A Mostly Fractured Take On Current Events

2011 Year In Review: Stuff Happened. Or Something.

In Essays on December 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

At the end of every year, all the important talking heads and serious pundits like to review the biggest stories. Presumably, they do this as a public service. But really, it’s just easy to rehash old stories when everyone else is on vacation. Because I am neither serious nor a pundit, I’d like to go over some off-beat topics you may have missed in 2011. Even with a 24-hour news cycle, some of these stories fell through the cracks. Keep in mind that these aren’t the most important news items this year, just ones that caught my attention.

It was a year of legal maneuvering. The health care law was challenged in the courts. More importantly, wrestling legend Hulk Hogan filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife, Linda Bollea. Bollea accused Hogan of physical abuse. “Slamming doors, pounding walls…. I was always afraid he would kill me in one of his rages,” Bollea said. Most legal experts said her claims were baseless. Indeed, slamming doors and pounding walls are what passengers routinely face when they fly with Alec Baldwin, and they’ve learned to deal with it just fine.

It was a year of brave protest. Citizens toppled a dictator in Egypt. In a similar vein, Occupy Wall Street protesters railed against being poor while using a $300 iPhone. Any serious protest movement needs a catchy slogan. And for the Occupy crowd, they have chosen an effective one: “We are the 99 percent.” However, if this is true, then 99 percent of Americans smell like goat cheese for living in a tent and not bathing for 16 days. If only they would occupy a shower instead.

It was a year of political triumphs. Congress passed some historic budget cuts. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama mistakenly set off a White House metal detector. I don’t know why it went off. My hunch is that security personnel found a metal spoon tucked away in the president’s coat pocket. Every president needs a hobby, and I’d like to imagine that Obama collects spoons. His goal is to collect a spoon from every state that has benefited from his policies. Thus far, he has only collected one spoon, from the District Of Columbia.

It was a year of charitable giving. People all over the world donated time and money to Japan following the tsunami disaster. The giving continued in November when three wealthy fund managers in Connecticut won a $254 million Powerball jackpot. What does this have to do with charitable giving? The three men said they would donate a significant portion of their winnings to “charity.” I think this statement only works if you consider yacht manufacturers or Faberge Egg stores as charitable organizations.

And, finally, it was a year of artistic achievement. “The King’s Speech” won several Oscars. Additionally, for the sake of art, Lady Gaga posed nude for Tony Bennett so that he could sketch her for Vanity Fair magazine. At the time, this seemed like one of those weird cultural meetings that have happened only a few times in history. It reminded me of when Elvis Presley made a trip to the White House to visit President Richard Nixon and pose for photographs. But I hope to God that Nixon never had to sketch Elvis in the nude.

Again, these aren’t the most important events from 2011. But they do paint a picture. And in the case of Lady Gaga, one that features birthday suits. By this time next year, we should have plenty of new items to remind us of what a great year it has been. Happy New Year and have an eventful 2012!

© 2011 Pat Hester


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