Ugh, 2015 has finally come to an end. As has been widely reported, it was kind of a shitty year. Good thing we have so much great stuff to look forward to in 2016, right? Yeah, probably. But there's also some total bullshit masquerading as good times on the horizon. We talk about a few examples on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by comic Maria Shehata and Cracked art bro Randall Maynard. It's also what I'm talking about here today. Let's have at it!
5The Summer Olympics
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Yes, I agree that the Olympics are indeed kind of fun to watch. By that, I of course just mean that track, swimming, and gymnastics are fun to watch. But still, we only get to care about those sports without seeming like total weirdos once every four years (same deal with figure skating). Far be it from me to deny that the Olympics come with immense potential for action and enjoyment.
That said, like so many other things in life, the pleasure we get from putting our nation's ever-declining dominance on display for all to see comes at a huge cost to the poor people of the world. As I've brought up previously, this year's Olympics in Brazil are no exception. Bad things seem to follow when the Olympics show up anywhere.
Like the mascots that terrorized the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Sometimes it's just garden-variety corruption, like the scandal that erupted when it was revealed that International Olympic Committee members accepted gifts and bribes from Salt Lake City officials who hoped to bring the games to their otherwise-boring city. On top of being highly illegal, the ploy didn't even work; the 1998 Winter Games ended up being awarded to Nagano, Japan.
When human rights groups reminded the IOC that China treats its citizens like shit after the 2008 Summer Games were awarded to Beijing, they were paid no mind at all -- even after a dissident who criticized the government's push to bring the games to town was sentenced to two years in prison just for voicing his disagreement.
Even that barely scratches the surface when it comes to the atrocities associated with the Olympics. The imprisoned dissident turned out to have every reason to be concerned, seeing as how an estimated 1.5 million residents of the city were displaced or forced into homelessness to make room for the massive structures and complexes needed to house all that sporting activity. The exact same thing is happening in Brazil right now.
Again, I acknowledge that the Olympics make for good television viewing, especially when Bob Costas comes down with pink eye and tries to fight through it like no one will notice. But it would be great if we were to someday figure out how to make them happen without ruining millions of lives every few years.
4The End Of American Idol
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The final season of a long-running television show is usually something to be looked upon fondly. It's one last opportunity for something a lot of people love to prove that the acclaim and fandom it's received wasn't unwarranted. Then there's the final season of American Idol, which should have happened like five years ago, minimum, but against all odds is instead happening in 2016.
Quick! Who are the judges on that show? If you mention Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, or Randy Jackson, then you might as well be saying "Margaret Thatcher" when asked to name the current British prime minister.
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Everyone knows it's Tony Robbins.
They all left around the early part of this decade, for various reasons. Cowell, for example, wanted to focus his attention on launching the American version of the British reality singing competition The X Factor, because sometimes an artist just has to try new things. Only Ryan Seacrest remains from the show's earliest days, because what the hell else is he supposed to do?
As far as judges go, a long list of big names have taken turns shooting down the dreams of the talented and the borderline mentally disabled alike over the years. Jennifer Lopez has been the most enduring presence -- an obvious choice, seeing as how it's a singing competition and all.
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Pictured: the Paula Abdul of acting.
Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey spent an animosity-filled year together as judges at one point.
As seen here!
Steven Tyler continued to his sad descent into absurdity (which started sometime around 1975) by spending a few years lending his musical expertise and carefree "hit on all the 15-year-old chicks" attitude to the judges' table.
The list goes on, but no matter the personalities in the chairs, one thing has remained consistent: Fewer and fewer people have given a shit with each passing year. At its peak, the show was drawing an astounding 36 million viewers (the total who tuned in to the 2006 finale). The most recent finale drew just seven million viewers. Most of that audience has bailed during the last three seasons. The show has gotten so desperate for attention that they somehow compelled Kanye West to show up to the audition rounds as a hopeful contestant.
This makes me want to take the gold digger's side.
That's what people who say shit like "jumping the shark" would call jumping the shark. Mercifully, the reign of Idol finally comes to an end this year. Soon, aspiring musicians hoping to get a start in the business will have to do it the same way as everyone else: by uploading their videos to YouTube.