Quotidian serendipity: Cheerio, 2016

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To me, 2016 has been one of those years in which stupidity reaches its highest records, and nonsense is so popular that it is the new common sense. Superficiality has taken over us, and we cannot escape a trend that has been built with low doses of originality and novelty. It seems like we have stopped trying. And that is so sad.

Let us start with music. The World’s Top song in 2016 is «One Dance», by Drake. Lyrics that rhyme «way» with «play» and «away», plus the featuring of several girls in underwear. What an ode to creativity! In the same ranking, several of Fifth Harmony’s songs. Let me make a quick note on this musical formation: it has plenty of music videos that show how their lyrics are as stripped as the group’s components are, literally, while they sing. In summary, if 2016’s music was a landscape, it would be a plain hill with nothing but dying, yellow grass. And naked girls e-very-where.

“In other words, something challenging should require some sort of effort. And if all we can compete about in 2016 is who can stay more still, we are in serious trouble, my friends”

Let us move to the cinematographic arts: the movie that grossed more money this year is Captain America: Civil War. Deadpool is ranked six positions down. Nothing to add here, except that if you make me choose between an overly patriotic superhero created in the 40s and a funny, controversial antihero created in the 90s, I choose the latter. Sadly, 2016 is the year in which society chooses the obsolete, lack of creative inspiration option. Again.

The list goes on and on. Challenges of all types have been spreading this year, more than ever. The mannequin challenge, which consists in recording yourself while staying completely still. Or the duct tape, which involves wrapping a person in – you guessed it – duct tape, and seeing how long it takes him or her to escape. These are perfect examples of how this year has often taken a detour towards imbecility. Don’t get me wrong, but the word challenge implies competing at something to determine who is superior in terms of ability or strength, for example. In other words, something challenging should require some sort of effort. And if all we can compete about in 2016 is who can stay more still, we are in serious trouble, my friends.

But not everything is lost. 2016 is soon another year to put behind us, and my proposition is the following: to make 2017 a more creative, unconventional year, for each of us. I am not saying you need to start painting or writing poetry; creativity in this context has nothing to do with the creation of art. Besides, you might consider yourself as a non-creative person, but you are. We all are. As songwriter Michael Gungor once said, «Creativity is simply the human brain forming new connections between ideas. The common idea that there are some people who are creative and some who are not is a myth».

Overall, and if I must be realistic, we might not change the fact that boring movies and insipid songs reach top positions again next year, but we can explore other options far from the popular choices. We will certainly not be able to stop silly challenges involving zero skills and zero originality, but we can find a new meaning for what a challenge constitutes for each of us. If you have something to say, say it. If you always wanted to do something, do it. Anything you can do with passion, inspiration and commitment is something that deserves a clap, nowadays. The world is in desperate need for a change; we need less anesthetized minds and more active ones. So, let us wave 2016 goodbye, and welcome 2017 with hope. Not sure we can do worse than we have already, so what is there to lose?

Cheers and happy new year!

«Quotidian serendipity» is a column about everything and nothing. Columnist Aneley Lampugnani writes about whatever is on her mind.

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