2016: A Year That Really Sucked

2016-0What a god-awful, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year! For, oh, so many, many reasons:

My Minnesota Twins had the worst season in their franchise history (and now they will probably trade my favorite player, Brian Dozier); a whole bunch of people I cared about, or had some sort of ties to, died in 2016 (and many more I never knew and didn’t have ties to); there was that whole 2016 Presidential election thing (which was deeply awful on many counts, and who knows what will happen now); and let us not forget Syria or Flint, Michigan.

In fact, I’m not sure I can name one good thing about 2016. Except that, maybe, it’s finally over.

I’ve written about as much as I can stand to about both the Minnesota Twins season, so I won’t say any more about them until next spring. If you’re really interested, here is a list of this year’s posts about them and their season:

Yeah, definite theme going there. Sheeze, whadda year. Worst ever.

I’ve also written as much as I can stand to about politics and, in particular, this past election cycle. In fact, it got to be a bit of a thing there for a while. Once again (because this is, after all, a year-end wrap-up), here’s a list:

As I said, it got to be a bit of a thing. And you can’t say I didn’t try to warn y’all (for all the good it did). I was so very worried (read: terrified) that Trump would win, and my fears proved entirely too real.

And I’m still terrified about the consequences of this foolishness. This election cycle has proved a number of things to me:

  • Yes, people really are that stupid and incompetent
  • Yes, the internet really is that dangerous and misused
  • Yes, the cultural bar really has sunk out of sight
  • Yes, the USA is probably a bad idea (too big, too diverse)
  • And, yes, so is humanity (still too ape-like)

There’s been a lot written about a “post-truth” world, which I think gets it wrong. It’s not post-truth; we all have our truths, still. What it is, I think, is post-factual, even post-reality.

Once again, that great 10-word summary of modern culture (such as it is) by Leon Wieseltier:

Too much digital; not enough critical thinking; more physical reality.

Three clauses, each of which speaks to the intellectual decay of our society. Between your internet bubbles and endless video games and tech toys and reality shows and all your other idiotic infantile distractions that you fill your lives with… Well, this is the result. I hope you’re happy with it.

Some of us have seen this coming for a long time. I’ve been complaining about the “death of a Liberal Arts education” for well over 40 years. This year has proven me terribly, horribly accurate in my concerns.

And then, adding injury to insult, finally there is:

The Litany of the Dead

And many more at: Wikipedia: Deaths in 2016

So, yeah, not a great year.

Fuck you 2016! Fuck you very much!

John Oliver did a great piece in his final show of the year that, I think, says it all pretty well. Enjoy (watch for a few celebrity appearances):

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

21 responses to “2016: A Year That Really Sucked

  • Steve Morris

    What makes you think 2017 will be better? Have a good one, despite whatever happens!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      You, too. (And I have no expectations 2017 will be any better. I’m very concerned about our new President, and — as you know — I’m also concerned about many social trends.)

      Recently I’ve gone from thinking the USA is just too big and diverse to ever really be viable to thinking the human race is just too big and stupid and immature to be viable. If we don’t grow up (fast!) and recognize the importance of rational thought and intellect, I don’t see how we survive. We’ve built on an unstable structure, and I see many signs of imminent collapse.

      I read an old Sci Am article recently that talked about how, in the future, the sun will heat up, and we’ll either need to leave Earth… or move it. The article suggested one way to move it was to start throwing asteroids in front of our path. Do the gravity assist thing which would speed the rock back into the solar system (so it could be re-used) and would slow the Earth down just a bit. Do this long enough and often enough, and the Earth could be moved beyond the orbit of Mars. Which would buy us some time. (Once Sol hits red giant stage, it’ll expend to the orbit of Jupiter, so this is just a temporary fix.)

      Thing is: it takes lots of asteroids and about 6000 years. And I thought, heh, you mean about as long as civilization (“as we know it”) has existed. Well, good luck with a project that big. It’s beyond the life (and ability) of any society that has so far existed. Very few even make it to 1000 years without major change (or destruction).

      So, honestly, I just think there’s no way.

      • Steve Morris

        Yeah, I don’t think that would work. But it’s worth doing the calculation, just to see.

        BTW I don’t think the big issues of 2016 are specific to the US. Many commentators are now predicting that we will see similar shifts across Europe in coming elections. It feels like a sign of the times. We’ve seen similar shifts before – towards communism or fascism in the early 20th century, for instance. We are still suffering from those shifts.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        The shift in sensibility, yeah, that seems to pervade the Western world in general. Very visible in the rise of nationalism and populism now, and you’re right, it has the whiff of fascism, at the least. Trumpism, after all, is a kind of authoritarianism, which is in the same ballpark as fascism. Really scary stuff.

        As I think we’ve discussed before, it seems (to me) as if society was pulling back from and rejecting globalism and the rush to the modern techno-era. That was huge in the surge of feeling that supported Trump.

        The USA has all that, plus it’s a damned big country. Long before the current currents of nationalism and populism began, long before Trump, I pondered the seeming impossible task of governing a country as big and diverse as this one. The sensibilities of the deep South versus those of the Northeast versus the Northwest, the Southwest, the Midwest, and the Atlantic seaboard. And Florida, Texas, California aren’t just physical states, but states of mind, so those are their own separate deal.

        That thinking is exactly why I’m a political anarchist.

      • Steve Morris

        We agree on so much, Wyrd!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, I’ve noticed! Prolly why we hang out. 😄

        HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to 2017! Blessings on your house; good fortune to you and yours!

      • Steve Morris

        Yeah, Happy New Year to you too. My January 1st has almost run out already, but I hope that I have used it wisely!

  • reocochran

    I was sorry about your losing your father, W.S. I almost called you by your first name but remembered this is not how you wish to be known.

    I agree, it was a really sucky year. For me, the presidential election results were the worst for me!

    The loss of several great actors and singers moved me a few times to tears. Wish I could hear the great band they are playing in now.

    I tried to write hopeful posts for the Chinese year of the rooster.

    This may be blasphemous, but I did like the “Star Trek Beyond.”

    Hope this finds you in good health and maybe this year could be an improvement. I mean we reached rock bottom, unless we are really going to Hell, then we have more downward spiral to go. . . attempt at humor!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, howdy there, Robin. Happy (let’s hope) 2017!

      Yep, one very sucky year, and too many depressing deaths. (At least for my father it was release. His mind was completely gone quite a few years ago. The body just hung around for some reason. Thank you for your condolences.)

      It’s nice to image there’s one hell of a party going in heaven with great live music, great acting performances, and some really great stand up comedy. One of the (many) hard parts of growing old is seeing those you know do their stage left exit.

      As you say, it’s hard to imagine next year being worse, but with Trump as President, our imaginations may just not be good enough. Remember all the concern about “Y2K”? I have this idea that it was worse, much worse, than we thought, and what happened is that we all died back then, and we’ve been in hell ever since.

      I know I have. This new millennium blows. Crap marriage and divorce, two loss-of-jobs, beloved dog dying, both parents dying, work becoming untenable and forcing early retirement… and it all started with 9/11 (I was born in NYC). So fuck this whole 2000s thing, as far as I’m concerned. The world has totally been downhill since!

      No comment about the Star Trek movie (although that’s another thing that’s died in this millennium as far as I’m concerned)! 😄

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Jeeze, it’s only January and we’ve lost: Mary Tyler Moore (80), John Hurt (77), and Barbara Hale (94). Damn!

    And we’re still waiting on that Presidential Pivot…

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Also, the Minnesota Twins (so far) have not traded Brian Dozier! Yay!

  • rung2diotimasladder

    Funny, I just thought the crappy-ness was due to my becoming an adult.

    Sorry to hear about your father. I didn’t catch that in the post the first time I read it, but I just read a comment.

    How are you doing? I haven’t heard from you in a while. I hope things are looking up, despite the political arena these days.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      No, pretty sure the crappiness is objective. Too many people seem to see the same thing!

      I can’t say things are looking up… this past year really took the wind out of my sails, I think. Those bullets points in the post about what the past year has demonstrated in my eyes… whatever else is, or isn’t, true, one thing I know for sure is true: I couldn’t possibly be more at odds with the ways and means of the world. My sense of alienation and isolation has never been more profound.

      I’m just trying to figure out what to do about it.

      Saw you’d posted, but I can barely stand to turn the computer on these days, so I’ve been really slow about catching up. I’ve been meaning to drop you a line, see how you are, but I’m having such a hard time motivating these days. You must have picked up those vibes and dropped by! 🙂

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Indeed, I did pick up those vibes. You used to blog frequently, and then suddenly you stopped. I wondered if something happened with you and I got worried.

        I’ve been slow on blogging too, but that’s not unusual for me. I’m mostly working on my novel, pushing through draft two so that hopefully I can submit my entire draft for my writing group for my birthday. I thought I’d have plenty of time, but apparently I need to get through two chapters a day if I want to meet that totally arbitrary deadline.

        Sorry to hear you’re feeling isolated. Is unplugging from the computer helping? Maybe turning off the news would be more useful in a way…that’s really depressing. Except the health care failure, although I suspect that’s only a short-term victory for us.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I guess life happened to me. Or rather, has been happening all along, but finally got to be just too much. I just don’t see the point in blogging anymore. Or much of anything. If this is the way the world really is, it’s a movie I’d just as soon walk out of (and get a refund?).

        Good luck on your novel!

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Nuts. I was looking forward to a music post (in which you play.) Well I hope you come back to blogging, but I understand if you’re just not feeling it.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Oh, we’ll see… I do have some notes for that musical post and did dig out (but didn’t actually turn on) my synth during my “restore the office” efforts. Right now the (technical) issue would be the MIDI software necessary to connect my synth to this laptop so I could record. Other issues, of course, involve whether I’ll actually ever bother with that post. [shrug]

        A blog-related issue is that the next post will be #666, and I keep thinking I need to do something that acknowledges that reference. Especially these days. But deciding just how to use that reference… haven’t really nailed that, yet. I’m sorta done with Trump posts, but at the same time… well, who knows. Certainly not me at this time.

        Just came back from a really fun (one could even say awesome) week in Seattle, so I’ll be basking in post-vacation glow for the next week or so and not doing much else! 😀

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I’m glad you got to have a nice time in Seattle. I’ve never been there, but I hear there’s rain? 🙂

        Well if you do get into music again, that could be fun in itself, regardless of whether you get back into blogging. Although, once you get into recording, might as well share! I’ve recently started learning some flamenco guitar, but nothing too difficult. I’d like to learn a really basic Sevillanas so I could play it with the dancers in my class.

        Hm. 666? Maybe a post on the meaning/origins of it? I think Trump might be too easy a target on that one. And a downer.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, I’m kind of on the same page there, plus I’ve written a lot of posts about him already (for all the good it did). OTOH, all things considered, it would be hard to avoid mentioning him at all. (He’s that guy who invited himself to the American Political Art Gallery, took a dump on the floor, and called it political art. Of course everyone was talking about it; how could they not? He stank up the place.)

        As for Seattle, just one part of what made the vacation so perfect was that the weather was wonderful. In five days, it sprinkled a bit on us one day, actually rained on us a bit another day (not enough to break out the umbrellas), but otherwise was mostly sunny and quite pleasant. The food was wonderful and the people all really friendly. (If you’re interested in details, I can send you a link to a web page on my private site. It’s a “diary account” of the trip. Only in rough draft form right now; having a hard time getting back to it for polishing.)

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Sure, I’d love to see the details! It’s a great feeling to visit someplace when the weather is perfect. I’ve had a few lucky trips like that. Both times I’ve been to Greece, I went to Mykonos island and got the beach entirely to myself. Tourists generally don’t go in March, but it was still warm enough to get a major sunburn (I found that out after falling asleep on the beach.) Another time we spent a month in Quebec in a rented house in the Gaspe area. One of my favorite places on earth. Again, off season, so the cottage was super cheap even though it was right on the water. It turned out that it had rained all that summer except during the month we went (I think September.) We had perfect weather the whole time.

        On Trump, yeah, I know what you mean. It’s easy for me to avoid talking about him because around here I can’t be sure what people are politically, and honestly I’d rather not know. This healthcare thing is freaking me out. I sort of knew it would happen since Republicans have been bitching about Obamacare for so long, and they certainly wouldn’t want to return with their tails tucked between their legs. Still, I’m disappointed. (Funny how we have these hidden hopes that our rational selves simply don’t acknowledge.)

  • Lady from Manila

    Hi Wyrd, I don’t blog much anymore, too. Just came by to visit and see what’s up on you. You used to tell me there’s a lot to feel positive about life; I trust that you also don’t lose your hope on humanity and the world in general. We’d had good times as co-bloggers and I learned so much from you so even if there were hurtful instances bcz of our different preferences in politics last year, I don’t really hold ill feelings on you in that regard.

    Do believe things will turn out all okay 🙂 . Hope you are well and doing fine.

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