In a blink on an eye, the year of 2017 has flown by and come to a close.Yet, in the midst of celebrating the coming of a new year and jumping to a blank slate with a “new year new me” mindset, the question of how the old year will be and should be remembered still lingers. Arguably, a factor that influences how people feel about the past year as they move forward is the “year in summary” video across the media, including some by big names such as Time, Google, James Corden, and Vox. In all of these videos, the maker of the video pulls out, what they feel, were the most momentous events of 2017, stringing them together in a logical manner to paint a full narrative of what 2017 will or should be remembered for. However, each video suggests a wildly different approach as to what we should take away from 2017.
In the Google’s “Year in Search- 2017” piece, commonly googled questions in relation to this year’s natural disasters, tragedies, and political unrest are featured. With this, Google showcases the significance of the event, whether it be the severity of the loss of life or the complexity of a political issue, while simultaneously suggesting that all is not lost due to the fact that there was widespread googling of these events and the victims, meaning that at the least, humanity cared and was empathetic. Coupled with the high-key suggestion to “search on”, it seems the core message here is to use the internet as the platform for change, which is not, of course, in any way self-promoting.
In a very similar fashion, Vox’s 2017, in 7 minutes breaks down 2017 into what it deems to be its most significant of events, centering around a variety of facets such as politics, terrorism, pop culture, among others. The narrative moves from a pessimistic tone to one of hope, captured with the successful end of a 20 year NASA project. As one of just a handful of positive events featured in the video, coupled with the overlay of a pensive, slow piano cover of “Auld Lang Syne”, the message perhaps is to remind us that among the failures and tragedies of 2017, there were also successful endeavours worth remembering. In closing, referencing Hasan Minhaj’s comedic speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner, the message of “anything is possible” is featured, perhaps a toast to the possibility that 2018 will be a better year.
The most similar in tone and structure to Google’s video is “Why 2017 Will Always Be Remembered As A Year Of Resistance- 2017 Year In Review” by Time Magazine, the main difference being its pure focus on the theme of resistance and protest with special, very adamant emphasis on the Trump administration and policies, with of course, no detectable political bias. This focus on protests such as the women’s march after Trump’s inauguration, the airport protests against the Muslim travel ban, and the resistance against the repeal of Obamacare serves as a window to portray 2017 as a very unprogressive year. But have no fear! The narrator ends on an optimistic note, suggesting that the voters’ dissatisfaction with Trump, which arguably resulted in democratic wins in several local elections, signals that the Trump administration will face serious, “emboldened” resistance in the 2018 midterms.
Another video with political undertones is surprisingly James Corden Breaks Down an Insane 2017, which features a much more comedic approach than the others, as Corden spews a hilarious poem on events divided into the 3 main categories of general notable events, pop culture, and politics. A lighthearted tone is kept throughout the video, aided by the poem of rhyming couplets seemingly adding to the cynical and mocking narrative on the serious. Closing out the video, and the message for the closing out of the year is James Corden urging that “It’s 2017, there nothing to fear” under the conditions that “you vote in the midterms next year!”
Among their differences in approach and objective, the main similarity between these reviews of 2017 seem to that there is no shortage of a ‘kumbaya’ moment at the end of each video. Where the video seems to grab your hand and urge in some way that 2018 will be/must be a better year, regardless of how terrible of a year they portray 2017 as, the fundamental message of these videos seem to be that it is impertinent to relive and reflect on our failures in 2017 to ensure we do not make the same mistakes. Some may call it a marketing scheme or purposeless noise; regardless, perhaps like these video summaries, we should review 2017 for ourselves, and gleam from it what we can to make the new year better than the last.
Wishing all Gazette readers a very happy new year!
P.S. While not included in the article because it has too many ducks, sharks, and whales to be relevant, the GoPro- Year in Review 2017 video is pretty worthwhile.