One of the running gags in David Foster Wallace’s masterwork
is the idea of raising
government revenue through corporate sponsorship for each calendar year.
It starts auspiciously with the Year of the
Whopper, which is followed by the Year of Tucks Medicated Pad, with succeeding
sponsors including Perdue Wonderchicken, Depends Adult Undergarments, etc.
With a Republican majority preparing to take control of
Congress and a licensing wunderkind about take up residence in the White House
it seems as if Wallace’s vision may be on the brink of becoming a reality at
That’s part of the reason I have decided to steal a march on
the new administration by preemptively declaring 2017 as the Year of Nothing.
And how should we ready ourselves for this Year of Nothing?
It marks an occasion for us to clear our
palates and declutter our lives.
the new more.
With the proliferation of
fake news and the dearth of real news, it’s a good time to turn off the
television and let the newspapers pile up by the front door.
I’ve heard something similar from many
friends in recent days – in fact, ever since November 8th
many of us
are opting to remain studiously uninformed. Tuning out seems to be a sensible and
increasingly popular choice in light of the hopeless corruption of our public
But this doesn’t mean that we must retreat into solipsism
Starting out the New Year by
looking inward and contemplating nothing, it is very possible that the upcoming
Year of Nothing will provide us with a much-needed collective fresh start.
Nothing may turn out to be quite as
refreshing or restorative as nothing – particularly for those of us who have
been inundated by the sound and fury of the recent election and accompanying
So best wishes to all of you in the Year of Nothing.
And in the spirit of the great George Gershwin,
as we embrace plenty of nothing, I hope all this nothing turns out to be
bountiful and fulfilling indeed.
* * * * *
Addendum: I would also like to briefly mention that my postings to this blog will be diminished in the coming months, in part as the result of my new writing project, which is a new book with the working title The Little Book of Nothing. Now instead of just doing and thinking about nothing, I have decided to try and make proper account of myself, and perhaps give a lie to Shakespeare at the same time, by proving that a little something may come out of all this nothing after all.