Links for December 31, 2015

Who Won 2015? – Starts out as a fun pop-culture throwdown, but ends in a different place.

Like I’ve mentioned repeatedly in this bracket, all roads seem to lead back to identity. But when it comes to the past 12 months, it was clear there was a degree to which hate became allowed. And not just allowed, but often discouragingly unstoppable. How do we stop ISIS? Unclear. How do we stop race-based killings? Unclear. How do we stop people from telling groups that they aren’t welcome in America? Unclear.

Hate led to a lot of tragedy in 2015, as well as fear of what’s to come. This was the year hate-filled terror began to feel like part of the routine. Not just killings; targeted killings. And not just inflammatory statements, inflammatory statements about who someone is and what they represent.

It’s a depressing way to wrap up this fun look back on the year that was, but it’s important. Everywhere you turned in 2015, there was some hateful act that made you fear for strangers, fear for people who looked like you, fear for yourself, fear for our future.

Hate wins, but this has to be its peak, its moment. Because we can’t have another year like this. We’re not built for it. We won’t survive.

The Post drops the ‘mike’ — and the hyphen in ‘e-mail’

For many years, I’ve been rooting for — but stopping short of employing — what is known as the singular they as the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.... What finally pushed me from acceptance to action on gender-neutral pronouns was the increasing visibility of gender-neutral people.... Simply allowing they for a gender-nonconforming person is a no-brainer. And once we’ve done that, why not allow it for the most awkward of those he or she situations that have troubled us for so many years?

The Dark Side: An Oral History of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special'

Binder: No one ever mentioned there was no set for the closing. I was told by the art director we had no money for it in the budget. So I said, “No problem, just go out and buy every candle you can find in the store.” We filled an empty stage with candles. I had experimented with this on another special, maybe a Victor Borge ice skating show. Candles in a dark environment give off an incredibly creative effect.

Herman: The sad truth is, everyone was so overwhelmed. Ken and Mitzie knew that last scene was a disaster. They came to me saying, “Help us.” But George was out of the picture. It was a runaway production.

Ripps: Acomba and Lucas had walked away from it. They weren’t there to fight for anything.

Lucas: It just kept getting reworked and reworked, moving away into this bizarre land. They were trying to make one kind of thing and I was trying to make another, and it ended up being a weird hybrid between the two.

Aretha Franklin (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Carole King - Kennedy Center Honors 2015