by Ryan Meehan
2011 was a perfect example of how actions spoke louder than words. And I don’t know if you’ve caught this, but we as a species don’t seem to be good at doing OR talking, so we were pretty much behind the eight ball here to begin with. But in 2011 somehow we used our words and our hands to continue to do some of the stupidest shit in recent memory. Let’s review.
MOST HISTORICAL MOMENT IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM: The Death of Osama Bin Laden
Apologies to my mother, I’m going to use some really coarse language here. We had to kill Osama Bin Laden, end of story. I’ve heard all of the pacifist arguments a million times since that happened and saw all of Michael Moore’s ridiculous tweets about how nobody should be celebrating this because someone died, and might I just take a brief part of this column to say: Fuck that. There are some people on this earth who just don’t deserve to continue living, and Osama Bin Laden was one of them. The team of military agents we sent in to complete this mission were the best of the best. They had trained their whole life to make sure that they were prepared for something like this, and they got right in there and right out, shooting him right between the fucking eyes in the process. What’s the problem here? Even if you didn’t agree with the war in the first place, wasn’t basically everyone in agreement that something needed to be done about Bin Laden? I’d also like to take this space to remind everybody that for me this ended up being a total “I told you so” moment, as I’ve been saying for years that he was in Pakistan, which in fact he was.
MOST GLARING EXAMPLE THAT WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, WE AS VOTERS HAVE NO REAL CHOICE: Any of the Republican Presidential Debates
Rick Perry forgot one of the departments he planned to cut funding for. Although I realize that the media has already jumped all over this, I can’t stress enough how completely unacceptable it is for a politician to forget any of their core values, even in front of the cameras. That’s why you’re hired to be a politician. You know why the people who write all the things that they say aren’t politicians themselves? Because they’re chickenshits and they’d fall apart as soon as that light went on. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many other poor choices out there when it comes to voting for president. Want to know how bad it really is? Let’s go through your options if you’re a Republican that has absolutely no desire to vote liberal and never will:
Mitt Romney – Mormon, can’t do it. Every president should be able to drink because it’s a rough job.
Rick Perry – Forgetful, Governor of Texas
Herman Cain – Made a boatload of money and is a great businessman but suffers from Clarence Thomas Syndrome, a rare disease that for some reason only affects politicians of African-American descent. Would be a fine choice, but also suffers from Herman Cain Syndrome, a very popular disease amongst all politicians where the patient grabs a handful of ass cheek every time the secretary comes back from the copier.
Newt Gingrich – Yeah right. With all of the accusations being tossed back and forth regarding sexual harassment, there’s bound to be something about Newt that will come up at some point.
Michelle Bachmann – Crazy woman, says things that go over everybody’s head because they don’t make any sense.
Ron Paul – Crazy woman, says things that go over everybody’s head because they don’t make any sense. (Editor’s note: This whole idea to eliminate the Department of Education stems from this “instant gratification” addiction we’ve developed since the inception of the internet. It’s this idea that if you can’t immediately quantify the results of any particular program, that it should be done away with)
And if that sounds insane, realize for a second that your option on the other side of the fence would be re-elect Obama. That is if you have enough money to put gas in your tank to go to make it to the library so you can vote. Once again, Americans will go to the polls in November and make their decision based on lack of a real option. Let’s attempt to move onto something that’s a little bit lighter of a topic and yet equally depressing…
BIGGEST TELEVISION DEVELPOMENT DEAL TO GO TO A WORKING COMEDIAN WHO TOTALLY DOESN’T DESERVE IT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM: Whitney Cummings
As a TV critic that loves comedy, obviously I have a huge problem with this one. Whitney Cummings does not even deserve a cable TV show. So let, me get this straight: Sarah Silverman gets her show removed from a channel that you have to pay the cable company to get, and this hack walks right over to NBC and they hand her assloads of money without even flinching? I guess they figured “Screw it, we already have Tracy Morgan on payroll…why not?” She also produces a show on CBS as well, which I’m sure both networks are thrilled about when it comes to getting anything done right away. Compared to some of the other stuff in this article I know it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal that a bad comedian would get her own show, but it makes me mad because I’m a huge fan of comedy and I knew there were other comedians who were much more deserving of the time slot.
BIGGEST DISASTER TO BE VIRTUALLY IGNORED BY THE MEDIA A WEEK AFTER IT HAPPENED: The Joplin, Missouri Tornadoes
When Joplin, MO got pounded by a vicious tornado this summer, immediately the media was all over it. I can remember watching the NBC Nightly News with my mother and they were down there providing excellent coverage of a tragic event. But hen something happened. For some reason the media ignored the whole thing about a week later. I didn’t read one single follow up article about how any of those people were doing or what happened to the high school or anything. This is weird for a couple of reasons: First off, following a story like that can make a newscaster or reporter’s career so you would think it would be great fodder and that they would have been down there all year. Second, the town was leveled. I understand that Hurricane Katrina was a tragic event, but most of the structures were still there once the floodwaters receded. This wasn’t the case in Joplin. Everything was completely destroyed. Not to trivialize the hurricane, but when you think about it, you’d probably rather your house smell like dirty floodwater for a while than have no house at all if given the choice.
MOST SHOCKING SPORTS STORY: The Penn State and Syracuse Scandals
Then, the Syracuse thing happened with Bernie Fine and they played those awful tapes where the guy’s wife admitted that he had serious problems and that she had heard screaming and knew everything that was going on. That was the point where I became furious. Now I’m not really sold on negligence being a legitimate crime, I’m one of those people who believes that people are responsible for their own actions, not the actions of others. But that had to have been one of the worst examples of criminal negligence in American history. “I knew my husband was a pedophile, and not only did I not do anything about it, I let him allow young boys into the house anyway, heard AND saw what they were doing, and didn’t report any of it to the police”. That’s more dropping the fucking ball, that’s just plain sick.
Throughout both of these stories, I couldn’t help but think that maybe it’s not a good idea for a bunch of men in their 50s and 60s to be scouting young boys unsupervised on some of these campuses. These are multimillion dollar institutions, can’t we get an officer of the law to monitor these situations? I would think for sure it would make the parents feel more comfortable. (Editor’s Note: When I was trying to upload a picture of Sandusky, WordPress told me that the file was “not permitted for security reasons”. Think about how fucked up that is for a second.)
MOMENT THAT PROVES WE BEAT AN IDEA TO DEATH JUST FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING THINGS A LITTLE BIT EASIER: The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster
You know what? I have an idea. How about no more nuclear power plants? Seriously…How many stories that involve plutonium have a happy ending? Look, we tried this, it worked in some instances, but the danger and risk is just way too high to continue doing it. And it sounds completely stupid on paper – putting a bunch of radioactive materials in one place and concentrating them to extract power? Yeah, that sounds safe. If you missed it, back in March there was an earthquake in the Pacific Ocean which caused a subsequent tsunami. This set of disasters caused over 15,000 deaths, 6,000 more injuries, and over 100,000 building and residences destroyed. Probably the biggest problem that resulted was at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant where the waves from the tsunami caused several level seven meltdowns. For those of you not familiar with the classifications of nuclear emergencies, since I’m not very good at describing it let’s just say that level seven is really, really, really fucking bad. The tsunami broke the reactors’ connection to the power grid, leading the reactors to begin to overheat. The flooding and earthquake damage made external assistance nearly impossible.
In the days that followed, it was discovered that radioactive cesium, iodine, and strontium were also detected in the tap water and soil in the surrounding areas. See what I was talking about at the opening of this? The risks by far outweigh the rewards. You could have a power plant that generates all of the power in the world, but if there’s the possibility that once one of these natural disasters occur everything within a twenty mile radius could be poisoned or destroyed, is it really worth it?
BALLSIEST ALBUM COVER: Michael Malone “Let’s Get Physical”
This one I’m probably a little biased about because it’s a friend of mine, but just look at this:
That’s hilarious. And this guy doesn’t even drink.
BIGGEST WORLD EVENT: The Arab Spring
I laughed when Qaadafi was killed. I laugh when any of these dictators are killed because there’s always a bunch of fanatics in the streets carrying pictures of the guy and crying like they’re shocked. Of course he got killed. Not to trivialize a human life, but if you run a brutal regime for that long and do all of the horrible things he did, you’re probably not going to die in your sleep at 93. What did he think was going to happen? In an area notorious for bombs going off constantly and people carry assault rifles like they’re lunch pails, why would anybody be shocked when they finally storm the compound of the guy who’s responsible for all of the economic unrest?
This turn of events in Syria, Libya, and Egypt are a culmination of tensions that have building in that region for years, and all of this was bound to happen eventually. Whether or not they will do anything about it is another story. The Middle East is notorious for making situations that are already bad even worse, and although I hope this won’t end up the same the odds certainly aren’t in peace’s favor.
MOST OVERRATED CELEBRITY DEATH: Amy Winehouse – July
It should go without saying that this is just my personal opinion, but I’m not sure that Amy Winehouse was ever anywhere nearly as talented as we were all led to believe. I have this theory that a lot of people just say they listen to jazz music just to make it seem like their musical horizons are much wider than they actually are. Personally, I think it sucks. To me, jazz is just an earlier version of “experimental/noise” music that doesn’t really have a lot of structure. And who didn’t see this coming? To me, Amy Winehouse was just another example of some wacky drunk British chick with a beehive that got way too much credit from within the industry due to the fact that the people who are behind the Grammys are fucking idiots who continue to attempt to convince us that most years Green Day puts out the best rock album in a twelve month span.
MOST DEPRESSING EXAMPLE OF HOW FAST TECHNOLOGY IS MOVING: The “Hey, remember us?” messages from MySpace in your inbox
If you’re like I am and you forgot your MySpace password years ago, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. These messages from MySpace show up in my inbox a lot, and they start by saying “Insert celebrity’s name here” has sent you a message. Look, MySpace was a great website when it first came out, I liked the way that it gave you your own website with your own layout where you could stream your own music, publish your own writing, and easily network with friends. But once Facebook came out, it was all over. Facebook’s feed looked better, the chat function was better, it was only a matter of time until MySpace became obsolete, and that’s exactly what went down. But the emails are just depressing. Re: Miley Cyrus sent you a message on MySpace!!! Sure she did. Come up with a better marketing strategy, there’s never been a better time than now because nobody’s paying any attention to you.
SADDEST DISPLAY OF MEDIA EXPLOITATION: Nancy Grace’s Coverage of the Casey Anthony Trial
Of course I’ve never been the hugest Nancy Grace fan. For those of you who don’t know who Nancy Grace is, she’s supposed to be some hard-edged legal commentator for one of the cable news networks. She’s also one of the biggest hypocrites the media has ever seen. When you think about it, for a woman that supposedly “can’t stand” to see innocent children suffer at all, nobody does better from a professional standpoint when it happens than Nancy Grace. Don’t get me wrong, this was a terrible story, but it took up so much of the cable and internet news cycle that you couldn’t help but ignore it. And Nancy made sure you wouldn’t miss a single moment of it, down to every horrible detail.
As you might assume, I have my own take on the whole Casey Anthony story that’s way too in depth to press in a year-end wrap-up article. The point here is if any young person who is emotionally or mentally unstable feels they can get any sort of attention by doing something horrible, the media is setting a very poor example by giving them said attention. None of these cases should ever be made public, there shouldn’t be a court or justice network, and no video camera should ever be allowed inside any courtroom under any circumstances. If we can’t trust the justice system to operate without the red LED light blinking, then we can’t trust them at all and they’re worthless.
MOST AWESOME CELEBRITY MELTDOWN: Charlie Sheen
I enjoyed the shit out of every minute of the Charlie Sheen thing. The guy flipped his lid and when asked on national television if he was bi-polar, he actually answered by saying “I’m not bi-polar, I’m bi-winning” and everybody went “He’s a genius!!!” Then we went out and bought shirts and bumper stickers with his picture and the word “winning” all over them, like he just copyrighted a word that has been around since the beginning of time. Never before have I seen any group of people get behind a guy who was completely engulfed by addiction more than Americans rallied around Charlie Sheen. And in the end, he did win because he got to leave that awful television show he was on. Only in America.
MOST POPULAR PUBLIC DISPLAY OF PEOPLE BEING BLASTED BY TEAR GAS: Occupy Wall Street Protests
I understood why people had finally snapped about Wall Street. What I didn’t understand is why they were spending all of their time protesting it instead of using that time to apply for employment. It’s a very messy situation, but to be honest I didn’t find this to be much of a news story to begin with, and certainly wasn’t earth shattering…I mean, middle and lower class people are fed up with Wall Street? So? We already knew that. I don’t get where the fact that it’s a story comes in. And Time magazine declaring “The Protester” their Person of The Year? What a disgrace. Look, if you’re passionate about any of this stuff that’s fine, I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but none of these protesters are heroes. They were civil and I can definitely attest to that, but simply being civil doesn’t make you a hero. Obviously what happened in Oakland was horrible, and there was an incident where some people in New York had defecated in one of the police vans, but for the most part a lot of these demonstrations were peaceful. That doesn’t mean they were interesting.
MOST NOTABLE WORLD EVENT THAT HAPPENED AT THE LAST MINUTE: Death of Kim Jong Il
The reason this is significant is not only is one of the most troublesome yet compelling dictators no longer alive to inflict damage on his own country as well as the rest of the world, but the fact that his successor has his finger (Kim Jong Un) on the button is only 28 and looks to be about 17 years old. I’m not usually the type of person that gets “scared” about things like this, but even I’m willing to admit that’s fucking scary. North Korea has plenty of nuclear missiles and now the whole country appears to be under the control of someone who is way too young to grasp the idea of the type of damage those weapons can actually do. North Korea can make all the changes they want, but the change they’ll never make is to give a voice to the people.
The only guarantee that this world can make is the assurance that we will continue to find new and innovative ways to destroy ourselves. You can write it on a calendar in permanent marker. But then you’d have to go out and buy a calendar and on the way there you might get hit by a car. The accident might be so bad that you miss work for an extended period of time, and it may turn out that the guy who replaced you on an interim basis is really smart and a lot better at doing your job than you were. So by the time you’re healthy, they don’t even offer you your old job back. So then you’re out of money and you get evicted. The rest of your life between that point and the day you die is just a whole lot of you performing oral sex for money.
On second thought, fuck the calendar. Stay home.
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