I’m not going to do one of those year-end lists that you see everywhere else, mostly because you see them everywhere else. But it has been a fascinating year, hasn’t it? At Harvard, life went from a period of quiet, barely suppressed discontent to outright rebellion and then back again to quiet, barely suppressed discontent. Domestically, we seem to have had a pretty good economic year, even though most people don’t feel like it, largely because we’ve lost confidence in the president (those of us who ever had it) and the war has become a psychological albatross around our necks. The housing bubble has burst, although not so dramatically as some expected–deflated, really–and in New York City, bonuses will be dispensed soon to the Wall Street fatcats, who will presumably pour them into housing, which will send things right back up again. That, anyway, is the theory.
In sports, the Yankees and the Red Sox both had seasons that would be terrific for most teams, yet felt disappointing to them. But who couldn’t cheer the White Sox, winning their first World Series since 1620? Or thereabouts. Good for them, good for baseball. Next season, though, let’s get back to a Yankees-Red Sox championship series. That is excellent for baseball.
In films…well, in films I spent more and more time away from movie theaters, watching stuff at home or just, well, doing things. The theater experience hasn’t changed so much; it’s that the home video-watching experience has gotten so much better, we’re more aware of how annoying it is to pay $12 for a ticket, $8 for a bottle of water and popcorn, and then sit in a theater where half the people present don’t turn off their cell phones, cough on the back of your head, or bring their infant children to see incredibly violent films….
Nonetheless, I did like “A History of Violence” quite a lot, and “Capote,” and “King Kong,” and “Match Point”…there’s hope for American cinema yet.
I’m going to spend some time today pondering the year, and looking forward to next year, so perhaps I’ll share some more of those thoughts here. In the meantime, my best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and safe New Year’s Eve. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say, Just keep passing those open windows!