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What on earth happened in 2016?

By J.A. HaglDecember 28, 2016

#worstever Giphy

Man, 2016. People have problems with 2016. A year probably hasn’t been this readily cussed out since 1348 when the bubonic plague rapidly spread through Europe.

Historically, 2016 isn’t the worst year ever. Europe and the Middle East had a solid five years of Black Death where at least 75 million people died. Skip a few or three centuries, and the 1836-1837 are two solid years of humans being terrible in the United States. Talk about a crappy year: massive amounts of slavery, a financial crisis, Seminole War, the Trail of Tears, and Andrew Jackson was followed by Martin Van “Ruin.”  World War I just showed how deathly war can be in the 20th century. 1919 had prohibition, which spawned the 20s. The Roaring 20s was not a good time, not matter what people who like flapper dresses tell you. The financial crisis of 1929 sent the world into almost a decade of global economic struggle. In World War World II’s 1943, 1.3 million Jews were killed in just spring. The list of years that leave a bad taste in your mouth could go on.


The things people assumed would never happen, happened in 2016.

So why is 2016 the #worstyearever, the year people flip off?

The things people assumed would never happen, happened in 2016.

Like Trump, the reemergence of an alt-right, Britain breaking up with Europe and Brangelina splitting. 

Terror attacks felt like an everyday occurrence. ISIS and Boko Haram continue their reigns of terror. Aleppo’s death toll reached 400,000 this year and the city is in rubbles.  

Orlando had the largest mass shooting in the United States’s history and a truck bulldozed through a celebration in France. Celebration turned into mourning when a Mexican market exploded and a Brazilian soccer team never got a chance to celebrate after their plane crashed. 

Zika freaked everyone out. Vine peaced out. Samsung was burning holes in pockets and Yahoo keeps getting breached. But how much does that matter when people still don't have clean water in Flint? 

It’s the hottest year on earth but people still think global warming is a hoax. Because it’s the year facts didn’t really matter. Cue Facebook’s plethora of fake news. A volatile, very mean election year had people scratching their heads. Russia hacked the 2016 election and doped for the Olympics. Rules are barely followed anymore, but they really went out the window this year.

Chicago Cubs post game celebration
Chicago Cubs post game celebration Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Aside from the less than stellar conditions in Rio and Russia’s doping, sports had a decent year. Usain Bolt is still the fastest man on earth with three consecutive gold medals in the same three events over three years. In his actual last Olympics, Michael Phelps won six medals, bringing his total to 28 medals. He is the most decorated Olympian. Woman’s gymnastics broke previous records. Simone Biles left with five Olympic medals. The Super Bowl, NBA Championships and World Series were all so record-breaking they might have broken the phrase record-breaking. Peyton Manning wasn’t too old to be great, sports curses weren’t too old to be broken and redemption is best won with a championship. 

So even if Mohammed Ali did die, exceptional atheism didn’t. Creativity didn’t die either because Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen and Carrie Fisher passed away.  It’s sad they’re not here to add to the creative well, but they left a legacy to be remembered.


No, 2016 isn't the year the music died. 

Frank Ocean emerged from whatever cave he was hiding in with two albums. Beyonce, Bon Iver, Radiohead, Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Metallica and John Legend were just some of 60 plus musicians who released new music. No, 2016 isn't the year the music died. 

All that ice you dumped on your friend's head made curing ALS very possible. A cure for Ebola is finally here. Giant pandas are no longer in danger of being extinct. Babies are being born, people are falling in love and there’s still hope. Job market has some life to it and people feel comfotable spending money again. 2016 wasn't the worst ever. It was just one of those years where finding the good in the world was a little harder to do.

2016 certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, but when is life ever a walk in a park? 

And there’s always 2017.