Posted on December 28, 2016 by Double Toasted


This will be my 50th article, and last for the year. And with a year like 2016, I'm glad I was able to make it this far. It goes without saying that 2016 has been a tumultuous year for many, and through absurdity and assiduity, the often involuntary musings of daily events have given wake to the possibility of a new perspective for this country, and maybe even humanity. The use of hyperbole withstanding,.... 2016 was fucked.

We should have seen it coming though. We started the year off with giving Leo an Oscar for arguably his worse performance ever. But in hindsight, the possibility of a Trump Presidency seemed hilariously laughable and unfathomable to most (and still does) back in February. As March rolled in, we began to see the year shape into an even further spiraling pit of chaos. The world lost it's collective shit over a superhero movie about dudes in capes, bashing each other's heads in.  It would lay the groundwork for what would often boil down to: "Red vs Blue". We'd see it again with Marvel's Civil War movie, and for the remainder of the year, with the 2016 election. And to add insult to injury, the world would mourn the loss of 30+ celebrities. None of this even takes into account, the barrage of shootings, riots, or fractured culture permeating online. And due to an ensued obstruction of facts, obstinance seemed to win every time.

What would become the fleet-footed actions of a blistering community, swiftly swiping left, and commenting without reading, would soon begin to crush under it's own weight as the year forged ahead; taking no prisoners, and offering no compromises. Soon, the world would take notice of itself in a 90's Milk Mirror ad gone horribly wrong. And this is when the blame game began. Why did this happen? How can we fix it? But maybe most importantly; are the actions of a society elliptical or secular?

Image result for mirror milk ad

Arguments online reached an all time high as social media outlets became the outlets for all during times of stress. Often points would be argued to no avail, because everyone is "right". There's actually a term for this, known as The Backfire Effect.  It states that no one can actually win an argument online, regardless of all of the links and references one presents when supporting their case. Instead, what happens is the opponent actually buckles down and believes their ideas even harder than before. Studies suggest that contradictions to one's thought patterns actually help reinforce their own viewpoints, whether misguided or not. And as a result, an orange with perpetually pursed lips will have the codes for our nuclear devices.

Often times, people seem to be easily triggered into doing things they wouldn't. This goes for online interactions and in person as well. Pop-culture reaffirmation has become the new creed of worship.

Being incensed and arguing to reaffirm one's own belief system is as old as time immemorial. Carrie Fisher died the same day as Vera Rubin. Rubin achieved accolades for first discovering the existence of 'Dark Matter', but if you only receive your news from a scrolling spate of poorly worded sentences, you wouldn't know that. Where as one of these woman played a roll as a 1970's space deity, in certain circles, one actually was.  And again, science succumbs to religion. Personal beliefs lose out to actual facts. Suggesting Carrie Fisher was anything less than a shining falling star becomes blasphemous.

There is one explanation however that may help shed some light when determining why some people feel the need to continually bicker and prove arguments that don't need proving. It doesn't rely on intelligence or survival of the fittest, but rather because of the high it gives. Not directly, but rather consequentially.

A conversation put forth by Simon Sinek, Author, TED Talk Speaker, made headlines recently when he attacked the idea of why Millennials in the workplace have become cumbersome and unruly; not only unto themselves, but also to the corporations that employ them. He goes on to suggest that Facebook as a vice offers high amounts of dopamine to teens and 20-somethings who can't process a day to day life style on a basic level, because they're constantly being forced to make decisions, high. This, combined with lack of life experience, makes them prime candidates for aggressive and incendiary interactions. (Internet dopamine highs apply to everyone btw; not just millennials.) Although it's actually due to no fault of their own, the effect is causing an incredible amount of hostility in online engagement; leading to a dulling effect that is harming collective industries as a whole. There are other ramifications that also suggest the upbringings of the digital generation are resulting in not being able to grasp the cognition of patience. And so, reason gives way to reaction, even if it's in the assumed role of justification; not incisiveness. Having no age requirements or internet etiquette classes before engaging in online interactions, is the equivalent of letting an alcoholic manage a liquor store.

When considering these findings and isolating what the internet and Facebook have accomplished, a clearer picture of why we are where we are, becomes apparent. Social media, albeit through YouTube or any other news delivery service; that relinquishes control to the viewer and not the taste makers, has done something no news media outlet has ever been able to accomplish. That's bring the real conversations and fragmented opinions of the entire world, to the forefront of people's consciousnesses. An awareness of a world outside of their own is there for them to see, and like so many arguments and misunderstandings, a dialogue is created that tries to defend it, rather than understand it. The internet has done a fantastic job of bringing people together, that only a few years ago, would have never been privy to such distinct disparities. But it's done a terrible job at inciting compassion and understanding amongst it's users. Compartmentalized classes and races are now peeking behind each other's curtains, and as a result (as is human nature) we see violence before comprehension. At least for now...

2016 will forever be known as the year the planet nearly lost it's mind. But, it's over now, and we'll hopefully come out of it a stronger and better society for having gone through it. Knowledge is obtained through hardship and sacrifice; not by dropping mics and grandstanding. 2017 may be better, but it also may be worse. We should rally and face it together, instead of hating on each other because 4 woman wanted to bust some ghosts. So, don't place the blame of losing multiple icons to a crummy year. Death isn't going to stop just because the ball drops. If movies and sequels have taught me anything, it's that Death did so well in 2016, they're gonna sign him to a multi-picture deal. And Hollywood can't resist a trilogy.

-Will Valle 15672932_1304061256322284_3361659912039122222_n  
    • christopherlowery1991

      You genuinely believe that The Revenant could be argued to be Leo’s worst performance? No hyperbole? I mean, I definitely didn’t think it was one of his strongest, but it’s becoming hard to take a word of what you say seriously when your opinion seems to exist solely to be dissenting. If it wasn’t for the fact that your stance is nearly invariably the unpopular one, it’d seem more genuine. I don’t know, maybe you really *do* fall on the other side of the fence on things, merely by chance or the way you’re geared up to think, but it’s just getting to seem like a bit much…

      • christopherlowery1991

        P. S. Did you do the artwork at the end of the article yourself? Whether you did or not, I think it’s absolutely awesome; always love the political cartoons that are easy to understand and/or simple, but simultaneously profound. Good choice (or creation, if such is the case!), Mr. Will!

    • Wayne

      This may be the first Will opinion article that I agree with.