The Year In Review

Walter Benjamin, the European critical thinker of the first half of the 20th century, conceptualized the future as an angel recoiling in horror before the onslaught of the present. Harry Shearer, the radio show host of the weekly “Le Show” (and former Simpsons voice, SNL cast member, etc.), culminates each year with a “Year In Rebuke” edition. Newark’s own Michael Shearer (Newark Advocate editor) devoted his December 27, 2015 editorial to a local year in review, filled with the accomplishments of the present that anticipate a future of progress and success (“2016 Holds Much Promise For Newark”). Michael’s angel of the future differs markedly from that of Benjamin or Le Show’s “Year In Rebuke”. For the editor of Newark’s only news source, the future lies with the Republican Party (“We hope Newark’s Republican administration and GOP-dominated city council will use their majority to responsibly and determinedly guide our city to sustainable prosperity and operational funding levels for many years to come.”); this in spite of the fact that THE news of 2015 constantly covered the incredible polarization and division of American civil discourse along party lines. This actuality of contention was continuously reported and commented on but never received attention in any media’s “year in review”. Many candidates for local office during the 2015 election made considerable effort to distance themselves from party identification and allegiance in order to better represent their constituents and enable the actual working of government to take on the challenges facing Newark in the upcoming year. Since 2010 we have had the party of the Advocate’s future hopes completely dominating Ohio’s legislature, executive branch, and judiciary. It has been pretty much ditto that on the micro level of Licking County and Newark municipal governance. Given Michael Shearer’s pinning his hopes on the performance of the past (embracing polarity over problem solving), it is not difficult to understand Benjamin’s angel of the future recoiling in horror before the onslaught of the present.


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