The Steve Burgess Guide to 2017: M to R

Mueller makes singing stars, white people are bummed and mistletoe is not a good idea.

By Steve Burgess 21 Dec 2017 | TheTyee.ca

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

2017 has been accused of many crimes by the fake news media. All lies, and anyway the lawyer did it, and what about Hillary's emails? Part three of the Tyee's annual alphabetical album.



Donald Trump wanted to be Time's Person of the Year. Nope. Instead, the magazine chose to highlight the women who put the spotlight on one of 2017's most powerful social issues — workplace sexual harassment. But Trump can take some comfort. If someone ever makes the cover of Time for curing cancer, cancer will be an important part of that story. If you look at it that way, Trump was the 2017 Time poster boy.


This holiday tradition has always been a little awkward. At this year's Christmas party, you'd have been better off hanging up a restraining order.

Roy Moore

Roy Moore has taken a lot of crap but it's time we gave him credit. He accomplished something incredible in 2017 — he managed to get a Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama. Rumour has it, poor Roy couldn't even drown his sorrows after the big loss — he couldn't find a fake ID for his girlfriend.


The President of the United States was described as such by his own Secretary of State. Trump's national security advisor H. R. McMaster reportedly called him an “idiot” and a “dope.” While this should be no more shocking than calling Trump a mammal, it is still considered unusual in Washington circles.

Robert Mueller

2017 was playing out like Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot until Godot actually showed up and indicted Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn. Now we can only hope 2018 will be a remake of All the President's Men.



Don't be so judgey. They have some good people. There's blame on both sides.

North Korea

Where is the fun in being a global menace issuing insane, world-threatening warnings if you don't have a nut-job playmate to engage in the game of nuclear annihilation with you? Kim and Donald, Donald and Kim — it's heartwarming when two special people find each other.



Last year was bad; this year was worse. In 2017, the fentanyl overdose death rate rose to 123 per month in Vancouver. If you're betting on 2018, take the over.


The political news consumer's key problem in 2017. Spin the wheel of calendar days, and you were sure to land on a jaw-dropping outrage — they piled up so quickly that last week's unprecedented horror was quickly buried six or seven unprecedented horrors deep.

Three days in November: At a White House ceremony to honour Native American code talkers, Trump made a racist wisecrack about “Pocahontas.” The next day, he retweeted anti-Muslim hate videos from a British extremist group (and almost incidentally accused a TV host of complicity in a nonexistent murder conspiracy). It was widely reported he had begun claiming the Access Hollywood “pussy grabbing” tape was a hoax. And his former national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. All this as Senate Republicans pushed through a tax bill of almost cartoonish awfulness.

Three days out of roughly 300. You could pick others at random.


Papadopoulos (George)

In 2017, Robert Mueller was like Simon Cowell in 2002 — he could take someone you'd never heard of and turn that nobody into a big star. In both cases, the key was getting them to sing.


To be fair, Wal-Mart was not specifically designed to rip the heart out of small towns all over North America. It just worked out that way. And it would be wrong to suggest that the primary purpose of the Postmedia corporation has been gutting small-town media in Canada (in collaboration with their once-fierce critics at Torstar). That's just the way things have worked out. Postmedia is in the newspaper business after all, if you classify Jack the Ripper as a surgeon.


A recent NPR poll found that a majority of white Americans feel the real victims of discrimination are white people. Meanwhile, a white American president who has demonstrated the temperament of a squirrel, the intellect of a sea sponge, and the morals of a parasitic wasp cannot seem to fall below one-third support in the polls.



How long has 2017 been? Sean Spicer was two White House press secretaries ago. Then came the brief glorious meteor trail that was the career of Anthony Scaramucci, followed by the grimly efficient evisceration of objective truth that has been the daily work of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Hello, White House press corps. Your pathetic questions are like a handful of nails that she will chew up before spitting out a barbed wire fence of twisted logic and stubborn denial. But by all means, ask another one.



The brutal persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya minority ramped up in 2017, creating a major humanitarian crisis. Unless of course you are Nobel Peace Prize winner and honorary Canadian Aung San Suu Kyi, in which case it was really no big deal and the Rohingya are just a bunch of foreign whiners. 2017 offered another sad reminder that, given the chance, heroes can become persecutors. Robert Mugabe was once considered heroic, too.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged. Princess Kate got pregnant again. Queen Elizabeth is still tough, spry and adorable and appears determined to outlast the Voyager spacecraft. You've got to hand it to the Royals, that is one hell of a merch business they've got going.


The IOC has ruled that Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, except under a neutral banner. To be clear, this applies only to Olympic athletes. Donald Trump will still be allowed to run for re-election.  [Tyee]

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