Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Ins and Outs

During my years in the Washington D.C. area and subsequent visits home for the holidays, the highlights of New Year's Day were eating my mother's breakfast pastry of the moment and hearing my father, the consummate reader-out-loud, recite the Post's list of "ins and outs" for the new year. Now I get to read them online. This year, however, feels strange. The holiday excitement around here masked our underlying bleakness for over a month, but now we are confronted with the hangover from 2004.

When Regis Philbin did a terrible job impersonating Dick Clark -- I mean, truly awful -- last night, counting down the ball's descent, Kim rose from her sleeping perch on the sofa long enough to toast the New Year with her plastic water bottle. The minute we were done, though, she said, "I'm having a hard time separating the New Year from the knowledge that Bush's inauguration is coming in a few weeks," and trundled rather bitterly off to bed. Then, this morning, she reiterated the point, adding that she can't help but think of W's last inaugural year, the abysmal 2001, when she contemplates 2005 and composing a classic rant in her kdotdammit mode.

Sitting here reading the list, I'm both reminded of Kim's words and sadly forced to agree with them. From the preamble noting that, despite the opinion of, "those people who claim the White House is planning for the Rapture," it is still necessary to, "insist on The List -- even in End Times;" to the first item that declares "Vote or Die" out and "Vote and Die" in; to the dark irony of the new "faith-based, new moral values" bonus list appended to its end, this year the Post's New Year's gift comes wrapped in the somber tones of Count Olaf's mansion. It's hard to imagine the upcoming year being much of an improvement on the horror that was 2004. Perhaps, though, we will be able to console ourselves ever so slightly with the knowledge that bad politics often lead to better art. But that's a stretch.

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