What Exactly Happened?
Posted on January 14, 2016
A friend asked if I was going to make any New Year’s resolutions for 2016. I can’t say that I was and I can’t say that I did. Resolutions have a unique way of being chucked by the wayside and forgotten, something I’m guilty of. There are things I want to accomplish in 2016 and I’m going to try, but I’d rather focus on what I do manage to accomplish rather than what I failed to do since the scales don’t always balance out. I used to—from a very early age—make one resolution; to annoy as many people as possible. Why? Because it amused me. The weird thing is if I choose a random year from my childhood, there is so little in common with it compared to the year we just left.
I was 8 years old in 1978. The cost of a stamp was $0.13. In terms of top stories that year, Pope Paul VI died at the age of 80, President Carter chose a new F.B.I. director, the US Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of college programs giving advantage to minorities, and voters in California approved Proposition 13 for a 60% slash in property taxes. Top movies included The Deer Hunter and Heaven Can Wait, and top books included those by authors Maya Angelou, John Irving, and, oddly, Richard Nixon. The Record of the Year was the Eagles “Hotel California”, Fleetwood Mac won for Rumours as Album of the Year, while Barbara Streisand and Paul Williams won for song of the year with “Love Theme From A Star Is Born.”
On TV, we had Dallas, Taxi, The Incredible Hulk, Battlestar Galactica, WKRP in Cincinnati, Different Strokes, Mork & Mindy, The White Shadow, Battle of the Planets, The Paper Chase, and Jason of Star Command.
1978 was a good year for me to look at. It was a simpler time, though I’m sure it didn’t feel like it then.
Do you know what some of the top news stories were in 2015, some 37 years later? The attack in Paris on a satirical newspaper, deaths by police officers, a prison escape in New York, the Charleston shooting, the shootings in Virginia, the European refugee crisis, the same-sex marriage debate, and terror attacks in Paris. Aside from the advancement in same-sex marriage, this is how far we’ve been able to take the world in almost four decades?
In terms of entertainment, thank goodness for Star Wars because despite The Force Awakens not advancing anything in imagination or plot (come on, people, as much as we liked or thought it was meh, there was little to nothing new in the plot presented to us), it let us visit with some characters we haven’t sat down with in a long time. Our Top 100 songs currently include tracks by Adele (who seems to have a long, elegant career ahead of her), Justin Bieber (who makes me long for the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac), someone named Drake, Selena Gomez (some connection to Bieber), Elle King (I actually really like her album), Taylor Swift (I still have yet to hear anything bad by or about this artist), and lots of people I’ve never heard of.
And popular TV shows? There’s a reason I don’t watch television anymore, but get a load of these. Do you see any patterns here? Penny Dreadful, Justified, Daredevil (which I loved), iZombie, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, Arrow, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Outlander, and, thankfully, Castle. Gotta have one comedy in there.
What have we been doing in the last 37 years? Who has been asleep at the wheel? Instead of being a voice of reason, we’re embroiled with choosing a candidate for President who will do the least damage. We elect men who feel they know better than doctors or women how best to have women treat their bodies. We have elected officials who try to pass laws allowing discrimination. We have elected officials doing nothing but making noise instead of solving real problems in the world that are causing so many casualties. We don’t seem to have real leaders anymore. We have politicians and a “what can I get out of this?” attitude.
This is beyond my understanding. This isn’t the world I started out in. I didn’t have to worry about being shot when I went to school. I didn’t have to worry about my employer not wanting to provide health insurance if some part of my life didn’t agree with their beliefs. I didn’t have to worry about my work being pirated. I didn’t have to worry about laws being made so people with supposedly deeply held religious beliefs didn’t have to provide me with services. In all the science fiction films and TV shows, have we ever seen a world depicted back then as it is today?
Where did we go wrong? How will it ever get any better? And what exactly happened?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
5 Responses to “What Exactly Happened?”
Kayelle Allen says:
January 4, 2016 at 11:45 am
Okay you were doing fine until you started meddling with my TV shows. I don’t care for zombie anythings but 2015 was THE YEAR for scifi on television. I say the more the merrier. Hope you have a good year. And don’t worry. I’m sure you will still annoy plenty of your friends. 🙂
January 4, 2016 at 11:57 am
Have you by chance watched The Expanse yet? Aside from a bit of gore from to time, it’s like a very, very dark Babylon 5. We’re hooked after 4 episodes.
Patrick C Notchtree says:
January 4, 2016 at 11:51 am
Just wait until you get to my age. 1970 was the year I got married.
January 4, 2016 at 11:58 am
I totally would have married my husband in 1970. He wasn’t born for another 5 years, but I was getting the crib ready for him when he did.
G. A. Hauser says:
January 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm
I am so glad you wrote this. My god we think alike. I was channel surfing, including premium channels, and I was sickened by the selection. The worst, in my opinion, the combination of films which included women being mutilated and assaulted – for our amusement- can I tell you how nauseating it is seeing sex and violence against women, so proudly lauded, and common on film media? I’m sorry, other than a few odd films of the past, never has there been such a grotesque paring of sex/and GRAPHIC violence. I am very glad I am not in my teens, for we have lived through the best music, best TV, best films, and no war. We had it good.