2016: The Year of the Middle Finger
If the year that is about to go by has been symptomatic of anything, it’s about indiscriminate use of that digit, you know the one I mean.
With a little help from Wikipedia and my own faulty memory here’s a sampling of who stuck it to whom:
The UK resigned from membership of an elite club of which it was a founding member. (Truly ironical considering that the Empire was the creator of the club culture in its former Jewel in the Crown.)
The US electoral college trampled all over the popular vote and elected a leader who is troubling to many, has a post-truth relationship with facts and doubtless pecks out his many tweets using the third digit from the right. (On the other hand, late-night comedians have another four years of material to look forward to.)
In what I suspect is an attempt at a snappy comeback to this result, the Nobel Committee anointed a troubadour and songwriter for a Nobel in Literature that has generated more controversy than Obama’s winning the Peace Prize when he was a few months old (presidentially speaking).
And not to be outdone, the said Laureate resolutely ignored the award until grudgingly referring to it in a newspaper interview and has stated that he won’t attend the ceremony because of prior commitments. Which is sort of like skipping your wedding because you have a round of golf lined up. (In what some are seeing as a commentary on the award, he ended his concert on the day after the news broke with a Frank Sinatra song, “Why Try to Change Me Now?” Indeed.)
North Korea launched a long-range rocket into space violating multiple UN treaties and ignored near universal condemnation. No, wait, it then set off its biggest nuclear explosion ever, so there’s that.
Saudi Arabia broke off ties with Iran. I didn’t know they wore ties in either country.
The WHO (not the Brit rockers, the other guys at the UN) declared a Zika epidemic, proving that mosquitos rule over humanity. Without fingers.
The Thin White Duke and that Canadian guy with a voice like God on the morning after both cocked effective snooks at the Grim Reaper by releasing albums just days before departing for that Great Recording Studio in the Sky. Thank you.
Closer home, NaMo said Nah to Money, demonetising the largest population ever, either a supremely stupid move or a genius one, depending on whom you read. Either way, it was supremely poorly implemented (which may be a bureaucratic middle finger both to the politicians and the populace, but is par for the course, so it shouldn’t be news).
The stock markets plunged, soared, plunged again, soared again and are currently sipping martinis by the poolside and wondering what to do in 2017.
As are we.