Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Year in Review

 Goodness, is the year over already? Seems like it was September only yesterday—and September felt like July was only a recent memory. Strange how time flies like that...

Anyway, I can’t say that 2014 was a good year for me. It wasn’t a bad year, but it wasn’t a goood one either. Somewhere in the middle, leaning toward bad, probably.
The Bad
As I said, a lot of this. On a national scale, there was the ongoing epidemic of police violence. Also the death of Robin Williams, #GamerGate, the Sony Pictures hack [1]—and that’s just scratching the surface. Internationally--well, Vladimir Putin said, “Screw you” to international law and such minor issues as national sovereignty and flat-out invaded the Ukraine, while a terrorist state took over the Middle East, and of course Ebola. In my own life, I moved, screwed up, and turned eighteen. Popular music was garbage—sorry, but it was.
The Good
...Give me a second, I’m thinking. In all seriousness, there was a lot of good. We went to space. Movies were pretty good, and while my favorite cartoon ended forever, it was the most satisfying ending we could possibly get given the circumstances. The Pope said some cool stuff and came under attack for it, the United States normalized relations with Cuba, and the other breakaway state in the aether besides Crimea and ISIL resolved its status peacefully and democratically. On a personal note, I started a new webcomic, completely overhauled this blog, and while I didn’t write as much as I wanted to—rather, didn’t finish as much as I wanted to—there are still ten columns in various states of completion.
The Weird and Confusing
This may be the largest category of this year. I’m going to bullet points, as there is too much for me to handle individually.
* Pharell Williams’s hat: It’s a hat. It’s too big of a hat for Williams’s head. This is worthy of attention. I like Pharell, but is this really the best summation of the year?
* Kim Kardashian's ass: This was intended to break the Internet, but why the magazine editors chose this specific ass, instead of, say a cat dressed up as Iron Man, is baffling [2].
* Viral culture: Granted, this has been befuddling me for a while. 2014, however, was the Year of the Hashtag, or at least that’s the way it felt. Everything now has a social media component; clickbait is not only the most prevalent media strategy but also the most mocked [3]. A lot of the items on this list are only here due to the rise of memetic viralization, including...
* Ebola: Not the virus. I’m talking about EBOLA, the monster disease that will steal your soul, kill your family, cripple the economy, give the Republican Party control of Congress, and eventually wipe out all life on Earth. The Western world hadn’t had a good old-fashioned disease freak-out in a while, and Ebola proved to be the ideal channel for privileged white people’s free-floating anxiety. Never mind that the number of confirmed Ebola cases in the United States never reached beyond the low double digits, that Ebola is damned hard to transmit, requiring direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person, and that Ebola symptoms don’t manifest until the disease has nearly killed you; the facts have never gotten in the way of a good mass panic and they weren’t about to rear their ugly heads now.
* The Golden Age of Television: So, have you noticed that TV is really good lately? Really, really good? Yeah, me, too. There’s no denying that. I have two problems with the new orthodoxy that TV has Never Been Better. First, the praise seems directed principally toward dark dramas with complex morality and serialized arcs—your Breaking Bads, your Games of Thrones—with breadcrumbs tossed to animation and sitcoms. Second, golden ages are retrospective; it’s the nature of the beast, because the underlying assumption is that things were so much better Back Then compared with our degraded modern civillization. Saying that we’re living in a golden age of TV because premium and online services are pumping out quality content on a level unparalleled is foolish and meaningless.
Moving forward
My prevailing attitude for this past year is, “Thank God that’s over”. 2014 was a slog through torrential streams of excrement in which the occasional bright spots shone like beacons of light which made the shit all the more clearly shit. Hopefully, 2015 will be better[4]. The upcoming movies give me hope—Avengers 2 and Star Wars Episode VII in particular, as well as two Pixar flicks and that new DreamWorks movie, although the Minions film gives me pause. I’ll concentrate more on Maple Street. 2014 was a year of changes for Chasing the Rabbit, and 2015 might well be one of larger changes. I’ve had it up to about here with Blogger’s problems and idiosyncrasies, and the fact that the URL change so completely screwed me up may well be the straw that overburdens the camel. I’m considering moving to WordPress; more on this situation as it develops.
In conclusion
2014 sucked—ass, balls, on toast, however you want to say it. I approach 2015 with a not wholly unjustified sense of optimism; 2015 will be better, or at least less painful. Happy New Year, and thank God that’s over.
[1] Free speech good, I can’t care about The Interview and they’re turning a profit anyway, and you’d think a multinational conglomerate with a heavy tech and entertainment presence would have better cyber-security.
[2] Whether or not they succeeded, however is a separate matter altogether. The trouble with breaking the Internet is that the Internet is a nebulous, decentralized thing—a series of tubes, in the words of one of our great legislators. Breaking it isn’t as simple a matter as breaking NBC or breaking Sony Pictures Entertainment, where a single or two co-ordinated attacks can shut the entirety down. The other problem is that the cover may well have been a self-fulfilling prophecy: Saying that Ms. Kardashian's ample hind-bosom (or Iron Kitty) is intended to break the Internet will produce an effect, and this effect may overwhelm some servers—severely damaging, if not breaking outright, the Internet. It’s a hell of a meme, but it’s a bad business model.
[3] “This Man was Transformed into a Cyborg incapable of Telling Right from Wrong and Filled with a Desire for Vengeance. What Happened Next will Astound You.”
[] If the Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise.

1 comment:

  1. But if Pharrel's hat and Kim K's ass are both...on second thought, let's not go there.