This week on the show, we’re squarely focused on reviewing the year 2011 and the stories that kept us talking. Journalists and other newsy people voted the death of Osama bin Laden as the biggest news story of 2011 and I have to agree. But it wasn’t the huge news that kept me talking this year. Rather, it was the smaller stories I focused my energy on. I picked my top 5 favorite stories from this year to talk about, talk to death and then bring up several weeks later to recap.
1. Congress. I’m not sure I need to explain this any further, but for posterity’s sake I will. The year 2011 began with the Republican’s taking control of the House of Representatives, while the Democrats retained control of the Senate. So, you’d think everyone would get their compromise hats on and work together? Silly you. Of course they didn’t. Instead, they bickered throughout the entire year. Whether it was looming government shutdown, possible debt ceiling debacles or raising or lowing taxes, Congress showed America how little they care about the American. And it was bipartisan. Both sides refused to vote on the other’s measures, regardless of what the average citizen wanted. It seems to me that Congress has forgotten their actual job, to serve as a representative for the people of their district. And with an 8 percent approval rating, I think those people may be looking for new leadership.
2. Kardashimania. I am not a fan of the Kardashian family. In fact, I refuse to spell words that begin with c with a k just to placate a group of talentless folks. And this year, I especially talked about them. Less than a month before my own wedding, Kim Kardashian held her fairytale princess monstrosity, posing as a wedding. With a man she’d been dating less than a year. Who wasn’t even sure he wanted to marry her, except for those pesky contractual obligations. But getting married wasn’t the problem. It is the sham of the marriage that irks me. This family doesn’t take real life events seriously. Marriage (I can just get divorced), parenthood (we have nannies for that), sex tapes (let’s make the most money we can out of it). But the lack of respect for marriage is especially appalling. Particualry considering Kim has been married before. And it lasted 4 years, not just 72 days. But being married cramps her brand so why would she respect a lifelong commitment. I feel sorry for all the parents who have to explain this trainwreck of a family to their children.
3. GOP presidential race. I have never known a field of candidates to be so underwhelming to their own party. No one is extremely excited about any one of them. And with so many people in the hunt, the chance for a true frontrunner to emerge are not great. But this race, and it’s subsequent thirty-million debates have kept all of America talking. Whether it is their marriages, their beliefs, or their religions, everyone wants a piece of every candidate. But it will certainly make for an interesting race.
4. Sex scandals. How many were there this year in the public eye? 10? And you’ll notice, none prominently featured women in power behaving badly. It was really only men (and please, correct me if I’m wrong). From celebrities to politicians to athletic superstars, the overwhelming theme was catching the boys in compromising positions. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a love child (14 years ago!), Anthony Weiner and his, well, wiener, and the chilling allegations against Dominique Strauss Kahn and Jerry Sandusky. With all that bad (and illegal) behavior, it’s not wonder 2011 was the year of men behaving badly.
5. Gay marriage, DADT and DOMA. While New York became the 6th and largest state to legalize gay marriage, President Obama repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tel, giving gay men and women freedom to serve openly in the military. And the Senate held its first hearings on the bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I think, regardless of personal beliefs, people were talking about gay rights this year more than any other because it was in the forefront of our media. It makes people question these laws in the first place and whether they should stand up. But as the country moves towards more tolerance, these laws are coming to light in new ways.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street or Casey Anthony. I may have talked a lot about those stories, but they weren’t my favorites to talk about. Those are above. Hope 2011 was a great year for you and that 2012 isn’t the end!