I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a stinker of a year.
And maybe we should have seen it coming, because from the very start, 2020 came with some pretty ominous associations. For starters, it was a leap year. Check your calendar, and you’ll find 2020 includes a February 29th, which only happens once every four years. Second, it is the year of the Rat, the beginning of the cycle in the Chinese zodiac, and a year that is supposed to bring ingenuity and renewal. That only happens once every 12 years. Third, 2020 is a so called double-date year, where the first two digits are the same as the last two as in 1919, 1818, or 1717. That only happens once a century and interestingly enough, 2020 is the fourth century in a row to be visited by a pandemic during the double-date year. In 1919, it was the Spanish Flu. In 1818, it was Asiatic Cholera, and in 1717, it was Small Pox.
Even without the Covid-19 Pandemic, 2020 was an unbelievably busy news year. It saw the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani triggering open hostilities with Iran, the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 killing all 176 souls on board, Harry and Megan’s dramatic exit stage right from the British Royal Family, the death of more than one billion animals and the extinction of several endangered species in the Australian brush fires, Brexit in the U.K., the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, the California fires and the horrific death of George Floyd unleashing widespread protest throughout United States.
The cherry on top of all that social turmoil was the U.S. Presidential Election in November, which many saw as the fight for the soul of America, and perhaps the last chance for it to preserve its democracy in an increasingly autocratic world. And even when the good guy eventually won, he did not ride off into a Hollywood sunset, but into an apocalyptic landscape teetering on the thin edge of who knows what.
I tried to capture some of the angst of 2020 in these two short movies, which are both set to a song called These Days. Let’s all hope it’s a Happy New Year!