Like Edison Lee, I’m a little dubious about this whole New Year’s Eve thing, though it’s probably because I’m more like Orville in that I’ve seen enough of them to be choosy.
Then again, I’m old enough to realize that there probably isn’t a good year to live over again, since the years with the highest highs seem always to be the years with the lowest lows.
I suspect this is because you romanticize a time when you were susceptible to emotional swings, though the fact that I was 18 in 1968 is not the only reason that particular year was a rollercoaster of astonishing proportions.
If you walked into that year all starry-eyed and naive, it sure slapped some reality into you.
I knew people who, like Lemont, used political crises as an excuse to turn their backs on their own issues.
I suppose we should be grateful, since people who bury their own problems by devoting their energy to Great Movements have made some important changes.
The flip side being that we shouldn’t be surprised when some Senator or other Highly Placed Whoever turns out to have odd, unacceptable personal things going on, having failed to tend their own gardens.
I stopped trusting True Believers some time after 1968, the real breaking point being when one of the dogs in our house was killed by a car and I went over to my girlfriend’s to mourn, but found she just wanted to talk about the farmworkers’ strike.
It’s more complex than that sounds, but Lemont should work on getting his own shit together, even if it robs the world of a great political reformer. Or someone with amazing T-shirts. Whatever.
This whole issue is dealt with brilliantly by Turgenev in “On the Eve,” which is not set on New Year’s Eve but on the eve of revolution.
The book was not well received, since it portrayed two Russian artistic types who spoke of great things while the brilliant young woman they loved was swept away by a dynamic Bulgarian revolutionary who acted rather than dreamt.
Lemont might have liked Turgenev, who (as quoted in that above linked article) wrote to a friend
Is there any enthusiasm for anything left in the world? Do people still know how to sacrifice themselves? Can they enjoy life, behave foolishly, and have hopes for the future?
Chris Riddell burdens young 2019 with a to-do list, one of the more incisive uses of the familiar New Year’s Baby, more often seen as a naive, childlike contrast to the worn-out year past.
Typically, the Old Year is simply relieved to be done with the job, but Riddell portrays him as concerned for the little fellow, and still interested in a future he can see, and that he fears.
Both the style of the Old Man and the Youngster are unlike the traditional and stronger for that contrast.
Ann Telnaes also plays with the child, making him wisely, somewhat comically, horrified by the grim world he is about to inherit.
Meanwhile, the Old Man who has governed the year past is not the traditional personification of Father Time, but the cliche Cave Man: Nasty, crude and misogynistic, in a world in which our values as a people are encompassed by the woman he has brutalized.
Then Tom Toles points out a shift we will certainly be seeing in the coming year.
It wouldn’t be hypocrisy if the GOP simply said “We believe in spending money on our programs and not spending it on yours,” but they insist on pretending the deficit doesn’t matter as long as they’re the ones writing the rubber checks, then, as Toles notes, switch to being adamant that it is a crisis when the other team gets hold of the pen.
As Jeff Stahler points out, it’s not a matter of reasoning but one of pure parrotry, and a matter of believing that, if you repeat something enough times, it becomes true.
It is suddenly interesting to read the comments under editorial cartoons on syndicate sites, because there is significant pushback there against this repetitive, illogical, unproven cant, though there remains, as well, a fair amount of passionate but utterly unsupported support for it.
Meanwhile, on social media, people have pointed out the illogical nonsense of Trump’s threat to shut down the border if he doesn’t get his wall: If he can shut it down now, why is he so insistent that we need the wall?
Others recommend that progressives quit arguing and simply adopt the rightwing strategy of repeating the same simple mantra, only, instead of “But her emails,” make it “You said Mexico would pay for it.”
Although, being ever the scam artist on the brink of bankruptcy, Trump has begun spinning accountancy fairy tales about how increased trade and tariffs mean Mexico IS paying for it.
Which is total nonsense, but the Deporables will accept it, just as they’ve accepted his lies about coal jobs and steel mills and middle class tax cuts.
The encouraging word in all this being furnished by Jim Morin, who may be optimistic but is not stretching credibility so much as he is portraying a scenario that, even if it fails, will nevertheless erase all doubts about who stood up for the nation and who was only following orders.
Lookin’ at you, John Kelly.
I suspect Robert Jackson was a pussycat next to Robert Mueller.
Juxtaposition of the Holiday Itself
New Year’s isn’t as bad as Halloween, since the latter occasion involves hiding your identity, which tends to make people behave even more irresponsibly at parties.
Still, I’ve never been to a New Year’s party that was worth a damn. This admittedly may have something to do with the fact that I hate parties and crowds, so that standing around waiting for a specific moment of enforced jollity seems even more ghastly.
But, as Arlo & Janis suggest, you do have the option of making your own kind of fireworks.