Hear the roar: 2021 in review

Illustration of people in a theatre viewing the events of the past year like a movie.
Amanda Tsang/Staff

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While some people live to be entertainers, 2021 was a good year be someone who likes to be entertained. Though nothing can compare to the glorious wonders that 2020 brought the world (headlining a global pandemic and a tanking economy), 2021 was a keen competitor in the contest for which year in the ’20s roared the loudest.

Jan. 6 kicked off the most monumental event broadcasted on U.S. television since former president Donald Trump’s inauguration: the insurrection on the Capitol. With the “QAnon Shaman” leading our country’s most well-dressed characters into the heart of the Capitol, people at home watching their TV screens were reminded that, by comparison, maybe they aren’t as anarchical as they thought they were. With an underlying angst for the restoration of the soul of our nation, the soul of comedic relief underwent great rehabilitation, with memes of the Capitol’s downfall drowning the internet and social media.

But don’t change that channel just yet, because Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and the rest of the CNN crew finally turned their focus to the next groundbreaking scene of the year: the swearing in of our 46th president and vice president. Though nobody can compete with Trump’s ridiculous vocabulary and humorously incoherent rambling, Joe Biden was a good contender in leading our country in a positive direction. How beautiful it was to see an old white man place his hand on the Bible and promise to protect our country. Oh, and having the first female vice president of the United States installed into her position was kind of cool, too.

With Kamala Harris representing women across the globe and showing that the power of women is unstoppable, 2021 proved to not just be another year of craze and chaos. Women around the world finally realized that they aren’t meant to just cook and clean. They could be vice president — and even president, if the commander in chief gets a colonoscopy!

While some people might have liked living like hermit crabs during lockdown, others finally got to experience something during 2021 that they hadn’t in more than a year: traffic. But not just any kind of traffic: traffic in the form of lines to receive the brand new COVID-19 vaccines.

In the United States, the race to inject Pfizer or Moderna or Johnson & Johnson into your arm became like an Olympic sport. People would run to their appointments, cheer when they received a vaccination card and wear their vaccine stickers while chanting the brand of their vaccine loud and proud.

And with every person who received a vaccine around the world, another artist reopened and rescheduled their concerts or shows. Whether it was baseball or football or the Tokyo Olympics — all of which continued despite ongoing COVID-19 risks — people were no longer sitting at home bored. Instead, they were sitting at home with a sporting event on their televisions! Not much changed in that respect between 2020 and 2021: People still like to cheer for their favorite athletes on a screen.

This year roared louder than expected for another big reason: People could finally cancel plans that they did not want to attend again! After a year of having nothing to flake on — and COVID-19 serving as a built-in cancellation plan — people are right back on track with their excuses. The time has come again that people can meet up, maskless and with more social anxiety than ever, and have a meal together or watch the sunset.

The hardship and loss and pain of 2021 challenged us to make more of life than any other year has. While 2021 has not yet come to an end, the Spotify Wrapped playlists have been released, so we are again ending the year in the most irrelevant way possible. With the landmark events of 2021 now behind us, we can look back and celebrate or mourn the time we experienced together.

While this year presented many challenges for people, it also brought light in the most random ways. Though 2021 can be categorized in many ways, it most definitely should not be categorized as a terrible year.

Contact Alisa Steel at [email protected].