Sunday, December 27, 2020

Two months of Dave Barry - and this worst of all years is not over yet

BIG SNIP

So begineth Scriber’s take on Dave Barry’s take on Trump’s taking America to the cleaners. You know - that was an old way of saying we got cheated. By our President. Whatever we lost went to his own pocket. That should not be a surprise to anyone who has any sense of Trump’s history. Remember the New Jersey casino scandals? Trump stiffed his contractors. That’s an old way of saying Trump lined his own pockets. So why were the good burghers of America-the-Great so surprised by Trump’s unparalleled dishonesty. But hey, so what. The new normal for presidential communications was somewhere north of 20,000 lies.

If you don’t remember a lot of what I left out in my Big Snip, don’t worry about it. You, like me, and a lot of other Americans, live in the present. In this case forgetfulness is a useful psychological defense mechanism. And, if we can dump core and forget about the first 10 months that will let our memories fill up with all the really shitty stuff that happened in the more recent two months.

So here are Dave Barry’s recounting of the most horrible months in Americas’s 2020.

(As an aside, do you want to know how I know “horrible”? Trump is saying that he won the election by a landslide in which he won 232 electoral votes and lost 306 to Joe Biden. And he is still, as I wright this, speaking Republican/Trumpist double speak in which losing is winning and winning is losing.)

Dave Barry’s Year in Review 2020. And we thought past years were awful.

Thanks to Paul McCreary for pointing us at Barry’s article.

BEGIN QUOTE

We’re trying to think of something nice to say about 2020. Okay, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know. That’s pretty much it.

With October finally over, a divided, weary nation trudges into the crucial month of …

NOVEMBER

… when finally, after all the politics and the platitudes, the debates and the demagoguery, the rallies and the riots, the allegations and the alliteration, it’s time for the American people to do what they have done since the founding of the republic: Eat all their leftover Halloween candy. There’s a lot of it this year because there were few trick-or-treaters, leaving many Americans with no choice but to snork down the weight of an adult male cocker spaniel in mini Snickers. But we do it, because we are Americans, dammit.

Then, at last, it’s Election Day. Millions of voters lurch to the polls, unless they already voted, in which case they remain on the sofa, burping up chocolate fumes and anxiously watching the cable-TV network of their choice. Political experts are confidently predicting an easy Biden win, possibly a landslide, based on input from professional pollsters armed with conclusions derived from sophisticated statistical analysis of data obtained via surveys of the seven Americans still willing to answer the telephone.

But the actual race turns out to be much closer, and several days pass without a clear winner as the various states count ballots via their individual methods under our quirky, zany electoral college system. Florida, which has totally screwed up in previous elections, surprises everybody by reporting the vote count almost immediately, thanks to an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis to “just go ahead and reuse the results from 2016, since we counted those already.” But the process is much slower in states such as Pennsylvania, which uses the base 17 numbering system, and Arizona, where by law votes must be tabulated on cowhides.

It is not until Saturday that the news media call the election for Biden. President Trump accepts the defeat with the calm, mature grace and dignity that have become his trademark as leader of some imaginary nation that we are fantasizing about in this sentence.

In reality Trump claims that he won the election BY A LOT, but it is being stolen from him via a vast, sophisticated, malignant and purely hypothetical vote-fraud scheme. To combat this fraud, the president forms a crack legal team headed by former sane person Rudy “Rudy Three i’s” Giuliani, who presides over what future scholars will view as the single greatest event in the history of America, if not the world. This occurs when the president announces via tweet that his lawyers will hold a news conference at “Four Seasons, Philadelphia.” Everyone assumes he means the Four Seasons Hotel, but in fact — and here we have definitive proof that there is a God, and He or She has an excellent sense of humor — the event takes place in the parking lot of a company called Four Seasons Total Landscaping, which is across the street from a cremation center and down the block from Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore.

We are not making this up. Nobody could make this up.

The Four Seasons event turns out to be a good indicator of the competence of the Trump legal team, and it eventually becomes clear to everybody not living in the White House that Trump will not successfully challenge Biden’s win. But it is also clear that, just as in 2016, the media elite greatly underestimated support for Trump, who somehow got more than 74 million votes despite the fact that the media elite doesn’t personally know any Trump supporters, and in fact has devoted four solid years to declaring that anybody who doesn’t hate Trump as much as the media elite does has to be a racist idiot. So who on Earth could these 74 million Americans be? It’s a mystery that probably will never be solved, at least not by the media elite.

Meanwhile on the coronavirus front, there is good news and bad news:

⋅ The good news is that several drug companies announce they have developed promising vaccine candidates, while Budweiser reports “significant progress” on a hard seltzer that also can be used as hand sanitizer.

⋅ The bad news is that the number of cases, in what feels like the 37th wave, is spiking once again, and American consumers are once again creating shortages of toilet paper by buying enough rolls per household to wipe every butt in Denmark for a year. Many states impose tough new covid restrictions, most notably California, which bans “all human activity not personally involving the governor.”

Speaking of states taking action: On Nov. 12 the nation pauses to observe the 50th anniversary of the date that the Oregon state highway department attempted to dispose of an eight-ton dead whale on a beach by detonating a thousand pounds of dynamite under the carcass, the result being that vast quantities of putrid whale flesh were blasted into the sky, and then, because of gravity — which apparently nobody had told the Oregon state highway department about — it came back down all over the crowd of spectators gathered to watch. Historians agree that this was the greatest thing that ever happened in the world prior to the Trump legal team’s news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

In arts and culture news, Guinness World Records announces that the most watched video in YouTube history, with over 7 billion views, is “Baby Shark Dance,” which was created by a South Korean company called Pinkfong that for some inexplicable reason we never took out with a nuclear missile even though the entire world would have thanked us.

Trump, carrying on a cherished White House tradition, pardons turkeys named “Corn” and “Cob” and a former national security adviser named “Michael Flynn.” “Corn” and “Michael Flynn” were convicted of making false statements to the FBI; “Cob” was serving a four-year sentence for tax evasion.

Joe Biden, preparing for a historically difficult transition to a presidency that will be confronted with a daunting array of critical challenges both at home and abroad, fractures his foot playing with a dog.

As the month draws to a close, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as the Pilgrims did, by gathering with their loved ones for a communal meal in the basement with the lights off so as to avoid detection by the authorities.

And then, at last, the finish line of this wretched year looms ahead as we stagger into …

DECEMBER

… which begins with good news and bad news on the economy:

  • The good news is, holiday retail sales are strong.

  • The bad news is, most of these sales are online purchases of Four Seasons Total Landscaping T-shirts.

The other hot holiday wish-list item is the coveted Sony PlayStation 5 gaming console, which is nearly impossible to find in stores due to the fact that it does not, physically, exist. “We made a bunch of cool commercials for it,” states a Sony marketing executive, “but as for an actual device that you can plug in, nah.”

Long term, the economic outlook remains troubling, with the U.S. economy being kept afloat mainly by consumers making monthly payments to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, CBS All Access, HBO Now, Peacock, HBO Max, Discovery Plus, Starz, Chickadee, Eyeballz, Amazon Super Deluxe, HBO Medium Rare, Chickadee Plus, Disney Extra Special, Amazon Supreme Unleaded, HBO Gluten Free and a bewildering array of other streaming services that consumers rarely watch but keep paying for because they can’t figure out how to cancel their subscriptions.

“These people are pumping millions of dollars a month into the economy,” states Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. “God help us if they ever remember their passwords.”

In other national news, President Trump, faced with soaring coronavirus cases and a congressional stalemate over a desperately needed relief package, devotes his energies, as chief executive, to tweeting approximately once per hour that the election was RIGGED. The Trump legal team, alleging that there was a massive organized conspiracy to commit vote fraud, files multiple lawsuits but achieves basically the same legal outcome as Hamilton Burger, the stupendously ineffective district attorney on the “Perry Mason” TV show, who went to court week after week for many seasons and almost never won a case, WHICH ONLY PROVES HOW MASSIVE AND ORGANIZED THIS CONSPIRACY IS.

While the president continues to insist that he was reelected, members of his staff quietly prepare for the transition by updating their résumés and conducting a search for the briefcase containing the nuclear launch codes, believed last seen in the back of a golf cart in Bedminster, N.J.

As the curtain gradually descends on the Trump administration, it becomes Joe Biden’s turn to take center stage and face the harsh scrutiny of the Washington press corps. Leading the way is CNN, which broadcasts a hard-hitting two-hour special report on the incoming Biden administration, featuring a panel of eight journalists who unanimously agree that if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were alive today, they would definitely fracture their feet playing with dogs.

In business news, Amazon (founded by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos) pays $237 billion in cash to acquire Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

In the arts, Rolling Stone magazine declares that the No. 1 song of 2020 is “WAP,” which is an abbreviation for something that we cannot publish in a family newspaper, but suffice it to say that if any year deserved to have this declared as its best song, that year would be 2020.

Finally, after 12 nightmarish months, 2020 draws to a close, and …

… and here we must interrupt our narrative to let you, the reader, in on a little secret: Because of magazine deadlines, we have to turn in our Year in Review in mid-December, before the year is actually over. Normally this doesn’t matter, because the holiday season tends to be a slow news time.

But this is no normal year, and we’re nervous. We worry that something major, by which we mean bad, will happen after our deadline — something involving the presidential election, or the virus, or some awful thing we cannot even imagine. Like, for example, maybe astronomers will announce that because of the human race snacking at historically high levels during the pandemic lockdown, the Earth has gained a huge amount of mass, which has slowed the planet down in its orbit around the sun and, as a result, to make the calendar work out, we have to add an ENTIRE MONTH to 2020. This month would of course be called …

PANDEMBER

… which you probably think can’t possibly happen, right? What a crazy idea!

As crazy as masked Americans fighting over toilet paper.

Our point is, we don’t know what else will happen this year, including when it will end. We’re just hoping that it eventually does, and that next year is nothing like it. In that spirit, we’ll close with the wish we always offer at the end of our annual review, although this time it’s more of a prayer:

Happy new year.

END QUOTE

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