Someone once attributed a quote to Mark Twain for no particular reason that goes “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Much like plenty of witticisms Twain really did say, there’s some truth to it! Surely no one seriously expects the 2020s to be like the 1920s, or 1820s, or any of the Twenties of centuries gone by. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t share some similarities.
Booze may be cheap, plentiful, and legal, and the gangland crime of the Italian Mafia has quieted down a lot, but we do still have alcohol problems and gang crime. We still have rampant influenza and the old diseases of yesteryear are coming back into fashion thanks to the anti-vaxxers. And even though the news media wants us to believe WWIII is pending, or even already all around us, our decades of low-key war that’s constantly buzzing in the background feels more like the roar of wealthy military industrialists getting richer, waterfalls of gold coins spilling into their bottomless pockets, than like a concerted effort to save the world from itself. See? Things are similar, but they are surely not the same.
But, I tell you, one of the biggest, most glaring differences that I am noticing is the lack of a similar movement of that Lost Generation. The well to do offspring are not being moved to further culture in any beautiful way. They generate pop garbage and reality televison, right? Isn’t that all?
The people my age and younger who are not part of the super-wealthy set are bogged down in worry and debt. They are starving like the artists and writers of the early 1920s, sure, but they are scattered around the USA. Clusters of like-minded creatives are small, or found on the internet, which doesn’t have quite the same appeal. Is anyone out there writing the next Great American Novel? Do any of us have the dedication and attention span for that, or is that drive now reserved to becoming a social media influencer whose influence will only last a few years and then be lost or deleted? Is anyone out there making new kinds of art? I’m genuinely asking these things because honestly the thought of trying to find out and face possible pretentious snoots makes me not even want to know.
Personally, I think that going off to the steaming rubble of post-war Paris, where the dollar was strong and the friends were plenty, was a good call on the part of 1920s creative types. The States were getting too constrictive and weird, what with their Noble Experiment, telling people they couldn’t drink not even a little. So they escaped! Always with the intent to come back, but they needed some time apart.
That sounds great, doesn’t it? To gather among friends, new and old, and work together to create tangible things, to celebrate together, to have nightmarish four day long benders and become legends. It seems like it would be a dream come true, if only there was a place that was pleasant, beautiful, with decent rent and affordable real estate. A walkable area. A city well-located that seems just a little old. A city where Sneer Campaign already exists in real life…
Hey that place does exist! Covington, Kentucky, very much absolutely might as well be the Paris of the 2020s because none of us are going to be going to Europe for ten years just to fuck around like we SHOULD be able to do. Anyway, we people of today know that we ain’t fancy. We accept this. But we have a sort of determination and willingness to make do with what we are given. It is up to us to amass and cavort. We can support each other and make memories and figure out how to make life better for ourselves and maybe even for everyone.
We already have one set of friends who moved here from another state and we are always working on more. Yes, it is daunting to pick up and leave your home, but it also feels great! Just ask Dollissa. She came here from Newark, New Jersey, and has never looked back. No regrets ever!
Sneer Headquarters isn’t exactly a sprawling mansion on the French Riviera, but Paradise comes in many forms. Our location, a double lot in a nice city, is all we need. We have an open door policy. Friends already may come and go at will (and often do), but we want more! MORE! We want friends to collaborate with, and for going on adventures. We want everyone to coordinate and vacation together. We want to make zines, podcasts, bands, puppet shows, theatrical clown acts, and history. We want to host parties, but to also enjoy every day in a general crowd of pals. We want to live life well and to inspire everyone around us to be their best selves.
And Covington itself is a strangely nice town. It maintains a little grittiness without going overboard with it. It has charms and nice architecture. Small businesses aplenty, social services, neighborhood bars — there is a lot of support going on. If you need a garden but don’t have a yard, there are many community gardens to choose from. There are parks, things to see and do, and free events. Also, downtown Cincinnati itself is only a mile or two away, an easy walk! If you can’t find enough to do in Northern Kentucky, there is so much more just across the river. There are already so many people here who are thematically similar to us, we just have to hunt them down and snare them — metaphorically, of course.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live that dream life where you can stroll to one of the many fine eateries, cafes, or cannoli shops and just run into people you adore, unexpectedly? My goals used to always involve being a social hermit, where company comes to me, but this is the New, Better Twenties. Now I want to take pleasure walks and happily see dozens, hundreds of friends and acquaintances. We can chit chat and arrange to meet later. We can lunch and then part ways, and then run into each other around dinner. Then we can dine. We can be a round table of humorists no matter where we wind up.
So consider this a call to all of you, friends and well-wishers, strangers we haven’t met but who suppose we could get along. I love looking at real estate offerings, if you need me to begin seeking good property in the best locations within your budget. I’ll do it! I love it!! Try your best to move to Covington so that we can do our collective best, together.
I mean, what else are we going to do with life?