Here’s to renewed clarity in 2020
By Ian Cobb
I think I may have been 20 or so when I observed, likely in a beery/weedy haze in some palace of empty souls in Winnipeg, that it would be cool to live in the Year 2020.
Sitting in the bar, its airspace crammed with enough tobacco smoke that you gained weight just by being in the room, I imagined 2020 as a space in time where humans wouldn’t need money or soul-raping things like economies to slave for while the ivory tower bastards who had usurped the world’s splendour grew fatter and uglier, their stench spreading through the middle class like mustard gas.
“There’s no way people will be hungry or in need of medical care and there’s no way in hell societies will be hobbled by the sweeping greed and willful ignorance that plagues our time,” I harrumphed while my drinking pals (The Slugs) argued about which new movie was better; Return of the Jedi or Scarface? I didn’t bother chiming in because it was clearly Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
In the background Irene Cara trilled What a Feeling, following Michael Sembello’s suicidal thoughts inspiring Maniac. On the dance floor big shoulders and popped collars, topped by large hair and mullets, splayed about in the aerosol thick dart smoke.
It was horrible.
I dreamed of a better future, admittedly inspired by Gene Roddenberry and the like, because it couldn’t get any worse than it was.
Canada was staggering along with Pierre Trudeau twirling pirouettes at the helm, while Ronald Reagan, still milking John Hinkley Jr.’s bad choice of assassination tool, had Americans starting to ‘believe’ in themselves again. Jingoism became marketable and Wall Street had a five alarm hangover after two straight bull market years.
While stupid seemed to rule the waves, in the grand average sense, we did seem to be heading in the right direction. Even the constant worry of total global obliteration was subsiding. Chuck Norris was worrisome to the Soviets, after all. And the evil empire didn’t stand a chance against the Rebel Alliance.
“Just think about what it will be like in 2020?” Puff pass. “Flying cars and robots and world peace; holidays on the Moon and mines on Mars. It’ll be amazing.”
It’s not. In fact, it is mostly disappointing.
The art of political BS and our wildly scattered and polarized populace’s willingness to accept it, forgive it and willingly take part in it, has hit the stage where the next step is critical. A mis-step or a flat out trip will lead to unparalleled human misery.
We look back at recent history and see the First World War – the ‘war to end all wars’ and the Second World War, the most destructive conflict in humankind’s recorded memory and think nothing will ever top that madness.
Hold my beer.
With the likes of Vlad the Disturber Putin manipulating Donald the Blithering Idiot Trump who enjoys the company of murderous dictators over Democrats and has his supporters thinking the same and the likes of Pierre Trudeau’s dingbat son driving Canada backwards over a cliff and a frothing Muppet named Boris the Johnson calling the shots in London and China aching to mess things up all over the place – I feel our world is back to 1983, when the threat of nuclear annihilation was a daily thought.
The movies and music are about as bad; the leadership is worse and there are no bars open because smoking was pushed outdoors and drinking and driving isn’t the thing it was 36 years ago.
There is less human interaction in society and more superficial swiping and unfriending in comfy bubbles that foster willful ignorance.
It is almost 2020. The shining modern nirvana I hoped for back when I was naïve and knew everything is merely the same old world, weighed down by 3.1 billion more people.
Despite the so-called improvements in technology, making the world a smaller place for all, we’re growing apart more, forming sides and fomenting hatred fuelled by a myriad of social ills and mental lice.
We used to suck it up, shake it off, rub some dirt on it and get back on the horse. Now people need to retire to safe places for hugs and self-reassurance, even if they are the problem and need to stop being such dicks.
I guess as I have been a part of the march from 1983 to now, I am therefore also partially at fault for allowing our world to become such a myopic bastion of me-me-me and mine mine mine. So I apologize for that.
But I do not apologize for my opinion and if it impinges your bubble and incites a shrill shrieking temper tantrum until you get your way – make sure you have throat ointment; yer gonna need it.
As we teeter into 2020 – the Year of Clarity – my hope is that society ceases this suck-hole routine all the while moving away from the asshole routine that gets the suck-holes going.
The status quo cannot be accepted as we enter the 2020s. Maintaining this path of polarization and spreading BS created by social disruptors and deranged beat offs will lead to the horrors humans are capable of unleashing.
It is human nature to be inhuman, just as it is in our nature to be loving.
May 2020 be about love and enlightenment (read books not memes). And may it see a decline in hatred and cowardice and a surge forward in a willingness to listen and understand the larger pictures that the system of avarice and debt enslavement work to obscure.
Finally, to all our readers, advertising supporters, participating writers and photographers, friends and family – Happy New Year!