The 2010s: A Look Back

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Good luck trying to explain the 2010s!  So many things went on in the last 10 years it’s going to take us another 50 to actually figure out what just happened.  Think about it!  Nobody on this planet is the same person they were a decade ago.  Ten years ago we didn’t have iPads, Uber, Instagram or Kindle.  Drones were a sci-fi nightmare and Donald Trump was a loudmouth businessman.  The scariest guy east of the Vistula was Osama Bin Laden, and only nerds had heard of Game of Thrones.  History takes time to digest, though, so right now it’s impossible to say what kind of impact the 2010s will have on the Great Scheme of Things.  However, even a quick glance over our shoulder tells us that our world has been a little crazy lately.  Here are just a few remembrances of things past. You decide how far we’ve travelled into the realm of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.

In 2010, the world was introduced to the vuvuzela, the most irritating piece of plastic in human history.  It was so annoying that governments, social organizations and sporting events around the world banned it, and there was even a fatwa issued against its use.  (You’ve forgotten about it, haven’t you?)

In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street Movement decided to fight corporate greed — and told us all about it on their 500 dollar iPhones.

In 2012, a tubby little Korean named Psy had the world dancing to Gangnam style, while the more serious among us were worried the world was going to end because – uh — a half-dead, ancient civilization in Mexico carved their calendar into a stone tablet.

In 2013, the Pope resigned, Will and Kate were married and Miley Cyrus added twerking to the dictionary.  Meanwhile, Edward Snowden boldly informed us that a bunch of government agencies were spying on us.  He was only 30 years late.

In 2014, there was an Ebola epidemic in Africa, the beginning of the ISIS war in Syria, Russia invaded the Ukraine and Kim Kardashian showed us her bum.  Take a wild guess which one “broke” the Internet!

In 2015, the Mom Porn phenom, 50 Shades of Gray, a hilarious retelling of The Story of O (1954) was made into a film.  According to sales figures from the novel and ticket sales from the totally terrible movie, women feel a lot less sexually exploited if you dress it up in a 3-piece Armani suit.

2016 was just a totally bad year.  Trump got elected President of the US and everybody died – John Glenn, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Richard Adams, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Tom Hayden, Edward Albee, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Prince, George Martin, Patty Duke, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Janet Reno, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Florence Henderson and Fidel Castro.  Coincidence?  I think not.

In 2017, President Trump called Kim Jong-un “the Rocket Man,” it turned out Harvey Weinstein was a bigger pig than everyone originally thought, and there was a solar eclipse.  However, unlike every other solar eclipse since the world began, this one travelled across America. Therefore, they owned it.

In 2018, in a weird reversal of Edward Snowden’s dire warning of 2013, Mark Zuckerberg said he was “sorry” for letting Cambridge Analytica steal your personal Facebook information.  Apparently, that made everything alright.

In 2019, we discovered the oceans were filling up with plastic.  So that’s where all those stupid vuvuzelas went!

And some other stuff happened as well:

We spent a whole bunch of time acting like 12 year old schoolboys, testing the limits of our testosterone.  First, we’d do something stupid and then dare other people to do it, too.  This brought us the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge and the Tide Pod Challenge.  “Hey, c’mon everybody!  Let’s eat soap!”

Duck Face, Fidget Spinners and Hipsters all came and went — with nobody mourning their passing.

Gluten became the scariest health risk since the Bubonic Plague.

The government of China banned time travel.  That’s correct – time travel!  But they weren’t done there.  They also made reincarnation illegal — unless you get written permission.  The scariest thing about this is these folks also have access to nuclear weapons.

Game of Thrones was born, lived and died.  And never in the history of television have so many cool characters been killed off so a useless little twat like Bran could end up running the show – but I’m not bitter.

Instagram beat the crap out of Facebook for social media supremacy — which proves people prefer photographs of somebody’s lunch to cute cat videos.

Media whore became a legitimate employment opportunity, we used YOLO to cover up a lot of pretty poor decision-making and the selfie stick became the weapon of choice for tourists all over the world.

And speaking of tourists – relentless middleclass vacations turned Mount Everest into Standing Room Only and Europe into an overcrowded theme park on the nose of Asia.

Plus:

The unholy rule of the Millennials continued, unabated.

And

Twitter unleashed a global lynch mob that made the Spanish Inquisition look like an argument at a church picnic.  And careful folks: that Reign of Terror doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Hello 2019!

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Father Time (like Mother Nature) doesn’t wait for any of his children.  He just keeps marching along and you can lead, follow or get out of the way – whatever your preference.  So, today we turn another page in the book of history and become 2019 — whether we like it or not.  Personally, I always ring in the New Year with a renewed sense of optimism.  However, this January 1st, I’m finding it hard to get excited about a year that the United Nations has already designated “The International Year of the Periodic Table.”  (Whoa!  Party on, dude!)  I’m not saying 2019 is going to be a dud (Who knows?  The Cricket World Cup in May might be a barn burner) but for now ….  The thing is, though, we better enjoy 2019 while we got it, because time has a way of strolling along, and before we notice, somehow it’s gone.  Let me demonstrate.

Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Gene Simmons and Bruce Springsteen are all going to celebrate their 70th birthday in 2019.

George W. Bush (who doesn’t look so bad these days) hasn’t been president for 10 years.

Jim Cameron’s Avatar was an instant success 10 years ago until everybody got over the CGI and 3D effects and realized that the story was just a total rip of Dances with Wolves.

The last time Jimmy Fallon was funny was 15 years ago– when he left Saturday Night Live.

Ex-Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, cheated for the first time 20 years ago.  He would do it a total of 7 times before he finally got caught and confessed.

Sponge Bob Square Pants and Vladimir Putin both made their debut 20 years ago.  (Coincidence?  I think not.)

Harry met Sally 30 years ago.  The same year the Berlin Wall came down.

I’m not sure if anybody even watches The Simpsons anymore, but just in case, Maggie is over 30.

All those beautiful half-naked people you see in the photographs of Woodstock (circa 1969) are retired now and probably spend their days worried about their digestion and bitchin’ about Social Security.

Barbie is about to turn 60.  I don’t want to sound catty, but I think that girl has had some cosmetic (plastic) work done.

Kurt Cobain died 25 years ago.

Half the people alive today weren’t even born when Freddie Mercury died in 1991.

But the weirdest thing about the coming year is:

Blade Runner, a movie that many of us grew up with as a dystopian look into our own future, is actually set in Los Angeles, November, 2019.

2018 — You’re Goin’ Be A Good Year!

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OMG! I’m old enough to remember when 2001 was science fiction, so 2018 is beginning to stretch the limits of my imagination.  When I was a kid, 2018, if it happened at all, was going to be a bleak combination of all the best bits of Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, Death Race 2000 and A Clockwork Orange.  In short, as a know-it-all 20-something, I didn’t think we were actually going to get this far.  However, here we are — and we survived 1984, Y2K and the Mayan Calendar.  Not bad considering that, at various times, half the population was convinced all three of them were going to wipe us out.

Here’s the deal: humans are a resilient species.  Unlike every other mammal on this planet, we have the ability to adapt to whatever difficulties Mother Nature and our own inherent stupidity throw in our path.  Plus, we have the audacity to challenge the awesome power of our unforgiving universe and the skill to bend it to our will.  Again, not bad considering half the population gets its information from Twitter — 140 characters at a time.

The trick is, human beings are the sum of their parts.  For every Kim Jong-un threatening to turn our children into nuclear French fries, there are ten Dutch engineers turning wind into electricity so those same kids won’t choke on industrial waste.  For every Boko Haram, there are ten Nigerian dads taking the early bus so their daughters can go to school.  And for every stupid Trump tweet, there are at least ten Americans, out there somewhere, saying WTF? — because in the entire history of human existence, for every dark slice of yesterday there’s always been a whole new tomorrow.

I lost my after-dinner pessimism somewhere between Maggie Thatcher and the Fall of the Berlin Wall.  And although, these days, it’s soul crushing to watch a snarling pack of self-important middleclass slacktivists systematically dismantling the Enlightenment, I refuse to surrender my optimism.  Saner heads will prevail!  They always have, and I believe they always will.  So, 2018, come ahead!  You’re gonna be a good year: I can feel it.