It's A-Little-Past-The-Afterglow-Of-Tryptophane-O'Clock. Do you want to see another roast turkey this month? Haven't you seen enough?
And when I think of roasts -- things that are fully cooked -- I think of this hugely negative final quarter of 2014.
I'm thinking of the epidemic of on-campus rapes and the campus administrations and trustees who would prefer to look the other way rather than examine why this problem proliferates so. Jackie, the student at the University of Virginia who was beaten, gang-raped, abused, and mocked by a gang of brothers at a Phi Psi party was told by the friends who rescued her afterwards that if she complained about Phi Psi and what happened to her at their fraternity party they'd never be invited to another fraternity party again. It's not just U.VA. It's not just elite schools. It's not just schools with Greek systems. It's not just the alcohol. It's a culture of aggression, of captures, of "winning" (in the Charlie Sheen sense of the word), it's the culture of getting away with it.
I'm thinking about Bill Cosby and his now 19 alleged victims. They are still alleged, I suppose, but it doesn't sound good for good old Dr. Huxtable.
I'm thinking about Jian Ghomeshi of the CBC -- Mr. Charm I thought to myself when I was a guest on his show, "Q" a few years ago -- who engaged in sadistic behavior that was not consensual with another series of women who are now speaking up.
It's about the gun violence that has become a daily part of our news cycles. I pointed out another school shooting to one of my exhibits, who said something like (but not these words) "What else is new?"
A toddler kills his mom when she's changing her infant's diaper. Well, duh -- there was a loaded gun in the sofa -- what a cool toy to have lying around.
I'M NOT SAYING I CAN'T HANDLE BAD NEWS.
I'm not subscribing to those anodyne "good news all the time" feeds that strike me as tone deaf as hearing Christmas carols in the mall in September.
I'm saying these are painful times. That's all.
I had an English professor who taught us a class in 18th century American literature. He began each lecture by intoning this quote: "These times clean fail me; yet still I yearn."
I wish I could remember who wrote those words. Not even Google knows. I thought he knew everything.
These times clean fail me; yet still I yearn.