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?
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.