The year 2015 is nearly over and now is a good time to reflect on what has happened over the last 12 months. If you were to sum up what has happened this year, a 'mixed bag' is probably the best way to describe what has been a hectic year.
Netflix is now known as a premier provider of entertainment (and a euphemism for booty call), transgender rights has been pushed to the forefront by the least likely of people, and gay marriage is now more or less part of the norm. But these positive events were balanced out by a series of terrible incidents such as the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/IS as a worldwide threat, the number racially charged attacks, the number of newsworthy mass shootings, and the inability of tech companies to produce a functioning hoverboard.
From the good to the bad, the deadly serious to sad truths, and all the way to the plainly ridiculous, here are 15 things that have been ruined by humans in 2015.
15 The Ability To Secretly Cheat
Cheating is a terrible thing and anyone who tells you otherwise is a horrible human being. So when 2015 saw the hacking of Ashley Madison and countless cheaters being unceremoniously outed, it's difficult to see it as anything other than a win.
Regardless of your stance on relationships and marriage, you can't deny that there's just something extra unsavoury about having a secret affair, especially if you're paying for it.
But the cherry on top of this whole debacle is the reveal that a secret affair is not as exciting or fulfilling as it might seem. As the many users of Ashley Madison found out, you're more likely to get paired with a middle-aged man from Texas, than some smoking hot girl who just wants money for college.
Netflix is rapidly turning into the go-to place for all your entertainment and pop-culture needs. With so much good stuff to sift through, there's nothing more relaxing than getting on Netflix on a lazy weekend and just chilling out with some Breaking Bad or House Of Cards.
And then 2015 came along and "Netflix and chill" became something entirely different to its original intended meaning.
Thanks to the internet and an overabundance of unsubtle memes, you can no longer accept any one's invitation to 'Netflix and chill' without wondering if you're going to actually watch something on Netflix or if you're going to get freaky to the theme song of Orange Is The New Black. Either way, you should probably pack some extra condoms just in case.
13 Flying Safely
Despite fears of falling out of the sky or a jet engine suddenly exploding, air travel is probably the safest form of travel these days. But thanks to some significant incidents involving aircrafts in 2015, everyone around the world has become just a bit more wary about air travel.
This year started with a wave of conspiracy theories over the mysterious disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine. With details concerning MH370 and MH17 still unclear, every accident and incident involving any commercial aircraft received considerably more media attention in 2015 than in the past decade or so. Despite the number of aircraft accidents being broadly similar to previous years, it seems as though there's a story about a plane crashing every week.
The result of all this increased media attention is an increased feeling of cautiousness whenever people get on board a flight.
With many people arguing for the need of guns for protection and many more people arguing against the use of guns altogether, the issue of guns and control has been a contentious issue for a number of years. This controversial issue reached a new zenith during 2015 when it felt like there was a shooting of some kind every single week.
With a total of 22 mass shootings in the US this year -- an average of one every 16 days -- everyone from Obama to John Oliver were quickly running out of words to reconcile how events like this could happen. Couple that with the number of prominent terror attacks around the world, everyone on Earth has had their eyes opened just a bit more about the issue of gun control and gun ownership.
Regardless of your stance on guns and gun control, it's hard to deny that 2015 has not been a good year for gun owners. As gun control and gun ownership are tricky things to balance, let's just hope that the right moves are being implemented to prevent any future shootings and gun violence.
11 Spoiling Movies & TV Shows
Part of what makes TV and movies such a great source of entertainment is the ability to watch an untold story slowly unfold before your very eyes. But in 2015, that thrill of going into a film or a TV show completely blind has diminished considerably due to the rising prominence of spoilers.
With TV and movies dominating the forefront of pop-culture, and the ability to share information becoming easier, early and/or unwanted reveals of a TV show or a movie's plot details have become something of the norm. Why waste hours watching a TV show or film when there are people all over the internet who are more than willing to reveal all the juicy details to you?
Spoilers isn't the only thing wrong with the film industry at the moment...
10 Movie Franchises
Nine of the top 10 highest grossing films in 2014 were either a sequel, a prequel, a reboot, an adaptation, or part of some franchise. This pattern has repeated itself in 2015, but there are signs that Hollywood is collapsing under the weight of all the franchise films that are being churned out.
Whilst 2015 saw the $1 billion-plus grossing Jurassic World relaunch the Jurassic Park franchise, we also saw an expensive Fantastic Four reboot go down in flames. There's no denying that some movie franchises make insane amounts of money, but this is proving to be a danger for the creative state of the film industry and audiences are starting to see it as well.
Even when movie franchises are done perfectly right, not enough people saw them. Just look at Mad Max: Fury Road. Despite glowing reviews from everyone and a $375 million worldwide gross, the film's $150 million budget and the many more millions spent on marketing won't probably be recouped for a while.
Whether you love it or hate it, Caitlyn Jenner has dominated the headlines this year by riding the transgender wave for all its worth. Thing is, all that media attention towards Jenner and transgender issues provided the biggest piece of evidence that the fight against transphobia is slowly working.
Not only did Jenner thrust transgender issues to the forefront of mainstream media, but pop-culture is also catching up rapidly. Orange Is The New Black incorporated a powerful story line involving a transgender inmate, who is played by Laverne Cox, a known supporter of transgender rights. There's also the critically acclaimed Amazon TV show, Transparent, which is centered around a transgender woman coming out in her 60s.
Whilst it still remains a prevalent issue, the slow erosion of society's transphobia throughout 2015 has shown that things are on the right track.
8 Social Media
There was a time when the concept of staying connected with all your friends and family was seen as some sort of communication utopia. As 2015 draws to a close, the ability to keep everyone in your life updated with everything you do (and vice versa) has become more of a pain than a blessing.
2015 was a banner year that saw social media descend into a sea of Twitter 'feuds', ridiculous and hypocritical 'anti' campaigns, and the infamous Reddit CEO debacle. What was seen as a forum for open comments has descended into a landscape of sexism, racism, and any other 'ism' you can think of.
With the early judgement-free days of social media now over, those hoping to seek refuge through the internet will have to endure an environment more toxic than every high school combined.
7 The Need To Leave The House
As technology has advanced throughout the last few decades, an inverse relationship between technology and time spent outside has slowly developed. Basically, as technology advances, the time spent outside of your home will decrease. This year has seen this relationship reach a zenith.
Working from home is becoming more and more common, food can be delivered to your front door at any time, bills can be paid online at your leisure, and exercise can be accomplished through home-gym machines and equipment. Even vitamin D deficiency can be adverted by swallowing a few pills now.
Based on how far technology has come and how far it can go, there will probably come a time where going outside will be ranked alongside other once-in-a-lifetime events like Haley's Comet or spotting a UFO.
Ever since ISIS/ISIL/IS started making headlines with their extreme and misguided attempts at promoting Islam, they've gradually become every country's common enemy. But their radical and extreme actions throughout 2015 has not only fanned the flames even more but ISIS/ISIL/IS has also inadvertently heaped hate onto every Muslim in the world.
The thing is, not everyone understands that the actions of ISIS/ISIL/IS do not reflect the beliefs of all Muslims. Thanks to the actions of a very small minority of radicals, everyone seems to believe that all Muslims are crazy, trigger-finger psychopaths.
The saddest part of all this is that until the ISIS/ISIL/IS problem is solved, innocent Muslims everywhere will walk around with an undeserved reputation hanging over their heads.
2015 was meant to be the year where self-tying shoelaces, flying cars, hydrating pizzas, and hoverboards are part of everyday life. So far, the self-tying shoes are coming next year, flying cars are impractical, and there was no need to mess with pizza since they're fine the way they are.
As for the hoverboards? Well, that's another level of disappointment altogether.
Boards that hover in the air wasn't going to realistically happen this year, but there was hope that some awesome alternative might be available. Instead, what we got was a Wii Fit board with two wheels attached. Not only does it not do any hovering of any sort, it looks like a segway without the obnoxious handlebars. Just to top it all off, these 'hoverboards' tend to spontaneously catch fire at random.
If that's going to be the future of hoverboard technology, let's just stick with the self-tying shoes.
4 US Politics
As soon as the 2012 presidential election was over, the media was already looking forward to the election in 2016. But based on what has transpired in 2015, it's pretty certain that no one expected the shenanigans that unfolded.
The 2016 presidential race so far can be summed up with two words: Donald Trump. When it was announced that Trump would run for president, everyone laughed and quickly brushed him off. Less than a year out, Trump is surprisingly leading the Republican vote, people are still laughing, and yet everyone is somehow a bit shell-shocked at how that buffoon of a politician could make it so far whilst essentially making a mockery of US politics (not that US politics wasn't enough of a mockery already).
Of course, you can't give all the credit for the ridiculousness of US politics to Trump. From Kim Davis' inexplicable release, Deez Nutz, a crazy amount of rap and song covers, and anything that comes out of Ben Carson's mouth, it has been a wild year for US politics. It's still way too early but let's see what 2020 has to offer.
3 Racial Tolerance
The issue of racism and tolerance has been floating around for many decades and whilst progress has definitely been made in recent times, things seemed to have gone a bit backwards in 2015.
Just to list a few major racially-focused events this year, there was the 'Black Lives Matter' debacle during Bernie Sanders' rally (and many other places), the cringe-worthy 'Reclaim Australia' protest in Melbourne, and the treatment of Muslims as ISIS caused havoc everywhere.
For all the talk about equality, 2015 seems to have demonstrated that racial tolerance may have taken a step in the wrong direction. Look, at the end of the day, everyone is a human being regardless of the colour of their skin, so can't everyone just put aside their differences and get along?
2 Credibility Of The Police
It wasn't that long ago that the police could be relied upon to keep things under control and bring some semblance of order. Then 2015 came along and completely eradicated what little trust people had left in the police.
It seemed like every week there was a new incident in the US where police were abusing their power and innocent civilians were dying due to mistreatment. Whilst the police have had their share of negative attention in the past, it seems that all the chickens came home to roost in 2015. It'll take an almighty effort for the police to rehabilitate their operational standards and image in order to regain the public trust again.
After all the stuff about mass shootings, ISIS, racially-charged riots, and how Hollywood is slowly going down the gutter, you can always rely on bacon to be the one delicious constant left remaining in the world. In a time where a free and open internet is no longer guaranteed, people’s privacy is being invaded, and music concerts are nothing more than an excuse to try out the camera feature on your phone, the world’s love for bacon always trumped any feelings of disillusionment towards the human race (except if you’re a vegetarian, Jewish, Muslim, or vegan).
In October, the World Health Organisation decided to rain on everyone's parade by announcing that there is a strong link between bacon consumption and cancer. In what has been a topsy-turvy 2015 where the central theme seems to be disappointment and fear, it almost seems fitting that the world’s favourite food decided to rear its ugly head and confirm once and for all that no one can have nice things anymore.
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