Let’s face it: there is a part of you that wondered what the Mayan Apocaplyse would have looked like. There are people out there who probably, and honestly, believed that President Obama’s re-election was a harbinger of doom. There are those of us who laughed at it. On the broader scale, though, things moved quickly… nearly too quickly. Out of nowhere, Psy’s “Gangnum Style” took the world by storm, setting a record number of YouTube hits. That major motion picture that was heavily advertised came out, then got swept away in the midst of summer blockbusters. News magazines like “60 Minutes” and “Rock Center with Brian Williams” tried to keep pace with the ever-changing environment; one in which politics dominated the nation, but other stories demanded attention as well.
2012 has been declared by CNN and the New York Times Magazine as the year of “meh,” in which nothing great happened, just a lot of lukewarm stories. I disagree. Personally, I think the election was red-hot, else CNN and the New York Times wouldn’t have been covering it day and night for over a year. The devastation from Hurricane Sandy and numerous tragic shooting incidents brought the United States to its knees, emotionally. There were tons of top heavy stories that got blanket coverage.
However, one area that falls into the “meh” portion of the year, surprisingly, is sports. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl, but it seems like nobody really gave a crap who wasn’t in the New York area, or who wasn’t a fan. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, and even fewer people seemed to give a crap. I was stoked about both occasions, and stunned at the lack of national conversation about two underdog teams winning it all. Then, I realized that nobody cared about the underdogs this year. The Miami Heat were supposed to win NBA titles, and got tons of coverage when they did, but even with that, they were not surpassing expectations, they were merely fulfilling them. The BCS title game was a total dud; seriously, who wants to see a “title” game with two SEC teams who already played each other earlier that season? MLS? Who cares? The only great sports story was the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup, which then got swept under the rug when NHL lockout began.
However, underdogs were not favored this year. Mitt Romney gave a solid shot at the White House, but ultimately defeated himself, by completely failing to control his gaffes, failing to reach the common man, and failing to pick a decent VP nominee. Although not a foregone conclusion, Obama had the inside track to his re-election, and was able to hold onto it. The election results killed Fox News’s ratings, and nearly toppled John Boehner as speaker when his own party couldn’t agree on how to proceed last week. Gay marriage advocates celebrated victories in four states, but kept it quiet; they didn’t want to rub their victories in anyone’s face.
California saw the state GOP got walloped, finally losing the battle for the state legislature, and by that, I mean falling to less than a third in each house. While other states are different, 2012 secured California as a blue state until the state GOP rebrands itself, something Representative Jeff Gorell (R-Thousand Oaks) called for days after the election, and quite wisely too.
2012 saw the victory of technology; political victors, for the most part, outflanked their opposition using better technology, which enabled their supporters to do better. Technology has become so intrusive in our lives that you cannot watch a sporting event without seeing at least half the people looking down at their phones; you cannot enter a Starbucks or Peets during business hours without seeing at least one tablet and one laptop; technology allows for people to stalk you whilst being miles away, and companies to use your private photos for their profit. Facebook is now trying to make money off of each user, a prospect which will rear its ugly head, and probably sooner rather than later.
Technology, fittingly enough, killed anti-piracy legislation, when numerous websites (wikipedia, reddit, amongst others) initiated blackouts to protest bills that many believed went too far; even Google protested, even though it didn’t stop its service; in the end, a de facto coalition of hostile internet users, numbering in tens of millions, made their voices heard, and strong-armed the United States Congress into permanently shelving two high profile, highly lobbied, pieces of legislation; talk about the will of the people.
The year of meh reached its greatest climax on December 21st, the so-called Mayan Apocaplyse; to the chagrin of angry die hard religious factions and other depressed peoples, the world continued on. Nothing happened. We are all still here. In truth, the 21st was a dull day for most people, who were far more anxious to get home and start setting up for the Christmas holiday than the end of the world.
Ultimately, 2012 was a year of legitimate highs and lows; however, what we will remember the most were the “meh” moments, which is a real shame, because 2012 had so much potential.