Happy . . . Huh?

As one year turns to the next, it is an appropriate time to mark another transition.

Unlikely to prompt much tear-shedding, that doesn’t diminish by a dot the pithiness of the passing.

Indeed, for some, the Great Calamity, as it might seasonably be called, will literally lift a substantial burden off their shoulders.

The culprit, as always, is the Internet. The 21st century’s Great Annihilator of Cult-cha.

Sidebar: the current bogeyman was preceded by television and, before that, radio, a medium that was itself prefaced by pulp printing and, even earlier, the Great Satan, movies. It’s a long lineage.

What is it?

Once so undeniably ubiquitous that one had to go well out of one’s way to avoid seeing them, today a certain class of art galleries are things of the past.

All across the nation, and maybe globally, for all I know, amateur galleries – most being conveniently located in residential kitchens, with refrigerators for mounting the art  – experience vast vacancies left untended and unfilled.

The spaces were once dominated salon-style with work. The works’ aesthetic ranged from cool kitsch to the murkily maudlin. And today the once crowded canvas stands forlornly empty.

Once upon a time this time could be reliably relied on for both reports exhaustive and exhausting or skimpy and sketchy. Today’s absence is vaguely reminiscent of the strips of once thriving and effervescent but now derelict and abandoned residential neighborhoods in rust belt cities.

Artists, no need to worry, are still being productive. Some manage showings of their work, complete with sales and in the company of unreadable personal “statements.”

This year marks the demise of the holiday greeting card and its frequent companion, the accounting of a year’s events, activities, accomplishments and at-a-boy solid “tries”.

Like vacation slide shows of the 1950s, where neighbors tortured neighbors with impossibly bad snap shots, all has migrated to the ether.

Instead of enduring one family unit’s trip to who-knows- (or cares-) where, we today scroll through a vertical carousel of other people’s stuff on Facebook. Gladly, Daily.

Maybe hourly.

In fact, Time (12/28-1/4 double issue) reports Americans take a look at their phones 46 times a day. That’s 8 billion collective phone checks daily.

Like cowboys riding off into the Monument Valley sunset, so goes the end-of-year holiday season card.

Maybe it’s a little sad.

Without irony and completely absent sarcasm: Happy New Year!

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