As the full, hideous picture of 2017 comes into focus, you curl into a ball, whimpering, asking yourself over and over: Did that really happen?
That's how we feel about 2017. It was a year so densely populated with strange and alarming events that you have to seriously consider the possibility that somebody – and when we say "somebody," we mean "Russia" – was putting LSD in our water supply. A bizarre event would occur, and be all over the news, but before we could wrap our minds around it, another bizarre event would occur, then another and another, leaving us hunkering down, clinging to our sanity, no longer certain what was real.
Take "covfefe." Remember? For a little while, it was huge. Everybody was talking about it! Covfefe! But then, just like that, it was gone. Did it even really happen?
Another example: We have this vague memory that, for the briefest flicker of a moment, the White House communications director was a pathologically bronze man named Anthony Scaramucci, who called up a reporter for the New Yorker and informed him, on the record, that he, Anthony Scaramucci, differed from White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in that he, Anthony Scaramucci, THE WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, was not trying to commit an act of self-gratification that would be extremely challenging even for a professional contortionist.
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Did THAT really happen?
And were there really thousands of people marching around Washington wearing vagina hats?
And did the Secretary of State really call the President of the United States a moron? And did the president (of the United States!) respond by challenging the Secretary of State to compare IQ tests? We want to believe that we imagined these things. But we fear we did not.
So now, finally, it is time to flush this year down the commode of history. But before we do, let's don eclipse glasses to prevent retina damage, then take one last flinching look back at the events of 2017, starting with
It begins with the nation still bitterly divided over the 2016 election. On one side are the progressives, who refuse to accept Donald Trump as president, their reasoning being that:
He is LITERALLY WORSE THAN HITLER.
On the other side are the Trump supporters, whose position is:
SHUT UP, LOSERS.
President Trump immediately, upon being sworn in, rolls up his sleeves and gets down to the vital task of disputing news-media estimates of the size of the crowd at his inauguration, which the president claims–and Fox News confirms–was “the largest group of humans ever assembled.”
Assisting the president as he pursues this agenda is a crack White House team that includes Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, all of whom will, in the coming weeks and months, disappear like teenagers in a Friday the 13th movie.
Meanwhile, the big emerging journalism story is the Russians, who according to many unnamed sources messed with the election. Nobody seems to know how, specifically, the Russians affected the election, but everybody is pretty sure they did something, especially CNN. You can tune into CNN any time, day or night, and you are virtually guaranteed to hear the word “Russians” within 10 seconds, even if it’s during a Depends commercial.
The biggest political story comes at the end of the month, when Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, noting that the letters in “Neil Gorsuch” can be rearranged to spell both “Heroic Lungs” and “Lunch Orgies.”
Finally, in the month’s non-Trump news, we have this: You’re an idiot. There WAS no non-Trump news.
The Russian scandal claims its first victim, Michael Flynn, who is forced to resign as national security adviser following revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, whose name can be rearranged to spell “Seeks Girly Yak.”
There actually are a few non-Trump events in February:
In the Super Bowl, 57-year-old quarterback Tom Brady leads the New England Patriots to a remarkable comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons that definitely involved cheating. We just don’t know how yet.
Adele wins Record of the Year and Song of the Year for yet another one of those wrenchingly emotional Adele ballads that make you want to lie down and slit your wrists.
The entertainment highlight of the month comes during the Academy Awards, when PricewaterhouseCoopers comes up with a brilliant gambit to enliven the 14-hour broadcast by handing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for Best Picture.
Washington is consumed by Russia Mania, to the point where the panels of expert speculators on CNN are being fed intravenously on-air so they don’t have to take even a moment’s break.
FBI Director James Comey tells a hearing of the House Committee on Holding Hearings that the Russians definitely were involved in the 2016 election. President Tweet declares–and Fox News confirms–that the allegations that Russia helped him are FAKE NEWS and furthermore the Russians had numerous contacts with Democrats. This raises the question: If all these Russians were over here making contacts and interfering with our elections, who was running Russia? Poland?
On the legislative front, the big story is Obamacare, which the Republicans have been running against for seven straight years. Their message has been: “Vote for us, and we WILL get rid of Obamacare!” So now that they control the White House and both houses of Congress, there can be no stopping them. It’s time to deliver!
When the smoke clears, Obamacare is sitting at the bar, unscathed, sipping a whiskey. Republican congressional leaders are strewn all over the barroom floor, noses bleeding, underpants pulled over their foreheads.
On a much sadder note, Chuck Berry, a genuine original American genius, duck-walks off to that Big Bandstand in the Sky. His songs told stories; his guitar made you dance; his lyrics made you smile.
The rainwater blowin’ all under my hood
I knew that was doin’ my motor good
Tension mounts on the Korean peninsula when Vice President Pence visits South Korea and, while expressing resolve and gazing sternly across the DMZ, is brushed by an extremely low-flying North Korean missile that leaves him clothed in nothing but boxer shorts and a red necktie. Trump vows to “send some really huge Navy boats over there, believe me.” This threat is contingent upon the Navy being able to get the engines started.
The Senate confirms the Neil Gorsuch nomination by a 54-45 vote after Republican senators invoke the “nuclear option” under which nobody is allowed to go to the bathroom until a vote has been taken. This brings the Supreme Court back to its full complement of nine justices. Six are believed to still be alive.
Bill O’Reilly, beset by accusations of sexual harassment, is fired by Fox News and hired as Director of New Project Development by The Weinstein Company.
United Airlines breaks new customer-service ground when it decides a 69-year-old passenger must be “re-accommodated” via a technique similar to the one the Mexican army used to re-accommodate the Texans at the Alamo, leaving him with a concussion and a broken nose.
In college basketball, the NCAA men’s tournament–which epitomizes the true spirit of American amateur athletics–concludes when a Nike team, which got to the finals by beating another Nike team, wins the championship by defeating yet another Nike team, triggering jubilant celebrations far into the night at Nike corporate headquarters.
Trump fires Comey in an effort to get rid of this pesky FAKE NEWS–as confirmed by Fox News–Russia distraction so the administration can get on with the critical work of failing to enact its agenda.
The political/media complex becomes MORE obsessed with the Russians, who according to CNN sources, make up 47 percent of the population of Washington, D.C.
Under intense pressure to do something, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whose name can be rearranged to spell “Snootier Nerds,” appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller (“Mr. Leer Trouble”) as special counsel, with the power to investigate this Russian thing until the Earth crashes into the sun.
Greg Gianforte, a Republican running for Montana’s vacant congressional seat, body-slams a reporter for the Guardian newspaper. Gianforte wins easily, yet another indication that journalists enjoy the same level of popularity as head lice.
Republican congressional leaders determined to avenge their humiliating defeat at the hands of Obamacare, emerge with a new, smarter repeal strategy. The GOP, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Mojo” McConnell, is cagey about the details, but sources say the plan involves a “high cliff” and a “really heavy safe,” which the Republicans plan to purchase from the Acme Corp.
There are troubling indications that the relationship between the White House and the news media may be worsening:
▪ Trump orders a drone strike against “Morning Joe.”
▪ Jim Acosta bites off Sean Spicer’s nose.
The United Nations Security Council, in its strongest response yet to continued North Korean missile tests, unanimously passes a resolution threatening to suspend Kim Jong-un’s Netflix account.
Amazon, a.k.a. the Death Star of Retail, becomes larger and more powerful when it announces plans to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, enough money to buy nearly four pounds of top sirloin at current Whole Foods prices.
Facebook announces that it has reached 2 billion users, who in 2017 have already posted 17 trillion impassioned statements of their political views, which have changed zero minds.
Trump, following in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, tweets out a video clip from the Internet in which he body-slams a wrestler with a CNN logo superimposed over the wrestler’s head.
This is so embarrassing that everybody assumes the story cannot get any stupider, but CNN rises to the occasion by announcing that its “KFile” investigative team ferreted out the identity of the image’s creator, a private citizen who goes by the Internet name "HanA**holeSolo.” (We are not making this up.)
In a story on this journalistic coup, CNN magnanimously declares that it will not reveal HanA**holeSolo’s identity because he apologized and “showed his remorse” for other things he has tweeted that CNN, in its constitutionally prescribed role as Internet Police, deemed unacceptable. And the republic is saved.
Trump’s appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director triggers the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer, followed by the departure of chief of staff Reince Priebus, whom Trump replaces with John Kelly, who immediately fires Anthony Scaramucci. These events reinforce the growing perception that the Trump White House is basically a Chuck E. Cheese’s with a Rose Garden.
Donald Trump Jr. confirms that in 2016 he met with a high-powered Russian lawyer about obtaining incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Trump Jr. claims the meeting was no big deal because–and Fox News confirms this–“it was last year, for God’s sake.”
On Capitol Hill, Senate Republican leadership executes its plan to repeal Obamacare, which goes smoothly right up until the moment when the Acme Corp. safe, which was supposed to fall on the Affordable Care Act, lands on “Mojo” McConnell instead. Undaunted, the GOP leaders immediately begin working on a new strategy that will involve a really heavy anvil.
As the month ends, the Nevada Parole Board grants a parole date to O.J. Simpson, who upon his release will join the Customer Compliance Division of United Airlines.
White nationalists and Nazis converge on Charlottesville, Va., for a “Unite the Right” rally that ends when a woman protesting the rally is killed by a car driven by a man linked to a white supremacist group.
Trump, displaying a degree of moral discernment seldom seen outside the flatworm community, declares there were “some very fine people on both sides,” a reference to the Nazi party’s Salvation Army branch.
With emotions running high, ESPN executives decide to pull announcer Robert Lee off the broadcast of the University of Virginia football game, out of concern that his name might be disturbing to those viewers who are as stupid as ESPN executives.
Police in Berkeley battle anti-fascist activists, or “antifa,” who fight fascism by violently assaulting anybody who might do or say or think something the “antifa” deem unacceptable.
Steve Bannon resigns as chief White House strategist so he can spend more time killing puppies.
North Korea shoots a missile over Japan, prompting Trump, speaking from his Strategic Golf Club Command Bunker in New Jersey, to warn that North Korea will be met with “fire and fury ... the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
Moments later the club’s 15th green is converted into a smoking crater 300 feet across by an explosion that club officials blame on “an electrical short.” This is confirmed by Fox News.
International tension mounts as Trump, speaking to the United Nations, calls Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man” and says the North Korean leader is “on a suicide mission.” Kim calls Trump “a frightened dog” and “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” At this point, Trump and Kim have no honorable choice but to meet in person, strip to their waists and settle their dispute by flailing at each other with their pudgy fists until oily rivers of sweat mixed with hair product run down the quivering mounds of flab that constitute their bodies.
We are kidding, of course: That would be childish. Instead the two leaders will continue to call each other names from a safe distance as the world inches closer to nuclear war.
Equifax reveals that it had a massive data breach in which the personal information of approximately of 143 million consumers was obtained by cybercriminals who were able to guess the Equifax password, which was “PASSWORD.” Equifax officials promise they have taken “extreme precautions” to prevent further breaches, including changing to the password to “NEW PASSWORD.”
Hillary Clinton, responding to the insatiable public appetite for reliving the 2016 election over and over and over, comes out with her new tell-all book titled “You Idiots,” in which she candidly reveals that she was in fact a superb candidate and charming human who totally would have won the presidency had it not been for James Comey, the Russians, the Electoral College, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic National Committee, Anthony Weiner, sexism, Barack Obama, the media, her incompetent campaign staff and the unacceptable stupidity of the American public.
Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are indicted in connection Mueller’s Russia probe, sending CNN into a panel-gasm so intense that the camera lens becomes smeared with political-insider fluids.
Trump responds by tweeting that the charges involve events from “years ago,” and there was “NO COLLUSION!” This is proof enough for Fox News, which resumes its regularly scheduled programming on “Fudge Recipes of Country Music Stars.”
In a related development, Facebook executives, testifying before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, confirm that at least 60 percent of the people you friended because you thought they went to high school with you are in fact Russians.
A major scandal engulfs the entertainment world when the New York Times reveals that powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein, despite being a prominent supporter of all the correct causes, basically spent the past several decades lumbering around in an open bathrobe forcing himself on unreceptive women. This news comes as a big shock to members of the Hollywood community, especially coming on the heels of their recent discovery that the pope is Catholic.
Emboldened by public revulsion over the Weinstein story, more women come forward with accounts of being harassed or assaulted by a steadily growing list of men that will eventually include pretty much every prominent male entertainment figure except the Geico Gecko. The story quickly spreads beyond show business as thousands of women, using the hashtag #MeToo, take to the Internet to recount their experiences of being sexually harassed, reinforcing the growing national consensus that men are basically pond scum.
Trump goes on a 12-day trip to Asia, which is a very, very important continent containing a tremendous number of Asians. The trip is a huge success featuring tremendous meals. The highlight takes place in Beijing, a very important city where the president signs a very major trade deal, under which the United States will receive, among other things, a shipping container filled with four tons of Gucci purses that according to Chinese President Xi Jinping–an absolutely terrific guy–are 100 percent legit.
Meanwhile, the list of prominent men accused of being pigs grows as the scandal spreads beyond the entertainment industry to ensnare journalists and politicians. In the Alabama senate race, Republican Roy Moore is accused of pursuing teenage girls and sexually touching one–who was 14–when Moore was in his 30s. Moore remains in the race, campaigning under the inspirational slogan “Yes he’s a pervert creep, but he’s OUR pervert creep.”
Congressional Republicans finally manage to pass tax legislation, which in its final form is the same length as War and Peace in the original Russian but less intelligible. The consensus of is that the legislation will reduce taxes for the middle class, increase taxes for the middle class, stimulate the economy, destroy the economy, make America great again and kill millions of people.
In a move that sparks outrage in the Middle East, Trump announces plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the Trump Tower, which the president says offers “a much more favorable lease.”
Amazon purchases the Pacific Ocean, but pledges it will remain open to the public for the time being.
Mike Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI and agrees to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. Six New York City fire companies are dispatched to a midtown Manhattan studio to hose down CNN’s expert panel. Fox launches a six-part Special Report on winter lawn maintenance. Expert media commentators agree that the Flynn story is an overhyped nothingburger and the smoking gun that will lead to IMPEACHMENT ANY DAY NOW.
This hellish year, which by any standard of decency should have been canceled, closes. The American people, wearied by endless scandals and the relentless toxic spew of partisan viciousness, turn away from 2017 in disgust and look hopefully toward the new year, which by all indications will be calmer and saner.
We are joking. By all indications the nation is going to spend 2018 the same way it spent 2017, obsessing spitefully over 2016. So the best we can do is enjoy the brief reprieve offered by the holidays.
Let’s try, as a nation, to forget about our differences, at least for a few days, remember that we’re all Americans, and give our friends and loved ones, whatever their political views, a big holiday hug. Scratch that. No hugging! Give your friends and loved ones a formal holiday handshake, then back away slowly with your hands raised in plain view. Then have a happy new year.