Blinders, of course, come standard with human beings. It's as if they're attached in utero, sometime around the beginning of the third trimester, just after fetal humans can open their eyes and follow a light. Donning blinders allows us, as a species, to invoke "pretendsies", to make things didn't happen. It's childish behaviour, but hey! we're by and large a childish species.
One of the things we made didn't happen was the oil spill in the Gulf. Remember that? The media screamed of nothing else for a couple of months. The initial rate of spillage doubled, trebled, then quadrupled. Eventually the well was killed. Gotta love the terminology there: the bad guy's dead! Everything's fine!
...except not really. Up to 75% of the spill remains in the Gulf environment. The U.S. government has been very precise in its terms, leading the chief scientist for Defenders of Wildlife to say "Terms such as 'dispersed,' 'dissolved' and 'residual' do not mean gone. That's comparable to saying the sugar dissolved in my coffee is no longer there because I can't see it. By [NOAA] Director Lubchenco's own acknowledgment, the oil which is out of sight is not benign. Whether buried under beaches or settling on the ocean floor, residues from the spill will remain toxic for decades."
What else dispersed and dissolved in 2010? The recession...at least if you believe the Wall Street Pollyannas, whose stock markets have largely recovered to pre-2008 levels. Strangely, unemployment levels remain high, particularly in the U.S. Cynics would suggest these two situations are somehow related. I'm not cynical. Naw, not me.
Blinders. Nothing else explains why Stephen Harper maintains his popularity, even as Barack Obama struggles to keep his; why sexual assault is suddenly legal, but only in airports; or why there remain folks who feel the best way to cure the world of its dependence on cheap credit is...to offer lots more cheap credit.
Or riddle me this. We've been told ever since 9/11 to look out for suspicious behaviour, and to shout out when we see it. Yeah. Worked out pretty well for Pte. Bradley Manning, didn't it?
I'm not going to make predictions for 2011--I'm no visionary, and my crystal ball is on the fritz. I will say this. There's comfort in blinders: I can certainly understand and appreciate their ubiquity. I, however, am getting new glasses...
Happy New Year, one and all.