So a whole bunch of people died, and America elected a dude with a terrible combover. Big deal! Twenty-sixteen wasn't so bleak, really. Here are thirteen things to celebrate as bid farewell to everyone's least favorite year in recent memory.
1. Because no steampunks were elected to lead our government
The year 2016 certainly has propelled a number of questionable people into positions of power. With Breitbart News' Steve Bannon (who looks like he could play the estranged brother of Philip Seymour Hoffman in a movie about conning people out of sailboats) and a variety of other characters plucked straight out of Cobra Command and cast into political roles, things seem particularly volatile at the moment. In times like these, we must be grateful that some unseemly groups remain politically isolated and confined to the safety of damp basements, illuminated only by their laptops and the glow of their coal-powered espresso makers. Yes, that's right — we're talking about steampunks. We all need to be thankful that these faux-Victorian madmen still haven't managed to secure even a single seat in Congress, thus saving the country from the flawed decision-making of gyrocopter-piloting dorks. Instead, we just have a bunch of racists in charge. — Drew Ailes
2. Because the Chicago Cubs finally have to drop their sad sack act
The Chicago Cubs and the city that loves them both pride themselves on a certain lovable loser schtick. Or rather, they did. No longer can the Cubs and their fans get by on being hapless schmucks. The team's owners spent a reported $900 million to buy the team and a slice of SportsNet Chicago (your source for hot takes about bad baseball and shitty pizza), and then hired Theo Epstein, curse-breaker for the Boston Red Sox, to be team president. Epstein earns a reported $10 million a year, and he must be worth it since the Cubs are the current World Series champs.
But now the pressure's on. The team's World Series success could be chalked up to "small sample size," as the stat guys love to say (one occurrence in 108 years does not inspire confidence), and history has shown that "sustained success" is the Cubs' kryptonite. Still: What happens if guys show up to spring training a little fat and happy from the winter of celebrating? What happens if the Cubs aren't division leaders by the All-Star break this year? What happens if they resume course and crash out of the playoffs? Grumbling by the fans. Sniping from inside the front office. Oh, sure, all the experts are saying the Cubs are built for long-term success, but they said the same thing about Epstein's Red Sox, and they're now known primarily for their douchey and entitled fans and the team's inflated payroll and lack of recent success. So the best the Cubs can hope for is to become the Red Sox, Jr., and the worst is that they flame out and sink back down to the bottom of the standings. Either way, it ain't all bad for Cardinal fans. — Paul Friswold
3. Because St. Louis won the Rams debacle, morally and financially
In the best of all possible worlds, the Rams still reign supreme in St. Louis. In this fantasy, Sam Bradford's knees are forged from unbreakable meteorite alloy; Jeff Fisher is a Super Bowl-winning coach whose mustache is dyed in permanent stripes of blue and gold; the defense, led by Aaron Donald, tears apart offensive lines with avalanche-force.
Admit it, former St. Louis football fan: You entertained some version of this dream as the opening kickoffs boomed to start the 2016 season. But it need not trouble your mind any more, for as tantalizing as the fantasy may be, the reality of the Rams' magnificent collapse in Los Angeles is arguably the greatest shitshow ever gifted to a spurned city by a departing team.
For the Los Angeles Rams aren't just a bad football team. They are a slapstick circus of terrible coaches, players and upper management who collaborated to give LA fans one of the worst performances in the history of the sport. When your Rookie of the Year award-winning running back compares his team to a "middle school offense," you know you've reached the promised land.
And watching from on high, presumably with a villainous scowl, was Stan Kroenke. The real estate magnate gaslighted his way out of St. Louis, claiming that taking the local's $1.1 billion stadium deal would lead to the team's "financial ruin" and described the same city that marveled at the Greatest Show on Turf as a place that "lags, and will continue to lag, far behind."
In fact, it is the Los Angeles Rams that lag, and apparently will continue to lag, far behind the rudimentary goals set by professional teams. The same trends that made the team's final years in St. Louis so agonizing did not disappear in LA — instead, the Rams devoured themselves in a breathtaking display of on-the-field self mutilation. Disgusted fans are already deserting the team, leaving the stadium stands as empty as the Rams' playoff hopes.
After years of coddled treatment in St. Louis, coach Jeff Fisher lasted just three months into his first Los Angles season. And when Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff delivered a press conference on the firing, an emboldened Fox 2 (KTVI) ran a graphic beneath his name reading "Professional Liar."
Of course, the station apologized later (this is still St. Louis, and seldom does passive-aggressive nice cross the line into pure aggression). But tell us this, o former St. Louis football fan: Can you feel the hair standing up on your neck, the blood pumping through your temples? That's the feeling of being alive, more alive than you've been since the championship season in 2000. That's the feeling of revenge served on a cold, cold dish, piled high with Ramsenfreude. — Danny Wicentowski
- ILLUSTRATION BY PJ TAMAYO
- Missouri is now utterly invasion-proof.
4. Because Missouri is now invasion-proof
Missouri's motto is "The Show Me State," but now the question implied by the command finally has an answer: your gun. As in, "Show Me Your Gun." Come the new year Missouri's gun laws are downgraded to gun suggestions, as almost everyone — even those with questionable backgrounds — will be entitled to carry a concealed weapon.
You might be one of those doom 'n' gloom types who sees this as an unfortunate development, but the realistic know in their Kevlar-and-ceramic-plate-protected hearts that this is a key point in Missouri's state safety plan.
Consider the fact that Missouri shares a border with eight states, each more potentially deadly than the last. Any one of those states might decide to invade our borders, perhaps to get access to our excellent school system (it'll most likely be Arkansas or Tennessee, since those are the only two that rank lower than the Mediocre MO in education). Yet in 2017 it just won't happen — even Arkansas' slowest citizens will think twice about facing our well-armed citizenry. And the genius part is that they won't even know which of us are packing, thanks to our concealed carry law.
That same Missouri law holds force in every surrounding state except for Illinois (state motto: "Did you forget us? We're Illinois."), so our forces will be able to infiltrate these weaker states at will. That's supposing anybody sees the need to invade Arkansas (state motto: "Durrr, not Kansas?"), but what's the point of having guns if you're not going to use them?
And lest you think this state will be overrun by free-shooting toy soldiers, remember that our commander in chief is a former Navy SEAL with the supernatural ability to shoot at an open field until it surrenders in a fiery explosion. With Governor Rambo's tactical know-how, he'll be able to hold the state together even as its citizens are shooting each other to bloody gobbets in mutual stand-your-ground incidents (also protected by law) or firing away at one another with large-caliber handguns in duels (which also may be sanctioned by these new laws). What a great time to be under-educated, angry at the world and armed at all times, eh? Surely the few survivors will thank their legislature for the generous gift of total security. The only thing you'll soon have to fear is friendly fire. —Paul Friswold