“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel.
Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.
I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
Hunter S. Thompson
“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.”
Its 2017 and I took a moment and tried to figure out why 2016 felt like such a lousy year.
Because, personally, it wasn’t really that bad.
And, yeah, Trump was elected … but presidents come and presidents go and we everyday schmucks seem to muddle along.
CNN did a great fake analysis to show 2016 wasn’t the worst year in terms of celebrity deaths.
And, in fact, if you do a little research some good shit happened this year.
While It may not have felt like it global violence is down.
While it may not have felt like it crime was down.
While it may not have felt like it the economy grew, jobs continue to increase <a record number of months straight I believe> and household income is rising.
While it may not feel like it global poverty is down and global literacy is up.
While it may not feel like it America is more racially diverse, more racially united and minorities are gaining more opportunities than ever before.
Within all of that you will not find any spectacular and vivid extreme examples of successes … much of our good was unspectacularly good positive news for most people <and how we do not amplify these many>.
And, yes, the issue appears to be few spectacular extreme examples of bad <and how we amplify these few>.
We had more good in 2016 then bad … but the fewer bad things just looked & felt worse.
It definitely seemed to be a year where a lot of amazing people died and a lot of social progress made over the years seemed to slide backwards.
With regard to the latter, I tend to believe society ebbs & flows reaching forward two steps with progress only to take one step back just to get its feet under themselves.
That can feel bad.
But why should we ignore the good?
American Teen Graduation Rate Reaches Historic High
Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, low-income, disabled, and English-learning students have all accomplished promising gains, creating a whopping 83.2% graduation rate for the nation as a whole.
The United States has also reached a new all-time low number of teen birth rates.
There was good news in the U.S. economy.
Markets hit record highs, wages rose and unemployment dropped to its lowest rate in nine years.
Veteran Homelessness Has Dropped 50% Since 2010
The number of U.S. veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has been cut nearly in half since 2010, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Interagency Council on Homelessness. The data revealed a 17 percent decrease in veteran homelessness between January 2015 and January 2016—quadruple the previous year’s annual decline—and a 47 percent decrease since 2010.
2016 Was One of the Safest Years in Aviation History
Surpassed only in 2013 – which experienced just 265 deaths out of the 3 billion people who boarded planes – records in the most recent year ended with 325 deaths in total worldwide, which is about 1 in every 10,769,230 travelers.
Obama banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.
We have proof that Humans can Impact Climate and Environment: Ozone hole starts to heal itself
Some 30 years after first being spotted, it seems that treacherous hole is starting to heal itself. A decline in the use of atmospheric chlorine from items such as aerosols and refrigerators is key to this success. Well done to all of us for heeding the warning!
The fruits are being reaped from the 1987 Montreal Protocol which banned nations from using chemicals contributing to the hole that was allowing the sun’s ultraviolet radiation to pass into our atmosphere unhindered.
Hearts got healthier
Years of warnings finally paid off with results published in November revealing a dramatic decline in coronary heart disease. Over a 30-year period the American Medical Association found that deaths from the disease had decreased by 20 percent. It took 2016 to deliver some good news regarding the leading global cause of death, which kills one in seven people in the US.
None of that helped me better understand the doom & gloom associated with 2016. That is until I went back to the CNN fake analysis and relooked at the music section.
====== CNN ======
For this category, we looked at deaths of Grammy winners in the performing categories only (no technical awards). And yes, 2016 really was a brutal year for our musical heroes. We said goodbye to 13 Grammy winners, including such giants as Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey and Maurice White. It wasn’t as grim as 2006, when 15 Grammy honorees died, including Lou Rawls, Freddy Fender and Billy Preston. But departed-star wattage this year — OMG, Prince! — was much higher.
====== CNN ======
Our losses spanned from A Tribe Called Quest, Natalie Cole, Bowie, Cohen, Prince, The Eagles Frey and Earth Wind & Fire’s Maurice White.
We got bludgeoned through the entire musical spectrum of our lives.
Music is, and will always remain, the voice of the past, present & future to us.
When that voice is ripped from our lives we … well … lose a little of the past, present & future.
And, no, this is not ‘elevating a celebrity to some stupid status’ but rather it is ‘their music was a part of the fabric of our lives … and now that fabric has been torn in some way.’
Therefore … there was at least a slim thread of gloom which wove its way thru the hearts & souls of the people.
And, to me, that is why 2016 has a feeling of being a crappy year. That underlying thread remains for everyone … and then for many others you start building additional crappy shit on top … which means some people really did have a crappy year mentally.
I am ditching the Doom ‘n Gloom spirit and adopting a wait and see attitude.
And I will do so listening to old musicians, present musicians and all the musicians who come trundling down the future road.
It is their music that will bind us to some future tragedy as they depart but ground us in what is good about what we have and had. Some people refer to that as ‘the circle of Life.’