- This is in answer to:
- 2012 just got fired into space in a pea-sized capsule. Inside the capsule is a pithy summary of what 2012 was all about. For you, for humanity, for your local crochet group, you decide. What does it say? See all answers
- November 8, 2012 by matthewgallion
- Good luck out there, Universe.
It's difficult to know what you will say about us in hindsight. I'm fairly certain that your historical analysis will ignore all the minutiae that I've obsessed over daily, tweeted about, and drank to forget. But if I had to try--was literally forced to encapsulate this entire year for all of time--I would say that this year has been about the questioning of the Absolute Individual. The Internet was kind of a big deal. We all had smart phones, Facebook defined our relationships for us ("Oh yeah. We're totally friends on the Face-Space.") Our e-ddiction was something of a paradox. We checked in on our social networks and ignored the person in the chair across the table. We preferred to text, where our every sentence was open to (mis-)interpretation. We were moving from communal religion to individual spirituality. We fought over a vitriolic political campaign between one candidate who fought for individual rights and limited government and another candidate who urged that everyone needed to do their "fair share" and work with the government to create a better future.
Young people generally loved the Fair Share Barack Obama. Old, white people preferred Governor Mittens Romney. We fought about taxes and the deficit, healthcare and societal responsibility. Cable news networks, like Fox News and MSNBC, ramped up the vitriol with their--pardon my bias--fear mongering and elitism on both sides. I even heard a news story that people were deciding who to date primarily on their political views. In general, the popular narratives all seemed to suggest that we were on the brink of a socialist revolution or a total collapse of American society. It was, some said, the worst time in American history. (I sincerely doubt this at the time of this writing, but I suppose you'd know better than me at this point.)
But for my friends and me, we just loved raw experience and relationships and self-expression and meaningfulness. We loved knowing one another and discovering ourselves. We loved trivia and movies and beer and music and laughter. We wanted to eat, to buy some cool shit, and to do something meaningful with our lives. But of course, we had absolutely no clue what that was.
From where I sat, 2012 was about figuring out the relationship between community and the self at a time when all the lines between the two were blurred, subverted, or flat-out reversed. And I'm still working through it.
I wonder if that's part of what makes us human. Or maybe you've figured it all out by now.
Good luck out there, Universe.