By Olubunmi Familoni
The worst time of the year on the Internet is always the end of the year. Everybody has a ‘My Review of 2016’ and other lameness of similar shades to harass us with. But, honey nobody really cares about your sweet little review of YOUR year, because that review is just a compression of the same shit you spread all over social media throughout the year, every day, posting every minute on Facebook about and tweeting every half-second about — we all know how pathetic your year went, or conversely how jolly-molly it was for you; so don’t torture us with a summary of those lovely details you had crammed down our throats all through the year when we had our own shit to get through (and we got through them, or didn’t, without inundating everyone with an elaboration on all the nasty minutiae). Oh, you just want to show us how well you can write? And all those neat little ‘writing techniques’ you picked up in your fancy writing workshops during the year. How cute. But how about we’re all spared the elegance of this grand Achebeian prose and we all enjoy the end of the year in peace and booze as is the tradition, without getting assaulted by your tidy review of your year. Thank you.
Then there are the ‘lists’, which of course generate a lot of interesting discussions among erstwhile intelligent people, because the audience of these lopsided lists usually prefer to ignore the possessive pronoun operative-word ‘my’ in the title of whatever crappy compilation has been knocked together by our subjective narcissistic friends. We have to endure all sorts of lists: of “the best songs of 20Something”, which of course somehow always turn out to be the worst of the worst lot that came out of that year which had the particular privilege of being the year in which the worst ever songs in the history of music were produced; oh then there’s the list of ‘the most influential social-media influencers’/personalities, who in the proper sense of it are just social nonentities, and ‘overlords’ who are usually just serial underachievers in real life where the real overlords don’t even acknowledge their presence or care whether they have 8 zillion followers and got 3 billion retweets on a half-wit tweet . . . Gee, I seem to have run out of ‘lists’; I’ll have to do a list of all the lists I don’t want to see at the end of every year. As for the people making these lists, the least you can do is send a BC of your fawning to all your idols and leave the rest of us humble unsuspecting citizens out of the drooling. Be blessed as you heed this well-intentioned advice in 2017.
Of all these lists the most annoying has to be those ones where you poise your fingers on the keypad/keyboard and fasten your lips moist with adoration on the butt-cheeks of the people whose names get typed out in “appreciation of their contribution to your life in 2016”; how they “made” your 2016; how awesome/special/great/other soppy lips-to-bum adjectives you can find they made your year, even if you have never met, interacted, or had anything as remote as half-heartedly messaging each other to do with these people; but people have to see that you have some really cool people on your end-of-the-year appreciation list, and so that the listees would be assured that you’re still a loyal lapdog who has no intention of having a life of his own outside of licking their boots in the new year. A whole year of a tenaciously-pursued ass-kissing career which culminates in something as uninspiring as an ‘appreciation list’. How unimaginative ass-kissers can be; makes you want to make a list of people who make lists of cool people they’re cool with just to look cool and make the cool people like them (more).
Oh, a list of all the books I read (or in the actual sense, pretended to read) in 2016 just to show the world how fashionably ‘intellectual’ (the new buzzword of the internet for anybody that can drop a pretty quote from a philosopher/writer in the middle of a discussion for no apparent reason or argue ostentatiously online about art, politics, or science) I am; even though I only read two and a half of all those 655 books I said I read in my Facebook post, and didn’t even enjoy/understand reading them, when I’d rather be reading Linda Ikeji’s blog or the head-on-backwards comments on Nairaland.
On Twitter they do a ‘thread’ of all the things they’re leaving behind in the outgoing year, which of course they’ll pick up two minutes into the new year. In this thread of things they’re ‘leaving behind’, if you read behind their tweets you can tell they’ll also be leaving behind the little sense they have left in 2016 and entering 2017 blithely ignorant and light as a man divested of the burden of critical thinking and the demands of the rigours of intelligent engagement.
And there are the good old New Year’s resolutions, which are only as new as dirty laundry once the year gets properly underway and all the vicissitudes of life, and the peculiar ones of living in Nigeria, come barreling down your tunnel, blocking out the light at the the end of it. To be fair to people, resolutions are not the easiest things to keep; so I made a New Year’s resolution many years ago never to make a New Year’s resolution. I’m going to break that vow, since everyone is being cheerfully childish — my New Year’s resolution is to work more assiduously at being an ass, that is, a no-fucks-giving, happy-go-lucky idiot. And hopefully at the end of the year, when people are compiling their silly lists, I’ll be on everyone’s ‘List Of People Who Ruined My 2017’ or ‘List Of People I Loathe So Much I Choke When I Think About Them’ or ‘List Of People Who Think They Can Write’ or ‘List Of People I Wish Would Just STFU’ or, the one dearest to my heart, ‘List Of People To Leave Behind In 2017’.
Happy New Year, and be happy in the new year, or since some people have taken offence to this and see it as too much pressure, be fashionably sad then. Peace.