Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A veritable who's who of who's not!

What? Look, I'm sorry, but it's kind of true.
2014 is just about over which means it's time to put together another list of famous people who died in the last 365 days. I don't really know why we do this, maybe it's because New Year's is a time to look back and think about what we leave behind. Or maybe it's because rattling off a bunch of things without actually saying anything about them is an easy way to create the illusion of meaning without worrying about things like substance or thought which are, you know, hard. Sort of like We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Anyway, to be clear, lots of people die in a given year, and just because we only talk about the famous ones, doesn't mean that the great many anonymous dead didn't live meaningful lives, it's just that so few of them were Poet Laureates or Ghost Busters, so who cares, right?
Show of hands anyone here who was nominated for a Pulitzer
or co-wrote Groundhog Day? Anyone? No? Psssch...nobodies...
Cloned dinosaurs: totally plausible. That
Attenborough's character wouldn't have been
sued into a fine paste: pure science fiction.
Speaking of which, can you believe we lost Maya Angelou and Harold Ramis this year? Also dead are comedians Robin Williams, Joan Rivers and Jan Hooks. Actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lauren Bacall, James Garner and Bob Hoskins are all gone along with musicians Joe Cocker and Tommy: last of the Ramones. Oh, and Sir Richard Attenborough died this year. Most people probably remember him as the kindly old industrialist who endangers dozens of lives, including those of his own grandchildren, with his dinosaur-themed murder resort in Jurassic Park.

Also dead: Elaine Stritch. She was a Broadway actress and singer from back in the day, and she was also goddamn hilarious. Behold:
Here's Elaine Stritch saying 'fuck' on the Today Show. Because yes.
Pictured: The despotic ruler of Carbombya.
Get it? Car-bomb-ya? These guys made
Michael Bay look like an amateur.
Indoor kids who remember the 1980's (or who shop at American Apparel and pretend they do) lost Glen A. Larson, the producer who gave us Knight Rider, Buck Rodgers and Battlestar Galactica (velour capes, not the sexy reboot), Ralph Bear the inventor of the video game console, and Casey Kasem: the voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo! He also voiced some characters on The Transformers but quit when the writers decided that it was suddenly ok to start writing anti-Arab stereotypes into a children's show. You know because cocaine.

Look, I know death comes for us all eventually, but this year he seemed to go after a lot of the people who made the world a better place. I mean, Doc from Fraggel Rock? C'mon!
Thanks a lot, dick...
Like one of these, but with hate and poo.
Of course, he also took some who were, shall we say, less than beloved. Look, I genuinely believe that it's wrong to celebrate the passing of a fellow human, no matter how heinous, but let's just say that Fred Phelps is unlikely to be mourned by many. I mean, I'm sorry he's dead, um, theoretically. Like, I'm sure his family or his crazy church pals will miss him (or not), but what I'm not sorry about is that the unrelenting shit-fountain of hate-filled vitriol that spewed forth from his rage-hole for the last few decades has finally ceased.

In fictional dead people, Marvel killed off Wolverine this year in a move sure to be permanent and have a lasting repercussion throughout Marvel's narrative universe.
Above: The Death of Wolverine.
Next Month: The Triumphant Return of Wolverine!
Thanks a lot, dick...
In abstract concepts that left us this year, Scotland's hopes of casting off the brutal yoke of the Dread Queen Elizabeth II are dead have been brutally cut down by a narrow majority of votes (and cupcakes) in last fall's referendum. Whatever confidence anyone had left in the Supreme Court and its ability to deliver sound judgements passed away when it ruled that shouting 'Because Jesus!' was all the legal justification employers need to get out of Obamacare.

65% cotton 35% everything wrong
with consumerism. Machine wash warm. 
The last lingering shred of media credibility died quietly in its sleep when the internet was captivated by a toddler toddling. Public discourse died a slow, painful death as the world debated the pros and cons of Rene Zellweger's face. And finally, good taste and basic human decency were murdered back in September when Urban Outfitters sold bloodied Kent State sweatshirts and then called us idiots for having a problem with it.

Holy shit 2014, you were kind of an awful year and we will not miss you. Welcome 2015: it's a low bar, so please don't disappoint us.
If we can go the entire year without being threatened with nuclear annihilation
over a mediocre stoner movie, then 2015 will have succeeded in being better than 2014.

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