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24th Aug 2016

Wondered why 2016’s been so shit? Blame last year’s Bake Off fiasco

It suddenly all makes sense

Tom Victor

Every 50 years or so, humanity witnesses an event that serves to shape a generation.

In 1914 it was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In 1969, the Apollo 11 moon landings. In 2015, we had the critical reception afforded to Paul Jagger’s lion bread on Series 5 of The Great British Bake Off.

While we might not have realised at the time, that bread – and the subsequent mockery – set the tone for a worldwide collapse that we never saw coming, but which was somehow more inevitable than anyone could have realised.

First, let’s look back at the bread itself. Sure, you’re allowed to think it was halfway between a nightmarish Cecil tribute and a confused metaphor for Top Cat taking up residence in a dustbin, but there was no need to say it out loud.

In much the same way that Harry Redknapp used to put two goalkeepers on the bench to convince Daniel Levy to invest in the Tottenham squad, the reductio ad absurdum of the lion as a species subliminally convinced the Premier League to redesign its official feline logo. But that was only the beginning.

At first, the lion bread was well-received.

Decorative, creative and – most importantly – edible, it earned the sort of praise from viewers usually reserved for dogs on talent shows or that weirdly popular inventor guy on The Apprentice (no, we’re not sure either. Sure, he was eminently likeable and all, but the hero-worship was a bit weird).

But the judges didn’t see it the same way. Despite calling it “One of the best things I’ve seen in bread…ever,” Paul Hollywood denied his namesake the honour of Star Baker.

It set the tone for months of post-fact journalism, with politicians from both of the UK’s main political parties bending the truth so far that it started to resemble those bananas they lied about the EU trying to ban. You can probably work out where we’re going with this one.

Overseas, Donald Trump’s plans to torture race-relations more than we tortured the analogy in the last paragraph have grown and grown. Now we’re not saying it’s a direct consequence of the bread fiasco, but if you think it didn’t pave the way for his Republican candidacy then you’re either very naive or simply in the pocket of Big Bread.

Next up – the spate of celebrity deaths in 2016. It truly has been a year like no other when it comes to our childhood heroes passing away.

But had you realised ‘celebrity death’ is an anagram of ‘tetchy bread lie’? Go on, look it up. We can wait.

See. We’re about to blow this shit wide open.

And then there’s the kicker. A noble animal, treasured in life and mercilessly mocked when it had no chance to defend itself. Remind you of anyone?

We’re not saying the response to the lion bread made the senseless killing of Harambe morally defensible, but we’re not *not* saying that.

When you consider that Harambe was almost certainly one of the last survivors who knew the truth about 9/11, it’s clear that this goes right to the top.

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