Not the Worst of 2015

Let's start with the worst things about 2015. The muck, the sludge, the dregs, the very worst that humanity had to offer over the course of the last 365 days.

Or maybe, let's not.

Earlier this week, I wrote a long-ish post on the subject of "the worst of 2015." How very Festivus of me, huh? I won't be publishing it and I deleted the whole mess after I completed it. Nonetheless, it was a useful thing to do for a couple of reasons.

Writing out a list of all the lousy things that happened in a year is an exercise rich in catharsis. I'd been holding on to some things for the purpose of unloading about them later and it's hard to carry that much poison without some of it seeping into your system. I'm really good at finding that poison, too. Any time a divisive event happens, I know where to go to find dumb reactions, or, even better, smart-but-hateful takes on those events. There's just enough of a rush from reading people justifying being horrible to other people that I find it hard to resist seeking them out*. Making my list got a lot of the bile out of my system and I feel a lot better for it.

The other benefit is a little more subtle. Putting it all on paper, I couldn't help but notice the enormous gap in the importance of the things I'd found outrageous. When you have an item labelled "Police killing minorities with impunity and getting away with it," next to "Small group of science fiction fans try to hijack awards," you kind of have to ask yourself why you've devoted approximately equal amounts of time to being angry about both of them. I'm not going to suggest that you should only be upset by the single worst thing and ignore the others until the first one is sorted; we humans have the capacity to multi-task our outrage. I'm just asking quesitons about my own priorities and feeling like there's some room for improvement there.

Your mileage may vary, but I think going through this process was a good and useful thing to do. It got some of the pent-up anger out, and it reminded me of where I'd been allowing myself to get angry and reconsider those choices.  Now, on to the good stuff!


* Note to self: Stop doing that. It isn't helping