Somewhere up the chain (where normal thinking humans fear to tread) executives had a secret meeting and decided to change things around a bit (these are the guys that put Firefly out of order - and killed it dead in one season).
Turns out 2:1 actually started back in 1998 as a 'happy compromise' between Digital TV and Super-Duper Widescreen.
Personally I turn down the lights a bit/stopped watching the bars in favor of the content... after a while you stop worrying about bars that may or may not border the content. I'd also prefer to have bars than stretch Bogart and Bergman so badly they appear to be Barr and Arnold. <--- if that doesn't scare the bejebus out of you... it should!
Some quality time with Google will turn up a wealth of useless information along with some information that (kinda) makes sense. As display manufacturers change things trying to create chaos (and a niche market for their products) content creators needed a middle ground (or thought they did) and decided 2:1 was best... or The Executives have scrambled into action to fix something that isn't really broke. It is what it is and there's (very likely) no going back, so get used to it.