Monday, January 02, 2006

Lileks looks at 2005

As I said earlier, end-of-year retrospectives strike me as a waste of time, but James Lileks does it better than most. Iconoclast at heart. Think Art Buchwald with spurs. (Thanks, Judith, for noticing. I don't have time to read everything I want.) A few snips...

Behold: 2005 was the most important year in human history.

Okay, maybe not. There have been better years, and worse ones. The Goths did not sack New York City. No plague. Asteroids didn’t deform the globe. The center held, and if some rough beast was slouching toward Bethlehem it appears he was diverted to a time-share in Branson for the season.

Iraqis voted in record numbers in January. Actually, any number would’ve been a record; apart from Israel’s perennial political tussles, this is the first real election in the Middle East since the Pharaoh’s stone masons voted to unionize. (All were slaughtered.) Coupled with a popular headcount in Afghanistan and rumblings all through the Levant and Central Asia, it seems for a moment that democracy is on the march....

Pope John Paul II dies. To the horror of many, his successor turns out to be Catholic.

John Roberts is nominated to the Supreme Court. The snarkblogs point out that he wore plaid pants in the ’70s, and that his children may yet. He is confirmed nevertheless. There are tense moments, however, when Senator Feinstein attempts to plumb his feelings as a man and father. This seems to be a new standard for top jurists. Roberts refuses to profess that he would powder the bottom of the Bill of Rights, tuck it in, leave a light on, and play new-agey music softly while he read a book in the next room, one ear cocked should the Constitution wake up crying because it had a nightmare about an emanation chasing a penumbra. He is confirmed nevertheless.

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