If 2016 was the year of the underdog, 2017 will be remembered as the year of resistance. On January 20th, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. One day later, the Women’s March on Washington was the largest single-day protest in U.S history, with millions also participating across the U.S and around the world. Such would set the tone of 2017, characterised by protest, disquiet and disorder.
As with 2016, much of the disquiet revolved around Donald Trump. One of his first actions was to issue a travel ban affecting residents of six majority-Muslim countries. Immediately, the ban faced resistance, but this time it was not confined to the streets. Federal judges frustrated the order over several months, resulting in a prolonged legal battle for the administration in the Supreme Court. Resistance spread to the sporting field, with NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, an ongoing controversy throughout the 2017 season.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the #metoo movement gained momentum, outing stars such as Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman and a long list of film stars and politicians whose previous misconduct had been shielded by the glow of fame. In Australia, Don Burke faced a long list of accusers and made a ham fisted attempt to defend himself, managing to offend individuals with ASD in the process.
Resistance, or obstinacy, was on display on the international stage. The Kim Regime in North Korea continues to ignore international pressure to curb its nuclear program while he and Trump play an undiplomatic game of chicken. The European Union and Remain voters continued to frustrate Brexit, while British PM Theresa May was left reeling after a less than glowing election result. Meanwhile, the international community signed off 2017 with a collective rebuke of the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The final resistance against ISIS in Syria and Iraq met its endpoint with the liberation of Raqqa and Mosul from the brutal regime, yet the group ensured it was never far from the headlines with attacks at a nightclub in Istanbul, a shrine in Pakistan, a hospital in Afghanistan and a concert in London. The global refugee crisis continued as individuals and families desperately escaped war torn Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee to Bangladesh amid a human rights travesty in Myanmar, leaving more than 1 Million people’s lives in the hands of the international community.
Meanwhile, back home, the Turnbull government faced its own set of headaches. The same-sex marriage plebiscite met resistance from the LGBTQI community and a Labor-Greens alliance only too willing to frustrate the government’s agenda, but Turnbull signed off 2017 with the long awaited reform finally becoming law. The economy grew steadily and the housing market continued to boom in Sydney and Melbourne, yet the political focus in Canberra was left disrupted by the rolling citizenship crisis that has already claimed seven MPs, with more to follow.
If resistance characterised politics and current affairs, on the sporting field, it was the year of vindication. Vindication for Richmond Football Club and Damian Hardwick, finally silencing critics with their 48 point victory against Adelaide in the AFL Grand Final. Golden State Warriors achieved their revenge for the devastating loss in 2016, while Melbourne Storm made up for its 2016 disappointment by thrashing the North Queensland Cowboys 34-6. The Socceroos also breathed a sigh of relief by qualifying for the World Cup. Some triumphs, however, were par for the course. Roger Federer won his fifth Australian Open while the New England Patriots won yet another Superbowl, but not before needing to achieve the greatest comeback in history.
For Melbourne, the year was unfortunately opened and bookended by tragedy. Dimitrious Gargasoulas took six lives and injured 28 more when he deliberately ploughed his car through Bourke Street, and on December 23rd people were left fighting for their lives after a car attack on Flinders Street.
There were good news stories too. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, the World Health Organisation announced that annual deaths from Measles had reached an all-time low, and Star Wars fans finally saw the next instalment in the beloved franchise.
As 2018 approaches, the trajectory is predictable. The digital age has given a greater voice to the masses, with the irony being that we’ve been left more divided than ever. Comfortable within our digital cocoons where we can follow, read and share only the things we like and ignore that and those we don’t, it’s likely 2018 will be marked by the same disquiet that characterised 2017.
As always, below you’ll find the best, the worst, and the peculiar that was the year, 2017…
Best film: Dunkirk
An unashamedly proud portrayal of one of World War Two’s most famous battles. Apparently it was politically incorrect to feature a mainly white male cast…
Honourable mentions: Wonder; Star Wars – The Last Jedi; Coco; It; Kingsman – The Golden Circle.
Best song: Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Honourable mentions: Still Breathing – Green Day; Paris – The Chainsmokers;
Most overplayed song: Rockabye – Clean Bandit
We’ve known this to be the case for a long time, but popular lyrics are in a state of crisis. Nothing could exemplify this more than an old nursery rhyme reinvented into a truly terrible song supposedly about single mothers. “Bidda-bang-bang-bang alright then”; “cause you haffi set things”; “heavily you know so you nah stop, no time fi a jeer”. You get the point…
Dishonourable mentions: Friends – Justin Bieber; Young Dumb and Broke – Khalid
Best television show: The Walking Dead (Season 8)
Worst social media craze: Virtue signalling.
Virtue signaling is the shallow expressing of moral values, positions and opinions in the hope that viewers will see how virtuous you are. It has been a thing for a while, but boy did it steam ahead in 2017. Hashtag activism was in full force, whether it took the form of rainbow coloured profile pictures or #lovetrumpshate hashtags. Each a great facade for appearing to hold the moral high ground without ever having to do anything.
Dishonourable mentions – Anti-Trump hysteria; Instagram fitness models
Most influential individual: Donald Trump
This is not an endorsement of Trump, but for the second year running, there’s no denying that he continues to be the most influential individual on the world stage. Trump’s unpredictability continues to baffle even his own advisers. Despite the many own goals (and there are many) the Thought Hub wholeheartedly supports his recent cutting of the company tax rate from 35% to 21%. This will be a wonderful outcome for the U.S economy, stimulating growth and rewarding entrepreneurship. Western nations should follow suit.
Biggest disappointment: Melbourne Football Club
After featuring in the top 8 for much of season 2017, Melbourne F.C was unceremoniously bundled out of the finals with a final round loss to Collingwood. To add to the embarrassment, the club had already sent out finals package deals to its members. News also recently came through that the players refused to partake in a commando style training camp as part of their pre-season for 2018. Oh Melbourne…
Dishonourable mentions: Greater Western Sydney; Western Bulldogs; Aung San Suu Kyi; The Mummy.
They did what? – Margaret Court’s same-sex marriage comments
The former tennis champion caused a stir when she wrote a letter to the editor voicing her opposition to same-sex marriage. She then doubled down in subsequent interviews, creating a news and social media storm.
Honourable mentions: Pauline Hanson wearing a burka into parliament; Donald Trump posting a Wrestlemania video of him beating up CNN; Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s ANZAC Day post.
Best sportsperson – Steve Smith
Smith is currently the top-ranked batsman in the world. He just chalked up his fourth consecutive 1,000 runs in a calendar year and has single handedly embarrassed the English during the current Ashes tour.
Honourable mentions: Dustin Martin; Ben Simmonds; Tom Brady; Patrick Dangerfield
Mary Tyler Moore
Now, the headlines for 2018?
Richmond fails to make preliminary final week
Turnbull loses 30th Newspoll in a row
Trump survives another year in office
Australian Housing Market stagnates
Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin share Brownlow Medal
Ablett propels Geelong to its tenth AFL Premiership
Best wishes for 2018!