Whatever Best of 2016

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 was a monumental shit-show of a year, not only for itself — which would be enough! — but also because it’s now clear that it’s merely the beginning of a shit-show epoch, the depths of which have yet to be plumbed, and the best of which one can say is that hopefully incompetence will save us from true horror. But hey! At least I got some good Whatever entries out of it, right? So, uh, yeah, that’s something. Below you’ll find the 20 pieces that I think best represent the year here at Whatever, presented in alphabetical rather than chronological order.

It’s a politics-heavy wrap-up, which is not surprising in an election year, and in this election year in particular; it could have been even more election-heavy but I didn’t want to depress everyone more than they already are. There are other things thrown in there as well for balance, including some happy stuff (really!). No matter how you slice it, however, 2016 was a dark mess, and many of the best Whatever entries this year reflect that.

Despite the overall downer nature of this list, remember there are and continue to be good things in the world, and that you may still find them, and find them in yourself. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve or first night of Hanukkah, or just plain Saturday, whichever the case may be.

17 Comments on “Whatever Best of 2016”

  1. Some good things in amongst the bad, and even the bad has thoughtfulness on how to cope rather than panic, for which I thank you – now, and throughout the year past.

  2. From an astrological point of view, 2016 had lots of mutable energy and we all got thrown for a loop. Some more than others. I had that kind of year that caused massive change requiring huge amounts of work but ultimately (I hope) good things will come. Some people were just plain devastated. Others had breakthroughs that were good. Politics were surreal. 2017 will be calmer and we need it!!!!! Breathe!

  3. It was indeed a crappy year, and you did your usual fine job of describing many of its aspects.

    But my All Time Favorite for 2016 (and probably in the top five of all your posts here ever) is listed in the second spot of your recap here, to my immense delight. I go back to The Battle of the Scamperbeasts regularly when I need to recharge my mental batteries, and it never fails to realign my synapses in a more productive pattern. I apologize for saying this again, but if you ever decide to release that as an illustrated limited-edition chapbook, I would buy the hell out of it; there are multiple, multiple folks I love who need that as much as I do.

    Joyful holidays to you and yours, Mr. Scalzi, and to all who stop by to visit here.

  4. I agree with the Colonel on the Battle of the Scamperbeasts – it can make me laugh on even the worst day. Thanks for sharing your insights, and your lovely family. Happy Christmas, and (I am ever hopeful!) a great 2017.

  5. ” I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve or first night of Hanukkah, or just plain Saturday, whichever the case may be.”
    There is room in my world for all three :D

  6. I wish your best of list could override the fuckin’ unexpected barbed dildo that was 2016, but I’m firmly behind John Oliver in his Fuck You 2016 bit. Like Weird Al, 2016 falls below my standards for quality.

  7. To me this will always be the year my country elected President Negan and his Third Lady. I may have to boycott significant parts of 2017.

  8. Everyday I open Whatever and thank the Goddess for you John Scalzi. Frequently your posts and tweets allow me to endure. I completely thank you and your family and wish all of you everything good, but happy new year just doesn’t ring true. I mean, I’d like it to be a good one for everyone, but it almost seems like bad taste when I think about next month, for example. Thank you again for helping me hang on.

  9. I like the fact that silly & fun is mixed in with the serious. Scalzi provides both food for thought, and dessert.
    Happy holidays to all. Tonight I am celebrating Family-Gathering Eve (the soothing quiet before the joyous ruckus).

  10. I’m planning my usual New Year’s ritual for this year (open back door on 31 December at 11.59pm, perform ceremonial ushering and arse-kick to the Old Year, yell “And stay out”, close door, walk to front door and let the New Year in with a warning “Now you behave yourself”). It’s strangely cathartic.

    I may, depending on financial circumstances, elaborate on this further this coming year, by buying the current year a suitcase (second-hand, most likely) and filling it with anti-mementoes of the moments I most want to forget. Then I can chuck that out the back door after the departing year as well (and throw the anti-mementoes into the bin as well).

  11. .
    2016 in Review, part 1.
    . by Jonathan Vos Post…
    got a plan
    until I punch
    them in the face ..
    Spacewalk like a man
    in circumlunar space
    hourglass with subatomic sand
    Lost my job
    to a self-driving truck
    my plan was stopped by fear
    What is happening to humankind?
    Out of my mind
    The word of the year
    2016 is SURREAL
    nothing to fear but rhymes right here
    How does a Hamilton Elector feel?
    Tuesday 20 Dec 2016

  12. I don’t dispute that on a national and international affairs front, 2016 was a mess. And for lots of people, that mess had terrible personal consequences. When I think about that 2016, sure, yeah, good riddance.

    But for me, there was another 2016, one I think I will always remember tenderly. 2016 was the year when I felt whole for the first time in a decade; when I made peace with the idea that something I dearly hoped for in my life might never come to pass; and then that thing happened anyway, to my overwhelming joy.

    I guess it’s always like this. We are all having the same year, and also entirely different years. Plenty of people who were horrified by 2016 were likely elated by 2008 — and so was I. But I can only remember the shared joys of 2008 through a glass, darkly, because on a personal front it was one of the bleakest periods of my life.

    So here we all go again, stepping into the uncertain future. I know there will be plenty of work to do, but I will also hope that there is grace to be found.

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