The world spins in a dumb direction. We can’t jump off. So, stupid makes us its captive audience. Enjoy the show—or move to the wilderness to turn off the mindlessness.
The media made criminals of cops in 2015. Playboy regrettably clothed their models in a characteristic move to offend prevailing mores. The Daily Mail, The Daily Caller, and The Daily News all described Charlie Sheen’s HIV announcement using some variant of the word “shocking.”
After Muslim fanatics murdered much of the staff of Charlie Hebdo and the audience of an Eagles of Death Metal performance in separate Paris attacks, political leaders gleaned the lesson that Westerners unwilling to accept more of the terrorists’ coreligionists into their midst exhibited terrible hatred, intolerance, xenophobia, and common sense. Okay. They failed to say that last part. But they thought it. Publicly stating the opposite of one’s private thoughts ranks as the most 2015 thing of 2015. The Chinese calendar, and the American character, both tell us it’s the Year of the Sheep.
Surely 2015 played out as the worst year for the Confederacy in a century-and-a-half. Not content that their forebears merely burned Atlanta and limited the Southern body count to six figures, the soldiers in the War of Northern Digression shamed Bubba Watson to paint over the roof of Bo and Luke’s General Lee and nudged the Apple Store to ban Ultimate General: Gettysburg from its stores for its inclusion of the battle standard of the Army of Northern Virginia (instead of, say, the flag of Sweden) in the video game. ISIS murders thousands abroad and more than 90 million remain out of the labor force at home, but they digress.
Though 2015 muted one rebel yell into a conformist whisper, it provided a megaphone to Mother Nature’s insurrectionist children.
Bruce Jenner shocked the world when he came out as a Republican. But his medically aided act of contrition mitigated the public relations disaster. Caitlyn made us forget about Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Can’t Stop the Music, the Playgirl cover, and the party registration. Gender-reassignment may strike some as a little drastic, but in 2015 one must go to great lengths to escape a dodgy past and unattractive political affiliations.
Caitlyn proved a mere piker in shocking Middle American sensibilities. A white girl out of a Gymboree catalog reinvented herself as a black civil rights activist. The birth certificate of Black Lives Matter enthusiast Shaun King, Straight-Outta-Spokane Rachel Dolezal’s male counterpart, indicated white parentage. But such social constructs seemed so 2014 in 2015. White is the new black.
In keeping with 2015’s category-defying context, a horse named American Pharoah earned his spot as Sportsman of the Year. Sports Illustrated bestowing the honor upon Serena Williams and the BBC giving a similar award to Andy Murray merely announced their speciesist prejudices rather than the world’s greatest athlete. If 1976’s AP Male Athlete of the Year can morph into one of 2015’s hottest female celebrities, then certainly a horse deserves recognition as a human. SI celebrated Yaz as its 1967 Sportsman of the Year but snubbed 2015’s Triple Crown winner. Horse lives matter.
To get everyone to stop talking about the greatest Super Bowl ever played, the NFL counter-intuitively smeared the game’s MVP and this generation’s greatest player as a cheater. It’s “more probable than not” that more than a few high earners at 345 Park Avenue scored an Aaron Hernandez on the Wonderlic.
Understanding that we all live in a massive reality television program, Donald Trump keenly opted to run for president. Combining the tactics of Omarosa and the tact of Puck, Trump rose in the ratings polls among the viewers voters.
Amid a stranger-than-fiction reality, Hollywood recycling movies we watched decades ago indicated the dearth of imagination in Tinseltown and the denseness everywhere else. In 2015, like 1977, we dressed up like beings from a galaxy far, far away. Remakes and sequels constituted nine of the top ten films at the box office this year.
Fiction bores next to the Star Wars bar scene that is 2015.