What follows is a political post, so I will tuck it under the fold so you can skip it and continue to think fondly of me, gentle reader, unlike many “friends” on Facebook who are virtually dancing triumphantly over the LOVE defeating HATE and the FASCISTS who got what is coming to them by the administrators of LOVE who approve of violence in the streets and who promise extra-Constitutional and unilateral measures to rectify governance in a republic through unilateral, pen-and-phone measures and perhaps a Truth Commission of some stripe to Punish members of the previous administration. In order to unify the country, somehow.
Never mind; I can see that I have let my ungoodthink out above the fold. Still, as I am abusing the <more> tag a bunch, let me abuse it some more.
As I told my eldest the other day, we had eight years of a moribund economy recently (within the last decade and a half is recently when you get to be old enough). At its onset, there was a bit of a correction in the pricing of property and a bit of collapse in some complicated derivative financial instruments (know what they are? Me either). Which can account for the start of that dismal economy, where unemployment hit high peaks and gas cost almost five dollars a gallon in Missouri. And the chief executive of the United States and his proxies in the media wanted people to get used to it, that economic growth was permanently fixed at a low rate, there was no magic wand to bring manufacturing back to the mainland, and we could not drill our way to lower gas prices. But the effects were a result of the economic policy; however, for the longest time, the administration said poor economic performance was the result of the failures of the preceding administration.
Then, for a brief moment, we had a business-friendly chief executive who cut regulation, lowered business taxes, renegotiated trade deals, and made an effort to repatriate manufacturing jobs. Employment and incomes went up. The price of gas came down. Food costs rose, but the economy was roaring along until a manufactured (not manufacturing) crisis cratered the economy.
Note that the Reuters story (Stocks hit record highs, crude prices jump, on vaccine progress) embedded in the newsletter story I linked above attributes the stock price jump to a lot of factors without naming the new incoming chief executive as the source of the good times to come.
The good times until, of course, such time as policies espoused by the new chief executive, the soon-to-be-newer chief executive, and the junta of their advisors lead to another period of stagnation. Which will once again be the fault of the business-friendly previous administration. So the period of the roaring Biden stock market might be before Biden actually takes the reigns (pun intended–I know the expression uses a homophone).
Because a lot of people lack memory.
I see it when I glance at weather reports in the news. We’re either having a drought or too much rain, sometimes switching between each a couple of times per season. We had a pretty rainy spring and early summer, with some lower temperatures than some years. I didn’t get into the pool for the annual October Swimming picture this year because the weather around the turn of October was in the 50s. We have had a couple cold nights where we have built wood fires (which produce heat all night, so they’re better for cold nights than the Duraflame logs which produce a little heat but burn out in like two and a half hours since they’ve “improved” them.
This autumn we have shifted between needing to run the actual heat in the house and having to run the air conditioning. Right now, as I write this, I have the windows open and it feels like a nice November day. Warm and cold, cold and warm. A bit cooler this year overall regardless of what it is now.
I remember the local news Web site, from a paper or a local television station, that we might get to a hundred degrees this year–and that it had been a summer or two since we’d seen temperatures that high. To be honest, I don’t remember if we made it to 100 degrees. But 100 degrees was in the range of temperatures I have experienced here. So is not 100 degrees in a summer. I remember the summer of 1995 was hot in St. Louis; I remember working outside the art supply store, spraying weeds while the store owner guided me. As I worked, sweating like a dog when the temperature was over 100, and he said at least it was not as hot as the day before. I remember a summer in the middle 1980s in St. Louis where the high was over 100 for over a week (I recounted the story earlier this year, actually).
I remember snowy winters in St. Louis in the middle 1980s where we had a lot of snow days; I remember a winter break while I was in college where my brother’s high school Christmas break extended an extra week and a half because of snow. I remember winters without snow up there. Here at Nogglestead, we’ve had winters where the boys have built snow forts. Last year, we didn’t have much in the way of measurable snow fall. So we have experienced the range, probably only some of the range, of snowfalls that happen in the Ozarks. Some of the books I read talk about more snow than I’ve seen. So we could get more. Or we can get less.
I have lived at Nogglestead for a long time, so I have experienced, firsthand, these variations. And I have seen for each of them the breathless reporting of how each represented a Historic Extreme. It’s like when you watch a football game; someone is always breaking some sort of esoteric record, observed and commented on only so that the commentators can mention it and perhaps to tousle the hair of the viewers because they’re lucky to see This History In The Making. History that is only being Made so They can see it.
But it seems like the modern zeitgeist feeds on the story, the reporting, and the short-term memory description of things being extreme, different this time, and always Historic, And You Saw It wherein your seeing it is only reading the newshype reports of it, shared and commented glibly on hypecial media (or, gentle reader, hyperbolean blogs like this one). Where the experience modern people compare it to is not actual experience, but the experience of previous reporting, sharing, and commenting.
But I remember things beyond the reporting, things I have lived through, things I have seen, and things I have read somewhere other than the computer screen. I wonder how different that makes me from younger people who do not remember real things, who only remember the metaphors and representations of real things, and I wonder how much I should fear them.