I think we can all agree 2017 was a wombat-fucker of a year. Everyone who was supposed to be in charge seemed to lack any coherent idea on how to hold the obvious villains and grifters accountable for their gleeful dismantling of our society. Every fucking day the news was essentially some version of: “The president is lying to everyone all the time, he and his bad-80’s movie collection of traitors are trying to set up a the world’s tackiest dictatorship, also all the dudes in the media are all grabby creeps INCLUDING AL FRANKEN AND GARRISON KEILLOR and not only are there Nazis all over the place but there are Nazi FUCKING FURRIES, so, you know, bummer and stuff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”
I, for one, would have spent the entire year under my basement workbench seeking the blessed solace of inhaled industrial solvents but for one thing:
Women fucking saved our asses this year. I want you to think about what 2017 would have been like without the women’s marches, without the women standing up to the predators, the black women who sent Roy Moore back to hopefully not the mall. What would 2017 have been without the women who said, “no”, “no more (Moore)”, and “nopers, nopety nope nope noperoo, nopebro nopenstein NOOOOOO!”?
In case you didn’t click, the scene posted above is “No Man’s Land,” from this summer’s Wonder Woman. You should watch it, even if you saw the movie. In it our heroine, played by Gal Gadot, is in disguise with her small company of handlers (all men) in a trench somewhere in WW I. A refugee begs for help as her village, situated across the killing field between the Allied and German trenches, has been enslaved. Wonder Woman insists that they divert their mission to help, but her guide rationalizes all the reasons accomplishing that basic task of human decency is impossible. He tells her that “This is not what we’re here to do,” and that “we can’t save everyone in this war.” And she basically tells him to go fuck himself by dialing the awesome up to 11. This one scene transcends the entire movie. The entire summer full of movies. Feel free to watch it over and over. I do.
The brilliance of the filmmaking here is, as she’s striding across the greatest stalemate in modern military history, you get the sense here she’s learning the depth of her power. She starts at a walk, which becomes a run which becomes a supernatural leap. The men, realizing things have changed, finally get their shit together and follow. It’s surprisingly three dimensional for an action movie. It was like a breath of air after being under water for too long.
And, all bullshit considered, this is how I felt at key moments over the past 13 months. For a long time I’ve been mired in the muck of “how things are.” As the sexual scandals exploded I thought of all the places where, because of a job or a sense I was doing the best thing in a bad situation, I didn’t take a stand. And suddenly, in 2017, women jumped over me, started taking fire and smashing shit. Now I’m scrambling to catch up.
Think about it, the inauguration was followed one day later by the Women’s March, dwarfing it in size. In groups large and small, we started to take stands. People pushed back. I know it was dark a lot of the time and a lot has been lost (Paris Accords, Net Neutrality, Health Care, Merrick Garland…I could go on and on and on but the paint thinner begins to call my name). However, I saw a lot of righteous rage this year, and I saw the good side start to win, a lot of times in places I didn’t expect. For instance, who knew the resistance would be led by the National Park Service, Teen Vogue and Juggalos? Not me, but what-fucking-ever. Lead on, you clown-face-painted, hiking-boot-wearing, epic-prom-look-seeking heroes. “I’ve got you, fam,” or whatever one is supposed to say in these situations.
In 2017 it’s bravery that’s in, cowardice is so last year.
In fact, I found myself growing increasingly furious with rationalized chicken-shittery. After the Citrinellanacht assholes killed a woman in Charlottesville and a similar rally was gearing up to take place on Boston Common, The Internet was suddenly flooded with people explaining why going to protest Nazis helps them because…reasons. I remember replying: “I’m really glad no one came out to protest the Nazis because it just empowered them,” said no concentration camp inmate, ever.” People got super-mad at that, which I’m fine with.
Because we were fucking right. Forty thousand of us were right that day in July. The only thing I saw that was better than the No Man’s Land scene in 2017 was a real-life army of taking-no-more-shit humans marching down Tremont, shaking the ground as they came. Meanwhile the Boston Police hustled the sad little band of Velco-sneakered rumpled brownshirts into vans to get them the fuck out of there. There’s a good chance that was the high-water mark of the alt right. If so, we have organized women and BLM to thank, not the NPR think-piece crowd.
I know It’s messy. It’s hard, peeps. We’re in uncharted territory here. There’s going to be overreach, trampled feelings and it’s not always going to feel fair and let’s face it, this ain’t a movie. We don’t get to write the ending and it’s not always going to make sense at the time (Are we living in an Alain Resnais film? Discussion for a later time.).
And let’s not sugar coat it, 2018 could be worse. Hell, there’s still the rest of 2017 that could easily devolve into unbridled crapitude making the rest of the year seem like a an ice cream social (but with Nazis). In the Wonder Woman model, we’re still on the ladder here, we’re not even out of the trench yet in terms of the potential shitnami (shitticane? I think shitnmai is better) ahead. But dammit, loyal and-no-doubt-exhausted members of the Clamistance, climbing out and charging head on is what we’re going to do. And keep doing. When given the opportunity to reconnect with some portion of your humanity, take it. It probably won’t get offered again.
See you out there.