With each bad news story (Trump, celebrity deaths, Brexit, ISIS, Flint water, Dylan Roof, Aleppo, Wells Fargo, Brock Turner, Chewbacca mom), people cursed 2016 as if it was an exceptionally bad year. Without question some terrible things happened. In a world full of billions of people (and, seemingly, trillions of celebrities), bad shit is bound to happen. But was 2016 void of greatness? Absolutely not. 2016 was inspiring, entertaining, and heartwarming. Here are the 20 best things from the past 12 months:
20. Remember that annoying Ice Bucket Challenge? It actually led to something great!
Every year, people on Facebook are subjected to endless fads that are supposed to help a good cause (copying-and-pasting status updates to end mental illness, forwarding articles to help catch Kony, dumping ice water on themselves, doing bad push-ups, mannequin challenges, etc.). But, in the case of the Ice Bucket Challenge, it raised a lot of money. Like over $100 million. Some of that money funded Project MinE, an ALS research firm. In July, Project MinE identified a gene linked to the disease. Breakthroughs like this can eventually lead to cures. None of this happens without money. The money came from the Ice Bucket Challenge.
19. Dildos brought the world more joy than ever.
Ever since the late 16th Century, the dildo has been bringing the world plenty of enjoyment. But in 2016, dildos took things to the next level. In Buffalo, New York, a fake penis was thrown onto a football field to the delight of thousands. In San Bernadino, California, employees at Lotions and Lace thwarted a robbery with the sex toy. But it was in a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon where the 2016 dildo made its biggest impact. A bunch of dipshit ranchers took over some building nobody gives a shit about to protest some stupid bullshit nobody cares about. It was probably about guns because, well, they’re dumb white guys in America. Anyway, their big standoff lasted a while and so the ranchers sent out impassioned pleas for “necessary” supplies (which included fucking Miracle Whip!?!). Instead of getting proper food rations, the dimwits were deluged with supplies of dildos. Well played, everyone.
18. Television was great.
When the world outside seems like it’s falling apart, it’s comforting to put on the boob tube and escape for a while. Unlike the 1980s when every show was a very special episode about the dangers of marijuana, there was a ton of great stuff to watch. If you wanted at jerk-offs like Trump and Ted Cruz, you had Samantha Bee, SNL, John Oliver, and Triumph the Insult Dog specials. If you wanted straight-up comedy, you had Eric Andre, Broad City, Silicon Valley, Billy on the Street, Conan, Kimmel, and Veep. Better Call Saul might be the greatest spinoff of all time. Netflix cranked out tons of interesting stuff like Stranger Things. HBO miniseries like The Night Of and Show Me A Hero were excellent. ESPN’s OJ: Made in America was the best documentary series of all time. (Sorry, Ken Burns.) Plus, Game of Thrones. (Just kidding. That is an unwatchable show about fucking dragons.)
17. Kid-toucher and shitty sandwich-peddler Jared Fogle was beaten up in prison.
The smell of that bread alone was reason enough to hate Fogle. But the fact that he turned out to be a pederast meant he deserved to get the shit kicked out of him every day for the rest of his life. In March, an older inmate obliged and roughed-up the doughy former pitchman.
16. The Olympics were exhilarating and restored faith in humanity.
Once you got past the floating shit and dead bodies in the water, the Olympics were a lot of fun. You had Usain Bolt torching runners, the oiled-up Tongan flag bearer sending announcers into a tizzy, the debut of rugby, the inspirational refugee team, and a bunch of world records broken. But the greatest moment happened between two runners in a 5000 meter preliminary heat. New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin stumbled and fell. In the process she took American Abbey D’Agostino with her. Instead of scrambling to her feet to keep going, D’Agostino helped up Hamblin and encouraged her to keep going. When the injured D’Agostino badly limped to the finish line, it was the Kiwi who was there for the American. Shit. Did it just get really dusty in here?
15. The greatest name of all time was born.
Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council had a new cutting-edge ship it was ready to launch but wanted the public to feel invested in its success as well. So they held a boat-naming contest. Over 3000 names were suggested to properly honor the climate change-exploring vessel but there was a clearcut winner – Boaty McBoatface, which received more than 27,000 votes. There were a lot of routes this contest could’ve gone but, happily, the general public treated this contest properly and gave the ship a more regal name than anyone could imagine.
14. Old Hickory is losing his inexplicable status as the face of the $20 bill.
Andrew Jackson was a piece of shit. He wasn’t a piece of shit in a “revisionist history” sense. He was a piece of shit in every era. Yes, lots of white people were slave owners but Jackson was a particularly nasty one. He regularly abused them and traded them in bulk. Andrew Jackson was responsible for the Trail of Tears. Jackson was lauded for breaking up rich networks and allowing “the common man” access to government. But all he did was hook up his woefully unprepared friends and people he owed favors to. Andrew Jackson was a piece of shit. And yet, for the past 90 years or so, that garbage individual has had a spot on the most important bank note in the United States. Well, in April, the U.S. Treasury announced that the hateful asshole would be replaced by former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. In direct contrast to Jackson, Tubman became famous for her compassion and selflessness. Plus, H-Tubs replacing Jackson really chaps the asses of notorious assholes like Rep. Steve King.
13. Kevin Harlan reminded us that not all are announcers are terrible like Joe Buck.
Kevin Harlan’s call of an idiot on the field is broadcasting at its finest. Meanwhile, Joe Buck’s contribution to 2016 was admitting he had an addiction to hair plugs.
12. Khizr Khan destroyed Trump.
Just like every other election year, the GOP and DNC conventions were a bunch of bullshit rah-rah speeches in front of people in stupid hats. The only people watching were those who had already made up their minds. A-list celebrities (for Clinton) and sad D-listers (for Trump) spewed out tired rhetoric to the enlightenment of no one. And then Khizr Khan, the father of a Gold Star recipient, took the stage and called Trump out on his anti-Muslim bullshit. He was eloquent, sharp and, within a few hours, provoked the petulant reality star into tweeting angry insults. Regardless of how the election turned out, Khizr Khan showed America that being Muslim doesn’t mean being an enemy or unpatriotic. It just means being Muslim. The only person being unpatriotic was the one insulting them.
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended the misery of the most long-suffering fan base, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the city’s first title of any kind in 52 years, and the always-exciting NCAA tournament was won on a buzzer-beating three-pointer!
10. Humor – 1. Narcissist tools – 0.
Selfie sticks are terrible and they are everywhere. In 2016, one brave New Yorker decided to take a stand.
9. The sports and entertainment world took a stand against hate.
In March, homophobic North Carolinians passed a “bathroom bill” to legally discriminate against transgender people. The sports and entertainment world quickly banded together and told North Carolina to fuck off. The first performer to speak out against HB2 was Bruce Springsteen, who wrote a poignant note and cancelled an April concert. He was followed by Pearl Jam, Mumford and Sons, Ringo Starr, Cyndi Lauper, Cirque du Soliel, the NCAA tournament, the NBA All-Star Game, the ACC football championship game in their decision to ignore the hateful state. As long as the Tar Heel State wants to be small-minded, they’re gonna lose truckloads of money.
8. A tennis ball provided all the entertainment you need.
There’s nothing more breathtaking than a 123-miles-per-hour nut-shot.
7. The future is here! Driverless cars are in Pittsburgh!
This Fall, Uber riders in Pittsburgh were picked up by driverless cars. And you know what? Everything has been fine. There haven’t been any accidents. Precise routes were taken to give everyone the most efficient service possible. Passengers were not subjected to boring stories from some driver in a loveless marriage. It has been glorious. The worst thing about driving is other drivers. Technology is almost to the point where we no longer need drivers. The Steel City is essentially the Jetsons universe.
6. The Biebs took a spill.
During a June concert in Saskatoon, Canada, a magical moment occurred. Sadly, he landed on his feet.
5. A struggling mom sent out a desperate plea on Craigslist before Christmas. She was answered by Eddie Vedder.
A Maryland mother was facing eviction and a Christmas where her kids didn’t get anything so she sent out a heartbreaking plea on Craigslist. The plea went viral and a GoFundMe page was set up for Tyshika Britten and her family. Even Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder got in on the act with a $10,000 donation. Instead of getting the boot from her home, Britten, her five boys, and baby girl had the greatest Christmas of their lives.
4. Someone told Ted Cruz he looked like a fish monster.
Nobody has ever liked Ted Cruz…and yet, he was dangerously close to getting the GOP nomination. Then a hero stepped-up, gave Cruz a fake handshake, and called him a fish monster.
3. Don’t listen to your dentists. Flossing is for suckers.
Every time someone sits down in a dentist chair, they get a hard time from the dentist or hygienist for not flossing enough. Despite electric toothbrushes, hyper-effective toothpaste, mouthwash, and regular check-ups, we are told that the barbaric process of weaving a piece of string between our teeth every night is essential to preventing cavities and preventing gum disease. Well, the Associated Press did some digging and found out that there is no hard evidence of that being true. Fuck that. Put down that floss and enjoy life again.
2. Election night in California proved that not all Americans are shitheads.
America is a multiethnic country. America has a gun problem. The rich-poor divide in America is worse than ever. People are gonna smoke weed whether it’s legal or not. On election night, the Golden State acknowledged all of these things while huge portions of white people jammed their head further into the sand and voted for restoring America from 50 years ago. Change is coming eventually. California will just be ahead of the curve.
1. “Dicks out for Harambe.”