When we reflect on what we lost in 2016, we shouldn’t only think about the people that left us behind, but also the things we’ll never have again. Websites went bankrupt, technology became obsolete, fads died, and concepts we use to understand the world bit the dust. Let’s remember some of the stuff we lost in 2016, because without our stuff, what are we but naked animals who for some reason don’t have fur?
Gawker’s fearless combination of gossip and reporting was, in retrospect, a national treasure. Whether in the field of sports (Manti Te’o), politics (Rob Ford), or entertainment (Dr. Dre), Gawker broke scoops no one else could because they didn’t give a damn about what the rest of them thought. Not only should Gawker be remembered as a great investigative site, but also as an op-ed platform unlike any other. My personal favorite opinion piece in Gawker history is “Actually, Riots are Good” by Matt Bruenig, but the brilliant thing about Gawker was that every reader has a favorite piece they can recall on cue, and very rarely is it the same as yours.
As several people have already pointed out, what made Vine great was also what doomed Vine. “Five second videos that repeat on a loop that you have to click on several times to make play before they come blasting out of your phone” isn’t exactly the most appealing thing for investment and growth. But, for its users, Vine was beautiful and hypnotic. Even if you hadn’t used Vine in years, you can’t tell me that you didn’t rush to your phone for one last look upon hearing the news that Twitter was cancelling the app. As Vine rides off into the sunset, just know that there may be nothing quite like it ever again.
Like when we got rid of Walkmen and five CD disc changers, the end of the headphone jack will probably ultimately improve our lives, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel strange. For decades, headphones have been the universal symbol of someone lost in their own creative world. The wayward teen, the unhappy businessman, the aspiring artist: they all have one thing in common. Headphones. Films like Garden State put 90% of their character development on a pair of headphones exactly because anyone who has ever ridden the subway or endured a dinner with relatives knows the power of headphones.
The Cubs CurseGetty Images
Surely, Cubs fans are thrilled that they are no longer subject to the century long curse that loomed over their beloved Cubbies. As the MLB season gets further in the rearview, we should take a moment to remember that now that the curse is lifted, we won’t be able to root for the curse to be lifted anymore. It kind of feels like a house is no longer haunted or a dragon no longer dominates a castle tower. The spell is broken, and even though it was a terrible curse, there is a little less magic in the world.
In the era of Internet ordering, delivery services, and healthy alternatives, McDonalds can no longer expect to saturate the market like french fry grease saturates a napkin. McDonalds is stepping away from its pseudo-health food measures and focusing on breakfast all day. So I guess we had to say goodbye to the McWrap in order to enjoy hash browns at 7pm.
American IdolGetty Images
There was a time when every other show on the big networks was reality show, and singing contests were king. These gave birth to dancing contests, cooking contests, stand-up contests, and drag contests. And the king of them all was American Idol. Though The Voice still manages to pull in millions of viewers, the heyday of the singing competition has come to an end. It’s hard to believe after all these years that there was a time that Americans could name more American Idol contestants than Senators. Next time you’re at the bar, take a drink for Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Justin Guarini, and the rest. If you see them at the bar, buy them a drink.
Tower of Terror
Few theme park rides are as famous as the Tower of Terror, long a signature attraction of Disney’s California Adventure. It was announced this year that the venerable ride will be the next one claimed by shift of California adventure into a half-Pixar half-Marvel theme park. Tower of Terror was always strange, modeled after a “ghosts of Old Hollywood” episode of The Twilight Zone. But, in an era when everything is increasingly dominated by super heroes, it was nice to see something different. While haunted bellmen don’t sell the same number of tickets as Captain America, with the end of Tower of Terror, we will lose an essential Californian experience.
They Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” Meme
As if the news of the election weren’t bad enough, feminists everywhere received another crushing blow in November. He came clean and told the world that he can’t recall ever actually saying “Hey Girl.” A hero lives long enough to become a meme , a hero lives long enough to see the meme die.