What can be said about 2016? It was a year that began with the death of Ziggy Stardust and ended with the keys of the free world being handed over to a bright orange pus-spewing reality TV star. According to Chinese astrology 2016 was the year of the monkey. A cynic would tell you that 2016 was a comic existential farce. An optimist would try and comfort you by saying that at least 2016 wasn't the uneventful mediocrity that 2015 was. And if you asked a layman they would tell you that 2016 was the Year of the Suck
It was the year that David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy Kilmister, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard and Sharon Jones left us and Justin Bieber came back.
It was a year where nobody was safe. Not Carol Brady, Radio Raheem or Willie Wonka. Not Harper Lee or Grizzly Adams. Not Muhammad Ali or Abe Vigoda. In 2016 the grim reaper ran as rampant as Jason Voorhees at a secluded summer camp ripe with oversexed teenagers.
The Summer Olympics tried to tow us out of this big muddy of a year but ended up with its' wheels impotently mired in the ditch right there beside us. The 2016 summer Olympic games ended up being a spectacle in the same way a 400 hundred pound intoxicated streaker who jumps from the stands and races across the playing field is a spectacle. There was concern an outbreak of the Zika virus being by carried by mosquitoes from the Rio's stagnant, untreated waters. There were gold medalist swimmers who fabricating stories that they had been robbed at gunpoint at a Rio gas station restroom to cover up their acts of petty bathroom vandalism, and numerous doping scandals revealed that Wheaties had been replaced by Hydrochlorothiazide and Strychnine as the new breakfast of champions.
It was a year where not even the warm fresh butter-scented confines of a late afternoon matinee offered much of a refuge. The year began with the cinematic colostomy bag "Dirty Grandpa." A film which found Robert De Niro, who once memorably breathed celluloid life into Travis Bickle, Jake Lamotta, and a young Vito Corleone in Godfather II, reduced to reciting "edgy" lines about having Queen Latifah take a dump in his mouth from a hot air balloon.
While we are on the topic of receiving a dump in the mouth from a hot air balloon let's take a moment to pause and to reflect on the squishy, maggot-filled, decaying sequels we were pelted with in 2016: Bridget Jones's Baby, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Batman v Superman, The Huntsman: Winter's War, and Independence Day 2: Resurgence. In 2016 the local multiplexes transformed from palaces of projected grandeur and matinee daydreams into faded stables loaded with dead horses coated in "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray.
While the world of cinematic illusion in 2016 was the equivalent of being stripped naked, covered in honey and rolled across a pile of red ants it paled next the reality of the political sh*tstorm that hit this year. In short, 2016 was the year where political candidates seeking to be the next leader of the free world debated their penis-size on live TV while the media establishment diligently did their duty of keeping power in check and the populace informed by replacing unsettling labels such as "white supremacist", "neo-Nazism", and "pseudo-fascism" with more easily digestible ones such as "alt-right" and "white nationalists." Fake news became the new black.
Casting 2016 behind feels like the liberating rush of finally getting rid of a horrible roommate who never paid rent, slept with your girlfriend, cleared out your liquor cabinet and ate all your Cap'n Crunch.
Was 2016 really THAT bad?
Yes, it was THAT bad. But in the spirit of the season and in the memory of Leonard Cohen who once sang that there's a crack in everything and that's how the light gets in I will search for the light falling through the cracks of the no good, very bad year that was 2016:
A Mad Max movie was nominated for best picture.
The Cubs won a World Series.
And that unreachable itch I've had since the sixth grade as to why the Death Star was designed so structurally unsound finally got scratched.
So perhaps it wasn't all bad . . . Radiohead released a new record, "Stranger Things" and "Westworld" debuted, the big screen finally got Spider-Man right, and nobody I love got their face bitten off by a rabid chimpanzee.
Farewell 2016, its been real.
Here's hoping 2017 brings us a little more light and leaves us a little less cracked.
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