The end of 2016 is upon us, finally, and I’m pretty sure most of us won’t be sad to see the other side of it. I know, every single site has wrote these long diatribes about how politics and celebrity deaths marred this year, and it must be getting old. But it’s true: 2016 had no chill, never stopped doing the absolute most, and will forever be cemented as the year that we realized a little too much (thanks, Kylie).
Let’s hope that 2017 is less of a mess, and let’s reflect on the 17 things that happened in 2016 that should never happen again. From Chewbacca moms to harmless memes being co-opted by literal Nazis, there’s a little bit of every awful thing that happened in 2016 to go around.
1. People making bank over absolutely nothing.
While seriously creative talents (or even the woman who created the now internationally famous phrase “on fleek”) get little to no recognition–not to mention financial compensation for their gifts to the world–people like that Chewbacca mom get an appearance on Ellen and earn over $500,000, including free college tuition. Hey, not hating on the woman having a little more guac in her pocket, but come on…
2. Headlines like this…
This headline is a metaphor for basically the entire world. pic.twitter.com/5WpQa04N0o
— Nancy Leong (@nancyleong) August 14, 2016
TFW women are still treated like crap in the world of sports.
3. The whole Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL) mess.
The fact that protestors fighting against a pipeline that could poison their entire water supply if it was to ever rupture was met with riot police and pepper spray is straight up disgusting. This issue just highlighted the continued disrespect of native peoples in the United States.
What even happened to all those creepy clowns that were terrorizing America a few months ago? Why are people even still humoring the idea that clowns are socially acceptable anymore? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
5. Kesha being forced to maintain her recording contract with a producer she alleges raped her.
The system failed Kesha like it often fails women trying to seek justice from men who cause them harm. And speaking of that…
6. The Brock Turner Sentencing.
Brock Turner–the Stanford swimming star who sexually assaulted a woman in front of eyewitnesses–is now a convicted sex offender…who is free after being released early from a country jail back in September. He only spent three months in jail for his crime. Let’s not forget that many people who don’t have Turner’s economic or racial privilege have suffered far longer sentences from non-violent crimes. What a time to be alive.
How is it that Brock Turner can rape an unconscious woman and serve less time in jail than Martha Stewart did for lying about a stock sale?
— Andrea Russett (@AndreaRussett) September 2, 2016
7. The highlighter trend going out of control.
We all became obsessed with highlighting as soon as contouring blew up, but maybe this trend has gotten a little out of control. I mean…
Can we not?
8. Apple deciding that we just don’t need basic things like headphone jacks or USB ports anymore.
Is Apple just trolling us now? Seriously, it’s nearly 2017 and Apple’s solution to their lack of basic features like headphone jacks and USB ports is to use dongles? This company used to seem so forward thinking, now it’s just changing things Just Because. This could be a bold, gutsy move if people actually, you know, liked those changes. Alas…
9. Tweets like this.
Daddy discourse, y’all.
10. Donald Trump being elected President of the United States.
Yes, the Clinton campaign made some massive errors, Russia might have done some hacking, voter suppression laws made it harder for some folks to vote, and people often use racism as a scapegoat to their own economic woes. But y’all, the fact that a reality TV star who used bigotry to get ahead, who has been an ardent sexist, who has been ableist, who has been ignorant to core, who didn’t even win the popular vote will be the next president is still absolutely baffling. Well, at least he’s great for representation: He’ll be the first orange-American president.
11. Memes becoming fascist.
RIP Pepe the Frog, a beautiful and versatile meme that brought joy in moments of darkness before it was co-opted by racists, alt-right weirdos, Trump stans, and literal nazis.
12. Whatever the hell is happening here:
13. This alarming tweet:
‘Fascism’ is still our #1 lookup.
# of lookups = how we choose our Word of the Year.
There’s still time to look something else up.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) November 29, 2016
Um, our collective 2016 anxiety in a nutshell.
That awkward moment when fake news leads to someone storming into a pizza place with a gun because they were convinced that a child sex ring operation was going on in the basement because he read about it on the internet. God bless America.
15. Politics in general.
I know, political strife can’t just end in 2017, but damn, 2016 was a trash year in the world of politics and current events. Where to start? Countries refusing to let refugees enter their country because of paranoia about terrorism? Terrorists actually pulling off attacks in the same countries who don’t want to bring in refugees, which just “justify” people’s xenophobia? Another year of unarmed black people getting killed by the police? Brexit? Trump’s election? Aleppo? Laws banning transgender people from using their bathroom of choice? Just…light this year on fire. I’m done.
16. The Harambe meme not dying when it should have.
Memes have a lifespan. Sure, they might still bring on some laughs after they’re hit their peak, but the glory of a meme’s legacy is its moment in the sun. Harambe, however, just never knew when to die (no pun intended). The death of a gorilla after its interaction with a toddler who fell inside of its enclosure initially sparked outrage from animal lovers. But because the internet is the internet, faux sincerity quickly overtook every other emotion attached to this incident. The Harambe meme made for some pretty excellent dark comedy for the first week, but after that, it was all overkill. Please, let’s know when to let a meme die a graceful death in 2017 so that no more Harambe-like memes will flourish.
17. Kylie Jenner becoming the prophet of our generation.
Hey, Kylie did say that 2016 would be the year of “realizing things,” and you know what? Kylie was right. We all realized things. Too bad most of the things we realized can be summed up as so: The world is garbage, we’re the only ones who can save it, screw everything, don’t give up; and despite all of the awfulness, we must live to meme another day.
What else should be on this list? Tell us in the comments!