All caps text in black on a white background: A Fall Out Boy cover of the Billy Joel song We Didn't Start The Fire, covering newsworthy items from 1989-2023

Fall Out Boy
We Didn’t Start The Fire

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This is going to be brief before it gets long. This version of Billy Joel’s classic brings the rich Fall Out Boy sound to the game to create a super-punchy slick version of the song. If you like FOB, you’ll love what they’ve done sonically. What I like is what they’ve done lyrically, so that’s what’s coming up in the following paragraphs.

Strap in. We’re diving deep into the lyrics for Fall Out Boys rewritten ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’.

As an introduction, Billy Joel released the original in 1989, so Fall Out Boy follow on chronologically with newsworthy stories between 1989 and 2023. If you play them back to back, you get the full 1948-2023 lyrics (the 1948 start date being when Billy Joel was born).

Joel’s original contained 118 political, cultural, sporting and scientific events. The Fall Out Boy version has 77 more.

Skip to the video.

Skip to the lyrics.

Here’s everything from the song, line-by-line, in order of appearance. Dates have been added to hint at when each one was most newsworthy, though the nature of cultural items means they often repeat or continue almost indefinitely.

Captain Planet (1990s, 2023)

Captain Planet and the Planeteers was a nineties animated semi-educational series about an environmentalist superhero crew, helping the spirit of the planet, Gaia (Whoopi Goldberg), to save the planet. The five Planeteers are each given a ring by Gaia, representing earth, fire, wind, water, and heart. When they get into a sticky situation they can combine the powers to summon Captain Planet.

Some of the show’s characters were inspired by real-life environmental activists and a foundation was created to support school environmental projects, which is now a charity called The Captain Planet Foundation.

A live-action film adaptation is yet to surface (other than Don Cheadle’s comedy shorts), though there are repeated assurances that something is in the pipeline.

Arab Spring (2010)

The Arab Spring was a wave of protests and anti-government action across the Arab world. It started in Tunisia and spread to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. Several leaders were deposed in the uprising. As the government responses grew violent, the situation developed into civil war.

Street vendor Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on 17 December 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, which is credited as the act that began the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring.

LA Riots, Rodney King (1992)

The LA riots took place in 1992 after three LAPD officers were acquitted of using excessive force (the jury failed to reach a verdict on the fourth) when they beat Rodney King during his arrest on March 3rd 1991. The brutality was captured by George Holliday and widely broadcast in the news.

The riot resulted in more than 2,300 people being injured and 63 deaths.

This led to a separate civil rights case being presented by the federal government where two of the officers were found guilty and sentenced to serve prison terms. The City of Los Angeles was also found liable for damage in a separate civil case.

Deepfakes (2017)

Deepfakes are photographs, video, and audit that is created digitally and looks and sounds incredibly convincing. They have been used to create comedy videos featuring celebrities (such as Barack Obama calling Donald Trump a ‘complete dipshit’), but are overwhelmingly used to create pornographic videos featuring celebrity women.

Like crypto-currency and large-language models, deepfakes show how innovative technology is put to use a great speed and volume for nefarious purposes compared to legitimate uses.

Earthquakes (2004)

Earthquakes are something of a constant as the tectonic plates move and create them. The deadliest earthquakes for each of the years included in the song are below. The deadliest earthquake in the song’s time slice was the 2004 Indonesia/Sumatra earthquake which killed 227,898 people when it triggered a 51-metre-high tsunami that hit the coasts of Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa.

Iceland Volcano (2010)

In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and spewed a giant glass and ash cloud that posed a danger to aircraft. Flights in Europe were suspended for the longest period since World War II. Airspace was closed in April and May in different areas based on the location of the volcanic cloud.

Oklahoma City Bomb (1995)

The Oklahoma City bombing was a US domestic terrorist attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It was the deadliest domestic terrorism attack in the US with 168 people killed and 680 injured. The building was so badly damaged, it had to be demolished. The blast was big enough to damage a further 324 buildings.

The perpetrators cited the handling of the Waco Siege as their motivation for the attack.

Kurt Cobain (1994)

On April 5th, 1994, Kurt Cobain killed himself at his home in Seattle, Washington a month after an overdose of painkillers. Cobain had been struggling with chronic pain from an undiagnosed stomach condition, which he had been using heroin to control. There have been many alternative theories about Cobain’s death, inspired in part by confusion around the type of test used to determine the morphine levels in his blood. A 2014 investigation also concluded that the death was a suicide.

Pokémon (1996)

Pokémon (Pocket Monsters) was a surprise hit when the Gameboy games were released in 1996 and it has never gone away. It has turned into a franchise that spans role-playing games, video games, animated series, and movies.

Tiger Woods (2009)

Tiger Woods hit headlines first for PGA Tour wins and several golfing records, though the 2009 headlines related to his infidelity scandal, which sparked a string of revelations that lost Woods many of his advertising relationships. He later said: “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to, I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish.”

MySpace (2006)

MySpace launched in 2003 and was acquired by News Corporation in 2005 for $580 million. It had a newsworthy year in 2006 when it was the most visited site on the Internet (beating Yahoo! and Google). By 2008, Facebook had taken the crown and MySpace languished.

Monsanto (2015)

The Monsanto Company worked in agricultural biotechnology which is perhaps most well-known for its probable-human-carcinogenic glyphosate products. The company has been involved in litigation since 2015 after the IARC said there was a “statistically significant association between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and exposure to glyphosate”.

GMOs (2015)

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms changed through an engineering process. Often this is plants or animals. The subject of genetically modified organisms has frequently hit the news, most often due to their part in the human food chain. The first genetically modified animal to be approved for human consumption in the US and Canada was the AquAdvantage salmon, which was developed in 1989 and approved in 2015.

Harry Potter (2001)

Though the first book was published in 1997, it was the first movie that took everyone by surprise when it was released in 2001. The franchise went on to gross $7,776,602,036 worldwide. Many elements in J. K. Rowling’s novels are present in Jill Murphy’s earlier book series, The Worst Witch.

Twilight (2008)

It’s not too surprising that Twilight shares a line with Harry Potter, being the other hit film franchise of the Noughties. The film captured the romanticism of vampires, though it’s fair to say it became a little tired when it boiled down to “will she choose the vampire of the werewolf” vapidity.

Michael Jackson Dies (2009)

One of the most significant and controversial cultural figures of the 20th century, Michael Jackson’s death shocked the world. Less than three weeks before a planned concert residency in London, Jackson suffered a heart attack caused by an overdose of propofol and benzodiazepine.

In 2011, Jackson’s physician, Conrad Murray, was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the pop singer’s death.

Nuclear Accident. Fukushima, Japan (2011)

Caused by an earthquake and tsunami, damage to the Fukushima power plant resulted in a nuclear accident in March 2011. This was the most severe nuclear incident since the 1986 Chornobyl disaster, and only the second in history to be classified as a “level 7” on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

After power loss and the loss of emergency backup power, three hydrogen-air explosions hit the plant resulting in meltdowns in three of the six reactor buildings.

Crimean Peninsula (2014)

The Crimean peninsula became the Republic of Crimea in 1991, becoming part of Ukraine in 1995. In 2014, the peninsula was annexed by Russia following an illegal and unrecognised referendum. This move preceded Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Cambridge Analytica (2018)

Cambridge Analytica hit the news in 2018 after it emerged they had obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users, through an app called This Is Your Digital Life. The profiles were enhanced through further data obtained through brokers. These profiles were used to target eligible voters to either suppress or encourage them to vote based on their likely political alignment.

Kim Jong Un (2011)

Kim Jung Un, the third son of King Jung Il, is as well known for his hairstyle as he is for his position as supreme leader of North Korea. He has hit the headlines thanks to political assassinations, nuclear weapon development, and human rights violations.

Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man (2008)

After a promising start to his career, Robert Downey Jr. hit a low spot between 1996 and 2001 thanks to a string of drug-related charges. After many rehab/relapse cycles, Downey started rebuilding his career between 2001 and 2008, when his role in Iron Man gave him an unforgettable blockbuster movie role.

More War in Afghanistan (2001)

The US war in Afghanistan lasted for twenty years, between 2001 and 2021. The ISAF mission took place between 2001 and 2014, and the resolute support mission took place between 2015 and 2021.

Cubs Go All The Way Again (2016)

The Chicago Cubs are an American baseball team. In 2016, they won the world series for the third time.

Obama (2009)

Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States and held office from 2009-2017. It’s fair to say he was newsworthy throughout this time and since.

Spielberg (perennial)

Steven Spielberg is one of the most successful American filmmakers of all time, famous for his involvement in some of the biggest films of the 1970s and 1980s like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, The Goonies, and Back to the Future.

The list is huge, but this all pre-dates our target zone of 1989-2023, which included films like Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, The Terminal, Munich, and Ready Player One.

Spielberg also set up DreamWorks in 1994.

Explosion, Lebanon (2020)

On 4 August 2020, a fire at the Port of Beirut in Lebanon caused a large stockpile of ammonium to explode, killing 218 people and injuring 7,000 more. The blast was powerful enough to be felt across the whole country and in Israel and Cypress.

Unabomber (1996)

Theodore John Kaczynski was responsible for a series of bombings between 1978 and 1995. Because he targeted Universities and Airlines, he was dubbed the Unabomber (University and Airline Bomber). Kaczynski was arrested in April 1996.

Bobbitt, John (1989)

John Wayne Bobbitt rose to fame when his wife, Lorena Bobbitt, severed his penis with a food knife. Lorena attribute the attack to years of abuse, though John was acquitted of these charges (though in 1994 he was convicted of battery after an assault on fiancée, Kristina Elliott). His penis was surgically reattached, enabling John’s brief careers in the music industry (The Severed Parts) and in the porn industry.

Bombing, Boston Marathon (2013)

In 2013, the Boston Marathon was targeted by domestic terrorists, who planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line. The bombs detonated 14 seconds apart around four hours into the race, which is the peak of marathon finish time distributions.

Balloon Boy (2009)

Richard and Mayumi Heene began with a rather neat prank on October 15th, 2009 – floating a helium-filled flying saucer into the air above Colorado. They then took a substantial misstep by claiming their son, Falcon, was on board. This triggered a substantial rescue effort.

When the balloon landed 80km later with no boy on board, it emerged that Falcon had been told to hide in the attic. After pleading guilty to charges of attempting to influence a public servant, the couple were later pardoned by Gov Jared Polis.

War On Terror (2001)

The global war on terror was a campaign initiated by the US after the September 11th terror attack. The phrase was retired in 2007 in the UK and in 2010 in the US.

QAnon (2017)

QAnon is an American political conspiracy theory that originated in the American far-right political sphere. The myth includes Donald Trump secretly waging a war against a cabal of paedophiles. The conspiracy was shared by an anonymous 4chan poster named “Q”, hence the QAnon name.

Trump Gets Impeached Twice (2020, 2021)

While we’re on the subject of Trump, he was impeached in 2020 and again in 2021. That’s a record. The first was related to soliciting foreign interference in an election, and the second for inciting the attack on the US Capitol.

Polar Bears Got No Ice (2023)

The date on this could be picked from many different years, but 2023 was selected as it represents yet another record year for the fast-shrinking extent of arctic ice. The bright reflective surface of the arctic ice reduces the energy absorbed into the much darker oceans that lay beneath, so this is very bad news.

Fyre Fest (2017)

Fyre Festival is described as a “fraudulent luxury music festival” – not by its organisers, obviously, but in retrospectives of the event which was scheduled to take place in 2017. It was a promotional event to highlight the Fyre app, which was supposed to allow musical talent to be booked.

Many influencers promoted the event, failing to disclose they were being paid to do so. The event essentially involved 500 attendees being left waiting around for hours, being offered food and accommodation that definitely wasn’t luxury, and having a single performance from local musicians.

Black Parade (2006)

The Black Parade is the landmark album from My Chemical Romance. It was their third album and was accompanied by a strong visual aesthetic. The album was a concept rock opera, focussed on a character called The Patient. It went triple-platinum in the US and UK.

Michael Phelps (2009)

Michael Phelps is a former competitive swimmer and the current holder of the most Olympic medals ever, with 28 in total. On top of being a newsworthy athlete, Phelps also attracted controversy for drink-driving (twice) and for being pictured using a bong, which is the reason we gave this entry a 2009 date.

Y2K (2000)

The year 2000 bug (Y2K) was caused by systems designers trying to save space in their databases. By storing years as two-digit numbers, significant storage space could be saved. At the time, storage was expensive – something hard to imagine these days. The problem faced by the industry was what to do when 00 could mean either 1900 or 2000. Hasty action to fix all dates by allowing the full year to be represented prevented widespread problems, leading people to think the whole thing was a hoax.

It wasn’t a hoax… lots of people had to fix this! There was a similar issue in 2022 when the maximum value of 32-bit signed integers was reached and we’re yet to hit the 2038 unix time problem, though I hear we’ll need to fix it by 19th January, 2038.

Boris Johnson, Brexit (2016)

We could look at these in isolation, but that’s twice as depressing as hitting it hard in one go. Johnson was one of the people responsible for lying about redirecting £350 million each week from the EU into the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). This along with a great deal more disinformation caused just enough people to vote to leave the EU, stealing our European identity, isolating us from friends across the union, and removing our freedom of movement. What a dick.

Each and every person that enabled this monstrosity to become Prime Minister should feel utterly ashamed. You can agree or disagree on political issues, but the lack of integrity is unforgivable whatever party badge you polish.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift (2009)

Taylor Swift was just about to deliver her acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when Kanye West (a ‘Jackass’, in President Obama’s words) leapt up and grabbed the microphone to explain that Beyoncé should have won as she had one of the best music videos of all time.

When Beyoncé won an award in 2013, she invited Taylor Swift on stage to finish her acceptance speech. Nice twist.

Stranger Things (2016)

The Netflix series, Stranger Things (originally known as Montauk), is one of the most successful shows to run on the streaming platform to date. The small-town sci-fi drama was so successful, it ended up re-launching Kate Bush when her single ‘Running Up That Hill’ featured in the show.

Tiger King (2020)

Also on Netflix, the true crime documentary Tiger King may have benefitted from the presence of a global pandemic that meant a lot of people were stuck indoors for months. The series tracked convicted felon and former zookeeper Joe Exotic and his rivalry with Carole Baskin. Exotic was jailed for (amongst other charges) attempting to hire two hitmen to target Baskin.

Ever Given, Suez (2021)

The Suez Canal is a crucial shipping link that provides a massive shipping shortcut. In 2021, the container ship, Ever Given, has hit by strong winds and became stuck across the canal, blocking all traffic for six days. Almost 400 ships ended up queued, representing $9.6 billion of international trade.

The ship was initially impounded for the non-payment of compensation demanded by the Egyptian government, though it was later released along with plans to widen the narrowest parts of the canal to prevent further incidents.

Sandy Hook, Columbine (2012, 1999 respectively)

Sandy Hook and Columbine were school shootings in the US. 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School by Adam Lanza, in a tragic repeat of the 1999 incident at Columbine High School where twelve students and one teacher were killed.

This recurring problem perpetually raised the problems of gun control in America, which has the highest incidence of school shootings in the world (by a wide margin). The US is the country with the most school shootings (288 between 2009-2018) with second place Mexico having eight in the same period.

Sandra Bland (2015)

Sandra Bland was pulled over by State Trooper Brian Encinia after he caused her to change lanes without signalling by accelerating fast up behind her. Footage of the incident led to Encinia being placed on administrative leave for failing to follow proper traffic stop procedures. He was also indicted on a perjury charge. This wasn’t the only failing in the case as Bland was found dead in her prison cell three days later, and Waller County jail was found to have failed to follow policy, too.

The Sandra Bland Act took effect in 2017 and requires:

…de-escalation training for police officers and mandates county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment, makes it easier for defendants to receive a personal bond if they have a mental illness or intellectual disability, and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths…

Tamir Rice (2014)

Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old playing with an airsoft gun, shot dead by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio. The officer, Timothy Loehmann, had previously been deemed unfit for duty due to emotional instability. Cleveland Police Department didn’t review his personnel file before recruiting him. In addition to this tragedy, Rice’s sister was forced to the ground and handcuffed when she came to the scene and no treatment was given to Rice for four minutes after the shooting until an FBI agent arrived and administered first aid.

ISIS (2014)

Variously known as ISIS, ISIL, and IS, the group is a militant Islamic group that became prominent in 2014 when it captured significant territory in Iraq. By 2015, it controlled an area with a population of eight to twelve million people in Syria and Iraq. The territory was lost by 2019.

LeBron James (2021)

LeBron James is a professional basketball player, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. On top of sporting successes, James has been a prominent activist on political and social issues in the US. He has had all of the following accolades: NBA champion, NBA finals MVP, NBA MVP, NBA all-star, NBA all-star game MVP, and many more.

Perhaps his finest moment came in 2021, when he featured in Space Jam: A New Legacy.

Shinzo Abe Blown Away (2020)

Shinzo Abe was Japan’s Prime Minister when he was assassinated while delivering a campaign speech in Nara. The killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, was a former member of the Japanese Navy and he said he was motivated by Abe’s connection to the Unification Church, which he said brainwashed his mother and caused her bankruptcy.

Meghan Markle (2018)

Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, is a successful former actress who married Prince Harry in 2018. She has faced an onslaught of interest from online trolls and mainstream media, including regulator-confirmed misogyny in The Sun.

George Floyd (2020)

George Floyd was another example of police brutality against African Americans, with police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes and starving him of oxygen. The attack resulted in a series of protests and Chauvin was convicted of the murder. The other three officers at the scene were convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Burj Khalifa (2009)

The Burj Khalifa is a super-sky-scraper in Dubai which was inaugurated in 2010. It has been recognised as the tallest building in the world since 2009 and stands at 829.8 metres high.

Metroid (2002)

Metroid is a long-running video game franchise that started in 1986 but had 15 releases in the song’s 1989-2023 time frame. Each game has sold more than a million copies. The game is the origin of the Metroidvania game genre. The biggest-selling title was 2002’s Metroid Dread.

Fermi Paradox (1950?)

While it is highly likely that there are life forms elsewhere in the universe, there is a distinct lack of evidence of their existence. This is called the Fermi paradox. This is something of an outlier as Fermi uttered the phrase that led to this paradox back in 1950 (and he died in 1954) – he said something along the lines of: “But, where is everybody?”

It’s likely that the constant interest in alien life (there’s a story every week) caused the Fermi paradox to surface in newsworthy items enough over the past three decades to earn it a place in the song.

Venus and Serena (2000, 2002)

The Williams sisters are the most famous tennis-playing siblings ever (sorry Andy and Jamie). Over the years, they’ve racked up an impressive table of career stats. They have made news with a series of grand slam tournament wins, and the dates added are their respective first (of many) Wimbledon titles. Venus has 5 Wimbledon wins and Serena has 7. You can’t beat grass-court tennis!

Michael Jordan, 23 (1994)

Michael Jordan is the most famous basketball player of all time. Fans might wonder how “Michael Jordan, 23” made it into the song when his 23rd birthday was in 1986. But, of course, this refers to the number 23 jersey he wore. Chicago Bulls retired the number 23 jersey in 1994.

YouTube Killed MTV (2005)

This headline is a play on the first video played on MTV, The Buggles’ ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. Many outlets ran headlines along the lines of YouTube killed the MTV star, but the truth is it ate itself when it stopped playing music and started running dull reality shows instead.

SpongeBob (1999)

You don’t even have to watch or like SpongeBob to get this reference as the animated character (and his supporting cast) are frequent Internet meme material.

Golden State Killer Got Caught (2018)

The story of the golden state killer, Joseph DeAngelo, is long and terrible. He was responsible for 13 murders, 51 rapes, and 120 burglaries and evaded the law for decades. He was arrested in 2018 and jailed with twelve consecutive life sentences with no parole.

Michael Jordan, 45 (1995)

When Jordan returned to basketball in 1995, following a stint in baseball, he took up the number 45 jersey rather than his retired number 23 (see above).

Woodstock ’99 (1999)

The second attempt to revive the Woodstock Festival ended with a complete disaster with rapes, rioting, looting, vandalism, and arson. The festival was poorly organised with insufficient facilities and over-priced food and water – while temperatures went above 38 °C (100 °F). The airfield location meant large concrete runways absorbed and reflected the heat and there was no shade. The site was strewn with rubbish as it wasn’t collected by contractors.

Keaton Batman (1989)

In 1989, the best Batman film was released, starring Michael Keaton in the titular role. Opposite a grand performance by Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Keaton was brought to life in glorious techni-greyscale by Tim Burton. The idea behind the film was to make a “dark serious Batman” and it worked.

Keaton hit the news again recently when he reprised the Batman role in the 2023 movie, The Flash.

Bush v. Gore (2000)

Although you might take this to mean the election campaign between George Bush and Al Gore, this instead refers to the Supreme Court’s case to settle the recount dispute for Florida. The court rules to stop the recount, which depending on how you assess your chads gifted the presidency to Bush.

Florida has since discontinued the use of the controversial voting machines that caused this problem.

I Can’t Take It Anymore

We totally understand, though this could refer to quotes of the French protesters in relation to the raising of the retirement age (2023), the British working class in response to the cost of living (2022), or Sarah Palin writing before she quit (2012).

Of course, this line is lifted directly from the Billy Joel original.

Hypodermics on the shore, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller, cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

Elon Musk (2003)

What can you say about the billionaire man-baby that is Space Karen. He’s never far from the news, blowing stuff up, driving customers into concrete walls and trucks, and throwing tantrums on social media.

Musk peaked in 2003 with Tesla, which shocked the auto industry into taking a serious detour into electric vehicles. Like Kodak, the incumbent auto manufacturers had been researching electric cars, but they were never going to release it until someone else threw a spanner into the production line. Since this peak, Musk has demonstrated that it’s luck rather than judgement that makes the big bucks.

Kaepernick (2016)

Colin Kaepernick is an American Football quarterback who took a knee in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial inequality (a move that got the support of LeBron James, too). In his own words, Kaepernick said:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

Texas Failed Electric Grid (2021)

The Texas Interconnection is a power grid that covers most of Texas. Unlike other states, the Texas grid is kept separate for political reasons from the other electrical grids in the US. The grid has been impacted by outages, such as the 2021 winter storm, which caused rolling blackouts and increased mortality.

Jeff Bezos (perennial)

Another billionaire on the list is Jeff Bezos, who leapt into the top three wealthiest individuals thanks to Amazon. Like all billionaires, Bezos has perfected the ability of hoarding money while forcing workers to give more in return for less – for example, delivery drivers not getting restroom breaks. Can there ever be such a thing as a non-evil billionaire? Probably not.

Climate Change (perennial)

In recent years, the climate change story has moved on from the warnings of scientists into the new era of stuff actually happening. This is good news for finally getting the general public to stop listening to misinformation, but bad news for life on the planet. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

White Rhino Goes Extinct (2018)

The northern square-lipped rhinoceros is functionally extinct in the wild following the death of the last known male in 2018.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch (1988 onwards)

Although it was first described in a 1988 paper, the Great Pacific garbage patch has cropped up a few times, like in 1997 when Charles Moore was returning home after the Transpacific Yaught Race and came across a huge patch of floating debris.

The patch is formed by a vortex generated by currents, which traps all the rubbish people have thrown into the oceans to converge in a giant floating crap heap.

Tom DeLonge and Aliens (1999)

‘Hey mom, there’s something in the back room…’ as the Blink-182 song ‘Aliens Exist’ begins. This foreshadowed Tom DeLonge’s eventual move into UFO research. One thing is for sure, there are definitely videos captured by official sources that show flying objects that aren’t identified. The thing that’s less certain is their origin – and it feels like another territory on Earth is the most likely explanation.

That’s not to say aliens don’t exist, because we all remember Fermi’s paradox (see above).

Mars Rover (2011)

One piece of confirmed alien technology is, of course, the Earth-origin rovers that have been exploring Mars. The most famous of these is probably the Curiosity rover, which is still active after more than ten years of peeking into suspected holes and looking under rocks.

Avatar (2009)

Just as the 1989 Batman film was a dark and serious version of Batman, Avatar is a dark and serious version of The Smurfs. More seriously, it’s an epic sci-fi film with the rare accolade of being one of the few successful 3D films.

Self-Driving Electric Cars (2020)

Driverless cars have been in experimental mode for some time, with Waymo being the first of the many competitors to offer driverless taxi services. There are six levels of autonomous vehicles and so far we’ve got to level three – there are two more levels yet to come (the last being “steering wheel optional”).

Most people debate the trolley problem when discussing self-driving cars, but perhaps the more practical problem is having a mixture of autonomous and manual vehicles operating in the same space.

SSRIs (2016)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are drugs commonly used as anti-depressants. There is some controversy around the selective publication of research with positive results in relation to SSRIs, and the suppression of research that indicated they may cause suicidal thoughts.

Prince and The Queen Die (2016, 2022)

While both were known for their outlandish fashion sense, Prince was a highly celebrated musician and The Queen (unlike her rock namesakes) was a monarch. Prince died after a fentanyl overdose and The Queen died of old age.

World Trade, Second Plane (2001)

People used to say they remembered where they were when they heard Kennedy had been assassinated. The World Trade Centre is the modern-day equivalent. After the first plane hit, the news caused work to stop and web browsers to be opened. After initially thinking this was a tragic accident, the second plane hit the towers and the reality of the attack sank in. I certainly remember where I was when this happened.

What Else Do I Have To Say?

Like the “I can’t take it any more”, this is another line straight out of the Billy Joel original.

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK – blown away, what else do I have to say?

We Didn’t Start The Fire Video

Watch Fall Out Boy – ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’.

We Didn’t Start The Fire (Fall Out Boy Version) Lyrics

Captain Planet, Arab Spring
LA riots, Rodney King
Deepfakes, earthquakes
Iceland volcano
Oklahoma City bomb
Kurt Cobain, Pokémon
Tiger Woods, MySpace
Monsanto, GMOs

Harry Potter, Twilight
Michael Jackson dies
Nuclear accident, Fukushima, Japan
Crimean peninsula
Cambridge Analytica
Kim Jong Un
Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it but we’re trying to fight it

More war in Afghanistan
Cubs go all the way again
Obama, Spielberg
Explosion, Lebanon
Unabomber, Bobbitt, John
Bombing, Boston Marathon
Balloon Boy, War On Terror
Trump gets impeached twice
Polar bears got no ice
Fyre Fest, Black Parade
Michael Phelps, Y2K
Boris Johnson, Brexit
Kanye West and Taylor Swift
Stranger Things, Tiger King
Ever Given, Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it but we’re trying to fight it

Sandy Hook, Columbine
Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice
ISIS, LeBron James
Shinzo Abe blown away
Meghan Markle, George Floyd
Burj Khalifa, Metroid
Fermi paradox
Venus and Serena
Michael Jordan, 23
YouTube killed MTV
Golden State Killer got caught
Michael Jordan, 45
Woodstock ’99
Keaton Batman, Bush v. Gore
I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it but we’re trying to fight it

Elon Musk, Kaepernick
Texas failed electric grid
Jeff Bezos, climate change
White rhino goes extinct
Great Pacific garbage patch
Tom DeLonge and aliens
Mars rover, Avatar
Self-driving electric cars
Prince and The Queen die
World Trade, second plane
What else do I have to say?

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still go on, and on, and on
And on, and on, and on, and on, and on
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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