2016: let the reflection begin

For the sake of future children everywhere, I hope that that the person who writes the authoritative textbook on history for students decides to go from 2015 straight to 2017.

Between the iconic celebrity deaths, the Chicago Cubs defying order and reason by winning the World Series, and of course, the rambunctious presidential election that resulted in one of the most unpopular president-elects in our nation’s history, it’s safe to say that most people won’t be too upset to turn the calendar over in a few weeks.

But first, as in all years, December is all about reflection.

It’s the time when we review the events of the last 12 months with year-end lists, award nominations, and of course, Time’s selection of Person of the Year.

Before I spoil the major surprise by revealing who that person was, let’s first talk about Tuesday’s nomination announcements for the Teen Choice Awards — I mean, Grammys.

I don’t know If I am becoming more out of touch with today’s popular music, but I have never been more dumbfounded by Grammy nominations than this year.

Four of the five best album nominations belong to Beyonce, Adele, Justin Bieber and Drake.


How in the world is this an accurate reflection of the best music that our nation has to offer? Those are the best albums of the year?

If the Grammys wants to cater to a younger audience and pay homage to the music that makes the biggest dent on the radio and in album sales, then fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But we need to recalibrate what exactly the Grammys is. It’s not the best music. It’s the most talked about music.

The fifth person in that category, by the way, must have surprised the majority of people who were expecting it to be rounded out by some one like Frank Ocean or Kanye West.

It’s Sturgill Simpson, a folk/alt-rock musician whose 2016 album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, is actually pretty damn good. I’d recommend listening to the track “Welcome to Earth (Polywog),” which should give you a decent idea of what the man is all about.

I laugh when I think about all the teenagers who must have tweeted their confusion over who Sturgill Simpson is on Tuesday morning. Although, in their defense, he was just as surprised as everyone else.

And Time Person of the Year. Obviously it was Donald Trump. There’s no denying that notrump-time-poty man played a bigger impact in global conversation this year than him — even if readers preferred Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Hey, Hitler and Stalin (twice!) were also Time Persons of the Year. Just sayin’.

This selection is so obvious that it’s not even really news. If you have to make a Trump Meter of the top news stories involving Donald Trump, it wouldn’t even crack the top 10, following his potential policy-shifting phone call with Taiwan, his spontaneous lambasting of Boeing and his selection of a climate-change dissenter and a WWF founder to his cabinet.

And that’s all in the last six days.

If Trump is the Person of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, too, well then future historians might as well just leave out this entire half-decade when they write the next textbook.

Obama left office in 2017 … and then it was 2021.

They’ll buy that.

Time Magazine chooses its Person of the Year, and it’s not that exciting

Time’s Person of the Year decision is always a fun one. In the weeks leading up to it, people begin to speculate.

Those guesses range from politicians to activists to pop music stars. Taylor Swift is almost always mentioned (And one day, by golly, she will get it!).

Then, in the days leading up to it, Time releases its finalists. The field always contains at least one highly controversial figure. Believe it or not, Donald Trump was a finalist, and he still wasn’t even the most questionable of the bunch.

That distinction belonged to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. Time describes its Person of the Year as a person or group that “for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year.” So I guess that works.

Angela MerkelIf they wanted to make a splash, maybe they could have went with the head of ISIS. Or Taylor Swift. But instead, the magazine went with a much safer, less controversial choice: German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel, the head of Germany since 2005, became the de facto leader of the European Union during the Greek debt crisis, and set an example for the world by opening her arms early in the Syrian refugee crisis to welcome migrants across her borders.

Europe’s seen a lot of crises this year, hasn’t it?

But anyway, I think what made Merkel such a poplar and tempting choice for Time is that she represents how far Germany has come. Just 75 years ago, the nation was committing genocide of millions of people because of their faith, making for one of the most darkest episodes in world history.

In the decades that followed World War II, Germany was divided by a wall to the east and west, neither of which had any real influence or leadership. Eastern Germany was in essence the biggest pawn of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

In other words, Hitler really screwed up Germany for a long time. And although Merkel is the third chancellor of Germany since the country Pamela Andersonreunified in 1990, she’s become the face of a new set of ideals that the nation now stands for.

Angela Merkel on the cover of Time Magazine may not be as appealing as Pamela Anderson on the cover of the final nude issue of Playboy, but, uhh … there is no final part of this sentence. It was just a fact. I will buy that issue of Playboy, but I will not buy Time Magazine.

Although, Angela Merkel does sort of have that grandmotherly, helmet haircut thing going — no. No. I can’t even joke.

But before I go, it’s worth giving one more update on Trump. The backlash from his comments about Muslims on Monday continues to grow. Maybe not among Republican voters, unfortunately, but in the United Kingdom, Parliament will actually debate the possibility of banning him from their country because of his “hate speech.”

And it’s all because of a petition that’s been signed, as of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, by more than 371,000 people.

Hmm, if only we could start a petition to ban Donald Trump from ever becoming president.

Oh wait, there is. It’s called a ballot.

Do the right thing, America.