THE BEST OF THE WORST

Let’s agree not to say or write 2020 was the worst year we can remember because, well, we don’t know what’s coming next.

I mean, no one could have predicted this sh-t show, this confluence of events, this utter turd avalanche that hit the world, and the United States in particular, for the last 12 months.

Sure, some of it.  But…all of it???

You can’t primarily blame any one person, but here on my throne in Hollywood I do

so, privately, each day.  And I do so publicly once or twice a week when I go on his twitter page and simply type –

LOSER. YOU LOST!

It’s cheaper than renting this van!
(currently googling how much it would be to rent this van #2021)

My husband thinks it’s immature and silly but hey, it makes me feel productive AND a lot better, two things I haven’t experienced much of since, well, 2019.

Admittedly, I do it partly in the hopes that he might see it or someone else will who could tell him.  But I mostly do it because one of the few positive things I’ve learned in this horrifically awful past year is that if some small act that doesn’t involve drug taking or violence lightens your load then hey, why not?

Does that make me no better than a Karen or a Ken

I’m gonna need to talk to the manager

Well, that’s for others to judge.  Which, I’ve also learned in the last year, is inevitable.

Speaking of judgments, I will admit that in wanting to normalize 2020, i.e. not give it any MORE than the already underserved and very extra special attention it’s currently getting, I attempted to make a traditional best and worst list.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Everything bad couldn’t come close to the totality of the year itself, so why list any one of them individually?  Everything good was simply just that — good.  Not great, not list worthy and certainly nothing much to write home, or here, about.

Perhaps there should be a moratorium on lists and awards for anything to the end of time for this entire year? 

Can someone make that rule? 

Joe?  Kamala?

She’s on it. #MOREMAYA2021

Do we want to give anyone that much executive power ever again?

I gotta say once I get past all the virus, disease, death, mask wearing and hand sanitizing of it all, well, there isn’t a lot left except the nascent smell of alcohol permeating everything in my room or on my person. 

Certainly not enough to explore the issue of executive power with.

And if there were I left them in a recorded Zoom chat that has likely already been permanently deleted. 

2021 – Year of the Hammer

Though as we all now know, nothing is permanent and certainly not one bit of it is EVER permanently DELETED.

I will say binging all six seasons of Schitt’s Creek nicely filled up a dozen or more evenings in our house this year.   And learning I’m not that unlike David Rose, only THREE decades older, filled a few online therapy sessions.

I found my religion

There were also the Sarah Cooper videos lip synching to audio of that LOSER spouting off recommendations of bleach injections; Leslie Jones’ Twitter commentary on those opining on the state of the world due to the LOSER; and a barrage of so much cable news that I became obsessed with writing to MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, gay man to gay man, in an effort to get him to purchase a shirt, jacket and pair of pants that fit him right.  That’s how much I felt obligated, as a newfound friend, to tell him. The same for Pete Buttigieg.

Of course, Kornacki was just voted one of the sexiest guys alive (Note: People’s “Chartthrob’) and Pete is moving to D.C. to be in Biden’s cabinet so in the long run it’s probably a good thing I didn’t excel at follow through all during all this turmoil.

Leaving that to Chasten… for now

Though watching Ryan Murphy’s Netflix version of The Prom was a great big gay piece of bubble gum that gave me relief for about as long as, well, bubble gum lasts. I could also say the same for Disney’s Hamilton, David Fincher’s Mank (Note: Watch Amanda Seyfried steal the Glenn Close’s eighth chance at an Oscar this April!), every Christmas movie on Hallmark and Lifetime and all of the many offerings on Turner Classic Movies that temporarily kept me from going insane.

Except for the Westerns.  I hate the TCM (or any, really) Westerns. There, I said it. 

Way harsh Chairy!

Though I did enjoy Damien Chazelle’s dramatic musical limited series, The Eddy (Note: Somehow sorta gay) as well as The Queen’s Gambit (Note: Somehow VERY gay).  Thanks Netflix and don’t think I haven’t noticed your 2020 recommendations have now confirmed a sort of, VERY definite pattern.   

Though not a list.  Never a list.

Which brings me to the one thing I DO gravitate towards and couldn’t resist this year  — the 2020 f-k off videos.

This… exactly.

If there were a best of list to be rightfully made for this past road kill of an almost obsolete calendar it would be each and every one of them.

You might want to listen to this viral TikTok ditty from this all female group called Avenue Beat, literally entitled “Fuck 2020.”  This year being what it is, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that these three young childhood friends from Quincy, Ill., who have been singing together since they were 14 year old, have already been getting major nasty Internet blowback for all the attention they’re getting.  To which I reiterate their message of:

Though equally as good was the Toronto advertising agency, Public Inc., that produced the ultimate mental health PSA, #Eff2020.  It’s everything you’ve thought and/or screamed at your TV, or out loud in small, socially distanced groups when you were feeling especially feisty  – aka – All. The. Time.

That being said, perhaps we should close out the year on some small positive note of… hope? I’m not an especially spiritual soul except when it comes to the white witchery of Stevie Nicks. 

She released this haunting new song in October and no one told me. 

But, I found it anyway.

And if that’s not a road map for 2021, well…..

Stevie Nicks – “Show Them The Way”

Back to the Future?

There’s a lot of talk about the past these days and it’s reflected in our art, in our politics and all through our everyday lives.

For instance, at the movies I found great solace in reliving Elton John’s life in Rocketman.  This was not only because I got to hear all those great songs performed by the pop star’s virtual movie doppelganger, Taron Egerton, who even captured the way Elton magically played the piano with his feet back when I first saw him perform live at Carnegie Hall in 1972.

He really knew how to put on a show

Instead, what made Rocketman soar for me was how it captured the sad isolation young movie Elton feels when, after his breakthrough performance at L.A.’s Troubadour, he wanders aimlessly at the celebrity after party he should be the star of unable to be his true self.

You don’t have to be gay (or a pop star) to understand what it’s like to not fit in anywhere deep down inside and to know for certain that you are likely the only one who feels this way.

By reliving those feelings and owning them, en masse, it helps us all to feel less alone in the present and to enjoy how far we’ve come in what, in the scheme of things, is a relatively short time.

Baby steps are OK #respectmyjourney

This same form of nostalgia operates in current political movements spearheaded by sizzlingly resonant catchphrases like Make America Great Again. 

More nimbly than a film and certainly more simplistic than ANY streaming show, that clarion call to the past asks the public to go back in time and remember that decade and those years when, overall, things really were GREAT compared to what they are NOW.

There might be some disagreement as to where and when but all the slogan asks of us is to agree that the PRESENT is relatively CRAPPY and that it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY ANYMORE.

You sure about that Chairy?

You want to go back to the economic boom of the eighties, the pre 9/11 days of the 90s, the gauzy nostalgia of the 50s when everyone wasn’t so sensitive and America just was what it was, united under ONE flag?  It IS possible.  There IS hope.  Follow this logo and those promoting it and WE will take you there.

Just as the ascendance of a Make America Great Again candidate to the Oval Office in 2016 is a call to the past so, in its way, is the indisputable rise of former Vice-President Joe Biden to the very top of the Democratic field of POTUS contenders for 2020.

And here is the Joe Biden of the past… can you even?

In his very first announcement message (Note: Way back in…April) he asked us to recall what America IS, by reminding us of what it WAS.  He did this by citing the very words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

and holding them in sharp contrast to our MAGA president insisting there were very good people on BOTH SIDES when neo-Nazis marched openly in Charlottesville against local residents who supported the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue.

The fact that Jefferson, author of the very manifesto that created the principles on which our country was founded on, lived most of his life right outside Charlottesville was a more than apt metaphor to make the same point of how America’s once GREAT status has gone astray and whom we need to now follow in order to get it back.

This is the only modern Jefferson reference I can get behind #forreal

Biden’s words can’t be emblazoned on a MAGA-like hat but the fiery images of Tiki-torches and swastikas that were employed in present day Charlottesville quickly lit up his candidacy like no other in the 2020 field.  It was a clarion call to reclaim a different part of our pasts and has helped keep the Biden candidacy in a first place runaway lead since its inception almost two months ago.

There is, of course, no going back for any one of us.  We can’t literally enter a time machine and even if we could, memory is select and the exact past is not, to put it mildly, exactly what we are remembering.

This does not interest me. #AmericaSoWhite

As the filmmaking style of Rocketman so effectively demonstrates, our memories are mere impressionistic representations from years gone by intermingled with perceptions and images from other years, decades and time zones in between.  They are an imaginative evocation of our history but not literal.  They are what we recall happened but not entirely accurate.  Yet neither are they fictional.

We can’t literally believe that a young Elton John sang “Daniel and “Crocodile Rock” decades before they were written just as we may never ignore that our Founding Fathers once owned slaves and literally trafficked and tortured other human beings out of their homeland in order to build a new one for themselves.

You tell em, Liz!

Still, this doesn’t disprove the overall message and/or intent of either.

We get to choose which, if any, of their themes resonate for us, and our futures, and to act on them accordingly.  Yet we need to not get too caught up in their golden-hued memories or isolated mistakes.  Instead, perhaps the best strategy (Note: Or strategery, if one is so inclined) is to use the biggest of their lessons and themes as a new clarion call to an even better future.

Unless, that is, we’re not done just merely remembering quite yet.

Elton John – “Crocodile Rock”