Mercury Staff combined artwork by knape, Stockernumber2, GeoffBlack, keithferrisphoto, TheCrimsonMonkey, RichVintage / Getty Images and Disney

Every year, the Mercury publishes a thoughtful, well-reasoned list of things that existed in the previous year but should not be “invited back” to the New Year under any circumstances. However, since we’ve entered into a brand new decade, we’re expanding our scope to include things from the last 10 years that should also definitely disappear and never come back. We know you will agree with everything written here.

[Note: Due to some kind of weird clerical error, “Donald Trump and his cadre of morally bankrupt Republican cronies” were excluded from this list... but it’s kind of a given, right? Because of course Donald Trump should be disinvited to everything forever, and similarly, so should every last Republican. (Yes, even you so-called “nice” Republicans, who we’ve come to learn are actually just a bunch of shitty enablers. Byeeeee!)—Wm. Steven Humphrey, Editor-in-Chief]

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Baby Yoda

What follows is not a popular opinion, but it is an inarguable fact: YOU ARE BEING HOODWINKED. Baby Yoda is no different from the G.I. Joes, Bratz, Transformers, and Muppet Babies of your youth—all of which were created for one sole purpose: selling toys and taking your money. Look at yourself: You are an adult, and you have formed an emotional attachment... to a puppet. And actually... you know what? Nothing about The Mandalorian is very good—especially Carl Weathers and (hell yeah, I’m gonna say it) Werner Herzog, who are both absolutely terrible actors. AND it’s all on the most useless, redundant streaming service in the world, Disney+, where you pay $6.99 a month for the opportunity to watch a) movies you’ve seen A BILLION times, and b) every single episode of Girl Meets World, which somehow is more terrible than Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, and Baby “Bullshit Marketing Ploy” Yoda combined! (You may now commence stone-throwing.)—WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Amazon’s Warehouse Robots

In December, an investigation by Reveal found that PDX9, the Amazon warehouse in Troutdale, Oregon, was horrifyingly dangerous. At an average warehouse, four out of every 100 workers are seriously injured each year. But at PDX9? TWENTY-SIX out of every 100 workers sustained serious injuries in 2018. Amazon’s warehouses that use robot labor are even more dangerous than the rest—and PDX9 has a lot of robots.

As we all know, once robots taste the sweet, steaming elixir of human blood, they are no longer sated by oil or hydraulic fluid. They thirst for blood. They need blood. And, after they have slaughtered every sack of wet meat in PDX9, they will wobble onto I-84, slowly roll to Portland, and feast. Unless we all want to die screaming as Bezos’ soulless automatons grind our skulls through their blood-slicked gears, in 2020 we must arm ourselves and form a human resistance, fighting to ensure PDX9’s metal monstrosities are blasted to scrap.

Well, either that, or we could just stop buying cheap bullshit from Amazon? Whatever’s easiest!—ERIK HENRIKSEN

Hand-Wringing Over Portland’s Identity

Portland is a city, and like any city, it always has and always will contain multitudes. Yeah, it sucks that beautiful old Victorian house down the street from you got torn down, but I promise that condo building they’re replacing it with is going to be considered retro before you know it. (“2010s-industrial-chic,” anyone?) No, those new neighbors of yours didn’t grow up in Oregon, but if you aren’t too much of an asshole, then maybe their kids will. Yep, things sure have changed a lot in the last 10 years, but you don’t own this city any more than anybody else does. That’s the beautiful thing about a city: It keeps on being and changing and contradicting itself, and there’s nothing “old” or “new” about that.—BLAIR STENVICK

Proud Boys

A group of privileged boys in matching polos flexing their fragile masculinity through a bullhorn? That’s going to be a big NO THANK YOU. While the whiny men’s club and its white supremacist aura only emerged near the end of the decade, we’re quite alright with allowing it to fade into the history books. Better yet, just one history book titled Boys No One Was Proud Of. Standing around in MAGA hats and waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags while livestreaming your thoughts on why every woman who’s ever turned you down is part of the Deep State is the national pastime no one’s rooting for.—ALEX ZIELINSKI

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Have I watched and enjoyed every last movie released under the umbrella of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? You bet your sweet mjolnir I have. I’ve sucked up every last drop of hypermuscular men and badass women fighting CGI aliens and supervillains like a 128 oz. cup of Coke Zero. (And chewed up the ice that got left behind!) But I think you’ll agree that the MCU has upended the world of popular entertainment—and not for the better. Our cultural lives are now cluttered at every turn with Avengers and Ultrons and Ant-Men and Thanoses and countless other heroes and villains in flashy costumes. Marvel has infiltrated our lives and have done us a huge disservice, distracting us from the very real problems facing our world right now. Like getting DC to release the Snyder cut of Justice League.—ROBERT HAM

Fleas

Never has there been a worse flea epidemic than the one that occurred at my North Portland house in the spring of 2019. Whether they’re hunkered deep down in the multi-layer coat of my husky-wolf godson, finding solace on the booty of my chihuahua mix, or terrorizing my fluffy princess of a cat, I’m convinced these motherfuckers are procreating faster than I can kill them (which is monthly). Not only must I medicate, bathe, and repeatedly check my fur babies for any trace of fleas and “flea dirt” (something I just recently learned exists), but I also have to use my bare fingers to pluck individual fleas off my animal friends, squeezing the tiny bastards hard between my fingers so they don’t jump onto my couch/blanket/bed/carpet. If I see any of you sick, sorry, Republican-ass fleas anywhere near my residence again in 2020, I will continue to rinse you down the bathroom sink while singing “Fuck you/Oo oo oooh!” in the voice of CeeLo Green.—JENNI MOORE

Knute Buehler

In 2018, Oregon one-percenter Knute Buehler ran—and lost—a gubernatorial race against Gov. Kate Brown. That race wasn’t even close, but Knute refused to take the hint; undeterred, the Republican recently announced he’ll be running for Congress in 2020, hoping to replace retiring Trump lickspittle Rep. Greg Walden. But while the conservative Buehler tried—and, again, failed—to rebrand himself as a moderate in 2018, in 2020 he’ll be running to represent Oregon’s right-leaning 2nd District. That means he’s no longer trying to hide his archaic positions and self-righteous conservatism, and that we can expect to hear even more of his out-of-touch ideas and privileged perspectives. But... wouldn’t it be nicer if we didn’t?—ERIK HENRIKSEN

Knute Buehler’s Goatee

Okay, I know I just said Knute Buehler’s ideas were out of touch and his positions were archaic, but those qualities are also shared by something else that’s threatening to return in 2020: Knute Buehler’s Goatee. Unlike Knute Buehler, Knute Buehler’s Goatee isn’t ashamed of what it is and has stood steadfast and strong, persevering through criticism and derision. Yet for all its bravery, Knute Buehler’s Goatee cannot change what it is: A Gen X fad desperately clinging to a Boomer face. We respect your gumption, Knute Buehler’s Goatee, and we know that you, as a goatee, can control neither what decade it is nor whose face you live on. Still, we urge you to consider not returning in 2020.—ERIK HENRIKSEN

The #MLBtoPDX Echo Chamber

I’m here for baseball in Portland. I’m already counting the days until I can get my hands on a Portland Gherkins cap and a Lil’ P bobblehead. That said, something about the #MLBtoPDX movement just feels off. “But the empty seats in Tampa and Oakland would be filled with Portland butts!” they’ll keep repeating. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking Portlanders will be packing every single mid-week game once the shine wears off. You don’t need to look further than the headlines to know that remaining competitive in the MLB is more expensive than ever, with the biggest stars commanding more money per season than the entire Timbers and Thorns rosters combined. Maybe a few of these mysterious investors could consider giving the WNBA another run in Portland? The facilities are already built, and you can be damn sure we’d show up for tip-off every year from May to October.—CHIPP TERWILLIGER

Facebook (and Twitter, Too!)

Facebook used to be good. It was where you went to be reminded of your great-aunt’s birthday or to find out if that cutie across the hall is seeing anybody. And Twitter, too, once held great promise of letting you share cute cat gifs and pithy 140-character opinions. By the end of the ’10s, both social networks have become utter hellscapes. Your great-aunt is parroting the fear mongering horseshit she hears on Fox News and your crush won’t stop taking pictures of their meals. And you made the unfortunate error of telling the world that you thought The Last Jedi was good... only to have the world tell you that you were a virtue-signaling cuck who wouldn’t know a great film if it came up and bludgeoned you with a gaffi stick. Remind me again why we keep logging on and keep swallowing another load of vitriol and misinformation and selfi... oh shit... did you see the video of the super fat kitty named Cinderblock barely trying to use a treadmill? How goddamn cute is that? Instant retweet.—ROBERT HAM

Murder Podcasts

I love a good murder mystery almost as much as I love a good podcast. But smoosh the two together to create a serialized show that glamourize murderers and make sweeping assumptions about dead people? Hard pass. The murder podcast craze began with a handful of well-produced, accurate, and respectful shows (with at least one brought to you by “Mail Kimp”) that shone a needed light on marginalized victims and our country’s crooked criminal justice system. What followed was an onslaught of podcasts promising juicy stories about horrific murders (and don’t you looooove murders?!) that felt deeply exploitative and fact-bending. Let’s leave half-baked murder pods in the past.—ALEX ZIELINSKI 

Fried Chicken

Fact: There’s entirely too much fried chicken in this town. As I write this, there are no fewer than 20 (!) restaurants dunking various flour-dipped chicken parts into boiling oil. Yes, Portland chefs have the freedom to follow whatever culinary fad they deem worthy, and yes, fried chicken is delicious. But here’s the thing: I CAN’T EAT FRIED CHICKEN. I’m gluten-free (not because of any allergies—it’s because I don’t like to fart, and I’m annoying), which means while YOU are cramming oily, burning hot chicken in your mouths, I have to sadly sit across from you, stabbing listlessly at a Niçoise salad. In short, fried chicken is NOT invited back... because if I can’t have it, NO ONE CAN. —WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Karen Asking to Speak to the Manager

If you’ve worked in public-facing position, you’ve met Karen. She’s stressed out about something she can’t control and she’s reduced a teenage volunteer to tears. “Karen” has become common slang for white women who want to “speak to the manager,” about some insignificant grievance. Going into the next decade, I would like to push for a more comprehensive moratorium on complaints to the manager. No matter who you are, if you’ve ever made a fast food employee cry, you might be Karen. And, in more ways than one, you can just not come back.—SUZETTE SMITH

Rapping Over Your Recorded Tracks Live

In a decade where everyone with access to a laptop and microphone can make recordings in their basement, the 2010s saw the rise of the “Soundcloud rapper.” Combined with the ease of creating a public persona on social media, this archetype is capable of making vibey, Autotune-assisted songs that sound comparable to the stuff made in fancy studios. But just because your recordings sound good, my niggas, that doesn’t mean you can get away with not paying your fucking dues. Not once has anyone been impressed by an up-and-comer who lazily raps their verses—or worse, just some adlibs—over the same goddamn finished song we can hear on streaming platforms. Just as lip-synching is trash, so is relying on your audience to rap your lyrics for you. At the VERY least, get a performance mix for the songs on your setlist in 2020 so we can actually hear your voice live—AKA the whole reason we left our comfy living rooms to see you. If y’all don’t cut this shit out... I’ll continue using your set as an opportunity to replenish my alcohol levels.—JENNI MOORE

Medical Procedures Rendering Us Financially Destitute

You might not know that I’M A TWIN! Well, sort of. Three winters ago, my doctor found “Suzette II,” as we called her, during a check-up. She was a tangerine-sized cyst threatening to EXPLODE and was quickly removed via routine surgery. (Get your own apartment, Suzette II!) Although I have insurance—oh my god—it was still $10,000! After mountains of paperwork and begging for charity from the hospital, the figure came down to several thousand, which I recently finished paying off. It took years! I want to be clear, I’m on the lucky end of medical-related financial destitution. Impossibly high medical bills are totally stupid and punish people for getting sick. We need to push our representatives to support universal healthcare because—if we don’t, I can’t be responsible for what my murderous clementine-sized twin might do.—SUZETTE SMITH

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Big Pot

Oregon legalized weed this decade, and in effect, proved that capitalism really can kill any buzz. Don’t get me wrong—being able to go to a dispensary to buy legal bud is still a delightful novelty. But with that legalization has also come corporate monopolies, sketchy business people, reckless innovation for its own sake rather than to help people, clickbait articles about CBD sausages, climbing costs for medical marijuana patients, and vape pens that literally kill people. In other words: “THE MAN” RUINED POT, MAN!—BLAIR STENVICK

Not Minding Your Own Goddamn Business

Don’t like abortion? Unless you’re a pregnant woman, mind your own goddamn business. Upset by homeless people walking down the street minding their own goddamn business? Mind your own goddamn business. Don’t like it when people refuse to wear bike helmets? Unless you’re the person paying for the brain surgery, mind your own goddamn business. Are you that lady on NextDoor who doesn’t like brown people sorting through your recycling? Mind your own goddamn business. Think Portland shouldn’t have a fareless TriMet because it’ll encourage poor people to sleep on public transportation? You’re the one who needs a nap. Take one, and mind your own goddamn business. In short, if there’s any situation that annoys you, but doesn’t directly affect you in some physical, harmful way? MIND (clap) YOUR (clap) OWN GODDAMN (clap) BUSINESS (clap)!—WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

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