A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
OMG! I’m old enough to remember when 2001 was science fiction, so 2018 is beginning to stretch the limits of my imagination. When I was a kid, 2018, if it happened at all, was going to be a bleak combination of all the best bits of Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, Death Race 2000 and A Clockwork Orange. In short, as a know-it-all 20-something, I didn’t think we were actually going to get this far. However, here we are — and we survived 1984, Y2K and the Mayan Calendar. Not bad considering that, at various times, half the population was convinced all three of them were going to wipe us out.
Here’s the deal: humans are a resilient species. Unlike every other mammal on this planet, we have the ability to adapt to whatever difficulties Mother Nature and our own inherent stupidity throw in our path. Plus, we have the audacity to challenge the awesome power of our unforgiving universe and the skill to bend it to our will. Again, not bad considering half the population gets its information from Twitter — 140 characters at a time.
The trick is, human beings are the sum of their parts. For every Kim Jong-un threatening to turn our children into nuclear French fries, there are ten Dutch engineers turning wind into electricity so those same kids won’t choke on industrial waste. For every Boko Haram, there are ten Nigerian dads taking the early bus so their daughters can go to school. And for every stupid Trump tweet, there are at least ten Americans, out there somewhere, saying WTF? — because in the entire history of human existence, for every dark slice of yesterday there’s always been a whole new tomorrow.
I lost my after-dinner pessimism somewhere between Maggie Thatcher and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. And although, these days, it’s soul crushing to watch a snarling pack of self-important middleclass slacktivists systematically dismantling the Enlightenment, I refuse to surrender my optimism. Saner heads will prevail! They always have, and I believe they always will. So, 2018, come ahead! You’re gonna be a good year: I can feel it.