Alternative Facts: Wrapping Up 2017

Israel Daramola's Alternative Facts returns with an expansive look at 2017.
By    December 30, 2017

Israel Daramola is ready for the midterms.

2017 is already over. Trump’s regime has felt like eight years already and yet it’s only been one. Only three more years to go and lord willing we’ll all be dead before we have time to somehow re-elect him. But 2017 hasn’t been all about the sentient Cheeto dust dictator, there have been many other horrible things that have happened in this nightmare of a year as well. 2017 has been so up and down that it’s easy to understand how this country may seem dizzy and nauseous. The lows have been very low and the highs have not been high enough to make us forget about the lows. There have been scams, fires, mergers, deaths, internet currency and, oh by the way, it turns out all your faves are probably sexual abusers but hey at least we got a new Kendrick Lamar album.

The planet may be fucked but we can ride it out with the best energy possible. Things are breaking down, infrastructures are crumbling and the powerful are being exposed. Will it amount to anything? Who knows; we can hope right?

Alternative Facts: Top 10 tv shows of 2017

10. Mindhunter
9. Vice Principals
8. Big Mouth
7. The Deuce
6. The Good Place
5. Mr. Robot
4. Bojack Horseman
3. Rick & Morty
2. The Young Pope
1. Twin Peaks: The Return

2017 was the year I became disillusioned with political comedy. What once felt like the only sane thing in an insane world became another exemplar of liberal narcissism. Using comedy as a way to escape reality is good but what is not good is pretending that comedy is actual change or enlightenment. Trump is president despite how much the liberal entertainment complex patted itself and its audience on the back for being the good ones; the jokes about him are no longer original or inspiring and if Sean Spicer is any indication, any bad actor in this administration can be redeemed by getting in on the joke himself.

Political comedy has always had this problem, dating back to the days when Bush became our favorite walking punchline even while he was bombing brown countries. The truth is, the people who have the least amount to lose have the largest voice and seem to be the audience for these comedies while the rest of us have to live with the fact that laughter with no action won’t be enough to save us.

Alternative Facts: Best Essays of 2017:

“The Two Voices of Whitney Houston” by Doreen St. Felix

“Female Gaze: Lana Del Rey, I Love Dick, and The Love Witch” by Meaghan Garvey

The Wire — Game Day” by Kelley L Carter

“Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers For Decades” by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

“Your Reckoning and Mine” by Rebecca Traister

“The First White President” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Mayweather-McGregor and The Death Spiral of American Sports” by Spencer Hall

“How Identity Became a Weapon Against The Left” by Briahna Joy Gray

“Cardi B Was Made To Be This Famous” by Allison P Davis

“The Death of The Internet” by Joshua Topolsky

“Memorial T-Shirts Create a Little Justice, a Tiny Peace” by Jasmine Sanders

“The Problem With Writing About Florida” by Kristen Arnett

Remember protesting? We did a lot of it this year. It might feel like a long time ago but trust me it was this year. People went to airports and protested the Muslim ban, we had a women’s march and contentious town hall meetings all over the country. We made phone calls, texts, crashed Trump rallies, protested inauguration; needless to say we were angry and because of that anger we sat through a lot of discussions about “the nature of that anger” and listened to a lot of people try to pontificate and intellectualize the right thing to do with this anger.

There were lots of articles about not beating up Nazis and hearing out different points of view because you see the real reason Trump won was because working class whites felt ignored and had absolutely nothing to do with race at all. Charlottesville was an aberration like any other mass murder that continued to rise in number this year. While many on the left protested, let’s not forget 2017 was a huge year for the Alt right, who felt safer coming out of their 4chan and stormfront holes after Trump and Steve Bannon got in the White House. The difference between 2017 is that for the first time in a long time, the implicit became more explicit.

Those hiding behind the veneer of “hating PC culture” became more confident in expressing how they really feel. The thing about a villain, though, is that they see themselves as a hero, so “white genocide” became the hip new buzzword for how white people feel about—I don’t know, having too many minorities in Star Wars or letting people from other countries become citizens. It certainly isn’t because white people are being rounded up and murdered for their whiteness like an actual genocide. It’s hard not to imagine this doesn’t continue into 2018 but honestly way too many people are complacent in their reality for an actual race war so we’ll just keep talking down to each other until the resentment eventually kills us…You know, like a family.

The Alternative Facts songs of the year that have appeared on the least lists:

Lil Uzi Vert – “The Way Life Goes”
Kelela – “Jupiter”
Chief Keef -“Negro”
Skooly – “Flawless”
Sufjan Stevens- “Tonya Harding”
Stefflon Don – “Hurtin Me”
Rich the Kid ft Kendrick Lamar – “New Freezer”
DJ Khaled ft Drake – “To The Max”
Future & Young Thug – “Real Love”
Kamaiyah – “Fashion”

Let’s talk about movies. Rather than make a top ten list I want to talk about my year of rediscovering movies—some from this year, some from past years. In a year where I spent so much of my time in pure anxiety and hopelessness, constantly refreshing my phone to find out the latest in bad news, I turned to the movies to escape (well, when the drugs weren’t enough). This was the year Dunkirk came out, a movie I admired more than I loved. A perfect theater spectacle with unnecessary plot machinations because GOD FORBID CHRISTOPHER NOLAN MAKE A STRAIGHTFORWARD FILM. Dunkirk is a movie I’ll remember most for the way it began, with Nazi propaganda flyers falling in the sky onto unsuspecting soldiers like snow, to the way it ended with Tom Hardy’s plane out of fuel floating past the beach and inevitably set on fire as he watches. Nolan’s movie was a mess but it sure was beautiful.

This was also the year of Mother!, a movie so batshit insane that I can’t help but find it endearing even as I never plan to see it again. I will never forget the neck snap heard ’round the world that made me so uncomfortable I burst into laughter.

I watched Ladybird at a tiny AMC theater near my house with cozy armchair seats, the perfect environment to get lost in the majesty and love of Greta Gerwig’s story of mothers and daughters, the end of high school, and leaving home. It’s about about the lower middle class and depression, a life I know all too well. It seems silly to talk about being affected by things like watching kids hang out in parking lots or Ladybird fighting with her brother to use the only computer in the house or the final monologue about the first time you drive in your home city, but all those things are so specific to a life I grew up in that I couldn’t help but be moved. Ladybird is easily everyone’s most narcissistic choice for best movie, but in 2017 maybe it’s okay to love something that makes you feel seen and good about the life you’ve lived.

This was a year in which I watched Get Out and Girls Trip in crowded mostly-black theaters where the experience of two already good movies became heightened through audience interaction. Watching Girls Trip in a theater full of black women who all audibly swooned and applauded when Kofi Siriboe showed up on screen is a top 5 highlight of the year, as is the one black woman cheering Regina Hall on during her climactic speech.

The movie I want to talk about most though is a movie I didn’t even like that much, I think. That’s Blade Runner 2049. This movie is extremely long, extremely slow, and full of nonsense, but when I left the theater after the first viewing, I couldn’t let it go. Not just the movie, but the experience. Sitting in that theater chair, hearing the score, looking at Roger Deakins’ incredible cinematography and the amazing set pieces. This is a very soothing, calming film about a dystopian society of slave labor. It took me awhile to realize part of the reason I felt so good after seeing it was because I wasn’t anxious anymore, I felt like I’d taken a Xanax with much shorter lived effects but no less invigorating. It was the one movie I had to see again. In 2018, my only piece of advice is to go back to the movie theaters and escape your reality for a few hours.

The Alternative Facts Best Things About 2017 In General List

Being a thot on the internet
Watching others be thots on the internet
Going to the movies again
Logging off Twitter
Logging onto Twitter just to hate it
Exposing sexual predators
Actually doing something about it when sexual predators are exposed
Keanu Reeves
Greta Gerwig
Seeing Carrie Fisher again even if it was only as a character in an overrated film series
Reading Joan Didion again
Lavar Ball
Hating Lavar Ball
Loving Lavar Ball
Completely ignoring Lavar Ball
Not doing a job
Not going to parties
Ignoring comedy shows/movies that are “important” for “representation” about minorities who only date white women
Beyonce on Instagram
Rihanna on Instagram
No one else on Instagram
Everyone talking about Beyonce and Rihanna on Instagram
Chief Keef mixtapes
Gucci Mane’s wedding
The New Edition BET movie
Desus and Mero
Punching Nazis
Supporting others who punch Nazis
Asking people whether or not they would punch a Nazi
People saying ‘yes they would punch a Nazi’
Shows about food
Eating actual food (still good after all these years)
Ignoring the NFL
Outwardly hating the NFL
Not being retweeted
Blonded radio
Movie Theaters
Nicole Kidman clapping
Reese Witherspoon’s continued existence
Moonlight winning the Best Film Oscar
Opting out of mass entertainment in favor of old favorites from when there wasn’t so much shit
Twin Peaks: The Return
Essays about Twin Peaks: The Return
Fan theories about Twin Peaks: The Return
Nobody except die hards liking Twin Peaks: The Return
Binge Mode: Game of Thrones
Kit Harrington’s outfits on Game of Thrones
The Young Pope costume design
Opting out of “The Culture”
Becoming a Marxist or Socialist or Populist or Communist

Before I leave you, I want to talk very quickly about the year in disingenuousness.

We all agree that 2017 was a bad year; a year in which chaos won and America’s response to eight years of a black president was to go in the complete opposite direction with a race-baiting, childish, attention seeker of a president that will help the GOP roll back medicare for millions, give the internet to the corporations, and make sure the wealthiest pay the least amount of taxes they’ve ever had to.

With this in mind, when things go bad the worst comes out in even the most reasonable, progressive seeming person. This was a year in which our “thought leaders” were more willing to fight each other over who gets to be right about the election, about race, about identity, or about whiteness than actually be constructive. This was a year where in the midst of the biggest sexual assault uncoverings in Hollywood and media, we were willing to play dumb or turn a blind eye when it was our friends’ turn to be called out for the terrible shit they’ve done. It was a time in which our innate desire to make very real systemic issues about feelings and respectfulness, because rather than think of the very real women (and men) who have been abused it’s easier to think: “What if the witchhunt came for me?”

I saw the worst behavior in people, lost faith in many when I thought I could no longer experience disappointment and at the end of it all, there is no real lesson learned or repercussions that can’t be recovered from after a few years of radio silence before making a major Hollywood comeback (Hi, Mel Gibson). After seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi I’m on a full anti-nostalgia kick and in the words of the greatest movie villain working right now, Kylo Ren, it’s time to “let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” In 2018, my hope is that all of you get your shit together and think about what kind of future you want to build instead of clinging to the stability of the present because it’s the only thing you know and feel comfortable with.

Happy New Year, you filthy animals!

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