Dearest Rachel –
You might remember how, back when the magazine still existed, I would buy myself a copy of Life at the end of the year as a sort of memory refresher; their “Year in Pictures” issue. This is what happened in the world during the year, the important stuff, the important people, the gains we as humanity made, and the losses we suffered.
It got to the point where, eventually, I didn’t have to bother buying it for myself, as mom and dad would generally get me a copy instead as a Christmas stocking stuffer. When Life magazine all but folded, they switched to a copy of its sister magazine, Time, which was a reasonably adequate substitute.
This year, they kind went a little overboard. Maybe they thought more news of the outside world would distract me, maybe they didn’t know which one I’d like better, maybe the magazines themselves were relatively cheap, but here’s what I wound up with from last week.
The problem is, my attitude towards news reporting has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. For one – and you know this yourself, having undergone a similar transformation prior to the accident – these folks have proven themselves worse than unreliable regarding news (their actual alleged vocation), so I’m not about to trust them with history. I know for a fact who they are probably going to claim are the best and worst presidents, and, apart from Washington and Lincoln, I’m going to completely disagree with them.
I prefer not to talk about politics in these letters, although we used to have fun bantering about the subject back in the day. It’s kind of a holdover from when I used to discuss the topic with my father over the dining room table; all fairly good-naturedly, and usually we were on the same side, but we were trying to understand what the other side was thinking. I’m afraid I’ve lost that thread at this point; I have no idea what certain people in power or in the media (but let’s be honest, I’m repeating myself) are thinking anymore. I know what – and who – they think is important, but I don’t have a clue as to why they think it is. For all I know, neither do they.
As long as I’ve mentioned presidents, maybe I should go into that in slight detail. Ignore the last two: for all the noise that’s been made, and all the ink spilled on them, history is still being written on them, so there’s no point in coming up with a definitive position on them for now. Let’s take the one previous; what was his real significance? Supposedly, he was proof that America had finally put its racial past behind itself; we had finally reached the point of judging a man, as Dr. King put it, by the content of his character, rather than the color of his skin. Except, no. Apparently, to do that – to strive for ‘color-blindness’ – is straight-up racist, and America will never stop being racist, since it is so full of white people, and white people have always been, always are, and will always be, racist. World without end, amen (and apparently, ‘a-woman,’ since to say otherwise is sexist). So that leaves his accomplishments, of which I can only think of Obamacare; you know, the whole ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor’ policy. I’d ask how that worked out, but Daniel and I pay extra for Blue Cross, so that’s not really an issue for us. Anyway, my point is, the thing that made him significant at the time has been completely and utterly erased. We are irredeemable as a nation and a society, and therefore his election has no significance to it worth celebrating.
So let’s set aside our leaders, and move on to the other side of the pond. And who have we got pictured here? A fellow and his wife who will never rule Britain, and yet we seem to find them worth listening to. It’s bad enough that the monarchy is irrelevant save as a tourist draw (and, to be fair, it certainly is that), but the Sussex Windsors dropped out of ‘The Firm,’ as his grandparents referred to it. He has no voice in royal matters, and thus, should not be listened to. Of course, in a nation where we have substituted celebrity for royalty, they are all we have; it’s either the Windsors or the Kardashians. These are who we think of as worth listening to and considering ‘news,’ or at least these are who those who determine what is ‘news’ have determined are ‘newsmakers.’
And after the year I’ve had, I say… well, I can’t say it, at least not here. Let’s just substitute the word ‘rubbish,’ to use an old British phrase. What the world thinks is important simply isn’t.
There’s an old aphorism that states that ‘all politics are local.’ I’m pretty sure that that can be translated towards what is newsworthy as well. What’s important to me is literally that which is within my reach – losing you and Chompers, cleaning out the house, preparing to remodel, dealing with Daniel, seeking another to fill your role(s). They may not be important to anyone else; certainly, my readership would bear that out. Then again, this wasn’t really meant for anyone out there in cyberspace save for you, and I knew from day one that you’d never read any of it. I had hoped that some people going through the same things as I would take some heart from it, but I couldn’t make any guarantees. All I could do was to just keep writing, keep recording my thoughts and memories… and occasionally, like today, my opinions… in order to keep myself from breaking down. Which means I suppose I should thank you for allowing me to keep my head this year, which is probably been the most eventful – and most awful – year I have had or ever will.
Here’s hoping that things climb out of the depths in 2022. Considering some of my plans, that shouldn’t be too hard. And should other things come to fruition, the coming year could be wonderful. It would only leave the regret that you couldn’t be here to see it.
At least you might want to keep an eye out for us, honey. You might even be pleased, if not impressed (considering your current surroundings).