Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 in Summary: Holding on to Hope, or, We're Really Cunting Angry, or, Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

So that's 2016 over and done with. As has been universally agreed, it's not been a highlight in terms of human enlightenment. Still, one must remember to acknowledge the progress that has been made. For instance, there is now a vaccine against ebola. France has introduced a law that criminalises the act of buying sex. 650 political prisoners have been released worldwide, according to Amnesty International. And the manatee is reportedly no longer at risk of extinction.

We have to remember the good things, because otherwise we will succumb to despair. And we bloody well can't afford to succumb to despair. 2017 is the year when Donald Trump takes over as president of the United States, which means that, most likely, 2017 is the year when a shitstorm of racism, sexism, and every kind of -ism you can think of, including nazism, will be unleashed upon the world. If we want life to be worth living, we have to fight to make it so. Human rights are won through struggle and sacrifice, and once won, they have to be defended. We have to sodding well keep fighting for democracy.

We can't afford to sit on our arses and do nothing. As Caitlin Moran says, "If you have been complaining about something for three minutes, you should have done something about it two minutes ago". If you find yourself complaining about the state of the world, DO SOMETHING. If you have money to spare, donate it to an organisation fighting for civil liberties and human rights. If you don't have money to spare, consider whether you can instead give of your time; find an organisation that needs volunteers.

Human rights will only be breached if we let them. We can stand up for each other. We can organise protest marches. We can show solidarity. There are so many things we can do. Don't do nothing.

A rather incendiary call to arms, what? But who are we to tell people to roll up their sleeves and defend democracy? Who do we think we are? Do we imagine ourselves to be striding up the barricades, one tit hanging out, waving a fucking flag? Hardly. Actually, we spend rather a lot of our time bitching and moaning, and moodily grinding our teeth. In a dark moment recently, we thought to ourselves that we would be fine with the zombie apocalypse arriving round about now, and ending all the rape culture and the sexist bullshit. Zombies, after all, aren't interested in maintaining a toxic, patriarchal hegemony. They just want brains. When we posited this idea to Shewee Fiend Friend, however, she said, firmly: "Yeah, but I want equality first." This seems reasonable. First equality. Then zombie apocalypse. To find the strength to fight for equality, however, we need hope

Hope, according to the old parable about Pandora and her box, is the last thing to abandon humankind. Without hope, we'd all stop writing toilet blogs, or whatever activity we happen to find meaningful, lie down in a puddle, and die. We're not sure that this would be a negative development, considering the way the human race is pushing this planet to hell in a handcart, but let's work on the assumption that we want to keep humanity alive. So. Hope. What gives us hope? Well, mixer taps and good hygiene, for a start.

We have had the good fortune of spending the autumn at an amazing school in the south of Sweden. This school is filled to the rafters with wonderful staff and students, who make every day spent in their company a joy! This school also has exemplary toilets. Not only are they equipped with mixer taps, good-quality soap and paper towels, they also have these amazing signs:

This reminds us of a similar sign in a toilet in a building where we have spent some of the best times, and made some of the best friends, of our lives: the King's Manor in York.

The sign says (a translation will follow for those whose linguistic skills do not quite stretch to reading toilet signs in Swedish):

Råd för att förhindra smittpsridning
För att minska allmän smittpsridning så rekommenderas:
- Noggrann handhygien - tvätta händer ofta och alltid före mat, efter toa-besök och efter man snutit näsan
- Vid nysningar: nys i en pappersnäsduk (som sedan slängs) eller i armvecket
- Undvika att vidröra munnen, ögonen eller peta näsan med "orena" fingrar
- Vädra klassrum med luftgenomdrag 3 min. minst mellan lektioner
- Vistas mer utomhus på rasterna
- Vistas hemma i stillhet vid feber eller påverkat allmäntillstånd

(Advice to prevent the spread of disease
To minimise the general spread of disease, the following measures are recommended:
- Careful hand hygiene - wash hands often and always before eating, after going to the toilet, and after blowing one's nose
- When sneezing: sneeze into a paper handkerchief (which is then discarded), or into your elbow
- Avoid touching your mouth or eyes, or picking your nose, with "unclean" fingers
- Air out each classroom for at least three minutes between classes
- Spend more time outdoors during recess
- Stay at home and rest when you have a fever)

Words cannot quite express how wonderful we find these signs. Suffice to say that when we first caught sight of one of them, we uttered a joyous WOOF! and knew we had found kindred spirits. In a world full of darkness, despair, and bad plumbing, it is kindred spirits and mixer taps that keep the Privy Counsel going! (Again, let us assume that this is something we want to aim for.)

Here is a photo of the disabled toilet at the same school:

See the sign? See it? Isn't it amazing? Also: mixer tap, covered toilet roll holder with toilet roll facing the right way, paper towels, and good-quality soap.

We dearly love signs designed to exhort the public to harden the fuck up and be more hygienic. Let's hope there are more of them in 2017!

We have, in previous years, attempted to get our readers to vote for the year's best bog blog post. However, since the only person who ever votes is Australian Friend (who tried to vote twice last time, in order to be kind, which if possible made us feel even sadder), we will not attempt that again. Also, if there's one thing 2016 has shown us, it is that elections, even democratic ones, can be hugely problematic. Let us instead summarise 2016 by regarding this picture, sent to us by Australian Friend. It says it all, doesn't it?

Australian Friend's comment on 2016.

Before enjoying a rather epic Festive Video, a word on this year's mottoes.
Our mottoes for 2016 were PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE, and FEMINISM NEEDS TO BE MORE MILITANT. We have, by and large, stuck to them. The first motto seemed to strike a chord with the populace at large. We didn't need to clarify, or explain what we meant; everyone appeared to nod sagely, as if to say "I hear ya, bruv. People totally need to fuck off more". The second motto, however, apparently caused some puzzlement. Not everyone understood what we meant by "militant". The word "militant" conjures up, perhaps, images of unattractively dressed people engaged in unattractive, even violent, activities. Let us make it clear that what we meant was not "violent", but rather "uncompromising". Women, in our opinion, make too many compromises when it comes to negotiating with the patriarchy. If you require further clarification, we wrote a Facebook post defending our stance, which you can read here.

Our mottoes for 2017 will be the same as for 2016:

Let us move on to the Festive Video.

Festive Video - Flo & Joan, The 2016 Song

Because our particular brand of OCD makes us unable to handle misspellings of expressions like "en masse" (and also "en route". Oh God, "en route") in Youtube video subtitles, we are providing a full transcript ot the lyrics of this song - spelled right - below. We love the song and everything about it, but - en masse. Our usual recommendations of Related Reading follow below the lyrics.

The 2016 Song

2016 - it's been a time, it's been a struggle
But everything is fine if you're a straight, white, male muggle
We've tried to stay composed, cross our fingers, count to ten
But every time we get to nine you fuck it up again

You took David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince and Sharon Jones
Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Caroline Aherne and Leonard Cohen
Victoria Wood was enough for us but still you wanted more
Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, and the Great British Bake-Off was the final straw

You shot down a gorilla, we can't cure the zika virus
And the woman's still to blame when men force their way inside us
Brock Turner's not a rapist, 'cause just look how fast he swims
Can someone get me Ambien to calm my shaking quim?

Should we just try to unplug you and then plug you back in?
Did your parents get divorced or did you just drink too much gin?
Goddamnit, 2016, and on top of all of that
Cats is back on Broadway. Who the fuck did that?

Then throw in all the shootings, both en masse and by police
A spike in racist hate crimes and a bombing down in Nice
The death toll is upsetting, and your politics a farce
Thank you, 2016, you fucked us up the arse

'Cause all over the world it's not looking good for you
If you're female, Muslim, POC or LGBTQ
And God fucking forbid we'd let Hilllary be in charge
Instead we get the spunk trumpets and fuckboys in this farce

Yes, you really took a dump when you let twat-nugget Farage
Lead a racist referendum - who put that shitty frog in charge?
Your Brexit was a dumb-dumb, now our country lives in fear
You really are the skidmark of all the shitty years

Yes, the USA's now governed by a fuck-cheeto with hair
And it's not just in the States; the fucking clowns are everywhere

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Three cheers for fucking Trumpy and his neo-Nazi crew
What a bloody, nasty, messy, booby-fuck to-do

We're sorry for the swearing
And we're sorry to be crude
But we're really cunting angry
And it's all because of you

You laid an egg of solid fuck
You taint-slug made of wee
You garbage-bag of bum dust
You are shitty, shitty 2016

Related Reading

Our classic post on diseases, sneezing, and paper towels:

Other things that give us hope: The toilets at Kensington Palace, the fact that our friends write postcards describing toilets using italics, and also the fact that there is a man in York known, to his admirers, as Pistol Pete, who does Elvis covers 

All posts featuring Caitlin Moran, who really does make everything better even when they are really, really shitty

Remember the days when we spent less time ranting about human rights and much, much more time ranting about whether toilet-roll holders were covered? What can we say? A good rant is a good rant, whatever the topic.

The really lovely toilet at the King's Manor in York, featuring a public health sign: Let's Get Medieval: King's Manor Toilet 

Another post featuring public health signage: In Which We Express Our Gratitude to Electricians Springing Into Action


More festive information from Mythbusters: A Study of the Correlation between the Extremely Scary Toilet Aerosol Effect and Acute OCD in Toilet Bloggers 

All posts featuring New Year's Eve

That's it. Happy fucking new year.

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