I’m not so much seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as hearing it. Amazing as it seems, 2005 is actually going out on some positive notes, and they are music to our ears.
To wit: I was listening to KCRW and Warren Olney used the word “impeachment” several times while talking to his phone guests. Sure, we’ve all been thinking it, but as the surveillance revelations took on more weight there were at least a few moments when you thought Santa might bring the very gift we’ve been dreaming about: A shiny sled racing downhill with the entire administration aboard.
But that would be a lot to put in a stocking. 2005, even with its epic weather disasters and deaths, shocking failures in rescue and recovery, mumbled apologies and admissions, wiretaps and jailed journalists was still not a year best left forgotten. Rather, it is one we should remember with vivid clarity.
Yet because so much darkness hung on us like a fog, I’m grateful for the bright spots. We may not have seen a thousand points of light through all that happened, but there were points of light. Here are a few of my favorites.
Voters to Arnold: Hasta la beat it!
After just two years in office, the Governator was given a stinging rebuke from voters when they defeated all four of his signature ballot proposals. The Blathernator said he was reshaping state government, but voters pushed the “No Sale” button. Some said it hurt his prospects for a second term, but that went right over the heads of those of us who were still convulsing from Californians giving him a first term. Arnold liked telling people he could sell anything, but he’s been quiet as a mouse lately. That is, if he’s here. Maybe he’s working for our state by visiting China, or Mexico, or Hawaii, or…
Wal Mart: Foe or Foe?
There was so much bad publicity about the carnivorous appetites and Scrooge-like policies of Wal Mart that the company hired big-time professionals to do round-the-clock damage assessment and plot response strategies. Robert Greenwald made a damaging documentary about Wal Mart; Wal Mart made its own ‘positive’ documentary right back at him. All of this created an explosion of awareness about the retail giant that rivaled the hype on King Kong. It wasn’t a revolution, but was better than, say, an exclusive Madonna video on Wal Mart store monitors.
Jacko and the Confessors
Had Joseph Conrad lived now and written for the ages to come, the boat in “Heart of Darkness” might have traveled up river to find Michael Jackson and some Catholic priests living with “the horror” as we did in 2005. It’s better to know, and light shined where it should have long ago.
John McCain to Bush: Just say “No”
A headline reading “McCain and Bush Agree on Torture Ban,” along with a photo of them shaking hands, should not have looked like an item from The Onion. That it does and it’s real speaks volumes about regaining things that have been lost. McCain: “We’ve sent a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists.” That somebody has to tell the President to send that message speaks… oh, you get the idea.
The View from Brokeback Mountain
The religious right was caught with their saddles off. Before they could ride up against Brokeback Mountain, the film was already playing to packed houses in places like Plano, Texas. Was all that hooey about gay marriage simply manufactured to keep us from… oh, you get the idea. Giddyap, 2005. Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?
This Week’s “Know Your News” Quiz
1) In Iraq, American officials
(a) Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax
(b) Dr. Feelgood and Mrs. Jones
(c) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
2) Iranian radio and TV may no
(a) all Western music.
(b) Howard Stern.
(c) that Barney “I Love You”
3) A New York transit strike
(a) made people walk to work.
(b) stymied graffiti artists.
(c) created “sidewalk rage.”
1) (a) “Friends call us Laverne and
2) (a) “Does that include Vanilla
3) (a) “Opening Soon: Brooklyn