2016 was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year

Editorial | by Stephen Whitworth

Wow, what a garbage year.

I guess it’s fitting that 2016 got underway with the Jan. 10 death of universally beloved rock pioneer David Bowie. Bowie’s untimely death from cancer appropriately set the tone for the rancid disaster that unfolded over 2016’s 12-month reign of terror.

It’s also fitting that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was the orange sledgehammer that pounded the final nail in 2016’s coffin.

I’d say I’m glad to see this year end, but I’ve got a feeling 2017 will be worse.

But nobody wants to talk, or think, about that right now. It’s the holiday season.

So I’ll start by bitching about the U.S. election some more.

For Dog’s sake, what the flying frickity-frack were Americans thinking? Donald Trump? A lying, racist, real estate creepazoid with multiple bankruptcies on his resume? A guy who — proudly!!! — keeps his tax records secret? A suspiciously sniffing, self-serving cheeto who spewed racist remarks, laughed off sexual assault accusations and made grotesque misogynist comments (“blood coming out of here wherever”) in interviews?

How uniformed would someone have to be to cast a vote for this repugnant creature? And if not uniformed, how full of hatred, envy and sheer, malicious anger?

Yes, I realize the majority of U.S. voters didn’t pick Trump, and I’m glad of that, but the fact remains enough of them did to push him across the finish line. It’s unforgiveable. Americans think a guy who dismisses climate change in yet another temperature record-breaking year is respectable? A guy who wants to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency? It’s like the planet’s greatest superpower stood before the world, dropped its pants, took a shit and then flung the turds, while laughing.

I spent election evening with a German buddy who was so sickened by America’s democratic failure he barfed up in the Prairie Dog office sink (also, alcohol was involved. Don’t judge). This student of history knows a dangerous politician when he sees one. And yes, it’s true that Trump isn’t Hitler. But he does inflame racism, sexism and homophobia, and you can bet that violence will follow.

Great job, U.S.A.!

Media Meltdown

The year that murdered Barney Miller co-stars Abe Vigoda and Ron Glass also saw Postmedia pass what will, sadly, probably be remembered as the point of no return. Massive losses led to layoffs and buyouts, and many staff, seeing the writing on the wall, fled to other jobs.

This is why I hate corporate ownership of media. As long as newspapers are a hyper-bottom-line business, they’re too vulnerable to self-defeating cost-cutting that degrade their quality, which causes them to lose subscribers, which leads to more cuts. How will the Leader-Post and StarPhoenix survive? Increasingly, it looks like they won’t—unless some way is found to operate them outside of amoral, uncaring market forces. I hope it is. The daily papers losing good reporters and columnists with years of experience is not good news for Saskatchewan.

One Small Ray Of Hope?

If anything good came out of the year that killed Leonard Cohen, it might be the surge of Indigenous activism. While Whities vote for Trump, form creepy citizens’ watch groups and call-in to radio stations to insist climate change isn’t real, First Nations activists are standing up for the environment and defending drinking water from profit-hungry oil interests. Their heroism has been a bright note in a bad year — and more importantly, a hopeful sign for the future.

Until 2017, then: Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year. Oh and 2016, if you’re reading? Eat a dick.