Who’s Winning 2016?
Life is a game. Literally, Life is a board game that millions of people have played. And just like someone has to win and someone has to lose in The Game of Life, there are winners and losers of 2016. It’s been quite the eventful year so let’s recap some of the winners, and of course, the losers.
- Donald Trump: Let’s start with the obvious here. Whether we like it or not, and most of you hopefully don’t, Donald Trump is kickin’ ass and takin’ names in 2016. What started as (what everyone thought was) a joke has snowballed into a very serious run at the 2016 Presidential Candidacy. Despite his small fingers, Trump has bullied and slime-balled (a complete list of everything he’s insulted!) his way to becoming the Republican candidate for the election, running opposite Hillary Clinton. And we, the people, are playing right into his hands. He loves the media attention, and every nasty quote, tweet, or picture of his hair that goes viral is just garnering more of that attention. In a mere 4 months, Donald Trump could very well be the next President of the United States. I’m very scared.
- Disney: Disney is such a huge brand that it’s tough to say they’re “winning” when they’re usually one of the more successful companies in a given year. In 2016, however, Disney is straight crushing it. The three highest grossing movies thus far in 2016 (Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia, and The Jungle Book) are all distributed by Disney. Captain America and Zootopia have also topped the billion dollar mark in total worldwide gross, and now rank as the 12th and 25th highest grossing movies of all time (according to Box Office Mojo), respectively. What’s more, Finding Dory has been in theaters for barely over two weeks and has already made over half a billion dollars, and could very well climb into the top five (currently in 7th). Unrelated: The Warcraft movie is the 10th highest grossing of the year, and that really confused me.
- Chance the Rapper: The Chicago based rapper has had a monster year so far. First, he appeared on the track “Ultralight Beam” off of Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo, and many agree that his featured verse was one of the best on the critically acclaimed record. Next, after months of teasing its release, Chance dropped his third mixtape, titled Coloring Book, which was available for streaming on Apple Music. The album is acclaimed by critics everywhere and, in one man’s opinion, is absolute fire. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Very shortly after the album dropped, it was announced that albums only released through streaming were now eligible for the Grammy awards, which now makes Coloring Book a front-runner for Rap Album of the Year (Suck it, Aubrey Graham).
- Harambe: By this point, you should know the Harambe situation. To recap: boy falls in gorilla pit, gorilla grabs boy, gorilla is shot. I don’t want to make any statements on whether or not it was right, but being shot the day after your 17th birthday (bet you didn’t know that one, hm?) would make it seem as though Harambe would surely be a loser in 2016. But alas, Harambe has been championed in the great vast unknown we call the internet. Immediately, many of inhabitants of the internet turned the death of the great gorilla into a wonderfully cynical meme. The great and noble silverback has been immortalized through the magical place that is social media, through photoshopped tributes, sarcastic tweets, and, weirdly, parody songs. Harambe’s greatest accomplishment, however, is touching the lives of so many, most of whom had never even heard of him until he was dead. Needless to say, this is a great plot to the next Planet of the Apes movie. #RIPHarambe
- Television: Do people watch live TV anymore? I can’t imagine they do. It’s 2016 and if you still watch television live, you’re probably an old person. Even the news, most people record that and watch it later. Streaming damn near should have been a 2016 winner, but it’s been slowly winning more and more over the last few years. People just won’t sit down to watch a show anymore, due largely in part to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, as well as the ever-so-popular DVR. Over the past 5 years, television viewing ratings for 18–24 year olds has dropped 34%! Those damn millennials. Quite simply, people don’t prioritize watching television as it airs, because they know streaming or DVR allows them to sit down and watch it later. Even shows that are produced strictly for streaming are better than shows on TV! Shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Transparent are being hailed by critics, and you can literally watch them whenever you want, whenever you want. This clearly turned into why streaming is winning 2016, but still, television is getting it’s ass kicked.
- England: England had such a terrible week that that week alone landed it on this list. First, on June 23rd, the UK held a referendum to vote on whether the country should stay in the EU or leave, an event that was given a handy little name: #Brexit. They voted to leave by a margin of 52% to 48%. Pretty close. And, judging by the news that I woke up to that morning, pretty bad as well. I’m not going to pretend I know what all the economics of it means, but very shortly after the departure from the Union, The Independent (a British online newspaper) stated that Brexit research had determined that at least 7% of people who voted to leave the EU regretted their decision. Whoops. Later in the week, the British men’s soccer team exited the 2016 European Cup in a stunning 2–1 loss to Iceland. For context, the betting line favored England at -178. For more context, that is a lot. It’s a game they should have won, but to pile onto their terrible week, they had a quick and unexpected #Eurexit. (Ha!)
- America: Can we really be laughing though, America? We really aren’t doing so hot in 2016. Donald Trump might be our president soon, which other countries find hilarious. And because Donald Trump may soon be our president, the future of the Republican party is pretty bleak. Trump doesn’t necessarily fit the role of a traditional Republican (or a traditional anything), and the party is being split on supporting him or not. I’m not a politics guy, but I do know that a house divided cannot stand (as said by Republican Abraham Lincoln), and Trump has created a pretty big rift. On top of the circus that is United States politics, America is also becoming a very unsafe place. In 2012, after the Sandy Hook shooting, America set out on a path to make sure a tragedy like would never happen again. And since then, more than one thousand shootings have taken place in the US, capped off most recently by the horrific shooting in Orlando. As troublesome as this is, gun homicides are actually on the decline. According to Vox, gun homicides have fallen 39% since 1993, so we’re making progress, but events like this that have such a profound impact on our nation make it clear that we have a long way to go. For a country that used to be the gold standard, we like to do a lot of talking and arguing about these issues when they do occur. Thoughts and prayers can only do so much, and so America will keep losing until we can finally do something about it.
- Death: 2016 has also been a banner year for celebrity deaths, which is a bad thing, so it falls under the losing column. Here’s a brief list of people we’ve lost in the first half of this year: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Prince, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Nancy Reagan, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Gordie Howe, Muhammad Ali, Christina Grimmie, Anton Yelchin, Dave Mirra, Bill Cunningham, Buddy Ryan, Pat Summitt, and of course, Harambe. These people, and so many more, gave us a lot of great years on this Earth, but it still feels like they’ve gone too soon. What I’ve come to realize this year is that the people whose deaths we mourn the most are the people who impacted us the most, and they impacted us so much because they weren’t afraid to be themselves, be creative, be confident, be brave, and in doing so, kick a lot of ass and be famous. No one really remembers the person who went through life without taking a risk, and the people who have passed away this year, and years before, impacted so many people by being themselves. So you should too.
It’s always good to tie things together with a lesson, isn’t it? These are really weird times in America, and the world as a whole, but some are making the most of it, and some aren’t. While there have been a lot of winners and losers in 2016, we’re only halfway done with it, and I’m really looking forward to all the Harambe memes to come.