (the year 2000 is a leap year so has one extra day), rather than 331, days until the new century and millennium.

I believe the public has the right to know that they are being "sold a bill of goods." The sooner they learn the truth, the sooner they can change some of their reservations. Even if they decide to celebrate in some special way, I think they should understand that they are bringing in the last year of this century and millennium than the first year of the next century and millennium.

I could forgive advertisers for not knowing any better and spreading falsehood since it's good for merchandising, but I expect more from the Media. This misrepresentation is everywhere. The new millenium falsehood is being perpetuated by even the most reliable and respectable of mediums such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angles Times, and the USA today newspapers. It's even on the world renowned CNN. I'm waiting to find a media outlet that is courageous and responsible enough to report the correct information.

I suspect that people like me will be left singing this same tune come January 1, 2000 since it appears that the new millenium will be defined by the popular view rather than the correct mathematical calculation.