The Second Annual White Pages Awards
We are still not calling them "The Whities!"
This is my single favorite essay of the year to write, but I also recognize that you’re not missing anything essential if you don’t find out who won the award for “Swedish Ice Cream Advertisement Of The Year” or “Article About Organizing (That Dozens of You Asked My Thoughts About) Of The Year.” Given that this is all a lot of fun nonsense, it felt like a good candidate for a paid subscriber edition (also, there’s a picture of my kids, which I try to keep out of public posts). But good news! I think that I made the paywall a “Seven Day Free Trial” one instead of an “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” one. And as always, if you’re not in a position to pay for a subscription, you can always email me at email@example.com and I’ll comp you.
It’s the end of the year, friends. Let’s get loose.
A (Small) Good Thing That I Hope We Don’t Forget Happened This Year (United States Edition):
I could write a million words about the various ways that the U.S. Government was either actively cruel (The Supreme Court!) or insufficiently helpful (all of the other branches!) this year. But that’s every year. What also happened in 2022 was that the Federal Government made a couple of actively empathetic moves that will help people. There was (some) debt relief! And (some) investments in meaningful climate change infrastructure! And (baby steps) towards marijuana decriminalization! And of course all those things come with caveats. Of course they’re not enough. I’m not telling you to run around in the streets with a “Joe Biden Is My Radical Intersectional Justice King” banner. I am saying, though, that without years of thankless organizing on a number of fronts, none of these initial victories would have come to be. We can’t keep building if we don’t acknowledge the battles we win along the way.
A Small, Good Thing That I Hope We Don’t Forget Happened This Year (Global Edition):
OK, so the bad news first. There is a lot of authoritarianism spreading, particularly in Europe (Sweden, I love you but you need to stop electing Actual Nazis; Italy, I know much less about you, but I do know that the last time you elected fascists, things didn’t turn out well! Also, while I have you here, please steer clear of that White Lotus resort! The vibes seem off). There are many other places across the world that have long struggled with authoritarianism (more often than not, because it was once in the United States’ interests to prop up fascists). New fascists? Bad! Legacy fascists? Also bad.
What I’m saying is that we (the global, non-fascist “we”) are going to have to out-organize the fascists. So it’s important to celebrate the places in the world where fascism was either defeated this year— like Brazil! (Thank you to Lula, my imperfect but still admirable Brazilian Grandfather!)— or is currently being resisted— like Iran! (Thank you Gen-Z! Hopefully you don’t judge me for not being on Tik-Tok!).
Oh, speaking of fascists…
Weirdest Fascist Of The Year:
Blake Masters! Buddy! I am very glad you’re not a Senator. But I will miss you and your steadfast commitment to helping America remember that craven authoritarians aren’t normal people. I also appreciate your very normal expressions of affection for your family, like this beautiful tribute to how much you love looking in the opposite direction of your wife.
Worst Gas Station Pizza Of The Year:
Last year, Casey’s General Store won the award for “Gas Station Pizza Of The Year.” Before the ink was even dry on their certificate, I knew that no other gas station pizza could hope to dethrone it, and I was right. But I am nothing if not rigorous, so this year I tried multiple slices of Not Casey’s Gas Station Pizza. Some were fine (Kwik Trip). One, however, was not….
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