In Honor of Festivus, Here's an Airing of Grievances for 2016
2016 has basically been a total wash, but all's not lost: today (December 23rd) happens to be Festivus, the made-up holiday brought to us by Seinfeld's Frank Costanza.
One of the main pillars of Festivus -- apart from the aluminum pole, of course -- is the airing of grievances, and in the interest of putting this crappy 365 days behind us, we've decided to explicate a few of the collective horrors we've all had to live through over the last year.
We've got a lot of problems with you, 2016, and now you're gonna hear about it.
Gods of Egypt
Let's get the ball rolling with the disastrous box office bomb that featured Gerard Butler and Jaime Lannister as towering, mythological Egyptian figureheads. Between its woefully whitewashed casting, hollow special effects, charmless protagonists, and impossibly awkward pacing, Gods of Egypt managed to encapsulate nearly every complaint people have had with movies this year. That's not to say there weren't any films worth seeing, mind you, but the argument still stands.
Is it unfair to put Gods of Egypt on trial for the sins of the entire industry? Sure, but as we've already established, 2016 was not a year for evenhandedness.
The killing of Harambe
Of course, the boy falling into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo back in May was terrible. Of course, the decision by zoo officials to shoot and kill Harambe was tragic. There's plenty of grey area to go around here, but the Pandora's Box of memes that opened as a result of Harambe's death was undeniably another nail in the coffin of 2016.
The memetic flood forced the Cincinatti Zoo to shut down its social media accounts. Another zoo in Philly was blasted by Internet demands to name its new baby gorilla after Harambe. A Florida man crashed a news broadcast during Hurricane Matthew, crying "Dicks out!" in honor of the iconic, deceased ape. Whether or not you think the Harambe memes are funny, and regardless of how you feel about the incident at the zoo, we should be able to put this thing to rest once and for all once 2017 rolls around. Enough's enough, people.
The Zika outbreak
Ebola's a perennial favorite in the game of "guess which infectious disease will ruin your life," but 2016 saw the rise of a brand new challenger: Zika. Although it was technically first discovered in 1947, this mosquito-borne illness really came into its own around the beginning of the new year, spreading to 21 equatorial countries and consequently piggybacking into the United States.
While the standard symptoms of fever, joint pain, and conjunctivitis are bad enough, the real tragedy comes when the virus interacts with a pregnancy, potentially resulting in a devastating case of infant microcephaly. There have been close to 5,000 confirmed cases in the continental US (as of December 21st), 479 of which were reported in pregnant women, and 15 babies have been born in-country with Zika-related microcephaly. It's horrible stuff, and yet another reason why 2016 has got to go.
The Presidential Election
Regardless of where you fall in the partisan divide that's riven our country, odds are you're probably not happy with the way the 2016 Presidential Election shook out. Between the controversy surrounding the DNC, the unfavorability of the candidates we had to choose from, the potential meddling by Russia, and, well, Donald Trump in general, this was objectively the most heinous election cycle in modern history. By the time decision day rolled around, most of us just wanted the roller coaster ride to end, which isn't exactly the mood you want to strike when people are determining the course of a worldwide superpower. Not even a Bad Lip Reading video could've saved this electoral dumpster fire -- and boy did we get quiteafewofthem.
All our heroes dying
For all their Internet vitriol, people still have the capacity to be apathetic about elections, diseases, and dead gorillas, which is why 2016 went after the one thing we care about most: our celebrities. The year set its cruel tone early with the January death of David Bowie, followed swiftly by Alan Rickman -- and the hits just kept coming. The list of the famous dead spans every genre, with iconic, room-filling names like Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, Abe Vigoda, and Merle Haggard. 2016 drew dynamic performances from rising star Anton Yelchin in Green Room and Star Trek Beyond, and then committed him to the past tense in a terrifying freak accident. These were people we spent hours of our lives with, and so each loss has had a touch of the familial about it.
Update: In the days since this article published, 2016 also claimed pop singer George Michael and beloved actress Carrie Fisher. Shit.
But let's not end on a down note -- Festivus is meant to be a happy holiday, and we can all rejoice in the knowledge that we'll be tap dancing on the grave of 2016 soon enough. Until then, let's all put up our aluminum poles and take part in the feats of strength.