2012: The best and the rest

There were tragic events that occurred in 2012 that will always be with us. Newtown, Conn., was one of those. As was Aurora, Colo. If such mass killings spur a national conversation that brings about gun legislation, well, the coming year will tell. Of course, after the recent press conference — actually it was a monologue — we know where the National Rifle Association stands: Turn our schools into armed camps, and the image of an elementary school principal running down a hallway carrying a Glock, confronting a deranged shooter armed with a semiautomatic rifle seems, in the NRA universe, viable.

But the year just past also had its share of the best, the quirky, the strange and the rest.

So, just to quickly review:

The best word of 2012 was "meme" (noun). Pronounced meem. Its meaning is a bit nebulous, adding to its panache. In short, it's all that pop culture stuff that's imitable. It does have a nice, esoteric sound, giving those who use it some very hip street cred.

One of the best memes of the year was Clint Eastwood auditioning a chair at the Republican National Convention. Talking to an empty chair became instant fodder for the nighttime standups, as well as causing those who booked Eastwood to realize (OMG) that the larger-than-life persona up on the screen is not the cranky old dude ad libbing before millions. Really?

Best-selling books, "Fifty Shades of Grey" et al. (a trilogy that could've been titled "The Hunger Games," but that moniker was taken) sold big time, purchasers claiming it was a sensitive and literary story about a young woman's existential crisis. Good to know.

Hottest rock group? Mumford & Sons, which sounds like a moving company but word is that they rock. Who knew? Do Mumford et al. tweet between gigs? If so, their competition is Katy Perry's 15.66 million new Twitter followers in 2012. Seriously? Can Katy's life really be that interesting? Pop culture is so cool. Tweeting? Huge meme.

And speaking of pop culture and trends that seem beyond all understanding, there's Psy, hardcore Korean rapper, doing his Gangnam dance moves (ride the mule; don't let go of the reins). As memes go? Perfect.

And there was David Petraeus, head of the CIA, where corporate culture puts a really, really big premium on being able to keep a secret. Whoops. Clearly the general wandered into a labyrinth of bad judgment and couldn't find his way out. Paula Broadwell, his biographer, was simply along for the ride.

Recall Katie Holmes, who, for five years, starred in the Tom Cruise/Scientology production known as "Isn't Marriage Grand!" which soon became "Mission Impossible." So trapped did Katie feel, she was prepared to go into witness protection rather than be married to Team Cruise one more day.

Question: Who or what is Honey Boo Boo and why do we care?

We do care about Malala Yousafzai. The attempt on her young life by the Taliban last October is inexplicable. She simply wanted to go to school. But keep in mind that this crew also kills health care workers who are wanting only to deliver polio vaccine to small children. You could run dental floss from one collective ear to the next of this outfit and not hit an obstruction.

Best iTune of 2012: "Call Me Maybe." Really? Well, maybe. Of course, there was "Payphone" and "Whistle." Thinking of payphones, as in phone booths. Gone. Artifacts found in museums. Think buggy whips. Superman is not happy.

Best rumor of 2012: There is a small critter living in Donald Trump's hair and if it comes out and you see its shadow, he'll run for president. Again.

Best dramatic miniseries of 2012: Republican primaries.

Best cliffhanger: The fall election. Romney's lamented 47 percent plus 7 percent have spoken.

The best metaphor of the year: The Fiscal Cliff. The Republicans love to run along its precipice (what a rush!) while the rest of the country gets vertigo. Who are these guys? And why do they have a picture of Grover Who Norquist in their offices?

Guns redux: There really is a law in Florida that if you're pushed, insulted, and things get aggressive, well, that Glock that's riding on your hip is itching to put an exclamation point to your last, "Oh yeah? Are you talking to me?" As a nation, shouldn't we discuss this?

And there's Kim Jong Un, a pudgy, short guy with a really bad haircut, who is now in charge of North Korea. For his 12th birthday he got his own gulag filled with three generations of political prisoners. Was Playstation 4 not available?

And not to forget Sandy, a devastating storm that should have prompted a national conversation about global warming; it didn't. And likely won't. The environment? Business as usual.

Regarding 2013: Take care and all best wishes.

Chris Honoré lives in Ashland.

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