The New Year is here. The Washington Post Style section has printed its In and Out lists, an accounting of faddish and passe items of popular culture, all of which are invariably current and trendy enough to be legitimately considered In. The holidays which cheer us through the dark solstice days are over.
The vacations, celebrations, and decorations that accompany Christmas and New Year's Eve detach us, to some extent, from the world's larger concerns. We don't fully return to these concerns until the ornamented trees start coming down and the offices start filling up again in early January. This year we returned to a world that is subtly changed, missing some of the people who influenced it, for good and for ill.
Or, to put it less solemnly, Gerald Ford went to heaven, Saddam Hussein went to hell, and James Brown is getting funky in purgatory.