The Year 2019: Where did the Joy Go?

Everybody knows the boat is leaking
Everybody knows the captain lied
Everybody's got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

The New York Times has published its annual "Year in Pictures". The majority of the photos, many of which are visually stunning, range from sad to tragic. The best thing about the collection: Out of 116 photos, Donald Trump only appears in a handful. Is the message that he had very little impact on the year's events, especially abroad? Or, since all but one or two of the photos in which he appears pertain to his leaving and arriving at his own campaign events, that he had no significant accomplishments, and his only relevance is to his die-hard base of supporters?

The Times' editors say they looked at 500, 000 pictures to arrive at their final 116. [More...]

As to the ones with Trump in them, most are of him en route to or arriving at his campaign rallies. I don't quite understand why they were even included -- not only are the underlying events he is photographed in irrelevant to the world at large, these photos are not visually impressive -- especially when compared to the other photos, many of which are stunning and carry an emotional wallop.

My take: the Times is confirming the belief of tens of millions of Americans and many more millions around the world that Donald Trump is the least inspiring and least accomplished person ever to occupy a desk in the Oval Office. Everybody knows by now that whenever he opens his mouth or taps his finger to tweet, we are going to get a tall tale at best and a false characterization at worst of whatever subject his mind is fixated on that day. By now, all but the most dedicated journalists who have to cover him for their paycheck, greet his statements with a yawn. Shorter version: There are very few photos of Trump because he has proven himself to be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

One has a caption which says he's off to a campaign event to seek the support of Black voters. But the image is just a glimpse of of Trump with his typically dour face through the window of an SUV. Why not have a photo of the Black voters who attended the rally? Could it be there weren't any? Then why is the photo included at all? Trump standing outside a car window means what?

The next headscratcher is one of the few showing him in a leadership role. It is this creepy photo at the State of Union address, depicting Nancy Pelosi clapping for Trump and seemingly reaching out to him with her hands, with a smile on her face while looking right in his eyes, as he stares right back at her. The caption says it "was the clap heard round the world." The look on Pelosi's face is flirtatious. They seem to be sharing a secret. It evokes little reaction in me other than one of "Hey guys, get a room and spare us." Like I said, a downright creepy photo. I almost stopped scrolling through them right then.

To be fair, most of the photos are stunning and do a great job of capturing the emotion of the people depicted in them (mostly despair and sadness with some anger thrown in). Some have outstanding outdoor scenery or expertly capture beautiful indoor spaces.

Others seem to be included because they depict women -- gender was a major theme in events this past year.

But one or two seem blurry or out of focus to me. Maybe I just don't appreciate artistry. But look at this one of Greta Thunberg which is taken at such a distance I can barely make out the expression on her face. And this one with a miniature Donald Trump yes, en route to another campaign rally. The only interesting thing about it is the balding reporter who is looking away from Trump with an odd expression on his face. I can't tell if he's freaked out by something he sees or he is looking for an escapte route, or expecting someone terrible to arrive from that direction. I don't get the value of this photo. How is it possibly one of the top 116 photos for 2019?

In short, what all but a handful of the 116 photos depict is how angry and sad everyone seems to be -- from protesters around the world to the victims of oppressive governments, war, hurricanes and fires and terrorist groups.

Except for a few sports photos, what is lacking in this year's photo collection is any sense of joy, anywhere in the world.

How sad.

I also think joy has disappeared from our everyday lives. With the news, we have a choice: either watch or listen to his wacko pronouncements when we wake up and set our day off on the wrong foot, or at dinner, giving us indigestion, or before bed, increasing the risk of nightmares.

Aside from the news, I've noticed locally that people seem to be acting out their anger -- especially behind the wheel. Drivers seem more angry and aggressive when there's a traffic jam. Even in the grocery store parking lot, if they have to wait for 30 seconds while the car in front of them stops to let a car pull out of a parking space so they can pull in, as soon as the car in front pulls into the space, they pound their foot on the gas pedal and floor it, tires screeching as they move forward.

On local heavily trafficked streets when the going gets slow or crawls to a stop, there's a lot more sudden, jerky lane changes, cutting off of other drivers or practically crawling on the bumper of the car in front of them every time the cars in their lane move ahead a few inches. It's very disconcerting -- and scary when there's ice on the road.

I think Donald Trump is the cause. While he has had very little real practical effect in terms of policy (with most of his dangerous policy changes tied up in court) he has imperiled us in other ways. With him or his surrogates in charge, almost every day the country seems like a rudderless ship, veering in opposite directions with sudden jolts. And he has diminished our standing in the eyes of the world's leaders, making us a laughing stock around the world. As a result, everybody's anxious, no one feels protected and we all fear that Trump could cause an international disaster at any moment.

Even Trump's staff is scared, according to the media -- supposedly for their jobs, but I think it's more a sense of terror at Trump's volatility and unpredictability. They show up for work every day dreading his demands and about-faces on policy that reek of his lack of experience and worse, his lack of ability to understand important topics -- or learn about them from any source other than Fox News.

What we need to re-create despite Donald Trump is the feeling of joy. I think, like the Grinch he is, he stole it from us. And I want it back.

Well that's what is on my mind with respect to Donald Trump and the state of our country today. What's on yours?

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  • Display: Sort:
    It's definitely getting weird (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 07:06:27 AM EST
    I mentioned the other day discussing the strained relationship with my family.  Using my own family as an example of anger and rage you talk about I said it seems an impossible thing that after all we had been thru, my coming out along with the whole gay rights movement, the larger civil rights and peace movement, after all the trials and tribulations we had come through more or less intact as a family that the thing, the event, the person that would split families like nothing since the civil war would be Donald Trump.

    I confess I am having trouble processing it.

    As far as reclaiming joy.  That seems miles away.  We are IMO entering a period as dangerous to the republic as the civil war was.  It's like a Cold Civil War.  Fought on social media.  And right now even if we are not losing outright we sure ain't winning.

    Not seeing a lot of joy in our future until possibly next Nov if we can have an even reasonably fair election.  If we do that we will win.  Bigly.  I believe that.

    But I also have a great dread that people like Barr and Pompeo Republican senators and certainly Trump would not be doing the flagrantly illegal things they are doing if they believed there would ever be consequences.

    Trumps win was largely the result of a failure of imagination on our part.  We never believed it was possible so we never took it seriously.  It's time to vastly broaden or opinion of what we think is possible.

    Because these people will do anything to hold on to power.

    Sorry, not much joy there.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#2)
    by jmacWA on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 08:23:41 AM EST
    It's like a Cold Civil War.  Fought on social media.  And right now even if we are not losing outright we sure ain't winning.

    Sadly we are in the age when marketing science and technology have succeeded beyond anything I ever thought was possible.  Neither of these are necessarily bad by themselves, but together they are a threat.  With any luck by the time AI is perfected I won't be around to worry about it... because that may well be the final nail


    Yep (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 08:59:34 AM EST
    And saying this

    all we had been thru, my coming out along with the whole gay rights movement, the larger civil rights and peace movement

    It's worth saysing the rage washing over flyover country has a lot to do with their losses in the culture war.  Building decade after decade, loss after loss.  We won the culture war?  We definitely won't some battles but if you listen you can hear the thunder of the hard advancing just over the hill.

    And the confluence of this and what you just described with this rage would be bad enough.  Then there was Trump.  Like a vulture smelling rot he made it his own


    Sorry for again being singularly joyless (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 09:22:34 AM EST
    I make up for it with my favorite cover of EVERYBODY KNOWS

    This is true (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 11:07:19 AM EST
    They have been fighting a half century culture war for what? The one thing they failed to realize is that Americans usually fall on the side of freedom and campaigning to take people's liberty and freedom away is now what they are reduced to and that is why the herd is thundering toward them to run them over.

    The reason (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 11:21:35 AM EST
    Donald Trump has split families in my opinion is that there is no thoughts of well, they just don't understand or that's their opinion or perception such much as Donald Trump made no bones about having a black heart, an evil heart, when running for president. There is no, absolutely none, reason for supporting him not even the economy which grew more under Obama than Trump. And now people are revolted to be seeing the same evil black hearts in their own family members. I really struggle with this but now understand more than ever the "Good German" during WWII. I guess you could say some of them were so messed up in the first place that they no longer have any ability to make solid judgments.

    Joy will return once Trump, Pence and all the black hearted are gone.

    I don't know that Barr et. al. are doing things because they don't think there will be any consequences or because they know it's the end of the road anyway. However, all of this is going to be have to be dealt with by the next president by criminal charges. Hopefully with a strong prosecutor they can be made to pay the piper for what they have done to the country and to the people of this country. This is why I am desperately hoping that Biden is not the nominee since he seems to have the same ignore the disease and "turn the page" strategy of Obama. I think it's also the reason why so many of these Never Trumpers are supporting him. They know he will go easy on the GOP.


    While Barr acts (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 02:11:25 PM EST
    as a tool of Trump, Barr, no doubt, sees Trump as a tool of his.own. Barr knows a fool when sees one and has enlisted Trump to his religious and anti-democratic cause,  Barr (as is WH Counsel Patrick Cipollone) is associated with the extremist Catholic group, Opus Dei.  The means justifies the end to achieve the work of God.  A union to influence public policy.

    The alarming presentation given by Barr this past October to Notre Dame Law School kicked off with the inaccurate assertion "from the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religion."  "The Founding Fathers were Christians..." (the first three presidents were Deists).  "Militant secularists are behind a campaign to destroy the traditional moral order."

    These pearls appeared to be the means to the end being fostered by this speech, public funds for private schools.  To tear down a wall--- between Church and State.  Give religious liberty to public schools.

    Anything Barr does, in my view, needs to be seen through his Opus Dei prism.  He saved the Republican Party after the Iran-Contras fiasco.  Now, it is an encore.  

    His appointment of John Durham is, accordingly, suspect.  The previously well-regarded reputation, as soon happens to all Trump people, seems to be in free fall after comments about the IG report.  No information on Durham and any Opus Dei association, but his deputy is reported to say that his devotion is to his Catholic religion and his family.  A noble priority, but , in this case, a worry for skewing.


    Ironically (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 11:08:25 AM EST
    the priest at church today had a sermon on joy and how we need to reclaim it and I was thinking yes, we do.

    "Flirtatious"? (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2019 at 01:37:41 PM EST
    Jeralyn: "The next headscratcher is one of the few showing him in a leadership role. It is this creepy photo at the State of Union address, depicting Nancy Pelosi clapping for Trump and seemingly reaching out to him with her hands, with a smile on her face while looking right in his eyes, as he stares right back at her. The caption says it 'was the clap heard round the world.' The look on Pelosi's face is flirtatious. They seem to be sharing a secret. It evokes little reaction in me other than one of 'Hey guys, get a room and spare us.' Like I said, a downright creepy photo. I almost stopped scrolling through them right then."

    Speaking for myself only, that look on Speaker Pelosi's face while she's clapping for President Trump's State of the Union address is gratuitously condescending, perhaps because at that particular moment, he's reminded her of the first time one of her toddler grandsons used a big-boy toilet for his bowel movement.


    But seriously (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 05:05:01 PM EST
    Complete sentences, spellchecked, (none / 0) (#18)
    by RickyJim on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 05:23:28 PM EST
    only nasty personal putdowns were calling James Comey "one of the dirtiest cops this nation has ever seen," and "A ranting and raving Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib,."  Obviously, he didn't write it.  However, whoever did has a good ear as to what Trump would sound like if he were better educated.

    Tr*mp and his henchmen, even the ones who (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 09:58:59 PM EST
    speak moderately good English, do not understand that "Democrat" is not an adjective. Its use as such, however, is apparently an epithet. Also, of all the innumerable lies, ignorant contentions, and offensive assertions in that letter, none is more appalling and unAmerican than his attack on Pelosi's religious sincerity. But of course, like so much else that he spouts, it is another example of projection (in the psychiatric sense).

    But the letter writer does employ the (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 18, 2019 at 08:47:50 PM EST
    Oxford comma, as do you. And I.

    See, it just goes to show ya (none / 0) (#24)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 19, 2019 at 12:19:24 PM EST
    that no one is all bad. I guess.

    Ha (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 06:29:44 PM EST
    I was gonna say it sounds like Miller

    The letter was reportedly drafted by controversial White House advisor Stephen Miller, Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland and counselor to the chief of staff Michael Williams.

    "I am told White House lawyers were cut out of the process of drafting the President's six-page letter to Pelosi. At the direction of the President, the letter was drafted by Eric Ueland, Stephen Miller and Mulvaney aide Michael Williams," ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl reported Tuesday.

    Cheapen (none / 0) (#21)
    by FlJoe on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 07:53:33 PM EST
    the ugliness!

    Hallmark s*cks... (none / 0) (#8)
    by desertswine on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 12:13:49 PM EST
    Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, the Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar.

    A post on the group's (One Million Moms) website said Abbott "reported the advertisement aired in error". The group also wrote: "The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network."

    This just p's me off.  I guess that Hallmark doesn't know the meaning of the word "family."  

    Hallmark runs all those really crappy "Christmas" movies.  Just garbage.  They don't know what "Christmas" means either.

    Great SNL line this week (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 12:49:29 PM EST
    "If your son is watching the Hallmark channel he is already totally f'ing gay"

    Oh I forgot.. (none / 0) (#10)
    by desertswine on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    The Hallmark Channel has backtracked. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2019 at 01:59:22 PM EST
    It turns out that the management of Crown Media -- the parent company of the Hallmark Channel --  subsequently met with representatives from the organization Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) who educated them about One Million Moms, which has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay hate group. From Hallmark CEO Mike Perry:

    "The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands. The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials."

    Personally, I want to seek Hallmark produce products like this. ;-D


    RUUUULZZZZZZ (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 10:41:07 AM EST
    I am sort of watching.  It's tedious enough I have to cook and watch Netflix on the iPad but I'm listening.

    It's actually fascinating.  I think a couple of things.

    There should be one if these every few years as a purely educational civics thing.

    The more Collins and his posse are on tv the better it is for us

    And in response to the criticism (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 10:47:04 AM EST
    That only female candidates have their hair discussed, we need to talk about Raskins "hair".

    He's good at this.  But the hair. Later when he is doing something less important.


    As a fellow (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by CST on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 12:26:56 PM EST
    Ethnic Jew, the struggle is real.

    It's hard when your natural hair is not considered professional. Sometimes you over correct and the results are not so great.


    Yes, a (none / 0) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 17, 2019 at 06:47:14 PM EST
    sartorial curiosity.  But, Raskin is among favorites.  A Harvard and Harvard Law graduate, magna cum laude in both cases, and a legal scholar.  A progressive steeped in liberal politics who has overcome serious heath challenges.  As you say, he is good and is likely to be among impeachment managers.