You know that famous scene in Platoon?
The one where Willem Dafoe is running towards a helicopter that he’ll never catch. As his comrades fly away they see Dafoe running with a whole gang of enemies chasing him down and firing at him. Finally, where there is no hope, he falls to his knees, raises his arms to a deity that will never save him and lets the bullets rip through his body. Finally, thankfully, mercifully, one of the high-speed pieces of lead makes Willy Dafoe sleep forever.
That’s what the final month of 2017 feels like—a long run of bullshit that ends with more bullshit.
To cope with this hell year, Canadians, along with people all over the world took to the ol’ internet machine, Google, for help. Google, being a massive corporation holding all of our secrets, released our most asked questions because corporations are fun, right!
The trending list are, as Google puts it, “based on search terms that had a high spike in traffic in 2017 compared to 2016.” Essentially this means if Canadians googled the shit out of you last year, you most likely won’t be on this list. This is why Justin Trudeau is missing and is also why he is most likely at his desk swigging from a bottle of Grand Marnier and weeping (digital love is Daddy Canada’s drug of choice.)
In it you can see some of the diets that Canadians researched, the memes we loved (which is topped by the Cash Me Ousside girl and United Airlines), international news (hurricanes, Trump and North Korea), and politicians (Trump, Singh, Scheer, Moore, Macron).
One of the bleakest sections outlines the top five people Canada googled in 2017. They are, in this order, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Éric Salvail, and Melania Trump. Now, you most likely know why the first three are on that list, but if you’re an Anglo-Canadian you probably don’t know Salvail. Well, Salvail is a Quebec radio personality that was let go in October for sexaul harrassment allegations—so, he’s in similar company on this list. Melania Trump is on there because… well, she’s Trump’s wife and is turning the White House into a goth kid’s holiday fueled wet dream.
Aside from us finding out that giving people unchecked power is a terrible thing, Google gives us the questions that we asked the most—and, boy howdy, did we ever ask some. Now, for the second year in a row, I’m going to do my best to answer these—they exist in no real order.
[You can read last year’s answers here]
Q: Why are NFL players kneeling? (number one ‘why’ question)
A: OK guys, you need to get a little better at following the news. Simply put, the kneeling was started by Colin Kaepernick, a NFL quarterback who, in 2016, kneeled during the American anthem because he couldn’t support a system that systematically oppressed minorities. In 2017, the protest grew far larger than just Kaepernick with entire teams taking a knee during the anthem and the protest migrating to other sports.
Some make the argument that the narrative was stolen by people who made out the protest to be about Trump rather than the country as a whole. Trump, as he does, didn’t take this slight well and, uh, freaked the fuck out and fired tweet after tweet off attacking the league and players. Look, this is one of those ones I can go on and on about—here is an in-depth piece on it you can read if you want more.
Q: How do they name hurricanes? (number one ‘how’ question)
A: Well, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they give storms short names because it facilitates easier communication and limits confusion. The actual naming of the storm is done by the the World Meteorological Organization who cycle through names on a yearly basis. If a storm, like Katrina, is so deadly or costly that the name becomes synonymous with one storm it is then retired.
Q: Why are flags in Canada at half mast?
Q: How to help someone with depression?
A: As a man who suffers from depression rather frequently, I can tell you there is no real answer to this other than just being there for them—I’m glad Canadians are asking this question. As I said, there aren’t any definite answers but here are some links that can help.
Q: Why is the solar eclipse dangerous to look at?
A: Stop looking at the sun, dude—stop it. Don’t be this guy.
Q: Why does Catalonia want independence?
A: Well, Catalonia, which is located on north-eastern tip of Spain, essentially has their own culture, and history—this area includes Barcelona. As always, money is a big reason for them wanting out—separatists want greater fiscal autonomy and hate paying subsidies to the rest of Spain. The drive has been going on in a serious manner since 2006 but it was reignited this year and on October 1, the area held a referendum. Violence broke out across the region because Spain who attempted to suppress the vote—however, 43 percent of the population were able to vote and they voted 90 percent in favour of becoming independent from Spain.
The situation is still ongoing and separatists face serious obstacles for their goal. Here is a story in which you can learn more about this.
Q: How to buy bitcoin in Canada?
A: Please tweet this question to my friend Jordan Pearson (@neuwaves), he would absolutely love to field this inquiry and won’t be mad at me at all for including this.
Q: How soon should you take a pregnancy test?
A: You should wait at least one or two weeks after you did the sex.
Q: Why are women marching?
A: OK, so I assume you’re referencing the women’s march that took place in January, shortly after President Pink Goo was sworn in. The marching happened all over the world on January 21 and millions took part.
Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault many, many times, ran a campaign targeting minorities including women. This march, which was essentially aimed at the president, was to advocate for human rights with a particular focus on women’s rights.
But given the year it’s been, it should be obvious why the women are marching.
Q: Why are there so many hurricanes?
A: Uhhhhhhhhhhh… OK, I’m going to do my best with this one (with some googling of my own that is.) So, 2017 was an ideal year for hurricane conditions. Three major things that played into this were the lack of the El Nino system, a pretty darn warm Atlantic ocean, and, of course, our old friend climate change.
Q: How to make slime ?
Q: Why is everything so heavy?
A: Jesus Christ, seriously? I dunno, probably because you’re getting old and you’re going to die soon.
Q: Why doesn't Caillou have hair?
A: Cause that kid sucks...Actually, there is a legitimate answer to this. On their website, Chouette Publishing, the company that first published the books write that originally Caillou was a baby and, you know, babies are bald. So, when they made Caillou a little older they found that giving him hair made him “unrecognizable” and “decided that Caillou would never have any hair.”
“Caillou’s baldness may make him different, but we hope it helps children understand that being different isn’t just okay, it’s normal,” they explain.
Q: How often should you wash your hair?
A: If you actually googled this question, the answer is probably “more than you currently do.”
Q: Why are fidget spinners so popular?
A: Let me answer this question with one of my own. Have you ever read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?
Q: How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?
A: Are you kidding me, guys? I’m out… I’m fucking done with this.
[Editor’s note: I googled this, it’s three.]
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