The Steve Burgess Guide to 2017: A to F

Apologizing to Alabama, and mourning Gord Downie.

By Steve Burgess 19 Dec 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

There are certain unpleasant things you can put off, like defrosting the freezer or re-grouting the shower tiles, or finding a good divorce lawyer. But 2017 is coming to a close and must be reviewed. Some unpleasant tasks cannot be delayed.



A lifeline to the struggling homeowner just trying to make ends meet and put the kids through school, Airbnb is also a giant web-based spider sucking affordability and capacity from the local rental market. Abolishing Airbnb in Vancouver would lead to a crash in tourism and a financial crisis for local property owners, while also releasing desperately needed apartment units into the market so that students and baristas will no longer have to sleep in rented closets as a pile stacked up like cordwood. Take your pick.


Perhaps we owe this much-maligned state an apology. Or maybe the narrow defeat of Roy Moore’s senate bid simply means that nominating a hate clown to run an almost cartoonishly evil political campaign worked slightly less well this year than last. In 2017, that counts as progress.


They are not to be disrespected. That much is clear. People who wear undershorts made from the Stars and Stripes are insistent on this point.


What, fool, you thought fascists were the problem?

Avocado Toast

Every generation finds its own road to ruin. Zoot suits, the lewd hip motions of Elvis Presley, long hair and free love, video games, and now the most terrible youthful vice of them all. Earlier this year, Australian millionaire Tim Gurner identified avocado toast as the kind of trivial extravagance that is dragging millennials down and preventing them from home ownership.

As for those of you who are not even fond of avocados and yet still lack a cozy bungalow with flamingo-studded lawn, well, I can’t even imagine what your personal failings could be, but they must be truly despicable.


Bike Lanes

Vancouver motorists are being denied access to certain narrow strips of pavement. This has caused many of them to decide that Mayor Gregor Robertson is the Antichrist. Imagine if sidewalks didn’t previously exist and somebody tried to build them now. There would be blood in the streets.

Brock Boeser

Depressed about the Canucks? Pessimistic about the future? Bitter about injuries to captain-in-waiting Bo Horvat, key defenceman Chris Tanev, top-line forward Sven Baertschi and still others, not to mention the terrible early retirement of Derek Dorsett? Well, never mind all that. We have Brock Boeser! A once-in-a-decade talent, our hope for the future, our salvation for the present, a reason to believe again, a young man who can carry the Canucks onward to.... wait, now he’s injured too.

As you were.


Celebrity Death

2016 really brought in a bumper crop of rock star deaths, but every year boasts its harvest. 2017 was no slouch. Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, Malcolm Young of AC/DC, Gregg Allman, and Glen Campbell, to name a few. On the bright side, Charlie Manson released an album once and now he’s dead. Just when his swastika tattoo was coming back in style, too.

Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Landau, Adam West, Della Reese, Roger Moore, John Hurt, and the great Mary Tyler Moore are among the actors we lost this year. Meanwhile, Fox News founder and serial harasser Roger Ailes also died. If you can find compassion in your heart for his passing, you will instantly ascend to Buddha-hood.


In 2017, they went from the sewer to the White House and back again.


This word is not included on this list. You are not allowed to use it to describe the NDP/Green Party arrangement. Desist at once.


No collusion! No collusion!


Death (Second Amendment division)

Mass shootings in the U.S. must now reach a certain casualty figure before they get significant media coverage. It’s not enough to show up at work and shoot a few co-workers anymore — you need to rent a high-rise room in Vegas and open fire on a crowd of thousands. Remember, your massacre won’t even register unless Alex Jones calls it a phony liberal conspiracy and someone on Fox says it’s the price of freedom. It’s a competitive business for all you homicidal crazies. Step up your game.


Yours may lack the charm and winning personality you think it has. Perhaps best not to introduce it to co-workers and casual acquaintances.

Gord Downie

The fact that the Tim Horton’s franchise has been elevated to the status of a Canadian national symbol is an enduring puzzle to many who have sampled their products. But you didn’t have to be a big Tragically Hip fan to appreciate the effect Gord Downie had on our cultural fabric. His death this year inspired an outpouring of emotion that was genuinely moving to see.


Earthquake (The Big One)

Nothing yet. Watch this space.


Aug. 21, 2017. Social media was full of photos of funny-shaped shadows. It was a more innocent time, and it lasted for about an hour and a half. Then back to the usual bullshit.


Ephebophilia is the condition whereby adults have a sexual preference for adolescents. There, don’t say Roy Moore never taught you nothing.



Scaramouche, Scaramouche... Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the song of the summer. Or at least for the 10 days of it that Anthony Scaramucci spent as White House Press Secretary until he gave an obscene interview to a New Yorker writer and flamed out faster than a Spinal Tap drummer. Many people who spent the last half of July at the cottage still don’t know he exists.


Beating out flood and famine to take the title of this year’s no. 1 “F” word. A record wildfire year in B.C. devastated communities, led to the evacuation of Williams Lake, and temporarily made Vancouver’s air quality reminiscent of a Boeing 707 cabin in the 1960s. There was more smoke and haze than you find in a Republican tax proposal. But don’t worry. Things are bound to get better in future. Right?  [Tyee]

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