Christmas, Covid and the Dark Currents of 2021
A look back at an extraordinary year
“Language transcends us and yet we speak.” – Maurice Merleau-Ponty
In December 2017, I published an article on Medium titled “My Troubled History with Christmas.” It has become a kind of holiday favorite among people who know and/or follow me on various social media channels. I am sharing it again this year as I spend another Christmas with friends. Click the link above or the photo below to read the full article. An excerpt is copied below.
For many years, Christmas has been a difficult and sometimes very lonely holiday for me, both politically and emotionally.
Every Christmas since [my mother became a Jehovah’s Witness], I have been a kind of holiday homeless person, right up to the current day.
This is not always fun. I’ve spent Christmas alone with a broken heart after a painful breakup, listened to holiday carols lilting through the evening air while sitting by myself sipping Malbec in a tiny studio in Buenos Aires and grappled with a crushing intrusion of reality in my deliciously confusing relationship with a vibrantly alive and enormously talented young opera singer in Mexico.
I usually spend Christmas with friends and their families.
This year , I am in a tiny fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico sharing Christmas with my dear friend Ana Paula and her delightful family. At Christmas dinner last night, we talked about a looming conflict over the dehumanizing effects of financialized capitalism represented by the US and China and wondered who would lead the world, and in what direction, absent these two countries with their environmentally destructive and seemingly unsustainable economic models.
Several of the key questions that we discussed at Christmas dinner in 2017 about the emerging global order have been answered decisively by the new Covid-19 political and economic regimes. I’ve been writing about this sweeping reconfiguration since it started in March 2020.
I knew immediately that the public health crisis around Covid was also very much about money and power (easily $40-$50 trillion or more in stimulus and counting), and was coming at a time when post-war neoliberalism was on the verge of political and economic collapse worldwide. As the new globally medicalized regime enters its second year, it presents manifold threats to civilization.
The first article in my six-part Covidnomics series was published June 2020, with the sixth article following April 2021. The full Covidnomics series can be read here.
In chronological order, here are other articles from 2021 dealing with unavoidable Covid-related themes that may be of interest.
May 2021, Covid in Short Pants
Oct 2021, Guns, God, Rattlesnakes & Covid
Dec 2021, Dark Currents of the Pacific (Disponible también en Español)
Dark Currents was just published this week. The article revisits a few of the more prescient pre-WWII artistic voices that echo down to us today with their eerie sense of foreboding.
If you’re in the mood for more diversionary fare, please take a look at these two popular stories.
A VIDEO RECAP OF MY 2021
This past year has been dedicated to writing and research with the goal of publishing new books in 2022. I’ve also started a new political art project called “La Boca del Pueblo” (The Mouth of the People) that you will hear more about in the New Year.
La Boca is a simple project about letting striking images and videos show what is happening in the new world of Covid with as little commentary as possible. The visual vocabulary of the project will be minimalist with the goal of also making it beautiful and highly impactful.
By contrast, the homemade video below was created by simply using Apple Photos. It offers a mix of still photos and short video clips highlighting the many wonderful places I’ve had the good fortune to visit this past year, including Santa Monica, California; México City; Dallas, Texas; and the North County beach cities of San Diego. Travel along for three minutes.
The video cover photo is of my beautiful friend Tricia Stewart, who died this year before the age of 50 from blood clots and heart failure a few weeks after getting vaccinated.
A LOOK AHEAD AT 2022
Articles in process for the next few months include these working titles, some of which may change before publication.
Covid vs. Kim Kardashian
What is Politics?
Sartre’s Waiter has Covid
Can Black Jesus save us from Covid
The Poverty Variant
You will also notice more and more articles here in Spanish. Brilliant Argentine linguist Luciana Slaen has joined the Reimagining Politics project as our official translator. It is the intention of Luciana and me to make this a truly bi-lingual publication in 2022. You can read Luciana’s bio in the About section.
Thank you to all of my Substack readers and subscribers and to those who have supported the Reimagining Politics project directly. I welcome your feedback on this newsletter and the Reimagining Politics project.
If you are reading this as a free subscriber, thank you. If you like the unique mix of themes and styles, I hope you will consider becoming a paid subscriber this Christmas or in 2022. Meaningful writing is hard and enormously time consuming work.
Happy holidays to all.