It's the end of 2016, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is DOWN ON MY KNEES THANKING EVERYTHING HOLY THAT THIS YEAR IS ALMOST OVER. Most people look fondly on the year in retrospective.
2016 has been a ridiculous, scary AF crazy ride. I say: SEE YA 2016. Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!
*GESTURES BROADLY AT EVERYTHING*
The year got off to a very poor start, right from Natalie Cole dying on New Year's Eve, 2015. 2016 saw a remarkable number of high-profile and celebrity deaths. David Bowie died on January 10, 2016, after battling with cancer for 18 months. We also lost Craig Strickland, Alan Rickman, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, Gwen Ifill, Janet Reno, Florence Henderson, Alexis Arquette, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Chyna, Doris Roberts, Rob Ford, Kimberly Tripp, Fidel Castro, Harper Lee...
OK the list is pretty big. Here's the whole thing.
Begining in January, the CDC issued travel warnings to women bound for certain parts of Central America. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization would declare an emergency in response to large numbers of cases of microcephaly in infants and Guillain–Barré syndrome. It was suspected that Zika was responsible at this time, but it would be April before it was confirmed as the cause of the birth defect by the CDC.
WHAT'S THIS YOU SAY? Filming ourselves doing something stupid and/or crazy annoying and putting it on the Internet? Challenge accepted.
Pick your poison. We have the water bottle flip, the condom challenge, the mannequins, sip n' paint, the Lego challenge, the marshmallow challenge, the backpack challenge, the #HuhChallenge, Running Man, Hot Pepper, #SoGoneChallenge... just to name a few.
Can we challenge kids to have a #NoChallenge2017Challenge?
Orlando's Pulse Nightclub, the Bastile Day attack in Nice, Burkina Faso, Zliten, Kabul, Baghdad, Brussles... ISIL alone has been credited with nearly 3,000 deaths in 2016. Closer to home, Aaron Driver, a 24 year old man from Strathroy Ontario, was killed, and a taxi driver injured, in a confrontation with RCMP when they went to investigate a report that Driver was planning a suicide attack with an explosive.
2016 will be the hottest year on record, as was 2015 before it, and 2014 before that. The news was reporting that asphalt was melting in India in the 123+ degree F heat they had in May, and people were getting their shoes stuck crossing the street.
102 million trees have died in California due to drought, which has in turn helped fuel some of the 6,883 wildfires California's experienced through the end of October. California wasn't the only one suffering from the dry spell, though. Gatlinburg, TN is currently on fire, and earlier this year, Fort McMurray was threatened by a raging wildfire and the city had to be evacuated. Statistics Canada says it is one of the most costly natural disasters Canada has ever had, with 8.5 million work hours lost due to the fire.
2016 was a bad year for social media and humanity. Klara Bowman, the alcoholic teacher who had been caught drunk in the classroom and shamed around the world in news outlets quietly committed suicide in June, without social media fanfare. Chrissy Teigen was castigated online for leaving the house 10 days after the birth of her daughter. In June, parents who lost their toddler when an alligator attacked at a Disney resort also were denounced.
And in May, 2016, Harambe the Gorilla was shot by zookeepers after a child fell into his enclosure. What followed this tragedy was a bizzare sort of cult-like aggressive ongoing grieving process that involved a huge amount of parental shaming, a petition, bizzare memes, and a curious number of ugly Christmas sweaters in his name. Nobody was safe from the hate mail, not even completley innocent people named Michelle Gregg.
On June 23, 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union in an extremely tight election - 51.89% to 48.11%. The conservatives in the UK were at the forefront of the campaign to leave the EU, campaigning heavily using protectionism, nationalism, and anti-immigrant sentiments that would echo across the pond to North America and inflame the American and Canadian political ultra-conservatives. Throughout the #BREXIT voting period, #Texit (rabblerousing for Texas to secede from the US) began to trend on Twitter, but taking a page from the Quebec separatist talks, people reminded them that they do seem to like voting, using the dollar, and Social Security.
For better or worse, Pokemon stormed through our lives the entire summer. Fortunately, userbase is now down to about 4% of what it was at peak, and we can go drink at the pubs now in peace.
The transgender bathroom laws stirred up way more controversy than anybody could have expected for the 21st century. Brock Turner was granted a dubious position of being the most infamous rapist of 2016, in part because his dad saying his punishment was "a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action" did nothing to put out that fire. At home in Canada, Judge Robin Camp went to a hearing to explain why he asked a rape victim "why didn't you just keep your knees together?"
At least the sexism was running so rampant during media coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio that even guys on the internet were like, "Dude."
We're not talking about opinion pieces. We're talking about Onion-esque full-on unadulterated made up BS. Until recently, it was a billion dollar industry made off the backs of people who are "definitely dumber" and who "don't fact-check anything," and may indeed have been in some part used by Russia to influence the US election. Sites like Google and Facebook have (finally) come to the reluctant agreement that they have to admit some responsibility for allowing it to exist. Google's cracking down on letting sites get ad revenue, but Facebook is having a conundrum because there's so much BS, it might be impossible to get it all filtered.
The entire American election reached a glorious conclusion of hatred, strife, fear, misogyny, Islamophobia, scandal, lies, and racism that left many people no longer laughing at the joke that they thought Trump being president was going to be.
All the statutory holidays fell on the weekend this year.
Please don't ask us to hold your beer, 2017. Please.
Anne is one of those people who usually speaks to others in memes, pop culture references, and SAT words. On those occasions she can be understood at all, she likes to entertain others with a sense of humour usually described by friends as “hilarious—once you get to know her.”