The 13 quotes that defined 2017

Ryan Butcher@ryanjohnbutcher
Thursday 28 December 2017 11:00
Picture:(Getty Images / Screengrab / BBC)

Some quotes echo through the ages, passed down as words of wisdom or cautionary tales from generation to generation.

Karl Marx is one who springs to mind, who warned us that:

History repeats itself - first as tragedy, second as farce.

Might be something in that looking ahead.

Confucius once told us that:

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

And you don't have to look far back through modern history books to see how many falls we've had to rise from lately.

These quotes from the likes of Kathy Griffin and Donald Tusk probably won't live on to be one day uttered by our children's children's children, but they're probably the ones that defined 2017 - for better or for worse.

1. The Moonlight/La La Land Oscar fiasco.

We all remember back to February, don't we? It was a simpler time back then.

Well, unless you worked in Hollywood.

In the most controversial Oscars moment, possibly of all time, La La Land won the coveted Best Picture award only for it to be snatched away two minutes later and handed to its rightful winner Moonlight.

There were gasps, tears and applause as La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz uttered:

I'm sorry, no, there's a mistake.

Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture.

This is not a joke.

Moonlight has won best picture.

Moonlight. Best Picture.

2. Terror attack kills 22 at Ariana concert in Manchester.

The city of Manchester - and indeed the country - is still reeling from the horrific terror attack that killed 22 people and injured more than 500 at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Lives were ruined when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device as fans were pouring out of Manchester Arena.

One of the victims was a girl as young as eight-years-old.

After fleeing the arena, Ariana tweeted the following heartbreaking words:

Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words.

Weeks later, Ariana would return to Manchester and throw a huge benefit concert called One Love Manchester, showing she has more class, bravery and compassion in her little finger than those who would wish to harm innocent music lovers.

The One Love Manchester concert raised more than £10 million for the victims of the attack and featured performances from Liam Gallagher, Katy Perry and Little Mix

Ariana Grande would go on to be made an honorary citizen of Manchester.

Picture: Getty Images for One Love Manchester(Getty Images for One Love Manchester)

3. "The Silence Breakers." Part one.

If this year should be remembered for anything, it should be the way women refused to stay silent about the abuse and injustice levelled against them in all walks of life for years.

The first domino to fall was Harvey Weinstein in early October, when allegations of sexual assault from Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan against the movie mogul were published in The New York Times.

McGowan would hit out at the Hollywood elite, who she claimed had protected predators like Weinstein, by sharing a picture of herself from 1997 and saying:

This is the girl that was hurt by a monster.

This is the girl who you are shaming with your silence.

But this was just the beginning.

4. "The Silence Breakers." Part two.

What started was a chain reaction of women - and some men - feeling more comfortable telling their stories of sexual harassment and assault.

And it wasn't just confined to Hollywood.

The scandal would seep its way through the music industry, politics and even academia, proving to be an international epidemic that knew no boundaries or limits.

In reference to a 2006 social media campaign to empower women of colour who were victims of sexual assault, Alyssa Milano tied to show the scale of the abuse women had suffered at the hands of men by encouraging everyone who had been a victim to tweet the words:


In the hours and days to follow, the hashtag would be shared by millions of women on Facebook and Twitter, including by Lady Gaga, Debra Messing, Anna Paquin and Viola Davis.

Actress Alyssa Milano speaks at the 2017 World Of Children Hero Awards at Montage Beverly Hills (Picture: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for World of Children)(Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for World of Children)

5. "The Silence Breakers." Part three.

And it wasn't just the heterosexual community being torn apart by allegations of abhorrent actions.

Another big name to be engulfed by the Weinstein effect - as it is now being called - was Kevin Spacey.

At the end of October, Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey made a sexual advance towards him in 1986, when Rapp was only 14-years-old.

Spacey would claim that he did not remember the encounter and used it as an opportunity to open up for the first time about his sexuality.

In a statement, he said:

I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.

He wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms into the LGBT+ community. Far from it.

In fact, he was criticised by many including Billy Eichner and Wanda Sykes for attempting to change the subject away from the sexual assault allegations.

After Rapp had opened the door, dozens more would come forward with their own allegations about sexual abuse and assault at the hands of Spacey, including many of the House of Cards crew.

6 and 7. Conscious uncoupling.

It feels like Brexit has been consuming our lives for years, but it was only a few months ago - on 29 March - when Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, officially commencing the process by which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.

We think the two most poignant quotes on Brexit were spoken on that fateful day in March.

When Theresa May said what 52 per cent of us were thinking.

This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.

And when EU council president Donald Tusk seemingly said what the other 48 per cent of us were thinking.

We already miss you.


8. The day a gif was born.

Regardless of your leanings, we can all agree that this year's General Election came as a bit of a shock to everyone.

As the exit poll shook the country and the results started pouring in, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry appeared on the BBC's election night coverage for an interview with David Dimbleby.

After pointing out that the Tories called the election with the belief they'd be forming a majority government, Thornberry delivered a line that's transcended politics, space and time to be lauded as one of the best displays of sass in living memory:

Well there we are.

9. Kathy Griffin vs America.

If there's one thing that sums up how ridiculous things have become with the US Presidency this year - and there's a hell of a list to choose from - it's the way Donald Trump has waged war on comedian and actor Kathy Griffin.

Back in May this year, Griffin posted a gory image of herself holding up an effigy of Trump's bloodied, severed head.

Understandably, Mr Trump didn't take too kindly to Griffin's art.

He branded her "sick", saying she should be "ashamed of herself" and she was placed under federal investigation for threats against the President.

She then received abuse and death threats from around the world, had tour dates cancelled and claimed that the Trump family were out to destroy her.

What's happening to me has never happened in this great country.

A sitting president of the US... is personally trying to ruin my life forever.

10. History repeats.

It sounds like a story reprinted from the Second World War, but horrifically it happened earlier this year.

Back in February, we heard stories of more than 100 men from the Russian Republic of Chechnya being abducted, imprisoned, tortured and even killed because they were perceived to be gay or bisexual.

Eyewitnesses and escapees who have since come forwarded described the conditions as "concentration camps" and made reference to "blood-soaked cells" in what is now being referred to by some as a "gay purge".

Despite Human Rights Watch reporting that Chechen officials had "rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay and that they are currently torturing and humiliating the victims", officials denied that gay and bisexual men even existed in the country.

Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, said:

You cannot arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic.


Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been blamed for the ‘wave of persecution’ against the homosexual community in the region. But Mr Kadyrov dismissed the accusations, saying there are no gay men in Chechnya. (Picture: Getty)(Getty)

11. Bane.

The entire world watched with bated breath on 20 January as Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

From the crowd size to the performers, Trump's inauguration day was marred with controversy.

But one thing we'll never forget is how a segment of his inauguration speech appeared to lift lines of dialogue from a Batman supervillain.

In Christopher Nolan's The Dark Night Rises, you might remember Tom Hardy's character, Bane, giving a speech after taking control of Gotham.

We take Gotham from the corrupt. The rich. The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you... the people.

Which sounds eerily similar to a line from Trump's speech., we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another. But we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you... the people.

Maybe The Dark Night Rises was on Fox the night before?

12. A tale of two cities.

The fire of Grenfell Tower was a tragedy and a grave miscarriage of justice. It highlighted the inequality and the difference between those at the top and those at the bottom of wealth in one of the most affluent cities in the world.

We don't think anyone's words quite cut through and summed up the gravity of the situation quite like those of Tottenham MP David Lammy.

Getting emotional in a Channel 4 interview while remembering a friend who he lost in a fire, Lammy said:

This is a tale of two cities. This is what Dickens was writing about in the century before the last, and it's still here in 2017.

It's the face of the poorest and the most vulnerable.

13. London rises.

Four people were injured when a terrorist drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into the fence of the Palace of Westminster.

The number of people injured rose to more than 50 once the dust had settled after the attack, back in March 2017.

As we know, it wouldn't be the only terror attack levelled in London this year, or indeed the UK, but the defiant words of the city's mayor Sadiq Khan still ring true today.

My message to those that want to harm us and destroy our way of life is: You won't succeed. You won't divide us.

We won't be cowed by terrorists.

We'd do well to remember those words as we also remember those we've lost in the past 12 months to senseless violence.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London (Picture: EPA)(EPA)

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