Saturday, December 24, 2016

Of The Year

One week to go. As you read this, 2016 is winding down, and all that’s going to happen this year has probably happened. Absent an earthquake or a terrorist attack or Beyonce releasing a new song on iTunes, the chances of something occurring which changes the established order of things is diminishing by the hour. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen. But even in a year that all but defines "changing the established order of things," the rankings and judgements are in, and the cream has probably already risen to the top, whether you consider it fresh and sweet, or curdled beyond all possible consumption.

Of course, the most notable of these judgements is Time’s Person of the Year. To no one’s surprise, the pick was Donald Trump, or as the magazine called him, "President of the Divided States of America." Like him or hate him, he was the obvious choice. After all the criteria is "for better or for worse, the person who has done the most to influence the events of the year." Yes, Hitler got it (1938), as did Ayatollah Khomeni (1979), but so did Kennedy (1961) and Truman (1945 and 1948). By any measure, it was an easy call for the editors, certainly as opposed to 1960 when they gave the title to "US Scientists," 1966 when it went to "The Inheritor" or what we now call Baby Boomers, or 1982 when they gave up on people all together and bestowed the title on "The Computer."

But "person" is not the only thing that is "of the year." Whatever interest you have, there was a panel of experts that has surveyed all that has happened since January 1, and decided what merits special distinction. Books, movies, plays, music: for each there is no shortage of top ten lists, often several variations in the same publication. And subjective is the name of the game. For instance, in film, some lists have "The Lobster" on top, a movie about a future society where a single man checks into a hotel where, by law, he must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into an animal. Others list "Moonlight," a movie about three stages in the life of a gay drug dealer. And still others name "La La Land," a love story/musical that takes place in LA. Divided states, indeed.

As to Word of Year, Daniel Patrick Moynihan is likely rolling over in his grave, as his famous admonition to Richard Nixon has been thoroughly debunked. For it was he who said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." And so in a year when facts mattered less and less, the editors of the Oxford Dictionaries selected "post-truth" as the standout. The official definition: "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." Sorry Dan, seems you do get to pick what you want to believe in.

There is no shortage of other superlative items as well. InStyle has selected Butter London’s Mum’s the Word tone as "Best Nail Polish for Medium-Dark Skin" for 2016. The Statesman-Journal of Salem Oregon has picked named Adam’s Rib as the "Best Barbeque in the Mid-Valley." And has given its coveted Mom’s Choice award for "Best Diaper Pail of 2016" to (drum roll, please) the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail. Sorry, Playtex fans, but the Diaper Genie Elite with Carbon Fiber was only a finalist.

However, these are all about the past. Pantone is looking forward and has announced its Color of the Year for 2017. It’s 15-0343, better known as Greenery and described as a "tangy yellow-green often seen in foliage.".  Asked why, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said, "We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense. This is the color of hopefulness."

One admires her outlook. That’s said, her track record is suspect. For 2016 she and her compatriots actually selected two colors, one a gentle pink, the other a baby blue. The first was called Rose Quartz, and was described as a "persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure." As for the other, it was meant to be "weightless and airy," and called Serenity.

Either of those sound like 2016 to you?


Marc Wollin of Bedford likes colors with one syllable. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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