The White Album

There is a line in the first essay in The White Album: “…I offer only that an attack of vertigo and nausea does not now seem to me an inappropriate response to the summer of 1968.” Substitute 2020, and I’m here (though 1968 was also a very climactic year).

The White Album is a collection of Joan Didion’s excellent essays from the late 1960s through the 1970s. She covers topics from the Manson Killings to the new California Governor’s mansion (built for “a family of snackers”, and it has since been sold to a private family) to Hawaii, Georgia O’Keefe, Doris Lessing, and more.

I picked up The White Album this time precisely for that 1970s-era-disaster-vibe that 2020 has. She has a wonderful way of describing the unreality of the world that we live in, and I needed to see that 2020 isn’t original in its awfulness.

This has happened before. This time around, we suffer anxiety and depression instead of vertigo and nausea. Welcome to 2020, same as 1970.