Salvo 01.06.2022 5 minutes

The Year of Tragical Thinking

Close-Up Of Trophy On Table

2021 put the “us” in virus.

The cold December rain finally stopped and the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, back from covid cancellation, is about to get underway. Cue my Greta-voiced neighbors on NextDoor: How dare you encourage people to get outside and enjoy a wholesome activity while children die by the thousands! (I’m referring to my local Planned Parenthood, of course, not the hospitals.)

The good news about 2022 is that there are no more shithole countries from which we need to make any hasty withdrawals. Watch out for some hasty, poorly planned entries into new ones instead. That’s right kids, sign up for the Armed Forces and enjoy Forced Arm vaccines you don’t need, plus visits to exciting new unwinnable wars around the globe! 

“Covid Year 2: Neurodegenerative Boogaloo” lived up (down) to our worst fears, didn’t it? Last month we had dinner with a lovely couple from out of town. We had to wait outside the restaurant while they returned home for one of their forgotten vaccine passports. Then we were finally seated…outside in the cold. I’m happy to report that slipping $40 to the maître d’ to get a better table still works. Western civilization is not yet dead!

It’s also been good to see the aggressive unsmiling bouncers who lost jobs when the nightclubs closed get jobs again, this time hired to bark at the little girls dressed up in line for The Nutcracker to have their “papers” ready at the door. I haven’t encountered a bouncer that tough since I tried to get into Vertigo in 1989.

The Science™ is clear: Vaccine passports create unity. Also, inflation doesn’t exist and is good. The organic free-range Christmas turkeys I saw at the store were on sale for $100. I had a local landscaper come by and give me an estimate for planting some hedges in the backyard, putting down sod where the dogs destroyed the grass, and taking out a dead tree. Nothing fancy, no outdoor fireplaces or hardscape (whatever that is). His estimate: $44,000. That’s dollars, not bolivars. 

Anyone have a shovel I can borrow? Looks like I’m going to be DIYing the yard this spring. And raising my own organic free-range turkeys. So I’ll also need to borrow somebody’s ax before Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll just torch the place and move on.

That is, if I don’t get home-invaded and zip-tied first. That sort of thing is all the rage in the fancy L.A. neighborhoods this year. I can’t wait for the look of disappointment on our home invaders’ faces when they see that our only TV is an old TCL with a big scratch in the middle of the screen where one of the kids threw something at it years ago. I’ll helpfully advise them that you put a bit of black Sharpie on the scratch every once in a while and the screen’s good as new!

My goal for 2022 is to become the first crypto tradwife who can install 40K worth of Podocarpus bushes and sod without batting an eye, rich and fat on a bed of Flokki and AVAX coin, floating above the penny-ante Covid restrictions forced on you peasants, enjoying a maskless, vaxless existence in her free-floating pleasure palace somewhere off the coast of Crete. 

Or maybe Malibu.

DM for invite.

My 2021 Awards: Pandemic of the Untalented

Last year I rolled out a few end of the year awards. I remember thinking that in 2021 we would finally see an outpouring of great art and culture. Finally, our best artists were going to grapple with humanity’s trials and emerge from the pandemic pressures with gems we could all enjoy.

Instead I got: Woke Sex and the City. Lots of bad spoken word poetry. Too much from the mediocre Lin-Manuel Miranda. And…more singing nurses. Don’t Look Up should have been called Don’t Look as a trigger warning for everyone. 

And now, here are my awards: 

Entertainer of the Year

Winner: Amanda Gorman. The cultural clown show of 2021 started off with a hilarious comic named Amanda Gorman. Her schtick is that she pretends to be a poet who does parodies of spoken word poems. Listen to a few and you’ll never stop laughing. Joe Biden even featured her comedy at his fake inauguration back in January, and her career has taken off since then. I think she’s going to be touring Vegas and the Poconos with her act next. Don’t miss it! The best part is: she deadpans like she doesn’t know she’s funny, so please don’t tell her!

Runner Up: Joe Biden. Nothing was funnier than the old codger’s fake press conferences in his fake Oval Office studio in front of faked greenscreen images. So funny that sometimes you really cried. It’s going to be over soon, folx. Just hang in there!

Worst Brand Name

Winner: Omicron. Chosen after the WHO ran into thorny copyright issues with their original choices, Beezelbub and Nosferatu. It does sound a lot scarier than the friendly, innocent “Nu,” which was the actual original name. “Nu! Improved!” Omicron, unfortunately, sounds like a Bond villain. “Do you expect me to talk, Dr. Omicron?” “No, I expect you to die!” Only….deaths are falling far short of their hopes. You’re gonna need a better virus, Tony. And a scarier name. Just ask the rapper Omarion.

Runner Up: Meta. Don’t eat the bugs. Don’t live in the Facebook Metaverse.

Worst Dressed

Winner: The Feds. Whether they’re wearing ersatz MAGA gear and encouraging people to commit crimes, or in Conservative Preppy mode, they always stand out. The undercover Federal agents who keep appearing in disguise have two looks: Summer Fed (khaki cargo shorts and skintight polos, perfect for afterhours parties on the CIA houseboat) and Winter Stooge (full camo with all the tags still on). Keep trying, gents!

Runner Up: People who wear masks outside. Please, stop. Get some help.

Man of the Year

Winner: Pete Davidson. You’re Pete Davidson, how do you open? I’m sure other lonely men who look like Falcor on crack would like to know your secrets. We all do, Pete. His charm works best on over-processed celebrity skanks. Or maybe he’s just reaping the benefits of being the last (only) straight guy in Hollywood. Meghan Markle second husband odds: 2 to 1.

Runner Up: Elon Musk. He washed off the Grime and became an outspoken ally against creeping bioterrorism. He is a baby-loving pro-natalist with at least seven or eight kids and counting. He’s funny. He may have tanked $DOGE, but he’s taking my heart to the $STARS. Meghan Markle second husband odds: 10 to 1.

Women of the Year

Winner: Lea Thomas. Not to be confused with Lea Thompson, adorable star of every 80s comedy. I’m talking about Ivy League swimming superstar Lea Thomas. It’s amazing how a girl born disabled—that is, without a vagina or a uterus—can overcome her physical limitations through determination and courage. She’s turned being a flat-chested six-foot-four girl with a pronounced Adam’s apple into totems of feminine power! For every inferior female swimmer she beats to a pulp, for every woman’s sporting record she crushes between her giant hands, she’ll bring home another Olympic gold medal for the USA. That takes balls. Meghan Markle second husband odds: 30 to 1.

Runner Up: Amy Schneider. Who is Amy Schneider? Answer: A smart cookie who just broke the Jeopardy record for most game wins by a woman. What a year for us girls! Amy “was at first unsure about whether to discuss her gender identity on the air but decided to acknowledge her trans status by wearing a pin bearing the trans pride flag during one episode.” If not for the pin, I never would have guessed. Meghan Markle second husband odds: 1000 to 1.

Teen of the Year

Winner: Kyle Rittenhouse won this award last year, and he wins again this year. Tired of winning yet, Kyle? Meghan Markle second husband odds: 200 to 1.

Trend of the Year

Winner: Obese models. I’m not talking about the moderately curvy. I’m talking about My 600 Pound Next Top Model-sized. Note to clothing marketers: you’re doing this wrong. Why would I buy those jeans if that’s what I’m going to look like in them? No thanks. Please, bring back the waifs and the anorexics. Girls with names like Claudia and Giselle and Famke. We miss angular cheekbones, jutting hips, flat stomachs. Our own included. A nation of Avoirdupois-Americans must rediscover the joy of fantasizing about being beautiful again. It’s motivational, folx. Let’s lose those pandemic pounds together, and never accept fat acceptance. Resist it, and the chocolate eclairs. Until then, we are all in our stretchy waistband sweatpants #together.

Runner up: Race hoaxes. Jussie Smollett (of MAGA country), Robin DiAngelo (inventor of White Fragility), Joy Reid (who thinks the word “Karen” is a slur against black women), and everyone who called Rittenhouse a white supremacist—the list of fake race hoaxes and hucksters was long and stupid. Meanwhile, real hate crimes against persecuted racial groups (the white children of Waukesha), go ignored. This is a trend that’s just getting started; look for it to take the top spot next year. 

Catchphrase of the Year

Last year’s winner in this space was “We’re all in this together.” What a load of horse excrement. This year’s winning catch phrase is a little more truthful.

Winner: “Papers please.”  It sounded better in the original German. 

Runner up: “Let’s Go Brandon.” I prefer the uncensored version, which should always be said in response to the winning phrase above.

Politician of the Year

Winner: Blake Masters. I have my clever headlines pre-written for 2032 when he wins the big prize: “Masters of the (White) House.” “Blake House.” Will anyone get a Dickens reference in 2032? My expectations for this are not great.

Runner Up: Kamala Harris. This is less an award than a prediction, since she is obviously the future runner-up of the 2024 Democratic presidential primary. 

Small Business of the Year 

Winner: Beverly Hills Guns. You know the blue tide is turning when the only gun shop in Beverly Hills is moving more merch than the Louis Vuitton on Rodeo Drive. Well, the LV store is technically moving merch, but it’s being moved out the smashed plate glass window by the Diversity and Equity gangs. I like this shop because after picking up your new Glock 19 you can walk right across Little Santa Monica to Sprinkles Cupcakes. Sprinkles are in fact the Glocks of the cupcake world, just right, whereas Magnolia Bakery cupcakes are like 1911s; too much for beginners to handle.

Runner up: MyPillow. You know you got one. Yes, I had to throw two of them away when the seams split open and random shredded foam filled the pillowcase, but they are actually very comfy. Hey Mike: try double stitching the seams and we’re good.

Worst Book of the Year

All of them. This one’s easy. Just ask Google for the New York Times Best Books of the Year. It’s hard to even get through the list, since every author has an unpronounceable last name and all the books are described as “searing” or “confronting gender and privilege” or “reckoning” with oppression, colonialism, slavery. Anyone who got through all these books should be contacted by their local suicide prevention outreach. Grim stuff.

The only thing I want to be “searing” is my steak. Pass. 

Worst Movie I Didn’t Bother to See

Winner: West Side Story

Steven Spielberg undid years of goodwill by delivering a remake of a mediocre musical no one actually likes. The Puerto Rican main character, played by a half-Colombian girl with a Jewish last name, only manages to be annoying. Anselm Elgort looks like he’s part giraffe and all neck. Meghan Markle second husband odds: 10,000 to 1.

Runner Up: The Other Puerto Rican Dance Musical

I can’t remember its name, but it also starred Latinx actors who were not “dark” enough or something, and the Latinx director got cancelled. Que triste! 

And finally, the worst thing from 2021 is….

An NFT with a painting that includes an embedded contract for the artist’s egg. It sold at Art Basel for an undisclosed, and presumably high figure. 

Perhaps Don’t Look Up will turn out to be a prescient prediction of humanity’s end game. Silver lining: large meteors end pandemics quickly. It’s Science™!

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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