While few North Americans or West Europeans would deny that for them, the last three hundred and sixty-four days – with two still to go – have constituted the worst year in living memory (that is, since WW2) few actually realize how MONUMENTALLY appalling it has been.
Why? Read on…
The horrible happenings can be boiled down to four items: Trump, Brexit, terrorist atrocities and dead celebrities.
But here’s the thing; both regions have only experienced about HALF of it.
North Americans have suffered Trump, San Bernadino, Orlando and the loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Garry Shandling, Tom Mullica, Alan Thicke, Prince, Frank Sinatra Jr., Garry Marshall, Gene Wilder, Robert Vaughn, Carrie Fisher, George Michael and now, Debbie Reynolds.
Thus, they can be forgiven for being less concerned with Brexit, Paris, Nice, Berlin and the additional loss of Keith Emerson, Paul Daniels, Sir Terry Wogan, Lemmie from Motorhead, Sylvia Anderson, Ken Adam, Cliff Michelmore, Norman Hudis, Ed Stewart, Sir George Martin, Alan Haven, Douglas Slocombe, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood, Burt Kwouk, Caroline Aherne, Jimmy Perry, Sir Jimmy Young, Peter Vaughan and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo.
But all of the names in the last paragraph helped shape the lives of British people over the last SIXTY YEARS.
And Brexit has utterly SCREWED Britain and Europe – probably for the NEXT sixty.
Then again, terrorism is more international; Paris is a popular holiday destination for Americans – as Orlando is, for Europeans (it being where the “theme parks” are).
Which is why the latest wave of religion-fuelled carnage has been the underlying CAUSE of both Trump AND Brexit – as people erroneously believe the two can PROTECT them from it.
However, while there has been SOME bleed-through with the late celebs (most Brits are familiar with Prince, Garrys Shandling and Marshall, Gene Wilder, Robert Vaughn and Debbie Reynolds – and of course David Bowie, Alan Rickman and George Michael ARE British) the EPIC DISASTERS of Trump and Brexit have meant meh on the opposite sides of the pond.
Americans know and care little about what goes on outside their bailiwick. They have viewed the Brexit fiasco with mere bemusement.
While the majority of British, French and Germans have only found the Trump saga mildly mirthful – so far.
But living here in Thailand, this historian has been well-placed to see the COMPLETE picture, in all its ghastly awefulness.
His adopted country has always existed in an odd limbo between the influences of the US and the UK. Like, some buildings in Bangkok have lifts (US: elevators) marked “G,2,3,4…” (US-style) while others go with “G,1,2,3…” (UK-style; it dates back centuries, when few buildings HAD more than one floor). And while cars here drive on the left (UK-style; and CORRECT) they can overtake on either side (like in America).
He could go on, but the point is that thanks to the international media, he has watched this cataclysm unfold from BOTH perspectives – the North American AND West European. And come to the realisation that viewed solely by the people of ONE region, the events appear merely alarming.
But ADDED TOGETHER – they are nothing short of TERRIFYING…