December 31, 2009

Goodbye to All That

I'm not the only one, no doubt, who's glad to be done with this awful, soul-sucking decade. For Americans, at any rate, watching our country lurch from the horror of 9/11, to the sadistic imperialism that followed, to the economic miasma we currently inhabit, has been one ordeal after another. (Let me associate myself with the sentiments in Spencer Ackerman's Guantánamo retrospective.) The emergence of a new progressive movement, as well as Barack Obama's presidency, have been heartening, but the recent fight over health care reform shows how difficult it still is to move the country in a more equitable and just direction.

For myself, I am grateful to be ending the year employed and putting my education and talents to their intended use. Spending much of the last 18 months either underemployed or unemployed was one of the hardest experiences of my life, in part because of the disparity between the effort and expense of amassing degrees and the mostly paltry reward I got from actually working. Not that I'm owed a living based on my education, or that being unemployed would any less bad if I only had a high school diploma; but there were certainly multiple times when I wondered if I should have done something other than go to grad school. Indeed, thinking back over the last decade has been an exercise in thinking, "Should I have done this? Should I have not done that?" Your 20s, after all, are supposed to be the time when you can do anything and everything. But of course, life's not a video game, and you don't need to rack up a certain amount of points to go to the next level.

I suppose I should fill this space with some sort of list or Best Of for the decade, so I'll oblige. My song of the decade, which has helped me cope with a lot of bad shit, both political and personal, is "Me and Mia" by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists:

Ted Leo put out some great stuff this decade -- Hearts of Oak belongs in the pantheon of anti-war, anti-Bush music -- and this song, released just after the 2004 election, is one of his better ones.

Speaking of music, I'm playing around with Tumblr, which seems to be 90% music blogging. My mood is more off-the-cuff nowadays, anyway; perhaps I'll do my blogging there from now on. Happy new year, everyone!

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