Sean Beckwith: 2020 making a run at infamy
This year feels like one that is going to spur countless documentaries and period pieces. The History Channel could get a “The 60s” mini-series out of the first six months alone.
I thought about comparing and contrasting it to other notable, crazy years past but it’s not over yet … and I don’t think a March Madness-type bracket where awful years compete against one another is appropriate. (“Up next: We preview the Holocaust-JFK assassination matchup.”) Though I definitely just gave a blogger an idea for his next slideshow.
However, I will be recapping and precapping 2020 because we’re right around the halfway mark, this year has lasted like three decades and predictions are a lot more fun than year-in-review pieces.
Death in sports
Remember when Kobe Bryant died? Maybe because I was still on Twitter or regularly watching ESPN but I know exactly where I was when that happened. The circumstances were incredibly tragic with the children on board. It just sucked. I hate the Lakers but even I’m not going to joke about it.
It’s not like he died via Black Mamba bite. There’s no Segway guy* ironic twist. It’s all very sad.
*Also this year, the Segway company discontinued the Segway, saying something like $5,000 personal transportation that’s not a car isn’t a viable business model. Tough beat for the Segway guy. You buy the company, die using its namesake product only to have it get canceled like a Geo Metro but yet your name is forever tied to being the Segway guy.
I don’t think there’s too much to review unless you want a play-by-play of every “Die Hard” that mattered (the first three), all four “Lethal Weapons,” the entire MCU catalog, plus like 18 million other things on Netflix. I’m saving all of my COVID-19 material for the election preview portion of the column.
Black Lives Matter is a movement that has the potential to be more impactful than the Civil Rights era if the momentum continues. The way people are mobilizing from Minneapolis to London to Paris and beyond is incredible. I’m convinced the ability to organize, raise awareness and, to a very real extent, force change are the only good things — other than House of Highlights — to come from social media.
Side note: From a purely aesthetic point of view, the pandemic forcing protesters to wear face coverings is absolutely a look. It’s like something the creators of “Blade Runner” wish they thought of when guessing what 2019 (close enough) would look like.
These shortened or largely impacted seasons are going to create the most nauseating takes of all time. And I realize that in itself is a hot take, but I’m not acknowledging an Alabama national championship after they cancel all their non-conference games — if you can call those glorified scrimmages “games” at all — and Nick Saban sends virus-laden sororities to the LSU team hotel the week of the game.
Who knows how the NBA bubble experiment will go but holding a massive tournament in the middle of a coronavirus epicenter seems like it could end poorly. And by poorly I mean so many players drop out that it gets pared down to a 2-on-2 format with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers “winning” another title, leading to another round of exhausting memes and GOAT discussions from LeBron stans.
I haven’t a clue how this is going to play out but something tells me it’s going to get extremely disgusting. By the time the conventions happen, it’s just going to be a Pixar version of Joe Biden on a screen with prerecorded responses like Woody in “Toy Story” while Donnie T converts his supporters into true cult followers and has them huddle on the arena floor while he flies overhead in a movie-wire harness and coughs on them.
Hopefully The Donald figures out he can make a buck off MAGA face masks and convinces his horde that COVID is an actual thing before the country shuts down again and we’re left with a dystopia of fast food franchises and Amazon packages.
I’m just going to vote and pray.
I can’t predict the future but there will be another major event this year. What that will be, I don’t know. Will a savior of a hacker delete Facebook and Twitter? (Fingers crossed.) Hopefully, it’s not another lockdown or more sadness and tumult. Perhaps an artist will come along and top Run the Jewels’ current album for music that best exemplifies the moment.
Maybe the lack of travel will lead to some “Avengers: End Game” shit where we see whales in the Hudson or an environmental silver lining to all the madness — without, you know, losing half the population. (Thanos is real and his name is COVID-19.)
If the first half of 2020 is any indicator of how the rest of the year is going to be, Ken Burns might release a documentary by the end of November.
Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of 2020? The Shadow knows. But I am not him, and this is over.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at the Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.