December 30, 2020

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

I don't think anyone's really going to miss the end of 2020, do you? In retrospect, the omens were there for anyone to see, with so many people talking about it being the start of a "New Roaring 20s,"* and we all know how that turned out: the aftermath of the Great War introduced a spiritual nihilism, prohibition, the first sexual revolution, massive labor unrest, the rise of Marxism, the Great Depression, and finally—a decade later—a second world war that included the Holocaust and culminated in the introduction of nuclear weapons and the start of the Cold War. 

*Not to be confused with the TV series of the same name. We could have used Dorothy Provine this year.

And now here we are, one year later, and the first year of the new Roaring 20s has given us the worst twelve months since, what? 2001? 1968? 1941? It doesn't matter, I guess, except in degrees. It's like asking whether you'd rather have your skull smashed or your heart torn out. No matter which one you choose, it's gonna hurt. I know there are people out there who think 2021 will be a better year, and you can't blame them for that hope. Hey, I hope it's better, too. 

In a way, New Year's provides us with a choice, a fork in the road. One path continues the status quo, the other leads to something new, different, uncertain. Sure, this may be symbolic more than anything else; after all, you don't need to wait for a new year to start to make decisions about your future. Seeing that date 1/1 does make things so much easier, though.

The Monsters
I suppose this last essay of 2020 serves as something of a "best of" for the blog; over the past year, I've written several times about the foreboding nature of 2020, of those prescient movies and television shows that seem to reflect in their black-and-white images the nightmarish visions of today; paranoia, people ratting on their neighbors, the dehumanizing isolation into which so many have been fooled or forced. From 1984 to "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" we see it all unfolding before us. The scientists in the Outer Limits episode "The Architects of Fear" assumed they had the answer, if only the right question is asked, but found out that they knew nothing at all. It is, indeed, Apocalypse Theater, and every time you see this rerun on TV you wonder how it can be happining, whether or not this Great Reset is in fact a Great Betrayal, and you want to cry out, in David Shoemaker's words, You told us this was fake. You lied!   

Tomorrow at midnight, another year joins the pantheon of history, and there are those out there who think that we're headed for some kind of epiphany in which this brave new world will take care of everything. To say that I'm apprehensive about the future is an understatement; 2020 looks to me like it was just the prelude to a complete meltdown: soft totalitarianism, social credit systems, elections that don't count, unending constraints on basic social interaction, globalists who want to control what we can and can't think and say and believe, wars and rumors of war—from biological to civil—and you can't even face them with a smile, because nobody'll see it behind your mask. 

It only takes Two
But then, there are those two paths I talked about, and invariably the stories from Apocalypse Theater offer us that moment of choice, when disaster can be averted, when our leaders pull their fingers away from the button at the last moment. Perhaps, a la Jack Benny in the TV version of The Horn Blows at Midnight, we'll have a little angelic intervention on our behalf. And, of course, we haven't even begun to discuss that other popular genre, the post-apocalyptic story. In the Twilight Zone episode "Two," it is suggested that humans (in the form of Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery) can, after all, come together to create a hopeful future: true, that's only after the war has been fought, but at least there's a future, and that's something to hang on to. I always like to think that, in a twist on the old saying, where there's hope, there's life.

          There would have been a time for such a word.
          — Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
          Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
          To the last syllable of recorded time;
          And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
          The way to dusty death.

Tomorrow night we say "Good Riddance!" to 2020 and look forward to 2021, but we'd better be careful what we wish for.  TV  

1 comment:

  1. I share your mix of hope and dread about 2021. It will be the year of the vaccine, which is wonderful - but sadly there is no vaccine against the epidemic of ignorance that has taken hold in our cultural and educational institutions. Time to dust off that copy of 'The Benedict Option.'


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!