2020 In Review: Five People Who Got Us Through This Awful Year

First in a weekly series until this monstrosity of a year is finally over.

Will Leitch

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I have long argued that year-end laments about how truly terrible the previous year was and how much better the next year will have to be are illogical and absurd —foolish, but oddly optimistic. As I wrote way back in 2014, “it takes a certain sort of courage to believe that this year of heartbreak was unique, to be kicked in the face by humanity’s worst instincts over and over and over and think it’s just a blip, a bug rather than a feature.” The previous year always feels like it was particularly difficult because life is particularly difficult. Generally speaking, next year’s going to be as hard as last year. They all are.

2020, though, 2020 was a rough one. If 2021 isn’t better than 2020, I have to just assume that everyone died. (Which is, er, always a possibility?) So I think it’s acceptable, then, to look back at 2020 with righteous fury and irrepressible sadness. All years are bad. But this one was particularly bad.

But, to close out the year, I’d like to look at the positive, because … well, what choice do I have? I’m not going to reflect on the experiences we all went through in 2020, not only because they were miserable but also because we are all still going through them. Instead, I’m going to thank some people. Every Friday until the end of the year, I’ll shout out five people who got me through this wretched year. They may work in politics, or entertainment, or the arts, or any field in America or around the world. All that matters is that their contributions to the world in 2020 made it a little easier for the rest of us to make it through. We might not have made it without these people. They deserve, have well earned, some end-of-year love.

Also, send me your recommendations and nominees at williamfleitch@yahoo.com or in the Responses to this piece. Who has gotten you through this year?

Here are my first five:

Maria Bakalova

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Will Leitch

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com