Thursday, 31 December 2020

Hindsight in Hindsight

Ah, yes. Twenny twenny and the calamity-soiled calendar. Not just a band name that would be better served as album title. People, real people I assume, have been untwisting their mints to coin turns of phrase in recognition of a year full of a lack of pleasant surprises.
Poor twenny twenny. It didn't even sign up for the contest, but was nevertheless tapped as Worst Year of the Year, and also got the honorary Worst Year Since 2016. Or was that 2017? Does anybody here remember the last year that was declared a scourge upon our apparently undeserved innocence? A year throughout which had accumulated along the virtual-verse in unisono meme-o-nymity its decided awfulness?
Whatever recollecting faculties I retain recall the year that began coincidentally with an iconic star's ultimate release and departure. More firmly in mind, if only for the convenience of this writing, is that it was the first of, now, two times that a calendar year has been declared persona non grata. At least in my lifetime. It's a shame because that ultimate release is a work of musical art worth looking back on still. And listening to.

Yes, I know the intent as disregards twenny twenny is not a literal attribution. But even in its irony the sentiment seems to insist upon a prolongation of certain negative perception, and then only by a defined set after which any continuation is sure to disappoint, to say the least.
Seriously. Imagine poor 2021, awaiting its inaugural in these few short hours. No pressure. Even if it's smug and sneering down its nose at hapless twenny twenny, surely it knows it has no control over its fate once the ball's done dropping. What I'm trying to say is, is that you can join in the fun of slagging off twenny twenny, but at the end of the year you're just doing the Macarena. Would that it were confetti being swept up all around you.
To try and be fair, this retrospective does begin for many with a pest, its every reported sighting catalogued concludes that by January the omen was quite clear. The accumulation of awfulness that takes note of later dates upon which blame for what's gone wrong can be placed upon some more than others is reminiscent of hindsight insistence that everybody hadn't already known the utter bullshit behind the coining of "WMD". Good all those fuckers were sent to prison.
I think it's a mistake to believe that some select few had exclusive intelligence regarding the danger of the pest, that, railing against its mishandling as one must, looking past the designed deficiency that all-but guarantees certain outcomes, explicitly in light of its preferred efficiencies, only shores up collective denial, which is not just making the call, but reversing the charges.
Speaking of charges that will never be filed, twenny twenny is the year when the leader of the self-declared free world was declared a criminal in one way or another by most of the mainstream press. Yet he is sure to enjoy the perks of his office after exit, should that happen, dog willing, rather than do any perp walk, if for no other reason than the powers that crank the wheels of justice are uncomfortable setting real punitive precedent.
About the winner of November's contest: I think it was the one whose numbers in the following two categories was greater: Voters who because of media coverage alone suspected their guy must be onto something versus voters who just wanted that same media coverage to stop. This would shadow the psychology behind wanting to look forward to a date-defined future rather than reflect on that which one feels powerless to change.

But one can still reflect upon the positives.
When I think of twenny twenny, one thing that's come along is an admission so widespread that you might call it mainstream: that a return to the political status quo will result in a lot worse than the realization that we had forgot to remove the jokers from the deck. That itself is a good thing. Of course, it's also quite clear from the Creation of the Cabinet that a return to that status is what's on tap for 2021, it's diversity a diversion. No matter. At least we have a record that we knew better.
Somehow I am still sanguine about the future. Not just because I truly believe that folks are basically decent in spite of the exceptions one reads about in the papers every day.
That previous sentence paraphrases one of my life's great inspirations. And now, in twenny twenny, it's a bonus that although his early artistic success was informed by the selfish philosophy of Ayn Rand, he would explicate throughout his subsequent career that things were not so simple. He professed having become a "bleeding heart libertarian", but his lyrics over the years were more critical of the blindspots of "classic liberalism" than the things their adherents tend to criticize.

An atheist, he knew that "big money got no soul". In the middle of the Reagan years, he mused it was "red lenses" that enabled feeding wealthy interests over a dumbed down population, and he would repeatedly turn the heroic tales that nation tells itself into ghost stories that would enlighten many who'd been captured by those few early anti-collectivist jingles.
Most momentous for me in twenny twenny is when I heard that he had gone, I felt a shadow cross my heart. Another of my many projections comes with the acknowledgement of the regrettably cringeworthy cliché that is quoting an artist's lyric as intro to obit. I am comfortable doing that because it conveniently collapses to a single point:
It is not easy to measure the influence of individual people on their society. But Dereck Higgins argues in this source video that the influence of inspirational creators and the creations they inspire maintains a net positive effect on our existence; they are a far greater influence than the cumulative negatives of the worst among us. I am privileged enough to concur wholeheartedly until further notice. I add the caveat that one must allow the influence.

Drive to be creative.