Friday, January 1, 2021

The Top 25 of 2020

Do I remember correctly that many people welcomed the advent of 2020?  Mostly, as I recall, it had to do with the number of celebrities who'd died in 2019, though some of it was the anticipation that Donald Trump wouldn't be re-elected.  This would have been too optimistic even if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn't come along.  Plenty of famous people died, as could have been foreseen.  Trump was defeated, but it was a close thing, and we aren't out of the woods yet.  I won't feel sure until Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, and with a majority of Congressional Republicans planning to overthrow not just the popular vote but the Electoral College, I'm not making any assumptions.

Anyway, traffic on this blog was again down this year.  I presume that's partly because I've been posting less since the middle of the Obama administration, though I've improved.  Who knows?  Here are the posts that got the most views this year.

25. Inappropriate Appropriation (142 views).  Some people on Twitter were amused by a Caucasian woman who was a Zen teacher, on the apparent assumption that world religions like Buddhism are limited to one "race" or nationality.  I was amused by their ignorant racism.

24. Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You Propaganda (142 views).  National Public Radio has been a significant annoyance to me this year.  This post criticized an NPR reporter who asked softball questions on foreign policy to Trump's National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien; the reporter took a noticeably harder line when he interviewed an Iranian ambassador the day before.

23. Born Free, Free As the Wind Blows (143 views).  Early in the pandemic, when tests were still hard to get, I encountered people who claimed that they were "COVID-free," though they hadn't been tested. I haven't talked to many such lately, but I suppose many people who think they're safe because they're asymptomatic are making the same assumption.

22.  Circling the Wagons; or, All These People Who Aren't My Boss (146 views).  On the freedom to disagree with Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders, which a surprising number of people on the left seem to think is being denied them.

21. My Decree (147 views).  You're free to disagree with Noam and Bernie, but not with me.  Respect mah authoritah.

20. The Amnesia Is the Point (148 views).  More on the weird Democratic desire to sanctify George W. Bush.

19. Smarter Than a Box of Rocks (152 views).  Madison Cawthorn is a newly-elected Republican Congressman, viewed hopefully by the Right and the corporate media as part of an "anti-Squad" who'll stymie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and several newly elected left Representatives.  Since I wrote this post he's jumped on the bandwagon to overturn the presidential election.  To steal another line from the late Molly Ivins, if his IQ drops any lower we'll have to water him; but that's not a disqualification for Republican politicians.

18.  I Don't Know How You Were Introverted (154 views).  Some ruminations on the categories of introversion and extraversion.

17. Women and the Blood Tax (154 views).  A review of Emma Donoghue's excellent new novel The Pull of the Stars, set in a Dublin hospital during the 1918 influenza pandemic, with many parallels to today's COVID pandemic.

16. Abiden with Me, Fast Falls the Eventide (154 views).  More on the Democratic cult of George W. Bush, now being supplemented by the cult of Grandpa Joe Biden.

15. The Twitterverse of Hysteria (156 views).   Liberal and left Twitter continued to go through wild mood swings during the election year.

14. Ah Yes! I Remember It Well (157 views).  This was a quickie, very brief, but it encapsulated Democratic willed amnesia and some people noticed it.

13. Uh, What? (162 views).  If I was ever in danger of forgetting that Trump supporters were as amnesiac as Democrats, it was never for long.  It's not as if any of this was ancient history.

12. Stuart Middle (163 views).  E. B. White's Stuart Little had a tremendous effect on me when I read it in third grade: it introduced me to the complex, ambivalent emotions that stories can evoke.  I happened on a New Yorker essay by a writer who didn't like that complexity, and reflected on it here.  Come to think of it, the Korean film Sopyonje also has a bittersweet ending that upset many (but not all) viewers.

11. The Pursuit of Happiness (165 views).  Reflections on the nature of happiness.

10. Just Trying to Clear Up a Few Things Here in the Augean Stables (166 views).  Hatred of Universal Healthcare for Those Who Want it.

9. Surely, Comrades, You Want Obama Back? (175 views).  There's been no need to rehabilitate Barack Obama, since Democrats have never stopped loving him.  I've noticed that many people are pushing back this year, rubbing Democratic noses in Obama's terrible record, and his fans seem to find it harder to dismiss.  Mostly they limit themselves to fantasizing about cuddling with him.  Between his intrusions into the electoral campaign and his promotional tour for his new memoir, he's been hard to ignore.  How can I miss him if he won't go away?

8. The Ministry of Truth Explains It All to Iran (180 views).  See number 24, above.

7. Our Childlike, Emotional Leaders: The Latest Episode (183 views).  The Democratic Senator Chris Murphy let slip that he and other Senators had planned a coup against the elected government of Venezuela, to install the unelected Juan Guaid√≥.  Murphy was furious that the Trump administration had balled it up.  Liberals tended to miss that acknowledgment, but as the sociopathic Tesla billionaire Elon Musk said of Bolivia, "We'll coup whoever we want to": interfering in another country's electoral politics is fine when we do it, intolerable if someone does it to us.

6. Sauce for the Goose, Sauce for the Gander (184 views).  The nonagenarian composer Ned Rorem, a gay man (and fellow Hoosier by origin), expressed some retrograde views about gender.

5. I Believe in Scientists, I Just Don't Trust Them (187 views).  Another post on Boy Culture and the Hard (giggle) Sciences.

4.  Rage of Consent (198 views).  I've long been perplexed by liberal/left hostility to what Foucault called "bodies and pleasures."  This post came from a young queer woman who was being pressured by older feminist friends to abstain from sexual activity until she was at least 25, on very dubious grounds.

3. "Cancel Culture": "Political Correctness" for 2020 (214 views).  Talk about the intolerant left, summed up recently in the term "cancel culture," came to a head this year, especially when Harper's published an open letter denouncing it.  For me it was all depressingly familiar: as Huck Finn said, I been there before. 

2. I Have a Conspiracy Theory for That (220 views).  I wrote several posts on the gay presidential candidate (and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, which was once my stomping ground) Pete Buttigieg, but only this one got much attention.  It was inspired by a queer writer who hinted darkly that Buttigieg wasn't really gay, but was pretending to be to capitalize on it.  His evidence was non-existent, and his approach indicates that if all else fails, he could get a job testifying that Joe Biden stole the election.  Just when I think I've seen it all!

1. Scripture and Karen Armstrong (303 views).  I chose this post as my best of the year for Vagabond Scholar's 2020 bloggers' roundup, and the views more than doubled in a couple of days.  I don't know how many people read all of it, let alone agreed with it, but I'm still pleased it got the attention I think it deserves.

I'm not especially optimistic about 2021, but I'll try to be more productive.  Happy New Year and best wishes to all!