One of Hollywood's biggest, brightest celebrity couples has come to an end. Angelina Jolie has reportedly filed for divorce from Brad Pitt after a 12-year relationship, during the last two years of which they were married. The news has shaken up countless lovers of entertainment news, stirring up more claims that this makes 2016 basically the worst year ever. But let's not lose perspective here ― 2016 has been an awful year, but not because of a mere celebrity divorce.
In the first place, it's important not to let your entire view and opinions of Pitt and Jolie's relationship influence how you feel about the news of their split. Simply put, while divorce can be unexpected, unwanted, and wrenchingly sad for the people who experience it, it can also be entirely necessary and healthy, and the details of why Jolie decided to take this step remain scant. Simply put, if the relationship was in bad shape for the couple and/or for their children, then this is probably for the best.
But more to the point, there are plenty of reasons to rate 2016 as one of the most irritating, worrying, sad, and devastating years in recent memory, whether in the realms of entertainment, politics, international affairs, or environmental health. Here are seven moments unrelated to the Brangelina split that have made this year pretty awful.
1. America Is On The Brink Of Electing Donald Trump
If you're not worried by now, you're not paying enough attention. At the time of this writing, polling authority FiveThirtyEight gave Trump a 41.3 percent chance of becoming our next president — and that's worrisome for reasons I don't even need to spell out.
2. Police Violence In America Hasn't Really Improved
Since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his dramatic protest of the national anthem in August, more than 67 Americans have been slain by the police. And one of the few concrete reforms that many departments have embraced — body cameras for officers — is fallible in the extreme. Sometimes, the cameras just happen not to be turned on when something goes down.
3. It's Been The Hottest Year On Record, And Few Seem To Care
While all of our politics, social struggles, and personal conflicts roll along, so does the seemingly unimpeded march of climate change. According to NASA, 2016 has been the hottest year on record (since 1880), and if that sounds familiar, it's because it's part of a harrowing trend. 2015 was also the hottest year on record at the time, as was 2014. And yet, amid sky-high levels of political polarization, and with one major American party dedicated to questioning, downplaying, or ignoring an urgent and overwhelming scientific consensus, the kind of full-throttle attention climate change demands never seems to arrive.
4. There Have Been Many Incidents Of Violence And Terrorism
From ISIS-linked attacks to so-called lone wolf acts of lethal violence, this has been yet another bloody and frightening year. It's been made worse by how interconnected our lives are these days ― thanks to the internet and the ubiquity of smartphones, many of these incidents are captured on video and then replayed endlessly, stirring up fears and concerns both rational and irrational.
5. There Are Millions Of Refugees Worldwide Who Are Denied Homes
One huge consequence of the high-profile nature of international terrorism is that millions of innocent, devastated, and vulnerable people are being written off, thanks in large part to anti-Islamic suspicion and paranoia. As it stands now, the bloody civil war in Syria has displaced an estimated 12 million people from their homes, with more than 4 million fleeing the country entirely.
6. A Whole Lot Of Beloved Famous People Have Died
The odds are pretty good that you've been blindsided by the news of at least one high-profile celebrity death this year. Between David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, Alexis Arquette, Garry Marshall, Anton Yelchin, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Garry Shandling, Bill Cunningham, and Elie Wiesel, it's been a rough year for some of the world's most iconic artists, entertainers, and activists.
7. And Countless Innocent People Nobody Talks About Died, Too
While estimates vary widely, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, hundreds of thousands of people, including hundreds of children, have been slain. The war began back in 2011, when Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad starting lethally cracking down on largely peaceful protests against his government. By April of 2016, the United Nations estimated that more than 400,000 have died in the conflict, caught between a bloodthirsty dictator and the rise of ISIS. Sadly, the end seems nowhere in sight, and even worse is that these are the death tolls from just one part of the world.
These are just seven reasons 2016 has been a pretty tough year, all of which are arguably more devastating than Brangelina's breakup.