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JEDI, JUSTIN, and JIHAD – the 2015 Year In Review

by Z. S. Roe

Ever since finishing school, the years have been zipping by faster and faster, and each successive year is becoming harder to distinguish from the one before it, and the one before that, and even the one before that. Hence why these Year-In-Reviews have become so important for me – otherwise, I wouldn’t remember a thing.

What follows are this year’s highlights, as determined by me. It’s as objective as the unquestionable superiority of crunchy peanut butter. Know the crunch. Respect the crunch.

Ok, here we go:


Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, but by god the new flick was a lot of fun. Yes, there were flaws: the plot was thin and the MAJOR SPOILER event near the third act wasn’t as emotionally resonant as the film was clearly shooting for. Even so, I had a hell of a good time sitting in that theatre. The new characters piqued my curiosity, and the gritty aesthetic really grounded the action. I eagerly await Episode VII.


When celebrity radio host Jian Ghomeshi was fired from Q, the CBC’s flagship radio show, I held little hope for the program’s continued success. But boy was I wrong. While initially skeptical of new host Shadrach Kabango’s potential to captain the ship, I nevertheless found myself becoming increasingly more invested in the show’s rebooted format. Yes, Shad was a little unpolished at first, but he’s really come into his own over the past year. Also, the guest hosts have been killer (I’m looking at you, Rachel Giesi and Talia Schlanger).


Here’s hoping 2016 doesn’t disappoint. Fingers crossed.


Speaking of new personalities in the Canadian cultural landscape, this year saw the induction of a new Prime Minister. Depending on your politics, Trudeau’s majority win may have been the best news of the past decade . . . or it may have been the worst. Oh, sure, there’s a slew of Canadians who hold more nuanced and complicated reactions to the new PM’s win, but they tend not to shout as loudly as the other two groups. Certainly there are easy comparisons to make between Trudeau’s win here in Canada and Obama’s win in the US back in 2008 – a lot of excitement, of lot of renewed hope, and a bevy of high expectations that will be difficult to meet. Personally, I dig the fresh face. With luck, Trudeau will be able to stick his landing without too many snags.


Yet there are plenty of folk out there who are hoping that Trudeau fails just so that they can say, “I told you so.” You know who I’m talking about – the kind of people who think that the Middle East should be carpet-bombed because all Muslims are terrorists. Apparently, mass genocide is somehow a reasonable alternative to literally anything else. Which is to say, it’s been a bad year to be a Muslim, what with all the hate crimes being committed. Thankfully, I’m a Canadian; my Muslim friends are Canadian. I can only imagine the hardships endured by Muslims in the good ol’ US of A, especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s ongoing lunacy. I know. I know. Not all Americans are bad. But, come on, don’t Americans have a moral and ethical obligation to continually publicly denounce this barbarism? Where’s the outcry?


Speaking of barbarism, did you catch this year’s season of Game of Thrones? A slew of viewers were “outraged” after watching the controversial rape scene that came near the end of the season. However, unlike the criticism rightly fired at last season’s rape scene, this year’s was, to my thinking, entirely misplaced. Remember, we didn’t actually see the act; what we saw was the buildup to it, at which point the camera turned to capture a witness’s (rightly) horrified reaction. And it’s rather hyperbolic to suggest that the inclusion of this scene somehow leads to the perpetuation of rape culture. Yes, I do consider myself a feminist, and yes I do believe that rape culture remains a persistent problem within contemporary society. What I don’t support, however, is the notion that any portrayal of rape in popular culture necessarily normalizes or trivializes the horrific act. Oh, you agree? You just think the execution of this particular scene is morally questionable? Well, friend, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Then again, maybe I’m the one who’s full of shit . . .


Speaking of which, let’s end this thing on an upbeat note – and by that I mean, on the toilet. This Christmas my wife surprised me with a delightful little book called The Kama Pootra by Daniel Cole Young. Yes, that’s right. Like the better known Kama Sutra, which details a whole myriad of different ways to get your freak on, The Kama Pootra offers readers fifty-two unique ways to pinch a loaf. Maybe this sounds a little low brow to you. You’d be right, of course, but you’d also be a bit of a prude for bringing it up. A man’s got to poop, doesn’t he? So who are you to limit him to only a single position? Why not try pooping naked, or pooping with a partner, or even pooping while perched like the captain of a goddamned whaling vessel who’s just spotted the great white leviathan? Moral of the story: there’s plenty of bad shit that happens throughout any given year, and this year was no exception, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it sitting down. The Kama Pootra can show you how.

Opinion is a sometimes column of just that, my opinion. While opinions are like noses and everyone has one, mine are especially snotty. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.


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