Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Quote du Annum

James Lileks in The American Enterprise Online:
Behold: 2005 was the most important year in human history.

Okay, maybe not. There have been better years, and worse ones. The Goths did not sack New York City. No plague. Asteroids didn’t deform the globe. The center held, and if some rough beast was slouching toward Bethlehem it appears he was diverted to a time-share in Branson for the season.

Nothing blew up—over here at least. Despite the usual rash of false alarms, Americans no longer seem to be waiting for the other shoe bomber to drop. The economy grew much more than gloomy reporters expected. The Batman movie was good, for a change. No one on the Supreme Court tested positive for steroids. Politically, the Administration seemed determined to get the third year of its second term out of the way in the first.

All in all, not bad. If something wretched happens in 2006, Aught-Five will be regarded like 2000, another year when we blithely sailed along, amusing ourselves with gaudy TV, insouciant Internet amusements, Powerball, and the transient couplings of toothsome thespians. Athens reborn!

It certainly didn’t feel like a golden age. It’s difficult to believe you live in the best of times when Hollywood recreates The Dukes of Hazzard and the producers are not stoned in the public square on general principle. We all recognize hard times—when you’re in a gas line, you feel it. But good times we sometimes notice only in the rearview mirror.

There was something of a peevish quality to 2005. Perhaps it’s the year itself; odd-numbered years sound indecisive and inconclusive—shave-and-a-haircut without the two bits. Odd- numbered years never have an Olympics. No great clanging election campaigns. They slump and wander. By contrast, even-numbered 2006 has a hard, clear sound to it, a ring of promise and purpose.

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