A YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING

So I started to work through the year-end tradition that is naming the Ginandtacos.com Cocksucker of the Year and…frankly, I didn't have it in me last night. It felt like covering a lot of ground that I've covered quite thoroughly over the last 12 months. In general, 2010 was a pretty lousy year. Everything that happened in Washington was disappointing. Our political discourse defied expectations and got even dumber. Our economic problems worsened. I could throw a dart at a list of 100 different national media and political figures and name any one of them the CotY with equal justification.

It is rare that I get overwhelmed by the negative, but right now I am. Did anything good happen this year? Is there anything we can point to and say "Hey, look! A sign that things are getting better!"? In general I am feeling pretty low about the fact that these typical year-end rituals – reflecting on the last 12 months and looking forward to the next 12 – seem to be a fairly dismal routine. We look back at the previous year and say, "Boy, that sure sucked. Let's hope the next 12 are better!" and then 12 months from now we say the exact same thing.

It would be nice to break that cycle, but I feel like we'd have to do quite a bit of grasping at straws to re-imagine 2010 as a good year.

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36 Responses to “A YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING”

  1. heydave Says:

    It's sad that I know exactly what you mean and feel the same way.
    Is this the inevitable process associated with aging or do things really suck more?

  2. Mov Says:

    The C*cksucker of the year is quite simple: the F*xsuckers who censor themselves to watching FoxNews all the time

  3. Landru Says:

    I think you're maybe being unselfish and taking one for the team here. I would've sworn I saw you writing, at some point this year, that you got married? Seems positive enough to me, man. If it were me, I'd take it, run with it, and leave the rest of us to wallow in our own pendulous negativity. But maybe I'm just a selfish prick that way.

    Happy New Year and thanks for an always-entertaining daily read.

  4. Andrew R. Says:

    Let's see, things that got better last year.

    Your insurance company can't drop you if you get sick. An insurance company can't refuse to insure someone who might get sick. The income cutoff for what it takes to get Medicaid has been raised to put it in reach of the working poor. CHIP has likewise been expanded.

    But all of that was just a giveaway to the insurance industry by Obama, who's clearly a Tool of the Man.

  5. Mrs. Chili Says:

    Yeah, that's kind of how I'm feeling, too. I'm striving for looking on the bright side, though; if I don't believe that things can (and will) get better, then what's the point of keeping at it?

  6. The Man, The Myth Says:

    Sorry everyone but I'm with Ed. Everything stinks and I see no indications of anything ever changing.

  7. Lee Says:

    …yeah.

    Sadly, I'm always reassured by this – a pessimist is an optimist in full possession of the facts.

    Or this – an optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds; a pessimist fears this is true.

    The only thang I have to look forward to is reading your stuff every morning….

  8. acer Says:

    I'm desperate for "the holidays" to be over. I'm done reflecting on this sloppy litterbox of a year. Not that I think '11 will be anything but a holding pattern, as what Obama did accomplish gets gutted and dismantled and he still doesn't get around to cracking that copy of When I Say No I Feel Guilty.

    You know what might cheer everyone up, just a tad? A spritz? The mix of brains, schadenfreude and dick jokes that only Gin and Tacos can provide. Come on, man. Take this one to the dump for us.

    C! O! T! Y!
    C! O! T! Y!

  9. DS Says:

    Cheer up, Ed! Republican primary debates start in a few months!

  10. Prudence Says:

    Lots of things went right and wrong this year, but I am most thankful that those closest to me are ok. I hadn't really thought much about it until my best friend had a very recent, dodgy cancer scan and for a moment, we thought the worst. So, in 2011, I'm going to live, love and endeavour to be happy. Or at least not such a bloody curmudgeon all the time.

    As Hemingway, that splendid drunkard, once wrote, the world is a fine place, and worth the fighting for.

  11. J. Dryden Says:

    This year was, indeed, shit. But this disappoints me less than it might because I saw it coming–I think we *all* did. Remember that for eight fucking years Bush & Co. did everything they could to fuck up our international relations, our civil liberties, our economy, our political discourse, our political priorities…and so forth. Eight. Years. And they had a lot of help from the fanatics on the right, the wimps on the left, and the indifference of the centrists.

    Obama and we inherited a staggeringly damaged country and culture. His election was a moment of excitement and relief–of belief that things were going to get better. And for the first year, when things didn't get better, we told ourselves "Well, it's gonna take some time." But that was the first year. Things still aren't much better (though they *are* a wee bit so–not enough to satisfy, but still.) Our country and culture are still broken.

    And we're only just now starting to realize that the hope for change doesn't fix what's wrong. That healing is a slow and painful process, especially with an electorate with the attention span of a gnat and the sense of entitlement of an Upper West Side bridezilla. Hence the midterms, and the fact that the people who fucked us up in the first place are now looking to continue to fuck us up by blaming our fucked-upped-ness on, well, us. Which is depressingly infuriating. But come on–wasn't it *going* to happen?

    We've been hurt. Badly. And healing takes time, and is often as painful as the injury itself. We have to be patient, even when it seems masochistic. We have to be hopeful, even when it seems foolish. We have to maintain our ideals in the face of those without memory or without conscience. A small, perhaps trivial, certainly overblown example: Jon Stewart stood up and forced the issue of funding the continued medical treatment for the First Responders on the attention of the people, and the GOP folded. Small, and low-hanging fruit, but it got done. By such small steps, we heal. It won't be quick, and there'll be a lot of setbacks.

    And what this site and its author do, in their own small but helpful way, is to catch out the moments when that healing is threatened, to remind us of what we can forget on that long road ahead, and to call out those who prefer to delay or exacerbate our injuries than to heal us, because of their greed, or stupidity, or pride.

    Calling out the cocksuckers comes from the negativity, yes, and my God, does it feel like we're the maids who open the door to the Who's suite–where the fuck to begin? But one wadded Kleenex in the trash makes the room cleaner. One cocksucker called out reminds us of what's at stake, and why we have to sustain our resolution–because rest assured, the cocksuckers have plenty of that. What you do is what heals us. Small, yes. But it's real.

    So. No arm-twisting. If we skip COTY this time around, we'll miss it, but we'll all live. But despair is easy, and like most easy things, it's bad for you in the long run. Deep breath, take the time to clear your head, and remember that a small step forward is all that keeps us from sliding downstream.

    And like acer says: Like bacon, dick jokes *always* make everything better.

  12. Da Moose Says:

    We're getting closer to our necessary cathartic change here in this country which is a damn good thing. Despite the fact that I think we are headed for seriously troubled times in this country (many are already in that boat), I do honestly believe that our country will be much better for it after the fact. I've been waiting for 20+ years for the final passing of the Right. Despite recent electoral wins, I think we are very close to seeing the end of this 30 year juggernaut of limited thinking and anti-intellectualism. And that excites me and makes me genuinely happy.

  13. Andrew Says:

    California elected a Democratic Governor and US Senator and can now set a budget with a simple majority vote of the legistlature, so that's a bright spot, if localized. Still, California has almost 1/8 of the US population, so nothing we do is small.

  14. Amanda Says:

    CotY please, I've been looking forward to it.

  15. anotherbozo Says:

    favorite quotes of the year (at least I found them this year):

    Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them. –Paul Valéry

    No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up. –Lily Tomlin

    It's a rough truth, ma'am, that the world is composed of fools, and the exceptions are knaves. –George Meredith

    The people with all the money get exactly what they want. Every time. –Ed

    More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. –Woody Allen

    Qui Tacet Consentit (silence implies consent) – which is why, however wizened we become, we have to keep on making noise. viva G&T.

  16. jj Says:

    From wikipedia:
    As of the twenty-first season (2009–2010), The Simpsons is the longest-running American primetime, scripted television series, having surpassed Gunsmoke.

    Woo-hoo!

  17. Da Moose Says:

    To follow-up, I'd like to nominate Rahm Emanual for CoTY. He personifies everything that I hate about corporate dems, the self-indulgence, the faux concern for the good of the people while always keeping personal priorities of ambition above all else. Roast this motha, Ed. Roast him. I think Amanda is right. Whether you want to or not, strap it on and right CoTY!

  18. comrade x Says:

    I also nominate DLC mouthpieces ( Rahm is only one of them) who constantly berate progressives for not backing the corporate ass kissers they choose for us. And for telling us that a wimpy little push on healthcare and repealing DADT are enough, so be satisfied.
    Fuck that…

  19. jazzbumpa Says:

    Thinking about what DaMoose said @ 2:12, along with ab's Woody Allen quote reminds me that human history is a bit like a pendulum swing. Not a well behaved pendulum that you might see in an old clock, mind you, but an unbalanced pendulum on an eccentric set of badly worn gimbles mounted on the bias in a crumbling tower exposed to high and variable winds.

    After the apex has been reached, it's down, down, down – not on a smooth arc, but an ugly, jarring tail-spin for an agonizingly long time.

    There were major turning points, economically, politically and culturally – all reached in the U.S. from the late 60's through the early 80's. The utter stagnation of median income over 40 years is one bit of evidence. Ditto disco, the demise of unions, globalization, Reagan Democrats (ass holes!) and the disappearance of the miniskirt (that latter not in a good way.)

    Though we've been in decline for decades, a great deal of it has been behind the scenes, and most of it so gradual it's as to be as overlook as erosion. It's a long way down from here, folks. The bad times are just beginning.

    Welcome to the new dark ages. Only in such a time could tea-baggers be anything other than a source of sour humor. An remember, the last was was known as the thousand years without a bath.

    That is how well and truly fucked we are.

    Lo siento,
    JzB

  20. jazzbumpa Says:

    s/b

    . . . so gradual it's as easy to overlook as erosion . . .

    JzB (bad proofreader)

  21. ladiesbane Says:

    It's all I can do to suppress my penchant for armchair shrinkage right now, but I do hope your bleak outlook doesn't apply to your interior landscape. (Don't make me ask if your father was an unloving crank who submerged his personality into his vocation.) The country may be falling apart, and civilization as a whole declining rapidly, but there is still joy in life, good health, and the love you share with good people and wee beasts. As my Southern relatives say, "We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time, so make it count."

    Cheers, to you and all the gang! Keep the faith, amigos.

  22. tybee Says:

    well, at least the falcons made the playoffs. :)

  23. Southern Beale Says:

    I know how you feel. Traditionally I do a "burn list" — write down everything I don't want to take into the New Year and then go outside and burn it. And I do mean EVERYTHING — personal stuff, global stuff, political stuff. One year I put down "losing at Scrabble" and damn if I didn't go on a winning streak for the next couple of weeks.

    So anyway, pretty sure I put Sarah Palin on my list last year and she certainly is still hanging around. Don't know if I have the energy to go through the ritual this year.

  24. Jimcat Says:

    Just have to speak up for the minority opinion: yes, 2010 was a year filled with bad nes, but no, I don't feel as though everything is crap and going to stay that way forever.

    When times are good, people think they'll always stay good. When times are bad, people think they'll always stay bad. Neither one is ever true.

  25. doug Says:

    I will second Rahm. The man "made" 16 million in salary in the two years he worked in business. Something is wrong there.

    Ed, you told us you got married. I sure as hell hope that was a positive.
    We will push on and do better. We must, and we will. Don't give up the fight.

  26. Daniel Says:

    Blackhawks won the Cup. That's good.

  27. JBerardi Says:

    So, according to the liberals, it was the world year ever because, yeah, heath care but OMG NO PUBLIC OPTION IEEEEE! And DADT but OMG WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG EXECUTIVE ORDER BHHLALLGEDGGGG!. And Elizabeth Warren and a thousand other things but nah fuck that now, complaining is so much more fun and it makes you look cool. It's like smoking, basically.

    Basically, you all sound like a bunch of rich spoiled white kids complaining about how this is the WORST CHRISTMAS EVER because you wanted a PS3, not a stupid Wii.

    Cocksucker of the year? I think Glenn Beck is a fairly easy choice. You can name any number of stupid assholes, but out of all of them, he strikes me as the one who's rhetoric is actually dangerous. The Tides people and all that.

  28. Turok Says:

    Tons of center-left legislation was passed, and personally my own health coverage was extended an extra two years. Good year for me, bad year if you're a crybaby (or Democrat congressman).

  29. keestadoll Says:

    If anything can be said about 2010, it is that it was a year of anxiousness. Will it pass? I hope it passes/I hope it doesn't pass. What will happen to me/to them/to us? In general it has been a year of "what the hell is going on?" I cannot recall any other year of my life that was so filled with walking on eggshells–as if the whole country heard a strange noise in the dead of night and hid under the covers with a flashlight and a teddy bear.

  30. jazzbumpa Says:

    Left of Center legislation? Lake repealing DADT? You're right. Treating another human being like a human being has ALWAYS been left of center.

    What else – oh, yeah – extending unemployment – what in the past was a bipartisan no-brainer whenever unemployment goes north of 7% s now a Librull achievement.

    Yeah, more people are covered by health care insurance, and that's good. But it was also a massive hand out to the bloated med. ins. ind. and big pharma. You can think that's good, if it suits your purposes.

    And extending the W tax cuts, with the biggest deficit EVAH – that was pure communism!

    So — we're actually a bit scant on left-of-center, by my count. Help me out here. Maybe I missed something . . .

    JzB the myopic trombonist

  31. diez Says:

    my year started out all gravy and then the flipmode squad showed up and i hamstrung myself

  32. diez Says:

    also, politics. ohio went red. no public trains. no benefits for anyone. a banker for gov.

  33. waldo Says:

    There's an easy fallback here ~ CotY is the guy who gives the right it's podium and it's voice(s) ~ Rupert (the Dirty Digger) Murdoch.

  34. Paul W. Luscher Says:

    Well, there are too many candidates to count this year. Although Joe Barton of Texas is in the the forefront in my opinion.

    Here's a man who sucked the dick of BP right out in public…and after, and because of, BP's rendering the Gulf of Mexico a toxic waste site, all because of their own greed and sloth.

    Yes, Joe Barton set a new level of shamelessness in his sucking up to BP and Prince Tony Hayward. But I have no doubt he will be richly rewarded for his nauseating fawnery….

  35. Fifth Dentist Says:

    Something that got better last year?
    We all got another year closer to death and not giving a shit about any of this?

  36. >^..^ Says:

    Hmmmm Didn't you get married? (Several day late, but…)