Monday, September 18, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Annus Mirabilis Or Annus Horribilis?

Numerologists and kabbalists will no doubt make something
of the fact that the digits in 2017 add up to ten. I wouldn’t be
surprised if his followers come up with a prediction from
Nostradamus for this year. Inevitably, someone will see a 2017
prophecy cloaked in a verse of the Old Testament, or the
New one.

I don’t know if anyone, recently or long ago, thought that the
current year would be very remarkable, but we are now
past the half-way mark, and it is becoming apparent that this
calendar unit of 365 days is going to be quite memorable.

Our cast of characters is not without a certain controversial
and even occasional flamboyant pizzazz: Donald Trump.
Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Emmanual Macron, Kim 
Jong-un, Binyamin Netanyahu, Bashar al-Assad, Pope Francis,
and Nicolas Maduro --- to name only some of the notables.

Nature has not been shy. Four (and now five) very big
hurricanes in less than a month. A major earthquake in
Mexico at the same time.

The dark side of hitherto amazing internet and social
media technology erupted into planetary consciousness with
realizations of massive hacking, pervasive snooping, and
extreme consumer vulnerability.

A century of growing audiences and gigantic profits for
Hollywood celebrities and the global film industry has
turned unexpectedly sour. Most are explaining this as
Hollywood offering a poor selection of movies --- which is, in
part, no doubt true. But I would add that the intrusive
interjection of so many show business personalities into the
partisan national political conversation has exacerbated
public negative attitudes to Hollywood and Broadway. It’s a
free country, of course, and celebrities have a right to express
themselves, but when they do, they have to be willing to
accept public backlash to their often ignorant, ill-informed
and thoughtless views. Just as the electorate expresses itself
at the polls, filmgoers express themselves at the box office.
The just-held Emmy Award show not only had low ratings,
it was a profound embarrassment to the television industry.

Nature, the folly of men and women, history’s timeless
ability to surprise --- all these have already made this a notable
and probably memorable year. There have also been positive
events, too, including discoveries in technology and medicine,
advances in the character of life for many (as well as,
unfortunately, declines for others).

More than a quarter of the year remains. On balance, will it be
mirabilis or horribilis?

Next year promises to be no slouch either.

Life day-to-day is the greatest spectacle.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casslman. All rights reserved.

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