Last year, I made a resolution to quit being that guy. In 2015, I believed that I had reached a level of jaded cynicism that I probably haven’t been since I was a brooding teenager. I vowed to look 2016 head on and be excited at what I was to experience, to hope for the best with what was to come, and above all, to not be that vat of negative energy that sucks all the joy out of life. I have been around too many people like that and I didn’t want to become one myself, dammit!
However, like Lloyd Bridges in Airplane!, I picked the wrong year to quit being a cynical asshole. We lost heroes and legends and we lost an election, though hopefully not a country. The things I had the highest hopes for turned out the worst. On top of all that, this entire year had massive tones of unfocused malaise, anger, and discontent.
The Zika virus scare started the year off along with Snowmageddon 2016. The endless election cycle was the beat to which this year danced; A rhythm who’s harmonics amplified the social tensions the country seems to seethe with. Between the brewing racial tensions and outright protests of Black Lives Matter, the push and shove for gender equality and LGBT rights, and the seeming religious intolerance for non-Christians or non-believers, I foresee some sort of massive violent manifestation of the political and social unrest in the following years.
All of this was exacerbated by the increasing politicizing of everything into an issue of race or gender by both the Mainstream Media and the hyper-polarized online fringe “news sources.” Couple that with social media disseminating outright lies and disinformation disguised as real news, it is a wonder that there wasn’t outright civil war. This came to a head with the surprise election of Donald Trump, a man who seems to have run on a platform of hate and anger versus a woman who ran on a platform of establishment and stagnation. Of course, the US wasn’t the only country who let the right-wing crazies derail the train. Britain voted for economic suicide by leaving the EU with Brexit.
After all that, it seems to be a moot point to talk about all the disappointing aspects of this year. There were the usual lousy reboots: Ghostbusters and MacGuyver. It was a dismal year for DC superhero movies: Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad. Nintendo’s Mario Run and Starfox Zero were also lackluster, albeit not actually bad.
That isn’t to say that the entire year was dreadful. There were pockets of happiness scattered throughout the ennui. Deadpool was really the highlight of the year. Captain America: Civil War was a great diversion from the actual civil war that seems to be coming. The new season of Always Sunny was amazing and the television re-imaginings of Westworld, Dirk Gently, and Lethal Weapon were similarly refreshing. The Doom reboot was a wonderful surprise. The sequel to Deus Ex and the remake of Ratchet and Clank gave us a return to the game play we know and love. Fire Emblem: Fates was alright and is probably the best I will get outside a proper Advance Wars game. Lastly, while I am getting fatigued with Batman, TellTale’s Batman adventure was surprisingly good, when not hampered by bugs and graphical glitches.
All-in-all, I am glad this year is over. I can only hope that 2017 isn’t the massive shitstorm that 2016 was. However, based on the news over the past weeks involving posturing with Russia, wars in the Middle East, civil unrest, the increasing proliferation of the right-wing fringe groups, and the fact that the keys to the nation are being turned over to an easily manipulated reality TV celebrity and his cadre of insiders just to the left of Benito Mussolini, I am finding it hard to hold out hope for the near future. I can say that the last few months have made me emotionally bereft.
I have become comfortably numb.