Many of us now find ourselves fully vaccinated and are busy plotting our exhilarating return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles: hangs with family and friends, eating out, exercising out, drinking out, partying out—a long list of anything and everything that can be done with humans outside of our apartments. We’re giddy in anticipation for our new Zoom-reduced routines.
Yo, but here’s the thing: There will never be a return to normalcy. A year of self-reflection and media overconsumption has brought on The Great American Revulsion: Unchecked environmental destruction, blistering acts of racism, eruptions of hate crimes, viral videos of xenophobic elder abuse, normalized sycophantic worship of the uber wealthy, openly hateful governance, mass shootings, incompetent and deadly policing, and a complete lack of spiritual or moral leadership has led to an extraordinary level of disgust and emotional exhaustion.
But hey, we can eat inside. That’s good, right? We’re just so damn tired.
But I remain optimistic. Our new wave of freedoms will usher a new wave of energy, a new sense of urgency, and, I think, the understanding that our constant state of revulsion alone will do nothing. It will be a time for action, both meaningful and frivolous and both of equal importance. That’s where you come in.
The post-pandemic creative will have an incredible amount of power and opportunity, filling in the cultural gaps from The Great Year Lost, and creating work that skillfully addresses our collective blend of pent-up angst at an unjust world and pent-up need to just cut fucking loose for once.
There’s an opening for powerful, real change here—not in politics or in economics, but in us, in you. Possibly now more than ever, your weird creative contributions to culture could end up shifting America for good, helping shape the way we think and act on equality, climate change, and the issues that matter to you. Every act you make, both big and small, will set the course for where we’re headed.
In Issue 06 we talked to Mr. Flower Fantastic, who’s arguably in the business of making people smile, has turned flower arranging into something beautiful and powerful. Without him it would be hard to imagine a florist fitting in seamlessly at an Art Basel party with DJ Khaled. He created a space for himself, and he did it in way that brings something positive to the world.
Viet Thanh Nguyen gave himself the space and permission to write a novel exactly how he wanted to write it. He had never written one before, but he had a lot to say from his experience as a Vietnamese American. So he said it. When he finished, it won a Pulitzer Prize.
There are no rules to this thing. We can weave change into everything we do, in any format.
Our work is just beginning.
Chris Force is the editor-in-chief of Sixtysix