I’m one of the lucky ones. For a lot of people out there, 2011 didn’t turn out as planned. Last January, Muammar Gaddafi figured he’d be spending New Year’s Eve 2012 like he does every year, drinking hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows and tiger blood (Charlie Sheen’s recipe) in his fortified compound as he is lulled to sleep by the dulcet sounds of tortured prisoners and Ryan Seacrest, safe and secure in the undying love of the Libyan people. Turns out instead, the Libyans threw him out of power, killed him and sodomized his corpse with a knife (keepin’ it classy, Tripoli!) so he’ll be spending this New Year’s Eve dead in a ditch with no hot chocolate or mini-marshmallows in sight. With any luck, though, he’s in hell, so he’ll still get to watch Ryan Seacrest.
It was a tough year for people who aren’t homicidal dictators, too. 2011 sucked for movies, television, music, weather, politics, sports, the global economy, American democracy, Barack Obama, compromise, sanity, rationality, science, the environment, the Americans Formerly Known as the Middle Class (broke is the new black!), Japan, Turkey, Joplin, Springfield, Chile, North Dakota, Iceland, Alabama, Memphis, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Thailand, anywhere in the path of Hurricane Irene and for the ridiculous number of birds and fish who kept showing up dead because they just couldn’t handle living in this world anymore (It Gets Better videos for Birds? Come on Big Bird, hop all over that shit- you could be the feathered Dan Savage. Aren’t you sick of Bert and Ernie hogging all the attention like a couple of puppet queens? Get down with your big yellow self and keep those squeaky little fuckers in the air!). You know it’s a bad year when you need to Google “Natural Disasters 2011” just to put together a halfway complete list at the end of the year and your realize you don’t even remember half of them (oh yeah, right- like you totally remembered the New Zealand earthquake- don’t fucking judge me) and then you have to figure out which ones to leave out so the list doesn’t get too long (SPOILER ALERT: China didn’t cut it. I guess they had mudslides or something- but who the hell knows what goes on over there? It’s their own stupid fault for keeping Facebook out of the country. Hell, I didn’t even know there were trees down in Pasadena until everyone started posting damage photos instead of videos of their cats. And, no, Californians- a tree knocking your fence down isn’t considered a natural disaster and neither is your patio furniture blowing away. Go to the East Coast and get some perspective, you spoiled little weather brats.) If the Mayans are right about 2012, then 2011 made the perfect prequel year for the apocalypse.
Even the good news stories this year had bad news attached to them: Overthrown dictator in Egypt- HURRAY! Rise of radical Isalm and military repression in Egypt- BOOOOO! Nationwide protests of economic inequality- HURRAY! College students getting pepper-sprayed- BOOOOO! Unemployment rate is a teensy bit lower- HURRAY! 50% of Americans are currently living below the poverty line and the rest of us are pretty much totally fucked, too BOOOO!!! It’s like we keep getting offered free ice cream only to find out it was made in China and is loaded with melanin (INTERESTING CULTURAL FACT: The Chinese have the same word for “quality control” as they do for “slave labor”. It’s one of those crisis-tunity sort of things.)
So, all things considered it was a pretty good year for billionaires, religious fanatics, gay soldiers (weirdly enough) and me. I got my floors redone, worked a lot, ate Cap’n Crunch, and hung out with my wife watching the dog mope. All things considered, that pretty much puts me in the 1% (please don’t Occupy here. My lawn already looks shitty enough. Then again, maybe a drum circle would be just the excuse I need not to finish the landscaping. Come on over, protesters- Chunky soup and cereal for everybody!)
Right, so here is my round-up of the best and worst in a bunch of random categories in 2011. The astute reader may notice that many of the items on this list didn’t actually originate in 2011. Well the astute reader can take that astute observation and stick it right up their astute (or up their ass- I’m not picky). Nobody’s paying me to write this crap, so I’m gonna list whatever the hell I want.
Also- yes, I know that, strictly speaking this is a Jewish blog and our year actually ended in Elul, or “September” as the heathen refer to it. So- all you Members of the Tribe can just think of this as a round-up of stuff that happened in an arbitrary 365 day period from the 25th of Tevet, 5771 to the 5th of Tevet, 5772. For all of you that utilize the Gregorian calendar- Happy New Year 2012! (And for any Chinese people that might be reading this by accident- enjoy the rest of the Year of the Rabbit. I think that’s everybody. At least, everybody I’m going to bother Googling to figure out when their new year is. Who the hell knows what the Indians do?)
Favorite Book of the Year: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Egan reminded me how much I adored New York in my 20’s and how hard it was to leave behind when I got older. This is a beautiful book about the relentless cruelty of passing time and the evergreen mercy of second chances. Kudos to the dude in our book club who picked this one out- oh, wait, it was me. I’m awesome!
Least Favorite Book of the Year: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway. If you’re an insufferable, rich, white, alcoholic, anti-Semitic whiner with no dick- this is the book for you! Otherwise, stay away. This is the sort of book that actually makes sitting on the toilet worse. Fuck you to the dude who forced us to read this for the book club. He hates Jews. (kidding!) (maybe)
Favorite Movie of the Year: It’s a tie between The Muppets and Rise of the Planet of the Apes– because those were the movies I came closest to seeing this year. I couldn’t, though because I had to stay home and watch Pawn Stars instead since my DVR was down to 18% and I had to clear space for the Psych marathon over the weekend. It’s a hard knock life for me.
Least Favorite Movie of the Year: The Smurfs. I loved the Smurfs as a kid, so the apparent awfulness of this movie just broke my heart. Smurfette should have died in a van like Dana Plato rather than appearing in a piece of shit like this. It’s like American pop-culture is a giant garage sale at my parents’ house and I found the Smurfs in the free bin along with a one-legged Chewbacca and three left-handed mittens that the dog chewed up. Sad, sad, sad.
Favorite Song of the Year; It’s so hard to choose between Foster the People’s snappy little dance track about a school shooting and Kanye’s soulful sci-fi love duet with Katy Perry. I’m gonna have to go with the latter, though, if only for the lyric “I’m a disrobe ya, then I’m a probe ya / See, I abducted you so I tell ya what to do.” Air Supply, eat your hearts out.
Least Favorite Song of the Year: I could do without hearing “Someone Like You” ever again. Hey, Adele, maybe the problem is that you’re always looking for someone just like the last asshole who dumped you. I’ve got news for you, honey, you keep doing that, it’s always just going to “hurt instead.”
Favorite TV Show of the Year: Louie. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I’m probably supposed to pick some piece of shit show that premiered in 2011 but, I don’t need to watch some complete piece of shit like Whitney just to prove to myself that it is, in fact, a piece of shit. To quote the theme song, the best show out there, by far is “Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie / Louie, Louie, Louie, Louwaaaaaaaaaaaah” When I watch Louie, I’m 24 again, laughing uncontrollably in the back of the Comedy Cellar watching a genius at work on a Tuesday night and begging the MC for a five minute spot in front of the six drunks left in the club at 11:30 PM (two of them are making out and one only speaks Hebrew) so I can do my Jewish Jenga bit for the 10,000th time (two parents try to build the perfect child and the first one to make him crumble loses) or try out my brand new Scrooge McDuck: Baby Raper bit (I think it was a Trainspotting parody gone horribly awry. I don’t know. Did I mention how much pot I was smoking back then?). It’s a shitty, wonderful life being a comic and Louie nails it perfectly.
Least Favorite TV Show of the Year: The GOP debates- or as they are known on Bravo- The Real Nutbags of the American Right. They are like one long infomercial for Obama’s reelection. Also, Glee. Is this what teen entertainment has been reduced to? John Hughes must be rolling in his grave. I ought to track down the writers of Glee and duct-tape their butt-cheeks together. Saturday detention would be totally worth it.
Best Sports Story: I’m pretty sure the Jets beat the Patriots somewhere back in January. Those were simpler times…
Worst Sports Story: Tim Tebow. Look, I’m not one to denigrate another person’s deeply held beliefs just to get a cheap laugh. Unless they’re stupid. Or wrong. Or Republican. Or crazy. Or Tim Tebow, (all of the above). I mean, I like religion as much as the next occasional contributor to a Jewish blog but this guy just won’t shut the fuck up about God- it’s like he’s got Christian Tourettes (NOTE TO TEBOW: Real Tourettes- way cooler- who doesn’t want to hear “I’d like to thank my FUCKING COCKSUCKER for helping me win. All glory to DICKFACE” in post-game interviews?. OK, nobody wants to hear that except for me- but I really want to hear it A LOT.) When he was questioned about his continual references to Jesus, Tebow compared himself to a person who really loves his wife and can’t stop talking about her. While it’s profoundly creepy to hear that he thinks about Jesus that way, it is nice to hear that he supports gay marriage (and intermarriage to boot!)
The worst part is that Denver keeps winning in weird fluky ways, so everybody’s getting on the Tim Tebow Miracle Bus even though, half the time, he has nothing to do with it. It’s just a shame that Christopher Hitchens died before he had the chance righteously crap all over this guy and his idiot believers, because I think that would have made his decade- like Mother Theresa. times 1000. We owe it to Hitch’s memory to ridicule Tim mercilessly at every opportunity and cheer for his downfall. Hell, I even cheered for the Patriots to beat him last week- and my two fantasy football teams are called “Fuck the Patriots” and “Still Hate the Patriots” – though I may need to change one to “TeBlow” for next season if this crap keeps up. BTW- how awesome was the end of that Patriots game when poor little Timmy looked up to the sky for salvation and Christopher Hitchens reached down to bitch-slap him from Atheist heaven?
Favorite Moment of the Year: Getting the whole family together for the first time in a few years to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday and Passover together was pretty amazing.
Least Favorite Moment of the Year: I could have done without the exploding Pyrex dish on Thanksgiving. Also, there were all those natural disasters, the rise of the extreme American right, Tim Tebow, college students getting pepper-sprayed, and all the other nasty shit around the world that made 2011 a terrible year. But, if I’m honest, the exploding Pyrex dish was the worst because I had to clean the oven myself and I’ve only ever done that before if I was moving out and trying to get my deposit back. And let’s be honest, not even then. Usually I just let my greasy Iranian landlord keep the deposit and don’t pay my last month’s rent instead. Now that’s how to succeed without really trying.
My2012 Resolution: Last year I resolved to do better with anger management. It didn’t really go so well, but it’s not really my fault since the rest of the world didn’t live up to their resolution to STOP PISSING ME OFF. So this year, I’m just gonna try and keep my DVR above 50% and make more gratuitous and obscure musical theatre references. God, I hope you get them.
Happy Remainder of year 5772!
Portions of this post originally on http://fierceandnerdy.com. Republished with permission
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