Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Year of the Slug

‘Tis the season for all wise men and women to come up with the annual year end review. Normally I would watch or read these with some interest as they provide a valuable way to organize one’s memory--handy as a little index slipped into the file that is year x before storing the whole mess into the dimly lit utility room behind the cafeteria in the corner of one’s mind.

This year is different. I come across one of these reviews on my way to watch SpongeBob and my subconscious goes, “History, pay attention.” Strangely, after a couple of minutes I’m moving on. When unexplained phenomena like these happen it’s inevitable that I (the entire universe) puzzle myself (the sum of all wisdom).

What’s different about this year? Certainly there were many historically significant events; war, election, hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, shocking murders, thousands of unremarkable murders, genocide, graft, corruption and on and on. In so many ways these represent nothing more than the “usual suspects” to be rounded up and presented to the audience.

If the events of 2004 had more or less significance than other years is impossible to judge now. I realized that my aversion to this year’s overview must be a result of some other sense. I realized that although there have been more disastrous, violent and tumultuous years this year stands out as being just plain keep your eyes lowered ugly.

Look up and see Janet Jackson at all, never mind her breast.

Look up and see that the next Great Wall has been built, and that op-ed writers from the New York Times are among those extolling its peace generating virtues.

Look up and see the dark, scowling face of Senator Zed Miller telling Chris Matthews to “Get out of my face!”

Look up and see Our Great President and Leader of the Free World at the debate twitching and fidgeting and making faces like some petulant little schoolboy.

Look up and see the monstrosity that is Ann Coulter—as if Hot Lips Hoolihan has come to life as a meth addict.

Look up and again see the gunboats on the rivers of Vietnam, Me Lai, burning monks and the most famous of all street executions.

Look up and see “support the troops” stickers plastered to the cars of folks all too eager to rush into a war we are poorly equipped to fight.

Look up and see the anguished face of that great populist Gov. Dean as, faced with real adversity for the first time, he hurls his screaming self into the fires of Morder instead of the ring.

I could go on with this, but then that would be contrary to the point, wouldn’t it? Let’s just get it over with.

2004, just go away.

update: looked up to see the images of the Tsunami horror. Unfortunately, this one is historic.


At 1:11 PM, Blogger JD said...

Generally unremarkable all in all. The spectecule (sp?) that was this year in politics has left me languid. And to think, this could have been the year that we all pointed to as the turning point in post 9/11 reactionism before realizing that post 9/11 reactionism had nothing to do with 9/11 and that reactionism was instead an entrenched value in a culturally isolated society that no political party or spray-tanned politician could save us from.

At 2:18 PM, Blogger sequoit said...

Don't despair. The actual reactionism is only endemic to a certain portion of the median class, having been injected there by clever men of words who know that this is where elections are to be won. It's a fragile arrangement.

I've read most of the essays recommended by David Brooks in his op-ed from today and it is remarkable to me how often these intellectuals refer to a "post 9/11" world!

The truth is that the "world" is not thinking of itself in terms of our problems, and these great thinkers absolutely know this--they know perfectly well the relative historical significance of 9/11 to non-Americans. Are we now in the "post-tsunami" world?

When intellectuals let these things slip by each other you can be sure of one thing, they're selling something, as in "post 9/11" "democratic realism".

Oh, and welcome back to the mines!


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