Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Isn't a Dumpster Fire, & Thoughts on Mourn-Shaming

I am guilty of being on the “2016 Sucks” bandwagon. All the celebrity deaths, all of the personal friend deaths, all of the hope for progress in American democracy deaths just seemed to add up to a terrible year. I finally got off the bandwagon this morning to try to give everyone a little bit of hope. Regarding the election, I have already talked about how it’s not the “worst thing to happen to America”, but let’s not forget what the future holds. Personally, I suffered a few losses of acquaintances and friends, but I remember 2013 and 2014. Finally, there were a LOT of celebrity deaths, but no more than usual. STILL, anyone admonishing people for mourning is a goddamn asshole and needs to sit the fuck down.

Though there was an uptick in frequency of experiencing something racist after the election, and though my most recent racist experience was over the damn top, we don’t know what the future holds. Something ridiculously racist would happen to me once a month. This does not mean the casual racism of microaggressions that people of color have to navigate and deicde wisely whether they are worth addressing or just move on. I’m talking chinstrap beard in the passenger side of a confederate flag-laden 4x4 screaming “riding (flying?) monkey” at me while I’m biking down the street. I’m talking someone saying “CSS isn’t a programming language you dumb nigger” on Instagram under a picture of me in a nerdy shirt. (NOTE: at no time did I ever claim that CSS was a programming language. Who’s dumb NOW?) Since the election, it’s been twice a month. Policy wise, we just don’t know what is going to happen. We can shit on 2016 all we want, but 20th January 2017 is when we really need to be vigilant. That is the day that we need to hope that the detractors detract the fuck out of him. That is the day that Congresshumans who are not for this election had better do their best to keep all of the unconstitutional promises he made nothing but broken dreams of the alt-right…my bad…I meant white supremacist shit bags. Socially/politically, we can talk about how terrible 2016 was, but we shouldn’t blindly look to 2017 to be much better. We have a lot of work to do.

Specifically for me, 3 people I know passed away this year. I wasn’t really close with all of them, but they meant something to a lot of other people I know, so I felt their loss. 2016 sucked for them for that reason. I respect that. On a personal level, 2016 was nowhere near as bad as 2013, when I nearly watched one of my best friends pass away in front of me. Cancer is a motherfucker. Six months later, as I was starting to get functional, another friend of mine died suddenly. The following year, three friends from three different circles died, within 24 hours. That was a hard year. I did not feel that type of loss this year. Not even when my favorite artists died. Not even after Election Day. My 2013 and 2014 are my 2016.

I literally shed tears for Muhammed Ali, Phife Dawg, Prince, and Carrie Fisher. Muhammed Ali was a hero to activists. A Tribe Called Quest was my introduction into non-commercialized hip-hop. Prince is motherfucking Prince. And Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa role was my inadvertent introduction into feminism. I didn’t do the same For Bowie, Alan Rickman, Debbie Reynolds, John Glenn, Janet Reno, Patty Duke, Gene Wilder, or many of the other 150+ famous people who died this year. That said, given my grief over my top four, I have no place passing judgment on anyone else’s grief. I know that George Michael had a HUGE effect in LGBTQ people, both with his silent activism and his leaping out of the closet proudly after years of hiding his true Identity. Bowie is a magical unicorn who I thought was immortal. What he’s done for music will still be talked about years from now. He helped get black artists’ videos on MTV. On the air. DURING AN INTERVIEW. Trill shit. I didn’t even know how much Alan Rickman had an effect on people until he died. I thought he was just a really good actor. So yeah…2016 sucked. But there isn’t a rash of celebrity deaths. There’s a rash of REPORTS of celebrity deaths. Our news outlets have been ramping up their coverage of these singers, actors, artist, scientists, authors, etc. We’re more connected to them because of Facebook and Twitter. The deaths sting a little bit more, because we lost HUGE stars this year. They were our childhood heroes. They molded our tastes music and movies and books as we grew up to be somewhat functional adults. Just remember…if they were adults when WE were kids, then unfortunately, they are older now. The illnesses that older people get are visiting them now, so that is why they are getting sick and dying…except for Keith Richards. Seriously, did he self-preserve himself? WTF? So it sucks, but perspective may help.

THAT SAID, anyone who “mourn-shames” those who express grief over famous people dying is no better than the genital sweat of a syphilitic badger. Who are you to judge what people post on social media? It is SOCIAL MEDIA. The people who died are celebrities. OF COURSE people are going to talk about them. That is WHY they are celebrities. If they didn’t then the people weren’t really good at their jobs in life. Some don’t have a deep connection with the artists. So what? Everyone who does is wrong now? Some think people are just “jumping on the bandwagon”. Um…again…CELEBRITY. The way people become famous is by a lot of people rooting for them, kind of like a bandwagon. Why aren’t they making such a fuss over their uncle dying? Perhaps because their uncle is a private citizen and not a damn actor? Perhaps people express their grief for their relatives in a different way than they do a Florence Henderson or Edward Albee? What business is it of yours? There are Syrian refugees starving in a boat on the Mediterranean that these people are ignoring? OK, motherfucker. Where are all of YOUR posts about the ills of the world? Is your feed nothing but every atrocity that happened in the last 24 hours? The second I see a selfie or a post about a movie you want to watch, best believe I’ll be commenting something like, “HAVE YOU NO SHAME???? 15 GIRLS IN BROOKLYN ARE MISSING, AND YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT DESPICABLE ME 3! YOU DISGUST ME!” Seriously. You may have a right to complain about the outpouring, but you have no real ground on which to stand. Eat a bag of exploding glitter dicks, Darren.

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