--Schott (De Volkskrant, Netherlands)
A half truth is a whole lie
Welcome to Costco,
I love you
It's a beautiful mornin', ah
I think I'll go outside a while
And just smile
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
--A Beautiful Morning,
Play that funky music white boy
Lay down that boogie and
play that funky music 'til you die
--Play That Funky Music,
A caveat, and a wish:
Ranger and I considered this week which loss will hurt the most: the death of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) or former boy band singer George Michael. The news cycle has tended assiduously to both. But the answer is, “neither”.
The greatest loss is the integrity of the portal through we are fed such stuff. 2016 marks the death of the news media as a trusted partner in our vaunted democratic experiment. Requiescat in pace.
Yes, yes, we all know the news has always come with a bias, and even the fact of what we see is determined for us. But this year, the rust fully breached the veneer.
It has been a long, inexorable regression.
Newspapers have been precipitously cutting staff and shuttering operations for over a decade. Cheap, often unvetted and inaccurate content has filled the void (thank you Huffington Post for leading the way, exploiting desperate and often unpaid writers.)
Gone are most college journalism departments and their lessons of boring but stolid integrity. In their place, media studies programs where one learns the art of the package and the spectacle, how to be “newsy” and “newsish”, have bling, and get hired.
Fakirs and Magis:
In 2016, it became o.k. for "legitimate" newscasters to present a lie, provided it propped up the approved liberal agenda.
Couric edited her "Under the Gun" documentary to further the program's anti-gun agenda. Jill Stein was censored in her appearance on the PBS Newshour to make the candidate appear clueless. The reporting offenses are legion, and occurred daily through 2016 in every erstwhile legitimate news outlet.
This year, I learned disgust for my previous go-to sites, places like The New York Times, The New Yorker and National Public Radio. Each liberal media source partook this election season in a robust and frenzied dance of “Kill the Other Candidate,” and they did so by any means necessary.
It turns out much of their “news” was fake -- misinformed or outright created to foment madness and fury. And in their mad bubble, they were wrong. (It didn't take a Carnac the Magnificent to see this.)
We head into 2017 dampened by a sour anger and a bitter fear born of their imposed and continually reinforced ideation. It is a poor way to welcome a new presidency and a New Year.
For those who were blinkered, snookered and tribed-up, our wish and hope is that you will wake up, and not too hungover.
In the face of this loss, some tonic ideas from elsewhere:
A Swedish friend recently celebrated with me the Finnish concept of “Sisu” (in honor of my heritage). Sisu is a national ethos, and has no English translation. Roughly, it means “grit”. Getting it done despite all resistance; seizing success from the jaws of defeat.
Sisu is a good and noble sort of hardheadness.
We then spoke of “lagom”, the Swedish concept of “just enough” – neither too much, nor too little. Again, a concept absent from the average U.S. lexicon.
Lagom is a sort of life art, the knowing and understanding of what is necessary for an elegantly simple life. It is a hard concept to acquire for one raised in our “more for me” society.
For good measure, we threw in the Danish idea of “hygge”. Hygge is both the having and the enjoying of simple comforts, the sort that makes a “hard rain’s gonna fall” sort of day bearable. It is neither ostentatious nor in excess. It may be private, or shared. It is a self-comfort.
So for our readers may you know sisu, lagom and hygge as the holiday season draws nigh. May we all find a candle to light our way.
May we be grateful for the things not lost, and for the ability to apprehend and to appreciate them.