The dizzying edifice of ideas is above us, a turning gyre of pure data, collapsing on the old world. It’s 2010, and we are reeling with vertigo. This past year brought us recession, a malicious 82% cut to the overall Arts and Culture funding in BC, increased military buildup in the Middle East, and draconian challenges to our Charter rights over the Olympic leviathan, that great shambling mound of overspending and ambition.

As we danced, drank, toasted and toked our New Year’s ambrosia, squinting our bleary eyes against the uncertainty of a new decade, we avoided thoughts of Copenhagen, Darfur, and the Downtown Eastside, dancing a dubstep shuffle over last year’s stinking corpse. We just wanted a little escape, a sweet relief in the hot flush of impending hangover as we staggered out of our pasts into a diaphanous future, to be reminded. Maybe we heard someone crying from an alley. Stumbling into the dawn of 2010, a Somali man with an axe was planning his attack on a 75-year old cartoonist in Denmark, blood and revenge for black marker mutterings about Muhammad and his exploding head.

This decade needs a new metaphor.

The media has broke trust with the masses and information is now infected, like a dirty syringe. We are forced into fear by the gravity of the news while the sinister headlines spar like soldiers for our lace tokens of attention. Pinned to a paradigm, wriggling, we are collapsing on cue, overloaded with eco-oblivion and apocalypse, a marketing initiative that took off a decade ago with Y2K, culminating in the cryptic prophecies of the Mayan long-count calendar (this mystical message brought to you by Disney, there for you even if the world won’t be). Our media reality is created by the formation of a false antagonist, and the form that sells copy is also the one that pushes the same old stale fruitcake plots. Jesus had Pontius Pilate, Bush had Saddam Hussein, Harry Potter had Voldemort. And so it goes.

This decade needs a new plot.

If you had stopped on your way home New Years day to look at the headlines in the news stands, you would have seen the old one. You would have beheld the sparkling artifacts of history carefully polished and preserved for your consumption... chosen for you because they sell, statistically, and because humans are predictable in their tastes. Habitual.

It is the main address of the New Year. Habit. The behavioural circuit. It is the organ grinder of our lives. We submit to the same old sterile story, repackaged endlessly, validating the old adage that only an adversary can unify a cause.

These decade needs a new habit.

New Years is not a doing, but rather it is a promise to do or not to do, an asseveration of intent. As old institutions fall from the sky like flares from Roman Candle casings we are left with the certainty of something, a fugacious moment of pure potential, rising like an airplane with an underwear bomb, set to explode. As our fragile dreams of entitlement and eros become last year's toilet paper on a pant leg, we are screaming over the stall walls for a fresh roll and a Sharpie marker.

//Kevin Murray


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