While I think nostalgia is a two-edged sword and I am often a nostalgic memory skeptic, I do admit to missing the Good Old Days. And by Good Old Days, I mean before the year itself became a meme/joke about something terrible.
This started in 2016, when we all joked about how the year was so bad, nothing can top it. Then each year after said “hold my beer” and was terrible in its own way. 2021 was no exception.
Along with being kinda lousy, 2021 was also weird. And on occasion, good. I cherry-picked a few examples of the good, the bad, and the weird that stood out to me. Perhaps you can add yours in the comments.
The Good: Joe Biden became president, despite the best efforts of people like 9/11 Hero to Suckers Rudy Guliani, Crazed Lawyer Sidney Powell, and The My Pillow Guy. Biden hasn’t been perfect but he has done some good things. And with two very sad and key exceptions, he mostly seemed to unite Democrats, including having one of his biggest advocates being a member of The Squad, Jamila Jayapal.
The Bad: The Big Lie lives on and is a driving force in the Republican Party, which is now focused on wrecking our democracy, something you can say without hyperbole. Unfortunately, too many people in America either view this development as super awesome coolness, or are clueless enough to think that thinking there is a real threat to democracy is hyperbole.
The Weird: Even as a screwup, the Four Seasons Landscaping fiasco (see the above image) was bizarre and surreal. One of those things that if it were part of a movie, critics would slam it as a ridiculous plot development, and yet it happened in real life.
The Good: We got a vaccine – several of them! The research into mRNA is showing potential for other medical treatments as well. There is no doubt, the vaccine has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
The Bad: The anti-vax movement has become even larger, more heinous, and more dug-in than ever before. Instead of getting a simple two shots, then a booster, way too many Americans (mainly conservatives) decided the best path forward was trying one of a sad number of convoluted Rube Goldberg-like solutions to fighting COVID. Many died while bringing the term “horse paste” into the American lexicon.
The Weird: This year featured a very odd obsession with “owning the libs” over COVID from some pundits, including a lot of mocking of those who are treating a pandemic like a, well, pandemic. On May 4, Emma Green published in The Atlantic a long “lol” at those libs who are “addicted to the pandemic.” Since that date, as per Johns Hopkins University data, 238,532 Americans have died from COVID. On Dec. 13, Matthew Wahler, also in The Atlantic, lectured everyone that the down-home folksy thing to do was not give a flying shit about infecting others. Since that date, 18,824 Americans have died from COVID. Most recently, on December 20, Shadi Hamid posted about “Omnicron Panic and Liberal Hysteria.” Since that date, 9,717 Americans have died from COVID. You get the idea.
Continue reading “One Weird Year”