TODAY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT WERE ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE ABOUT 2016
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which may, in hindsight, have been a great idea) you’ll have noticed that 2016 has been something of a bust. Feel free to replace that understatement with some more colourful language that better matches the devastation of the past annum, but regardless of which adjectives you choose to attribute to the year here are just a few of the depressing lowlights that we’ve endured in the run-up to what’s set to be a dark, dark, dark Christmas.
Just 10 days into the year we lost the magnificence of David Bowie – legendary musician, unbeatable style icon, adorable actor, and all-round good guy of the universe. His death, which he had sadly but graciously accepted as inevitable following a liver cancer diagnosis, rocked the world and gave us a bleak beginning. From there we lost the likes of Alan Rickman, Glen Frey, Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Merle Haggard, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Gene Wilder, and most recently the seemingly indestructible Fidel Castro, and of course a whole host of other figures who may not have had the glitz and glam of these few but were nonetheless hugely important global personalities. Joy to the world, etc.
EVERYONE STILL ALIVE IS A TERRORIST
This was always going to be a dark article, but now it’s going to get really deep for a moment. On New Year’s Day an estimated 300 West Africans are reported to have been executed by Islamic State terrorists, and attacks quite simply haven’t quietened at all since. Enormous numbers of shootings and suicide bombings across Africa and the Middle East have occurred throughout the year, with Syria and Iraq seeing unimaginable numbers of deaths week in week out. Further West we saw harrowing scenes in Turkey, France, Belgium, Ukraine, The United States of America, and right here in the UK. The Orlando club shootings, the murder of Jo Cox, and the Nice massacre particularly hit us hard as we do seem to think of ourselves as relatively safe and removed from these awful events, but we were brought heavily down to reality this year, chipping away at our sense of safety. Woo bloody hoo.
A gorilla got shot because a toddler managed to break into the enclosure. It was sad, but far worse than the death itself is the social media obsession that still won’t go away. I’m not going to go into so much detail with this one because it’s already overplayed and frankly boring now, but it’s a fantastic indicator of just how ridiculous 2016 was – and not just for humans.
EU REFERENDUM TORE THE UK APART
Did you vote leave or stay? I don’t really care, so don’t answer that. This year we finally got the referendum that’s been on the cards for FlyingJesus knows how long, and it was about as disastrous as all such attempts at direct democracy ever have been. The outcome isn’t the problem; the result just means more guesswork from both sides exactly the same as before and during it all. No, the bigger issue is that this simple yes/no question has in a very real way pitted father against son, brother against sister, HC member against norm. In a normal election (the closest we usually come to any true policy-making choice in our lifetime) there are tensions as general allegiances are tested and pushed, but the EU referendum forced people to actually make a decision on one issue alone, and it caused a rift wider than the space between Taylor Swift’s knees. Friendships have been called into question, the moderates have been radicalised á la Four Lions (albeit in reverse), and tensions have been kept perpetually high ever since, all because politics as a whole has lost its bottle and decided to delegate blame to the populace.
MEMES EVERYWHERE BUT NOT ACTUALLY MEMES
2016 is the year that the word “meme” entered the mainstream and exited the right to a useful meaning all in one move. Previously it was a word used in psychology to describe behaviours and phrases used by a certain subculture or style, and with the rise of t’internet memes became pop culture references, purposeful misspellings, and identifiable characters representing a certain type of person or ideal. Then 2016 happened, and it appears that the word has lost itself in its own popularity. Any picture with a caption pasted over the top of it is referred to as a meme across social media, and people around the world set out to create as many as possible to garner likes, upvotes, or whatever reaction they can get. By definition these fleeting, ephemeral images cannot possibly be popular enough to qualify as actual memes, but the tryhards of the internet are relentless and so we are bombarded with unfunny attempts at grabbing on to this flaming runaway bandwagon. Sigh.
AN ALLIGATOR ATE A BABY
Do you need an explanation as to why this is bad news? It’s a tragedy and a one-off, but frankly a rogue alligator dragging a 2 year old to his watery death at a !#%*ing Disney resort as multiple family members attempted to fight it off is pretty much a perfect summary of 2016 as a whole.
Bill Murray knew that a third film would be terrible and Harold Ramis went as far as dying in order to not be pushed into one, but Columbia Pictures went ahead and did it anyway – and shoehorned Ramis’ post-grave likeness into the film as a bronze bust despite his best mortal efforts to avoid it. This unnecessary reboot had a massive arsenal of advertising clout and tried to force people into watching it by saying that you’re a sexist if you don’t (because there are GIRLS in it! how revolutionary) but despite Tumblr’s best efforts it was as genuine a flop as flops can be. Even the most conservative of estimates show that it bombed commercially to the tune of a $75m loss, and even the kindest reviews place it as “fun” and not much else. Apparently it wasn’t bad enough that 2016 killed a whole bunch of our childhood film stars, we also had to endure the disembowelment of one of the most iconic supernatural films ever. Write a letter to my childhood, titled “Rest In Pieces”. Aaaaaaaaaaaand lastly –
TRUMP VERSUS CLINTON
This might have been great if it had been a Big Brother finale or Hell In A Cell wrestling match, but sadly these were the names on the saddles of the 2 horse race that is the US Presidential Election. A big orange trust fund manchild coming to blows with Regina George’s mother from Mean Girls. With extremely generous dollops of pure cringe being served by both candidates as they battled for the nation’s votes, we saw these two bubble-blowing babies spit and wobble their way around the states attempting to reap the souls of Joe Average without alienating Bobby Business… and for the most part, they both failed. This, on top of the multiple pending lawsuits against each nominee, made for a Satan vs Satan battle that ensured no matter who won the big chair, America (and the world at large) lost. The outcome was a startling loss for the Clinton clan, but realistically outside of their inner circle we’d become numb to the effects of it all by the time the polling stations opened. With a resigned air of displeasure, we sighed and grumbled and mourned our futures, but ultimately everyone was a loser from the start and thus we trundle on, staring at our feet as we walk towards the furnace. Get your sunglasses kids, it’s a hot day in Hell.