2015: An Obit­u­ary

GOOD RID­DANCE TO A YEAR OF NOTH­ING­NESS The first ques­tion to ask 2015 be­fore any­thing else: What was so great about you, any­way?

Esquire (Philippines) - - CONTENTS - BY DICK JOAQUIN

We bid 2015 good­bye and ask: what was the year good for?

You aren’t 2016, where ev­ery­thing is sup­posed to really, really hap­pen. And you were the worst of the last five years of the Aquino ad­min­is­tra­tion. De­spite hav­ing your share of con­sid­er­able achieve­ments, like the re­cently con­cluded Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Con­fer­ence or APEC (which will be re­mem­bered, per­haps un­fairly, for the erotic charge that Justin Trudeau and En­rique Peña Ni­eto brought to the pro­ceed­ings), you didn’t elect a pres­i­dent, im­peach a chief jus­tice, or pass any sig­nif­i­cant leg­is­la­tion. And you can’t even blame God for be­ing so blah, given you didn’t have a su­per-ty­phoon like Haiyan to point fin­gers at. Un­less you count the deaths of the 44 men of the Spe­cial Ac­tion Forces at the hands of the Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front as a con­se­quence of re­li­gious wars be­ing waged in His Name rather than the all too hu­man stu­pid­ity and hubris of our politi­cians. Things seem so bad that Bong­bong Mar­cos is now a vi­able can­di­date for the sec­ond high­est of­fice in the land.

Cul­tur­ally, you have noth­ing to show for but the ad­mit­tedly re­mark­able suc­cess of AlDub, which de­spite its un­prece­dented suc­cess, was a reaf­fir­ma­tion of con­ser­va­tive en­ter­tain­ment val­ues and ground­break­ing only for the num­bers it posted in TV view­er­ship and in on­line ac­tiv­ity. In other words, bril­liant for be­ing so pop­u­lar that it kept us dis­tracted enough to re­main sane while our pub­lic trans­port sys­tems broke down and traf­fic be­came heav­ier than ever, our In­ter­net be­ing de­clared of­fi­cially the slow­est but most ex­pen­sive in our re­gion, and the creep­ing shadow of China loom­ing larger on our shores.

Apart from that, noth­ing. No new Up Dharma Down al­bum, no new Eraser­heads sin­gles, Butch Dal­isay nov­els, or even a Gre­go­rio Bril­lantes short story. No Lav Diaz or Mike de Leon movies. (Okay, you had Hen­eral Luna but might it be we over­looked the un­even sto­ry­telling or the bad cin­e­matog­ra­phy be­cause we just really wanted and needed to love some­thing rather than have noth­ing to post about on our so­cial me­dia ac­counts?) Art? When it’s come to a point when pa­trons buy names on a list even be­fore view­ing the work that’s on dis­play, or the fact that the big­gest news is what an art­work sold for at the auc­tion house, it’s all be­come so bor­ing and safe that even a for­mer en­fant ter­ri­ble like Jose Le­gaspi will re­sort to re­hash­ing the shock of his ear­lier draw­ings and just lit­er­ally blow them up for his ex­hi­bi­tion at Art Fair Philip­pines. (In commerce, af­ter all, big­ger gets bet­ter prices.) You sus­pect ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the artists, is bored.

Sports? Just one name will suf­fice: Floyd May­weather. I could go on, but you get the gen­eral idea. And now we’ve come to the end. What have you got to show?

But since you were around for 12 months, we will have to re­mem­ber you, to cel­e­brate be­cause we can­not com­mem­o­rate your pass­ing. It’s of­ten been said: What gives life mean­ing is death. Try as hard as we might, we can’t divine any such thing about yours. If any­thing, we’d just like to award you the du­bi­ous achieve­ment of just be­ing around, even if you gave us noth­ing much to be grate­ful for with your pres­ence. But now that’s done, you can go fuck off.

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