2017: The Coming of Shadows

NightWatch“By 2017 the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand. Television is controlled by the state and a sadistic gameshow called “The Apprentice” has become the most popular program in history. All art, music and communications are censored. No dissent is tolerated and yet a small resistance movement has managed to survive underground.
When high-tech gladiators are not enough to suppress peoples freedom… more direct methods become necessary.”

For me, 2017 was a year of disillusionment and escapism. It was almost as if the worst kinds of people: fascists, neo-Nazis, political strongmen, and other regressionists came out of the woodwork with license to wreak havoc. Highlights of this torrential year include a war on facts, nuclear brinkmanship, ongoing investigations on half of Washington DC, neo-Nazi marches, a solar eclipse, and scores of sex scandals that permeated the last half of the year. However, eventually, hopeless bleak despair subsided to apathetic cynicism and jaded disappointment.

While not the unbridled bloodbath that was 2016, we said goodbye to many great things and people. For me, the worst was one of my favorite comedians, Mr. Warmth, Don Rickles. The great Adam West and Roger Moore were also particularly sad points as well. My love of Babylon 5 and Animal House made losing Stephen Furst particularly dispiriting as was Richard ‘Apollo’ Hatch. Other notable people include Rock legend and Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty, Playboy Hugh Hefner, TCM host and movie expert Robert Osbourne, Moonwalker Eugene Cernan, the great actor John Hurt, entertaining character actor Bill Paxton, and the funniest insane criminal cult leader, Charles “Chuck” Manson.

We also said goodbye to AOL Instant Messenger, a staple of pre-cell phone text messaging  that was mainstay from my youth. Miiverse was a wonderful creative service which was one of the greatest things about the Wii U, was shut down. The Cassini spacecraft which gave us lovely pictures of Saturn completed its mission and was destroyed in Saturns atmosphere. With the repeal of Net Neutrality, the free and open internet, at least as far as the USA is concerned has reached END OF LINE.

However, it was a pretty good year for escapism. While I watched quite a few movies this year, I really only watched a few new ones: Batman Meets Two-Face, the last time Adam West donned his iconic cape, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, and Wonder Woman. I set a new personal record for the number of games I completed this year, 14; 3 of which being 2017 releases: Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Emily Is Away Too, and A Scanner Sombre.

The real treat was the Nintendo Switch. When it was introduced in January, I was skeptical at best about the possibility of success. As it approached launch, and more information was released, I was swayed enough by all the negativity that surrounded the system to cancel my pre-order for the system. However, I caved and found it fairly easy to procure a system for Easter. While it took me a few months to dismiss my jaded pessimism of the system, now, not even a year later, I have nine physical games and 6 digital games and it is my go-to console and is second only to PC. Running around as a motherfucking T-Rex in Super Mario Odyssey was probably one of the few moments of pure joy that this year has offered.

I will say that between the brooding and video games, I did discover the joy and tasty simplicity of cold brew coffee. I also started getting into board games and modern card games. While finding time to play with family and friends has become increasingly more difficult, the kind of shared experiences that come from these kind of games is wonderful.

As I sit here a few hours away from 2018, I want to believe that things will change for the better. I want to believe that we will soon hit rock bottom and there is no way to go but up. However, my optimism for the future is dying. They say that “the night is darkest just before the dawn“, but as much as I want to end this post with a glimmer of hope, I don’t know if we have even reached peak darkness. I don’t know if 2018 will reach the level of Spinal Tap’s “none more black” but from where I sit, it is going to get much worse before it gets better.

I only hope I am wrong.

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