Dear friend, 

Happy New Year! Was 2020 the worst year ever? Many people seem to think so. Well then good riddance I say, and let’s bring on 2021. But here’s the thing friend, we have no idea if this trip around the sun is going to be better or worse than the last one. This year could be great, or terrible, or just kind of ok for any number of personal, local, or global reasons —just like 2020; just like every year. 

Did you know that a man in Malta won 94 million dollars in the Powerball lottery last year? Let me repeat that. Someone won 94 million dollars, and they live in the ancient island paradise of Malta. I’m going to go out on a limb and say 2020 was not his worst year.

Friend, what I’m saying is that who knows if 2021 will be better or worse for you than 2020. The only thing I can say for certain is that it is going to be weirder.

And believe it or not, I actually wrote those paragraphs before the capital was stormed and overtaken by a pack of rabid conspiracy theorists. It was disgusting, scary, enraging, and supremely weird. While watching that lunatic mob infiltrate the building, I found out how deeply I actually care about the capital and the people in it, both Republican and Democrat alike. As much as I hate Mitch McConnell’s politics, tactics, voice, and face, I found out that I actually do not wish him physical harm. I envisioned him as he was in that moment: a vulnerable old man who needed help getting to safety. 

Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley on the other hand… and all the other senators and house members who still voted to object to the counting of votes after the Kentucky fried mob broke in to the capital—you are cynical, lying, ugly sacks of rotting garbage. You aren’t charismatic enough to build your own following so you’re latching on to Daddy Trump’s. And your political maneuvering is so utterly transparent that it should actually offend the mountain-dew drinking, dry-wall punching, QAnon drop reading, racist, cheetah-fingered, mouth-breathing, meth-faced, violent morons that you’re trying to attract. 

Anyway, to my point, in addition to being horrifying, that day was also just really weird. And I am confident that things are going to keep getting weirder. Why?

Well, because there’s a virus out there that has spread across the world. I’m not talking about Covid-19, friend—I assume you’ve heard of that one and are taking the necessary precautions. No, I’m talking about a disease that was predicted by the great prophet Jamiroquai way back in 1996. I’m talking of course about Virtual Insanity

Virtual insanity is the deeply ingrained belief that the fabrications of our digital world are more real, good, and beautiful than the physical reality we’re all born into. And the symptom list is vast and still growing:

  • For one it is getting plastic surgery to resemble an Instagram filter.
  • For another it is eating a tide pod for Youtube views.
  • For another it is dressing like an ill-conceived WWE wrestler and breaking into the capital because “Q sent you.”

And there are only going to be more outlandish conspiracy theories, stranger social media trends, and more compelling digital experiences. Widely accessible VR technology is going to soon see more and more people playing, talking, traveling, learning, dating, having sex, and conducting business in a purely virtual world. And people are going to be organizing into even more ultra specific internet subcultures, and developing ideas and idioms impossible to fully comprehend from the outside looking in. 

Perhaps I should get ahead of the curve and start a subreddit called r/ManhattanColorblindMusiciansWhoBlogandBelieveinAliens. 

This is a community for Manhattan based colorblind musicians who blog and also believe in aliens. Please read our community guidelines.

By the way, I believe that aliens have visited earth. That’s weird! But what is weirder is that this weird belief is becoming more and more mainstream and viable. Did you know that last year the pentagon declassified three UFO videos, and that U.S. Intelligence agencies are set to release everything they know about UFOs within six months? The internet is going to eat that up and spit it back out in incredible ways. 

So buckle up my boy, things are going to get weirder. 

Now I don’t think that all the new weird in the world is bad, in fact sometimes strange shake-ups to the existing order can certainly do some good. However, I do admit that it can all be scary and disorienting, so if I may, let me offer five pieces of unsolicited advice about how to maintain some inner peace and normalcy in this brave new world. 

  1. Rebel against the tyranny of screens. Or at least, don’t make a digital screen the first or last thing you look at in a day. You’ll have the rest of the day to do that.
  2. Remember that you are an animal, and not just a floating consciousness. Get physical—go for a walk, howl at the moon, exercise, jump in a lake, eat a peach.  
  3. Play one on one. Both in basketball and in conversation, enjoy the raw, real experience of relating to one single person at least once a day. Disconnect from the one-to-many social media stage, and just candidly talk to a friend.
  4. Get in the Mix. This advice isn’t all about disconnecting. You should also try to actively engage so you can help create the virtual world in your image, rather than just being a passive passenger.  
  5. Laugh and Cry. If you’re not regularly having these two reactions to life, then maybe you aren’t paying attention, friend. 

Anyway, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself just as much as anything, but I do hope this helps you. I’m looking forward to seeing all the weird stuff you do this year.