The Year in Review
Here we go . . .
Jonah Goldberg, NRO Editor--
When I was in third grade, the teachers thought it would be a good idea for us to learn how to use a calculator. In the future, they reasoned, my generation would make a living like George Jetson, pushing buttons and asking our robot maids to do all of our chores (even though most of the chores on The Jetsons involved pushing other, presumably more onerous buttons. Anyway, calculators were the key to our bright futures and our first test on them was to compute how old we would be in the year 2000. I followed the instructions on my Texas Instruments calculator which cost more than it would take to adopt several Sally Struthers kids in perpetuity and discovered that in the year 2000 I would reach the outlandishly ancient age of 31, assuming I lived that long.
Wow, I thought, that is old. Old enough to spend my own money on Dungeons and Dragons figures, comic books, and dare to dream Playboy. At the same time, I feared the world would either be so scientifically cold and sterile, like a libertarian's marriage contract, or such a Hobbesian post-apocalyptic wasteland, like the inside of Alec Baldwin's skull, that life wouldn't be worth enjoying defined by the ability to play dodge ball all day and night.
Well, now 2000 is over. I don't have a robot maid, but I do make a living pushing buttons. Recently betrothed, I can easily afford D&D stuff and even Playboy, but I am hardly free (or that inclined) to buy them. The world is neither Hobbesian nor is it cold and sterile; instead it's enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity. But, these days, aside from being too busy, I'm so out of shape I sweat like a fat man eating tacos in a sauna at the mere thought of playing dodge ball. In short, some things turned out as expected but not the way I wanted them to, and other things turned out like I wanted, but not the way I expected. In short, it was a mixed bag of a year . . .
Cue squiggly melting screen flashback effect.
It was a time of great disappointment for some and not just because the Boy Band phenomenon hadn't turned out to be a joke. The gang at MSNBC and the other cable networks were crestfallen that they would not become the Emergency Broadcast Channel of the Y2K computer-bug disaster. For the two months leading up to New Year's, the networks spent their time saying responsible things like, - Up Next, News You Can Use: How to survive on puddle water and dog-hair croquettes while avoiding hyper-intelligent vending machines bent on world domination, mutant spleen-eating lab rats, and telepathic long-distance companies that can interrupt your dinner by bursting your brain. It's a must-see if you want to avoid having your children sent to the Silicon mines and your womenfolk consigned to the breeder colonies.
And a Child
The disappointment over the fact that millions of old people survived when their respirators kept working didn't last long though. Thank goodness for the Fourth Estate. A young boy's mother died at sea while trying to find freedom in America. What a wonderful opportunity for the much maligned press corps and the left wing of the Democratic party to find their patriotism. And find it they did 90 miles off the Florida coast.
Who knew that the Blame America First-ers were still here, thriving amongst us? Unlike the sleepers in the movie Telefon who needed to hear a line by Robot Frost, all these sedated sycophants of despotism needed to wake them up was the sight of a 'spontaneous peoples' demonstration in a country that bans non-government-sponsored peoples' demonstrations.
There was, of course, Jim Avila. Waving aside concerns about Elian's reception in Cuba, Avila asked, "What is deprogramming? What is reeducation? . . . The school system in Cuba teaches that Communism is the way to succeed in life and it is the best system. Is that deprogramming or is that national heritage?"
In another report, Avila ridiculed the idea that Cubans were dissatisfied, saying some kind of 'meat' was available 'most' nights in Havana and at best only 20 percent of Cubans would leave the country if they could do so without being executed or imprisoned (for you civil libertarians concerned about the plight of 'oppressed minorities' in the states you know, all those people whose performance art isn't sufficiently subsidized--that would translate into roughly the combined populations of Texas and California, or just about all American blacks and Hispanics combined being held within our shores at gunpoint).
Then there was the New York Post's Douglas Montero. One can't help but suspect that he has a Soloflex poster with Castro's head airbrushed in hanging over his desk. Montero endlessly sang the praises of Fidel, a.k.a. 'The Powerful Man.'
Katie Couric, the perky protector of the proletariat intoned, 'Some suggested over the weekend that it's wrong to expect Elian Gonzalez to live in a place that tolerates no dissent or freedom of political expression. They were talking about Miami.' Of course they were.
Indeed, the it-takes-a-village liberals eventually won the battle, cheering the use of armed troops to settle the issue by upholding 'the rule of law,' which was set at a whim by the administration. The New Yorker summed up the elite media's cutesy ironic sensibility nicely saying, "those who are troubled by the prospect of Elian returning to a country ruled by an unsavory head of state would do well to remember that the official observance of Father's Day was inaugurated by Richard Nixon."
Left-wing totalitarian murderers, democratically elected liberal Republicans who resign for the good of the country and what the heck--throw in dudes who pee on the toilet seat; why make distinctions? Let's just call them all 'unsavory.' If you order your steaks through ads in The New Yorker you must think that's hilarious.