2012: The Year That Was
December 29, 2012
With the coming of the New Year, it is almost mandatory among bloggers to post their Best of the Previous Year lists. So, here’s my take on the year that was.
- Best New Animal Superstars: The Internet Memeplex has elected its new feline high priestess, as Grumpy Cat expressed her disapproval of all things fun and won the hearts of millions. And late in the year, a sharply dressed little monkey named Darwin wandered into an IKEA store in Toronto and became an instant Internet sensation thanks to Instagram and Twitter.
- Best Yin/Yang Superhero Movie Combo: The dark and gritty Yin came from the DC camp, with Christopher Nolan’s concluding volume of his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. The light and poppy Yang came from the Marvel camp with Joss Whedon’s Avengers. These polar opposites showed that far from being moribund, the superhero genre film in the hands of a talented filmmaker remains a powerful box-office force.
- Best Merging of Empires: Speaking of the Force, the Galactic Empire has now become just another province in the Disney Empire. Opinions in the greater nerdosphere on this momentous merger ranged from "it’s a trap" to "yub nub." I side with the Ewoks on this, because NEW STAR WARS MOVIES!
- Best Ways to Land from Outer Space: Professional crazy person Felix Baumgartner said, "Spaceship? I don’t need no stinking spaceship!" and simply jumped from the edge of space to Earth, breaking the sound barrier in the process. Much further afield, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed successfully in Gale Crater on Mars after “ seven minutes of terror” thanks to a Rube Goldbergesque skycrane system and a Mohawked Rocket Scientist.
- Best Reason to Pay Attention in Math Class: FiveThirtyEight.com blogger Nate Silver became the hero of math majors everywhere when his statistical model predicted the outcome of the Presidential election with stunning accuracy. IN YOUR FACE, poli-sci majors! Silver got his start in baseball statistics, so maybe we can recruit him to create a mathematical model for a winning Royals team…
- Best Formerly Obscure Now Ubiquitous Condiment: In addition to its ongoing bacon mania, the Internet has fallen in love with Sriracha sauce, the fiery red chili paste in the green-tipped squeeze bottle with a picture of a rooster on it. I expect that this can lead to only one thing: Sriracha-flavored bacon!
- Best Parodies: Fifty Shades of Grey, the immensely popular erotic romance novel that started as a fanfic has been a boon to parodists of all stripes, giving us Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, Fifty Shades of Greyskull, and even a cookbook, Fifty Shades of Chicken.
- Best Foreign Invasion: American culture was overwhelmed by a little song and dance routine called Gangnam Style by South Korean rapper/singer/dancer/snappy dresser PSY. His video lampooning the trendy residents of Seoul’s Gangnam district has dethroned the mighty Bieber as King of YouTube with over 1,000,000,000 views. Everywhere you looked, someone was doing PSY's horse-riding dance. Whether PSY can capitalize on his newfound global fame remains to be seen, but K-Pop music has now entered the American consciousness.
- Best Apocalypse Letdown: 12/21/2012 came and went, and we’re still here. It turns out that the Mayan calendar is just like any other calendar, except it's made out of stone with pictures of quetzals and jaguars instead of paper with pictures of puppies and kittens. Luckily, there will be no 13/31/2013, so we should be safe for another year. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm sure some excitable people are currently poring over Sumerian cuneiform tablets to find proof that 2013 will be THE END OF THE WORLD, FOR REAL THIS TIME.
Happy New Year,