2020: a year in review

Evgenia and I moved to LA from New York right before 2020 because I was in the process of trying to sell a documentary series based on my book, Surveillance Valley. That process was moving along nicely but immediately stalled when COVID hit. So we found ourselves in LA — stranded under these libertarian half-lockdowns, with no real job prospects, and then on top of that facing a frivolous eviction from an apartment we had just moved into. So we’re stuck on Medical, again barely making ends meet.

From right “before.”

Not gonna complain too much. We’ve had it better than a lot of other people out there — and we’re lucky to have family to fall back on. Still, it’s been a long and fucked up year, and it’s not gonna be over just because the ball drops (to an empty crowd). This pandemic has exposed already existing American decline and predation in a way that, even to cynics, was hard to imagine just a year before. And this trend is only gonna ramp up in 2021, and that’s something I’m willing to bet on.

As 2020 is about to end, I figured I’d do the customary roundup of some of the best and most interesting things I sent out this year. I’ve picked 12 — one for every shitty month of this shitty year.

Also, now that Evgenia and I have a kid on the way, it’s time for you to consider upgrading your subscription to a higher membership level. If baby shaming won’t work to shake out some subs, I don’t know what will. Don’t delay! And…Happy New Year!

—Yasha Levine


  • Day 18: Mitch O’Farrell — “Evgenia and I got in our car right after sunset and headed out for another round of a “hey, asshole!” car honking protest. A few days ago it was the mayor. This time our convoy targeted the house of Mitch O’Farrell. He’s one of the LA council members who voted against an eviction moratorium last week.”

  • A perfect end to 2020 for the left — “If you step back and look at it, this constant focus on DC politics and DC fights is the problem. People should know about what’s happening there, of course. But it’s not the place where you go to do battle. Power is too entrenched there. And the left’s armies aren’t just weak — they’re non-existent. What are people gonna storm that imperial fortress with? Tweets and multi-guest YouTube live streams?”