After putting up with the catastrophe that was 2020, there had to be something around the corner that would’ve turned the tide, wouldn’t there? Something that would’ve offset the many disasters we dealt with ever since the COVID-19 hit and put everyone at a health risk?
Well...yes and no.
Let’s look at some of the primary news sources that hit this year:
On January 6, 2021, a group of Americans rallied around the US Capitol to protest against the inadequacies that came forth under Biden’s then-second month as the POTUS. Unfortunately, what started as a peaceful protest quickly escalated into a violent onslaught around the Capitol and against the government officials inside, who fled for their lives.
In March, Dr. Seuss and Warner Bros. banned some of their properties due to alleged wrongdoings stemming from them. For example, Dr. Seuss banned six of the legendary author’s books from circulation due to containing what was perceived to be racist imagery, and Warner Bros. banned Pepe le Pew due to the likelihood of that character representing rape culture.
The three policemen, including Derek Chauvin, who apprehended George Floyd and left him for dead, have been put on trial for the murder, only for the trial to be postponed until March 2022.
In August, President Biden made the last-minute decision to pull all the American troops from Afghanistan and send them home within a month. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the death blow for Afghanistan. Shortly after the Americans left - with a few more still stranded there - the Al-Qaeda intervened and toppled the Afghan government, beginning with the takeover of Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Earlier this month, a series of tornadoes ripped through the Southeastern USA, especially Kentucky, wrecking many homes, leaving many people destitute, and leaving over 90 people dead. So much for a Christmas surprise.
And guess what? That’s all people like me would bother to report about 2021. Why? It isn’t because the prevailing circumstances were uneventful. Instead, the news became uninteresting because they were soured by political bias. You know what I mean; the kind of newscasters who decided to warp the story or fact-check it so the news would’ve pertained to their views. But because those were seen very rarely in the news these days, as were the actual good news, that they left me abandoning the news for a good while. It’s times like this where ignorance is bliss.
It felt like a prime example of how glorifying or fabricating certain things in the news to spice up your ratings or your public image started to take its toll. This demonstrated that the purpose of the news was to report what was going on with an uncensored sense of confrontation and facts to support it, not mold them into something they were not with their commentary.
Every time I glanced at the news, the impression I got from it – and I will say this in the hopes of not jeopardizing other people’s political sensitivities – was that here in America, the events spewed out as much condescending promotions as it did apathetic dismissals. No matter what direction anyone took, it was bound to be met with scorn one way or another. It’s this heated level of vitriol both in politics and society that had diminished what little commitment I had to stay on track with the news. And, it continually left me looking at our current state with shame and discomfort, as well as with uncertainty over whether or not American civility could still get back up on its feet.
Also, this marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. You can look here for a more in-depth look at my thoughts on how things shaped over the past 20 years and the past year. All I can say is that the disastrous retreat from Afghanistan left me scratching my head and wondering if we learned our lesson from one of the most tragic occurrences in our nation’s history.
And as far as the COVID vaccine is concerned, I can’t help but feel like it, for all its promises, had become victimized by politics. And now, the decisions on how to get it and avoid contracting COVID devolved into a widespread debate on who’s in and who’s out.
Regardless, as much as it became warped over this past year, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some good news that came out of it. I said they were a rarity; I didn’t say they didn’t happen. For starters, the COVID-I9. I mean, sure, we still have a ways to go before the COVID-19 is wiped out just like the Polio, but the rate of contamination that occurred because of that has done nothing but decline. I lost track of which state, city, or country was the luckiest in at least getting the vaccine, but all I heard was how many cases of COVID there started to be fewer of as the year went on. It still drives me nuts, though, how many news outlets and politicians are making a big deal out of vaccinating as many people as possible and condemning those that rejected the vaccination out of precaution. But what makes me feel more relieved is that the COVID no longer has as firm a hold on us as it did last year.
And, I will be frank that the following bits of good news correlated more to the entertainment industry, not ongoing events that affect the world. But I still can’t help but bring these into the discussion.
First off, because South Park was one of the controversial shows ever made and was lauded because of how politically incorrect, and shamelessly so, that it was, I started to fear it didn’t have long to live. I even wrote Matt Stone and Trey Parker a letter telling them to not listen to the naysayers who wanted them out of the picture and continue doing what they did best. Thankfully, in September, Comedy Central and Paramount struck what might be the biggest entertainment deal ever to be assembled. It was a $900 million deal that would have renewed South Park up to Season 30 – it’s currently finished its 23rd season a couple of years back – on top of fourteen original films under the South Park name to make their debut exclusively on Paramount+. Wow, I’m shocked that South Park will continue for this long, but I am super tickled that it will stick around to poke fun at all the inadequacies going on right now that are worthy of ridicule. Oh, and that’s not all. Word has it that Casa Bonita, the famous restaurant in Denver prominently featured in the show, was flat-out bought and reopened by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who might add more South Park themes to the restaurant. Whether or not it’ll be on a level with Walt Disney World or Universal Studios or not, that’ll be hard to tell. But congratulations, South Park. You do you.
And the other piece of news in the entertainment industry that I feel is worth sharing is that after almost two years of struggling returns due to the pandemic, movie theater chains are gaining hope for the movie industry. All it took was for Spider-Man: No Way Home to swing in and take moviegoers by storm, raking in over a billion dollars in the worldwide box office. This feat had never been accomplished since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And having seen the movie, I could not have been more pleased to see such a well-rounded, hefty, overwhelmingly creative superhero movie perform this well at a time where the longevity of theater accessibility was up in the air. Of course, the COVID still may have had a hold on the perceptions of the general public, even at the movies, but if it ever had a nail in the coffin to leave it for dead, this might be it, vaccine or no vaccine.
With so many conflicting emotions at play here and so many uncertainties over the mere promise of legitimate progress hovering above us, I’m not going to hold my breath on any shred of hope for any of us to be around until I see it next year. But I won’t let that stop me from maintaining my hope for a greater, more understanding, more logical, more unquestionable tomorrow. Whenever that may come, let’s all play our part and make sure that it can and will happen. And I encourage that to all of you. Let’s make the best out of what we have in front of us and make something great out of it.
Happy New Year’s Day, everybody, and bring it on, 2022. Let’s see what you’ve got.