For most of us, 2016 has been a dumpster fire of epic proportion. For me, it began with the death of David Bowie, days after my father’s 69th birthday; a poignant reminder that our idols are also mortal.
We’ve added a shitload of fuel to that fire, folks. Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael; iconic artists who reflected pieces of ourselves back at us.
Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder, Allan Rickman, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kenny Baker, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds; thespians who bared their souls through their work, allowing us to fall in love with them a piece at a time.
Muhammad Ali and John Glenn; giants among us who reached for the the stars and came home glittering with stardust.
Morley Safer, a familiar voice who showed me a bigger world as I watched his broadcasts from my grandparents living room.
The loss of Elie Wiesel was a huge blow. He taught me the potential evil of fascism, and the necessity of bearing witness to it and those who died from it.
Which leads all too naturally to the biggest log we added to the fire, a weathered stump with tiny limbs, it’s bark replaced by a strange orange fungus.
More than anything else, history will remember 2016 as the year the least popular presidential candidate was elected to the highest office, running a platform that brought xenophobia and homophobia back to the mainstream consciousness, and fueled the rise of the Alt-
RightReich and Mens Rights Activists.
It’s easy to feel disheartened and despondent after the year we’ve just survived. The terms of President Obama brought us closer to a world where everyone is treated with basic human rights. The quest for universal health care was closer than ever to becoming a reality. And by very small margins we find ourselves led by a man and his followers that want to undo all of that good work.
Andrea and I have had a lot of discussions about what we can do. We already donate to good causes, and we can find more organizations that will continue to fight for our shared interests. We can subscribe to news organizations that still practice journalism and report on its findings without bias. But that doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
We’ve already agreed that 2017 is going to be a year for the both of us to make art. We have stories to write, web comics to draw, and jokes to tell.
To that end, I’m going to be partaking in Monica Valentinelli’s Make Art Not War 2017 challenge. I’m working out the details of what I’ll pledge to do, but I promise this: 2017 will be a glorious year of making art and being subversiveness.