What can you say about a year in which the crowning achievement was that the world didn’t end? But you can hardly make fun of the Mayans for getting it wrong so long ago. It made even less sense close up.
It was the year that Joe Biden bragged that he had known three presidents “intimately.” (Let’s hope he was married to at least one of them.) It was the year when Republican Congressman Todd Akin revealed a long-suppressed biological secret: women can’t become pregnant through rape. (Another mainstream media coverup smashed!) And when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control gravely proclaimed that “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead or one that would present zombie-like symptoms.” (A polite way of saying zombie bites aren’t covered under Obamacare?)
In fact, looking back at the signal moments of 2012, I’m pretty sure the best thing about it is that it’s over:
Why we fight. The U.S. Army circulated draft copies of a new 75-page manual for troops in Afghanistan explaining that the increase in turncoat attacks on American soldiers by Afghan security forces is that U.S. soldiers are insensitive louts. The manual includes a list of stuff considered impolite, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “mentioning homosexuality,” and of course “any criticism of pedophilia.”
Wrong kind of stimulus, guys. California journalists discovered that about $1.5 million from President Obama’s billion-dollar stimulus package went to the U.C.-San Francisco to study erectile dysfunction in overweight, middle-aged men, as well as how to get people to stop lying when asked by the government about their sexual histories.
Also the wrong kind of stimulus. The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency ordered employees to quit surfing for Internet pornography on their government computers.
But now you’re getting it. Reporters who visited the Michigan factory of the South Korean company LG Chem, which got $151 million in stimulus money to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, discovered workers sitting around playing Monopoly and poker. The employees said it wasn’t their fault: “What do you do when there’s no work?”
Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, cover your ears. Asked about Israel’s attacks against the group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, President Obama explained that Hamas had fired “an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”
The living constitution. An outfit called 4th Amendment Underclothes began marketing bras and panties bearing the Bill of Rights guarantee against unreasonable searches, printed in metallic ink that shows up on airport security scanners.
Great moments in national security. A new book by New York Times reporter David Sanger revealed that Pentagon officials were furious about the way the White House blabbed operational details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. A few days later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates went to see Obama’s national security advisor Tom Donilon. “I have a new strategic communications approach to recommend,” said Gates. What’s that, Donilon asked. “Shut the firetruck up,” Gates replied, except he said a word with five fewer letters than “firetruck.”
Great moments in government regulation. The mayor of the Italian town of Falciano del Massico, citing a shortage of cemetery space, issued a proclamation forbidding citizens to die. (Or, to be precise, “to go beyond the boundaries of earthly life.”) Noting the decree didn’t specify any sanctions, two defiant scofflaws died within a matter of days.
This year’s shoo-in for a Pulitzer prize in political commentary. Documents captured from bin Laden’s hideout revealed that, before his death, bid Laden ordered al Qaida to concentrate on shooting down President Obama’s plane. “Killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency,” bin Laden noted. “Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis.”
Why we threw all that tea in the harbor. Claiming that breakups inflicted irreparable emotional damage on children, British school districts in Kingston, South West London and Surrey banned their students from having best friends.
Why you’ll miss newspapers when they’re gone. Headline from the London Daily Mail: Gravy-wrestling model suffers horrific facial injuries after being hit with monkey wrench when she interrupted a friend having sex.