In the last couple of days, two prominent columnists have reflected on what an annus horribilis 2016 is.
Alexandra Petri, as is her wont, addressed the mess with a lighter tone, although the proximate cause for her reflections was rather grim:
I think 2016 has jumped the shark.
All the plot arcs revolve around this weird, surreal election whose central character is Donald Trump, a real estate developer who speaks at a third-grade level and is obsessed with his hands. I don’t buy this at all. If I wanted to obsess over the travails of a flawed male antihero, I have the rest of TV.
But what really pushes this year over the edge are the gratuitous deaths. David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Merle Haggard. Zaha Hadid. 2016 is slowly killing off everyone we were actually rooting for, the people who gladdened us with their songs or their performances or their architecture. Please, no, 2016. You’re not “Game of Thrones.” I don’t want to watch everyone I love die, but if I do, there had better at least be dragons. But I don’t see a single danged dragon.
And now Prince, too….
Peggy Noonan was more depressing, far less entertaining:
Have you had your 2016 Moment? I think you probably have, or will.
The Moment is that sliver of time in which you fully realize something epochal is happening in politics, that there has never been a presidential year like 2016, and suddenly you are aware of it in a new, true and personal way. It tends to involve a poignant sense of dislocation, a knowledge that our politics have changed and won’t be going back.
We’ve had a lot to absorb—the breaking of a party, the rise of an outlandish outsider; a lurch to the left in the other party, the popular rise of a socialist. Alongside that, the enduring power of a candidate even her most ardent supporters accept as corrupt. Add the lowering of standards, the feeling of no options, the coarsening, and all the new estrangements.
The Moment is when it got to you, or when it fully came through….