Archive for January, 2010

Sorry I’ve been gone so long, but as the following indicates, it probably should have been even longer

January 3, 2010

Will Durst, the noted, S.F.-based political comedian, was on a local radio talker the other day flogging the Xmas/New Years comedy shows that he four-walls annually at a series of Bay Area venues this time each year, and he was recounting his Ten Funniest News Stories of 2009, and with all due respect, which I don’t even have to accord him, given that I’ve known the guy since he got off the bus from Milwaukee in 1979 or so, I truly didn’t fine anything genuinely funny (as opposed to ironically or snidely or darkly funny) about 2009.

Depending on where you lived, your year may have been somewhat salvaged by a mammoth government construction project or a major sports championship or an incredibly killer crop of Colombo bango, but for the most part and for the most of us, it was just one 365-day case of intestinal flu.

Nonetheless — I was jogging as I listened to Will, which meant I had absolutely nothing better to do with my thoughts than distract them from the inherent tedium of my workout by coming up with some amusing take on the newly extinguished year.  The best I could do was a play on an earlier blog, about the fact that we lost several personages to death this year who were so significant to us that we had given them culturally official titles, as it were.

And my jogging take was that as bleak and foul and wretched as 2009 was, what we are left with in and for 2010 hardly makes one want to click one’s heels.  Especially when one look at things in terms of the nicknames and labels and, ahem, culturally official titles (as it were) that we stamp our culturally significant figures with.

Okay, here’s what I’m getting at

In politics, we’ve gone from “the Lion of the Senate” to “Caribou Barbie.”  (See the GOP/Dem and lion/caribou juxtapositioning there?  Pretty deft, eh?)

In music, we’ve gone from “the King of Pop” to “Lady Gaga.”  (Although, when you think about it, “Lord Gaga” would have been a fairly apt handle to tack onto Jacko.  What the hell, they’re both unabashed and flagrant poseurs, so what difference does it make who died and who didn’t?)  (P.S., I thought briefly about using Queen Latifa in place of Gaga, but that might require giving some actual serious thought to this post, and come on, are you kidding?)

In the media, we’ve gone from “the most trusted man in America” to…  And then I just stalled.  Not that there aren’t a plethora of possibilities (and speaking of plethora, God forbid you should come down with it, my shins are fucking killing me), but none of them were satisfying.  Oh sure, “The craziest sack of shit to ever sit in front of a microphone” comes immediately to mind, but that’s more dispiriting than clever.  Because, of course, of all the vast multitudes out there in talk radio who fill the bill.

Maybe that’s the most telling symbolism involved here: Our descent from “most trusted in America” to, well, nothing.  There is no longer anything or anyone that could accurately be described by “most Americans,” or “Americans in general,” or any other majority of us, as truly and widely trusted.

There, my friends, is an ideologically itchy little thought to begin the 2010s with.  Walter Cronkite wasn’t just the most trusted man in America, he was in fact the last trusted man in America.

And now look, here comes a whole new decade!