Granted, Tom Tomorrow isn't likely to highlight the happy, cheerful elements of 2012. As a social critic, he's sort of locked into a fairly negative format.
But I think the world could have made him work a little harder, don't you?
That is, a person looking for rotten things to write about can always find plenty of material, particularly if such things as context and proportion are ignored.
I cannot, however, remember another time when so many slugs and millipedes were running around in plain sight and you had to turn over rocks to find butterflies.
At the moment, a large number of political cartoons are about the Newtown shootings or guns in general, and that is a topic we have to discuss.
But as long as the discussion focuses on that crazy person right there, or that kind of gun right there, we're bailing water with a pitchfork.
Even if the various remedies aren't being proposed in isolation, even if you say "We need this but we also need that," there's a more over-arching issue at work here.
Tom Tomorrow focuses on our toxic social atmosphere, and that is the area that depresses me well beyond the specific tragedies that emerge from it.
First of all, I hope nobody thinks adding one more shrink or keeping the clinic open a few more hours a week is going to make a dent in crazy. The waiting list for treatment of people who know they have serious problems, or whose desperate families are scared to death for -- and of -- them, is absurdly, criminally long.
And then there are the others, who have no idea that they are insane, and nobody left who cares.
If you think suppressing the Taliban in Afghanistan has been an expensive, hopeless game of Whack-a-Mole, wait until you try to fix crazy in this country.
The lobby protecting 30-round clips is well-funded, but crazy doesn't even need a lobby.
We have created an overall atmosphere in which crazy thrives.
Back in the days of Watergate, a friend was going through his psych rotation in med school, and he said that revelations of how the FBI was reading people's mail, tapping their phones and otherwise messing with them made it hard to treat delusional paranoids, because they could point at those examples and say, "See? They ARE doing it!"
But it was another decade before we spawned an entire radio format based on encouraging crazy people to share their fear, hostility and delusions, and yet another decade before we developed the Internet into a technology that allowed psychopaths and sociopaths throughout the world to not only find each other but to then transform the entire virtual community into that moment when the insane homeless person approaches you on the sidewalk and rants incoherently in your face about the conspiracies he has uncovered.
Not getting enough insane, incoherent ranting? Go read the comments on any story about the fiscal cliff, gun control, abortion, the President ... oh, hell, go read the comments on any story at all.
When I lived in Boulder, there was a guy in the street scene who declared himself to be John the Baptist and was eager to tell you all about it.
But, if you go to Jerusalem, you'll find crowds of people who are John the Baptist or Jesus, some who went there because of their delusions, but many more who, once immersed in Biblical surroundings, went over the edge in their ecstasy.
Welcome to the New Jerusalem.
And it goes deeper than simply encouraging ignorance to the point where 40 percent or whatever it is of people think the President is a Muslim. And it's deeper than pandering to fear and creating an atmosphere where being a Muslim is seen as a Very Bad Thing.
After all, there were people who were sure that Lincoln was black and that FDR was Jewish, back when those were perceived to be Very Bad Things. (Hint: In those circles, they still are.)
But, while nobody in Jerusalem greets tourists and says, "Hey! You look a lot like John the Baptist!" we have really gone out of our way to create an overall atmosphere that encourages ignorance, hostility and fear.
We live in a world in which a TV show becomes a major hit by selecting people with no awareness of their singing ability to audition for a panel of judges who will then insult and ridicule them for the amusement of the home audience.
Go down the TV listings with a pen and cross out all the shows that feature insult humor, that recreate the old carnival "freak shows," that glorify hostile "problem solvers," that celebrate vulgarity, that pander to greed.
And now cross out the ones that provide "proof" for people who want to believe in flying saucers, ghosts, political conspiracies, Bigfoot and/or Nostradamus.
Not much left, is there?
I remember a better time, but I remember the small leaks in the dam that we left unpatched.
I was driving cross country many years ago when I heard some screwball ranting on the radio and thought, "What local station put this nutcase on the air?" and then realized that, wherever this fellow Rush had come from, he was taking phone calls from across the nation.
I watched a new comedy called "Happy Days," based on "American Graffiti," and, when one of the characters said, "Sit on it!" I nearly fell off my chair, wondering if the network censor was truly ignorant of the gesture that accompanies that phrase. But I laughed.
And I laughed at the "Gong Show" and at Chuck Barris's claim that you could get someone to shoot a puppy or kick the crutches out from under a crippled child, simply by offering them a chance to be on television.
It seems so long ago. It seemed like such a harmless breach of decorum.
So, yes, we have violent video games.
But talking about limiting violent video games, or banning 30-clip rounds, or adding help at the local clinic, is like the scene in "Catch 22" in which Yossarian treats the slight wound in Snowden's leg, then notices blood on his shirt as well and opens it, whereupon Snowden's guts spill out.
This is only Part One of Tom Tomorrow's year-end wrap up.
I can hardly wait.