God. What a fucking year. As I write this, I’m feeling utterly disgruntled, but simultaneously so unenthusiastic – not quite resigned, but where I used to want to rip off an ear, I now just sigh and shrug. It feels like a lot of things have gone to shit this year. How am I NOT totally into writing this? Right? Most years, I relish in the airing of grievances. It usually feels like I’m a bottle of bubbly, shaken and pent up, then opened and sprayed in a fizzing cascade all over this humble blog. But this year, the fountain feels like a dribble. Like I’ve expended all this potential energy throughout the year and my bottle’s been corked for so long that I’ve just gone flat. I mean, what can I really say that hasn’t already been said?
A WHOLE LOT. A WHOLE FRICKIN’ LOT.
I’m fairly certain 2016 is a universal purge year. We’ve been robbed of beautiful lives – Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Doris Roberts, Gene Wilder, Shaggydog. Just when you thought it was safe, another hero was crossed off the list. Protect Betty White at all costs.
9. Fake News Sites
People literally think AP and Reuters are fake news sites. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Associated Press. And Reuters.
If it doesn’t present conspiracies and pander to biases, people think it’s fake. Because it doesn’t confirm what they already believe. And the more facts, figures, data, and additional sources an article presents, the likelier people will write it off. No joke. I wrote years ago on the rise of anti-intellectualism, but jesus. I didn’t think it would go THIS far.
8. Coke + Sprite ≠ Ginger Ale
Bartenders of the world. If I ask for a whiskey ginger and you don’t actually have ginger ale, just say so. Don’t try to serve me this bullshit fake-out ginger ale. Ginger ale tastes gingery and spicy (ideally). Just because Sprite with a splash of Coke LOOKS like ginger ale doesn’t mean it’s an adequate substitute. Dr. Pepper looks like Coke, but you don’t sub the two when someone asks for the other, do you? No, you monster. No you don’t.
7. The “I’m Not Racist But…” Crowd
If you’re not racist, just shut up and listen to the people of color around you as they describe their experiences. If you are not a person of color and you have not experienced the kind of racism people describe as part of their lives, you don’t get to decide whether or not it exists. Check your privilege, stay in your lane, and don’t tell someone that something doesn’t hurt when they’re experiencing pain.
And while we’re on it, color blindness is not helpful – it’s erasure. I’ve had this discussion way too many times this year, and I’ve gotten to the point where I just point people to this article outlining the reasons colorblindness contributes to racism.
6. Bitching About Special Snowflakes
Ever noticed that the people who bitch about Millennials being special snowflakes are the ones who bitch that they can’t use racial or sexist slurs anymore because PC culture cares too much about people’s feelings? And that people who say “Happy Holidays” are waging a war on Christmas? And that affirmative action, not mediocre-to-low achievement, are holding them back (I’m looking at you, Abby)? Yeaaaaah. Special snowflakes indeed.
To be clear, Trumpism isn’t the same as conservativism. I’d say it’s closer to white nationalism (nazism), and it’s definitely more of a cult than a set of actual values. Like I think Trumpists, who promised to take up arms if he lost the election, who accused Hillary of conspiring with Russia, don’t actually value democracy as much as they value getting their own way. Remember the last 8 years how they’d shit all over President Obama and his family? And demand their representatives shut down the government rather than do their jobs and legislate? And insist President Obama wasn’t their president? And questioned his birthplace? And called him all sorts of slurs? And brandished their confederate flags (the ultimate symbol of abject failure and lost causes)? And now they’re like, suck it up, snowflakes, you lost, get over it. THEN GET RID OF YOUR CONFEDERATE FLAG, YA BIGOT.
I mean, it’s like they’re grateful to have someone at the helm who embodies everything they criticized about Hillary Clinton. Corruption? CHECK. Conflicts of interest? CHECK. Cronyism? CHECK. Pay for play? DOUBLE CHECK. International interference? YOU BETCHA.
My thoughts on this are a lot more coherent, but today is a day for rants, not well-thought-out arguments.
4. The Cult of Consultancy/Course Creators
If you are in the blog space, you’ve seen this. Everyone is teaching everyone how to create courses online. And how to launch them. And if it’s not that, it’s mentors and consultants advising that everyone else become consultants because that’s how they started earning 5 figures a month and gosh, they’re just so tired of writing about how they pulled off that first $10k month, so they’re just going to give you the secret.
This is basically the new MLM. Not everyone can make that kind of money as a consultant. Not everyone wants to stop doing their actual work – like maybe I actually like the actual creative process of designing and creating and coding. Maybe I don’t WANT to teach a course on how to teach courses (or masterclasses, which are the same thing by a different name).
Acknowledging your “blessings” is all fine and good. But I’m an atheist, so I see “blessed” as a way of saying that you don’t think you’d have something without some sort of divine intervention and support. And that’s also fine and good, I guess, if you’re into giving credit for your hard work to some ambiguous higher power. But remember, when you’re sending up praise for your BMW and PSL, there are people literally dying of starvation and diseases whose very existence and survival are apparently less important to your deity of choice than your material wants and social status. So unless your tweet starts with “I woke up this morning and I have potable, running water, shelter, and safe food in abundance,” #blessed makes you look like a privileged ass.
2. Bitching About Protesters
Tell me the right way to protest. Give me ONE good way to express dissent that you think is acceptable. ONE. Because kneeling during the national anthem isn’t okay, but marching and sit-ins aren’t peaceful enough. So if you can express ONE good way to protest, bitch on. Otherwise, maybe shut up and consider the argument instead of criticizing the way it’s presented.
1. Do I have to say it? Trump.
He’s the (apparently literal) nuclear option. He’s filling his cabinet with billionaires who’ve actively fought to dismantle the government agencies they will now head. He’s calling for a nuclear arms race. He’s asking for the names of people who have studied climate change at the EPA or have focused on LGBTQ issues at the state department. He’s STILL refused to release his tax returns. He doesn’t know what a blind trust is and will apparently walk into office with massive, unconstitutional conflicts of interest, and all of his meetings thus far seem to have furthered his business interests. He’s taken to twitter to decry SNL and celebrity beefs but won’t come down on the racism carried out in his name. We’ve elected a tantruming child to the highest office in the land. What. Have we done.
Honorable Mention: Bernie or Busters
You did it. You really made a statement. I mean, it was more of a “Since I’m in a position of privilege, this won’t actually harm me either way, so fuck everything else *hits red button*” rather than a “I believe that politics have become about money rather than the issues and I believe Sanders was the only person who could have adequately combatted that.” But you certainly made your voice heard! I hope you really are proud of yourself. No one else is.
In summary, 2016, you’ve been the worst. Good riddance.