Folks, it’s December 23, time once again to celebrate Festivus. If you haven’t heard of Festivus like the rest of us, it’s the holiday that was touted by the character Frank Costanza on the TV show Seinfeld. One of Costanza’s traditions for the Festivus holiday was the airing of grievances. And to be Frank, many people have got a lot of problems with the year 2022 and now you’re gonna hear about it.
10. Dangerous social media trends.
Social media is sort of like a power drill and a thong. They can be very useful when used appropriately but when used inappropriately can be very dangerous and leave you quite exposed. Sure, social media has brought people together, helped galvanize positive movements, and allowed you to send poop emoiis to virtually anyone. But, there’s been a dark side. Not a dark chocolate side but a people are posting videos of themselves on TikTok doing stuff like cooking chicken in NyQuil or trying to take enough Benadryl so that they begin hallucinating side, as I covered for Forbes in September? Or what about those folks on Instagram telling you how super-thin or even sickly-thin is the look to die for, so to speak, or how to hang yourself, as I covered for Forbes last week? Then there’s all the cyberbullying that’s present on social media, because what can be better than more ways to be bullied.
9. The failure to contain the monkeypox outbreak.
Yeah, how’d that containment of the 2022 monkeypox outbreak go? Not too too good. In 2022, the U.S. went from not having the monkeypox virus present to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying, “Domestic transmission in the United States is unlikely to be eliminated in the near future,” as I reported for Forbes on October 4. That’s obviously bad news unless you happen to be the monkeypox virus or a fluid-filled vesicle.
8. The continuing shortages of this and that.
In the year 2022, you could always get whatever you wanted. Well, except for baby formula. And tampons, which I covered for Forbes on June 20. And sriracha. And mustard. And a bunch of other things that were in short supply at some point during the year. Yeah, this wasn’t the best year to throw a sriracha and tampon party. The year 2022 has been sort of a craps game of shortages where you are not sure what may be in short supply next. Speaking of craps, the whole roll-the-dice shortage trend began in early 2020 with the toilet paper shortage and continued on a roll right into this year. Maybe, just maybe, the U.S. needs to take a much harder look at how vulnerable its range of different supply chains may be. That is unless there is shortage of eyeglasses and contact lenses.
7. The failure to really invest in public health and change how it’s done.
The current U.S. public health system is awesome, said no one ever. The public health system in this country has long been underfunded and broken. And the Covid-19 pandemic has really sucked, sucked like a gigantic vacuum, that is, and pulled any remaining covers off of this antiquated system that is badly in need of reform and much more resources.
6. The broken health care system and the plight of doctors and other health care professionals.
Speaking of broken, the U.S. health care system has been like someone wearing very tight low riding jeans and leaning over. It’s also had a lot of its cracks exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. These cracks have ranged from out-of-control prices to lack of health care access for many to general dissatisfaction in how things are being handled. For example, there are those no more than 15-minutes assembly-line appointments that don’t give doctors enough time with patients. It’s no wonder that George Costanza visited Tor Eckman, the holistic healer in that Seinfeld episode named “The Heart Attack.” Eckman gave George a concoction that turned George’s face eggplant-purple, right? Oh, that’s right, that whole show was fictional. Nonetheless, it did capture what many Americans may be doing after getting disillusioned by the health care system.
The health care system has left many well-meaning health care professionals stuck in untenable situations. For example, they worked in very risky conditions early on in the pandemic when personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply. Many of them have been struggling with burnout. Those cheers back in the Spring of 2020 were nice, but a brief moment of cheers can’t compensate for some major systems problems.
5. The lack of action about rising gun violence.
Hmm, what happens with a major problem when you don’t do much to actually solve it? Here are your choices:
- It magically disappears.
- It gets wiped out by a gigantic space laser.
- It gets better with time like cheese or an accidental mullet.
- It keep getting worse.
Yeah, the answer is number 4. This year has already seen way too many mass shootings, as I wrote for Forbes in September, and 43,226 and counting gun violence deaths, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
4. The politicization of face mask use and other Covid-19 prevention measures.
Hey, what’s the deal with face masks? No, that’s not the beginning of a Jerry Seinfeld routine. It’s a real question after various politicians and TV personalities have spent much of 2022 showing so much hostility towards face mask use and users. For example, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) recently claimed, “In Florida, if you’re still wearing a mask, we just assume you’re hideous,” in the following tweet that actor George Takei shared:
Will that the Congressman’s tweet open the “Gaetz” to even more bullying of face mask wearers? Who would have thought that a simple, inexpensive, and scientific evidence-backed way of protecting yourself and others would bring so much wrath from politicians and others? After all, wearing a face mask while indoors shouldn’t bring you much harm, except for depriving others of seeing the beautiful, beautiful bottom of your face. In fact, why should you even care if others are wearing face masks, unless perhaps you are worried that it will remind everyone that the things have not yet “returned to normal” and that the Covid-19 pandemic is still not over.
3. Political and business leaders acting as if the Covid-19 pandemic were over.
Speaking of not over, it’s hard to get over the fact that many people in the U.S. have been acting as if the Covid-19 pandemic is over, when it’s not. For example, there was that premature declaration from President Joe Biden that the pandemic is over, as I covered for Forbes back in September. Yeah, that was several Omicron subvariants ago. Such premature declarations have led to far too much premature relaxation. Now, surprise, surprise, the U.S. is in the midst of yet another Covid-19 surge. Add to that surges in the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and you’ve got a triple-demic, as I covered for Forbes on December 10.
2. Racism, sexism, and other types of hate and discrimination.
Guess what? Racism, sexism, and a whole host of other -isms exist in the U.S. Not only do they exist, but the past several years have shown just how rampant such bias, discrimination, and hate continue to be. The year 2022 has seen continuing anti-Asian, anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and anti-other-persons-of-color hate and violence. There have also been various attempts to roll back women’s rights. If you still question the existence of such problems, just jump on Twitter for a little while or take a look at the lack of diversity in the upper echelons of most industries, including medicine and health care.
1. The continuing spread of the anti-science movement.
In a recently-released World Health Organization (WHO) video, as Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and author of the book my book Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-science, described “anti-science aggression” as “a major killing force globally,” as you can see in the following tweet:
In the video, Hotez added that “Anti-science now kills more people than things like gun violence, global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, or cyber attacks. And now it’s become a political movement.” He continued by saying that “In the U.S., it’s linked to far extremism on the far right.” Whether it’s people claiming stuff like Covid-19 vaccines are mutating humans into non-humans, pushing treatments without adequate evidence, or attacking scientists, anti-science aggression has been getting more and more out of hand in 2023.
One last grievance: 10 slots is not enough to cover all of the grievances from 2022. There were certainly a number of others such as antibiotic overuse, failure to do enough to tackle the obesity epidemic, the growing loneliness epidemic in America, and flatform shoes. Will 2023 see the continuation of these problems? Or will there instead be more feats of strength, which is another Costanza Festivus tradition. Only time will tell. Happy Holidays.