It was a heck of a year, 2015. In television, we saw the departure of NBC news anchor Brian Williams, whose fanciful anecdotes became the stuff of Internet memes. Then Jon Stewart left The Daily Show and David Letterman departed CBS after decades of stupid people tricks, leaving a void on late-night screens that their replacements will be hard-pressed to fill.
Early in the year, the long-awaited 50 Shades of Grey hit movie theaters and proved that kinky sex could be boring if you cast the right actors for the job. And "Uptown Funk" became the first Memphis-produced No. 1 song since "Disco Duck," back in the 1970s. Hopefully, some enterprising Memphis musician will write "Uptown Duck" and keep the magic alive in 2016.
This was the year that Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner and posed for the cover of Vanity Fair, putting the T of LGBT into more conversations than ever before. Shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court struck a blow for L, G, and B by ruling that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states — except for that one county in Kentucky where Kim Davis was the clerk. By refusing to issue gay marriage licenses, Davis got her 15 minutes of fame, and later, some well-deserved jail-time.
On the pervert front, Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting, and Bill "Dr. Huxtable" Cosby had their sexual deviances exposed and suffered varying consequences. Hopefully, we will not hear their names again, except in a court dossier.
The New England Patriots and Tom Brady survived "Deflategate" and won another Super Bowl; Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors jump-shot their way to the top of the NBA; and the Kansas City Royals won the World Series. Also, some team won the National Hockey League championship, but I'm too lazy to look it up, and you don't care because you live in Memphis.
Unsurprisingly, we in the United States endured another year of mass shootings and mass death in churches, schools, malls, military bases, Planned Parenthood offices — and a California facility for the mentally disabled. The latter incident was perpetrated by Islamist terrorists and therefore became the incident that was the sole focus of right-wing media and the GOP candidates. They, of course, ignored the one common denominator of all the shootings, no matter the politics, religion, or mental state of the perpetrator: easy access to high-powered weapons. The NRA-owned GOP Congress then decided that even people on the terror no-fly list should continue to have access to guns. Because freedom.
Donald Trump gamed the presidential nomination process by dominating media coverage of the GOP race with his outrageous comments, each of which only seemed to increase his strength in the polls. As 2016 approaches, the GOP establishment is in near-panic mode, and will probably be forced to support Marco Rubio, the least wacky of the remaining viable candidates, and the only one they see having a chance to beat the Democratic nominee.
In Tennessee, the boneheads in Nashville played their usual tune, turning down federal money to expand Medicaid, and focusing on loosening gun laws, dumbing down our education system, fighting gay marriage, and taking on the horrific encroachment of Sharia law.
In Memphis, we elected a new mayor and got Bass Pro to fill the Pyramid with outdoorsy stuff. We learned to love Tiger football, and are struggling to learn how to live with mediocre basketball.
For more on the year just past — and predictions for the year ahead — in Memphis, check out the pages of this, our special year-end double issue.
The new year is upon us, bright and shiny and filled with hope. We at the Flyer are glad you're with us after 26 years in Memphis, and we're looking forward to another run around the calendar. Let's get after it.
The U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, but there are many who will tell you that we're still fighting it and will find evidence of such in Jackson Baker's cover story about the current battle over General Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue and gravesite in Memphis ...