Yes, People Blame 2016 on Their Grief, and That’s Okay

It’s been a near-universal constant that 2016 has been a difficult year.  Between the deaths of high-profile celebrities and entertainers, as well as political upheavals, it pretty much goes without saying that 2016 was fraught with many an infamous moment. Heck, 2016 may be a hurtful year to you if you’re a rabid enough White Sox fan (something I say with authority–I’ve seen some appalling words and behavior from White Sox fans directed at Cubs enthusiasts).

It’s gotten to the point that people blaming the year itself has become the default response whenever we hear about another celebrity death.  It’s as if 2016 has become the personification of death and despair itself:

  • “Damn you 2016, don’t you DARE take Carrie Fisher from us!”
  • “I’m done with you, 2016.  WHY did you take Anton Yelchin from us?!”
  • “Omg, 2016, how could you allow a giant Oompa-Loompa to take the White House?”
These are certainly not the most rational of responses, but as most of them are fueled by grief, they make a certain amount of sense.  2016 is certainly the common denominator for a number of grief-inducing events, from the deaths of beloved entertainers such as David Bowie and Alan Rickman to the Brexit decision and the 2016 US election, depending on how you view your politics. A lot of people had a lot of emotional capital invested in these people or situations, and when they imploded or expired, it’s natural that a grief response would follow.
But perhaps inevitably, there is an emerging backlash rearing its head online.
I’ve lately been seeing a lot of posts denigrating people for “blaming 2016” for the terrible things that have happened over the last 12 months.  These sentiments are typically coached in terms of pedantic rationalism, with posters bemoaning people’s lack of self-awareness and sense of accountability; or in a simple grumpiness that “things happen” and that people blaming a year makes said poster sick.  I’m now just waiting for someone to swoop in with the “time is a social construct, and doesn’t really exist, and by blaming a unit of time for your problems you are showing how small you are,” argument.
Such posts may give their originators a temporary sense of superiority, or allow them to think themselves smarter than the average bear, but all it really does is show them to be far too concerned with how others grieve.  I think it’s a reasonable assumption that most of the people cursing 2016 don’t actually think it’s a person or entity capable of deliberately wreaking havoc on the things and people we love.  It’s an obviously irrational act, born from an emotion that is typically not known for inducing calm deliberation in those afflicted with it.
Step off and let people feel what they feel, for crying out loud.
2016 HAS been an unusually turbulent year, and some people choose to grieve by collectively blaming the year, much the same way they celebrate the fandoms they love. Just because one doesn’t see the appeal of Star Wars, Star Trek, or Doctor Who doesn’t mean that person should make fun of others for liking them.  By the same measure, someone doesn’t respond to these events the same way as others should not try to browbeat people into thinking and feeling the way they do.
better_than_youIf you’re one of those folks who feels the need to make these snarky response posts, take my advice and just let people grieve in the way that most fits them.  I know it may be a little annoying, but it’s not like it isn’t coming from a genuine place.  Trying to put people in their “place” for their venting only makes you come off as douchey, elitist, and far too concerned with others’s responses to things that don’t concern you. You’re just a half step removed from being a bully.

Tony’s Lists: Things I Finally Got Around to Trying That Made Me Think, “What Took Me So Long?!”

Between the hectic hum-drum that tends to run most of our lives, people are often very careful about what they decide to check out on a friend’s recommendation.  The time we get is, at least to our own viewpoints, sparse, and therefore precious.  I’ve had books, shows, video games, and all manner of other consumables recommended to me by my friends that I’d ignored at the time–sometimes for years–before finally giving them a try.  Sometimes, they were worth the time investment, and other times, not so much.

Then there are those things that I finally got around to watching, reading, playing, and so forth, and came away going, “Oh my god!  This is awesome!  WHY the hell did I wait so long to get into this?!”  The following list represents a small sampling of media that I:

  1. had recommended to me by a friend;
  2. put off actually checking out for a significant chunk of time (at least a few months); and
  3. was wowed by it, to the point of kicking myself for not checking it out when my friends made their recommendations.

For extra fun, I’m listing the names of my friends (first names only) who made these recommendations in the first place, so they can say, “Told you so!” if and when they read this.

Here goes:

doctor_who_logo_23Doctor Who (Colin) — I was not prepared for how much I loved this show.  I came on board right as Matt Smith became the Eleventh Doctor, and I was hooked from the get-go!  I not only watched everything I could of Eleven’s adventures, but also Nine, Ten, and some of the older movies (I believe The Three Doctors was the first I watched).  Admittedly, it gets a bit too wacky and inconsistent for me sometimes, and while I’m not currently following it, I’m sure I’ll love it when I come back around to the Time Lord’s adventures.

firefly-serenity_sxscustomFirefly (Rebecca) — In a way, Firefly was one of the saddest things I ever watched, as it showed me firsthand that just because a show is good–and I mean, really good–that doesn’t mean it’ll get to run as long as it deserves.  Still, the episodes in that one season were amazing, as was the follow-up movie Serenity.  I count myself as a Browncoat, and still live in perpetual, irrational hope that the series will get continued on screen.

cover-gobletoffireHarry Potter (Shaun) — Oh, Harry Potter.  How I misjudged you.  I was working retail at a bookstore when I first encountered these books, and their sheer popularity irked me.  I even accompanied my friend Shaun to a midnight release of Goblet of Fire (the book, not the movie), and couldn’t understand what the big deal was.  I finally decided to give the first book a try.  It had ONE CHAPTER to capture my interest, or I would put it down and denigrate the series all I wanted.  Needless to say, it won me over hard, and I can’t imagine my fandom card without it.

batman-arkham-asylum-crack-download-free-full-version-pc-torrent-crack-1Batman: Arkham Asylum (Alex) — Talk about an experience I denied myself for far too long!  This game, as well as its sequels Arkham City, Arkham Origins, and Arkham Knight, were as close as I’ve ever experienced to actually BEING Batman in a video game.  The stories were well told and dazzlingly produced, and the voice casting was top-notch.  I finally finished Arkham Asylum just before Arkham City came out, and you can bet I’ve been at the midnight releases of all the other games since.

d96047310621f8a9ddebe602e9b1898bHeroes (Ed) — I was told by more than one person that they couldn’t believe I, of all people, wasn’t watching Heroes when it first came out a decade or so ago.  It did seem right up my alley, as I am massively into comic books and superheroes, but at the time I just wasn’t watching television much.  When I finally was exposed to the first few episodes by my girlfriend at the time, I was instantly hooked!  Of course, we broke up before I could get more than a few episodes in, and I haven’t watched since, but you can bet I’ll come back around to it eventually.

5271584-2213851722-harryThe Dresden Files (Krystal) — Mr. Potter is not the only magic-user named Harry that makes this list.  This one’s got a special place in my heart, because technically, I didn’t “put this one off” at all.  I was told how good they were, and then put a hold on an audiobook version through my library.  And I checked it out when the hold came through–A YEAR LATER.  But I loved it, and now I’m eagerly awaiting the other books on audio so I can see what I’ve been missing for the last 15 years!

What are some surprise recommendations that you put off for far too long?  I know I can’t be the only one who’s eating crow for not taking my friends seriously…