When I was a project manager, I loved the three hours after winning a new contract. Nothing had been sullied; the project lived only in my brain, free from reality, bad decision making, a change in funding, or the soul-crushing realization that a lot of computer work is boring, especially when it’s on behalf of a government project. Before all of that would inevitably occur, I could take a wee snatch of time to smile, knowing others had seen fit to approve the project I and others had outlined. It was a lovely spot of validation, and no fools had yet rushed in.
The successive years of my life are just like that. Oh, 2008 will be fantastic, after all, I’m getting married! 2001 is going to a banner year, now that we all have that Y2K crap over with. 1998 will be so much better because now I live in Washington, DC. While there were great parts of those years, there certainly was disappointment, pain, and in 2001 at least, deep sorrow. For its part 2010 has been solid, if not subject to a lot of anticipation that came stapled to my increasing positive returns on the writing front. But in looking back, wow, there has been a lot of ridiculousness. Here are the top 7 biggest brain farts, as I see them.
So much attention paid to the Tea Party—Compared to the numbers of Americans registered as Democrats or Republicans, people who state they’re Tea Party members are extremely few and far between. But with such outrageous sound bites emanating from their followers, the media and rest of us couldn’t get enough of them, it seemed. Someone needs to do an analysis of how many late-night and Comedy Central jokes were made at the Tea Party’s expense, because I think if we added them all up, we’d see it was somewhere around 40 percent of their jokes for the year. And no, monkeys don’t morph into homo sapiens, so maybe we should get back to teaching evolution in school to stop the stupidity about the subject.
Justin Bieber’s appearance on Saturday Night Live—Whatever this show once was, it is no more. It’s taken to jumping dolphins now because so many sharks are done with it. And I can’t think of a lower point than Bieber’s appearance, which was little more than a mop topped kid standing in one of eight different positions. Perhaps Ashlee Simpson’s failed lip synching was worse, but for my purposes here, hey, it didn’t happen in 2010. He didn’t even seem that entertaining as a singer.
The entire network season for fall 2010—So many dogs were approved by programmers across the networks, not even the tip of my left pinkie is surprised that the breakout hits are Boardwalk Empire on HBO and a freaking miniseries about zombies. What did they give us, after all? An offensive series about outsourcing jobs to India, stiff detective procedurals that repeated Law & Order without improving it, and sitcoms that desperately, somehow, needed a laugh track to tell us which parts were funny. Over on I Fry Mine in Butter, Snarky’s Machine unpacked some of the why behind the abject failure of the season, but wow, was it disappointing overall.
Pulling up short on health care reform—Almost before it started, health care reform failed to gain any traction on the Hill, and constituents were left with a debate on a much smaller framework, that of health care insurance policy. I call this smaller, because the public option—the oh so scary concept maligned as socialist—was taken off the table right at the beginning. Even as a majority of doctors favored keeping a public option in the bill, special interest groups (read: insurance providers) lobbied to keep it out. By the time the debate entered the 2010 calendar year, nobody was talking about a Medicare-like program, and the bill passed with new restrictions on reproductive rights, a blow to women who may now have to pay out of pocket for some procedures.
Snowpocalypse 2010—Yes, it snowed a whole heck of a lot on the East Coast, blanketing cities from Boston to Washington. I understand that it gets difficult to get around when more than a foot of the white stuff falls in a two-day or shorter period. What I didn’t understand were the countless pictures and videos that somehow counted as “news” on CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and lots of network affiliated Web sites. We still needed to hear about foreign policy, the stagnating economy, the primary races, and hell, Lindsay Lohan’s trouble staying out of prison, and instead we got how high the snow covered some jackass’s kid’s tricycle. It was less than lazy journalism. Which leads me to. . .
Glen Beck won’t shut up—Geez, I thought Rush Limbaugh was bad, but Beck has a way of playing up the “common sense” angle that Limbaugh never seems to manage (must be his uncompromising level of vitriol). While I would never say that Beck has single-handedly dumbed down the standard for public discourse about our path as a nation, he certainly is one of the loudest, least informed voices out there, a really sucky combination that gave the extreme right a lot of talking points, which in turn made many of us thump our heads on our desks, walls, or other hard surfaces. The best part about this worst of Beck? He credits a lot of his knowledge to books he checked out from his local public library. They must love him over there.
The BP oil disaster in the Gulf—I’m including this as a “ridiculous” moment for the following reasons: the Federal Government allowed an unresearched kind of drilling in a known difficult part of the Gulf, and didn’t acknowledge for some time after the explosion that this was the case; right-wing politicians came out to lambaste the President for not being supportive enough of BP; people and wildlife along the coast once again were left to struggle after the initial event; BP had no backup plan for an event like this and ad hoc invented solutions that failed for 3+ months after ward, all while more oil was glugging out of the Gulf floor. And even so, the disaster pales in comparison to what oil companies have done to Nigeria in the last several decades.
If you’ve got a ridiculous moment from 2010 to share, please leave it in the comments.