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Chris Honoré: 2015: The best and the rest

So let us pause, briefly, and take one last quick glance over our collective shoulders and reflect on the year that has just passed: 2015. Like every preceding year, a great deal has happened, much of it quickly slipping into obscurity, memories already fading like so much early morning mist. However, there have been moments that stood out, in a kind of historical relief.

Many were the essence of mundane, some comical, even absurd, while others reflected our humanity or lack thereof.

So having said that, here are a few reflections on this past year.

With regards to pop culture, there has been nothing that quite compares to the arrival of the “Star Wars” reboot. This wasn’t simply a movie (and the beginning of a new trilogy), but an event. An inauguration of sorts. The Force was awakening and what that will ultimately mean will be played out over the next so many years. Let’s hope the writers are awakening as well. Jar Jar Binks … zzzzzzzz.

And while we’re in the neighborhood, Kanye West, rapper extraordinaire and husband to Kim Kardashian, announced his presidential candidacy for 2020. Don’t we all feel better, now? Hubris, let the games begin. Early.

Meanwhile The Donald is already long down that presidential road and his poll numbers continue to be astonishing, no matter what he says from the political pulpit. And that covers a lot of territory. Consider him the Republican Jedi Knight who simply assumes the force is with him, giving him license to commit verbal battery while commenting on, say, Hillary’s bathroom break during a Democratic debate and then going all bi-lingual (Yiddish) in describing her defeat to President Obama. All of this was preceded by his wish to deport 11 million undocumented aliens and close the refugee door to all Muslims fleeing the carnage of war. Trump also wants to “kill the media,” which he oft repeats to thunderous applause, three words that sound like the title of a Quentin Tarantino movie. The antidote to his rants against the media is the film “Spotlight.”

Pundits of all political colors, from red to purple to deep blue, are finding Trump’s candidacy inexplicable. Huh? There is one thing to be said, however: If politics in America is coarsening, or getting seriously dumbed-down, if trash-talking is becoming de rigueur as part of our national discourse, well, we’re now there. Regarding other aspects of our celebrity-driven society, framed by full disclosure, well, we crossed that bridge a long while back.

But now on to some more serious moments: There has been a mass shooting (defined as four or more people, either wounded or killed) every day since the first day of 2015. America has more guns than people (or close). Why?

Black Lives Matter as a movement is about more than it seems. The rejoinder is not “all lives matter.” That is to miss the point, and the point is complex and steeped in a history that still haunts us.

An image that should never be forgotten is that of a small boy, Aylan Kurdi, lying lifeless on a Turkish beach, waves washing over his small body, having drowned as his parents fled the war in Syria, hoping for a place, any place, to live in peace. That small boy was deemed by Chris Christie to be a threat to our national security. Or maybe he just said widows and orphans posed a threat. It’s hard to keep track. Or was that Jeb!? No, he said Christian orphans and widows were fine. Maybe. The rest? Nope.

Relic of the year: the Confederate flag.

Valentine to NASA: The movie and the book (amazing read), “The Martian.”

Last comment, realizing that all of the above is just the tip of a melting iceberg (say goodbye to Greenland and parts of Miami), is that ink on paper continues to thrive, even if newspapers struggle. The Fourth Estate and books were said to be headed the way of the buggy whip. Or the rotary phone. But not yet. The Daily Tidings, which you are now holding in your hands, remains a Gutenberg wonder. Thanks be. And to all of you, Happy New Year.

Chris Honoré lives in Ashland.