Chris Honoré: 2014: the best and the rest
And thus endeth the 15th year of the third millennium, the 15th year of the 21st century, and the beginning of the sixth year of the 2010s decade.
There was a time when folks didn’t have a clue about even a fraction of the stuff that occurs in any given year. But no longer. We now live fully in a post-Gutenberg world where being wired means being wireless, screens are ubiquitous, and if it’s happening in the remotest part of the world, well, we’re in the loop, like it or not.
So let’s take a moment and review some of what occurred in 2014, much of it in our peripheral vision or, briefly, surging, taking stage center, only to vanish as the next event flares.
Twitter, once thought to be an over-the-counter drug, is still very much with us. And instead of hashtag it’s now bashtag because there are a lot of, well, snarky, cranky people out there that use Twitter believing they’re the hammer and everything on social media is a nail.
Kim and Kanye West, self-designated power couple, finally married in Italy (huge bash). They have a daughter named North. Really.
Is there really a reality TV show called “Duck Dynasty”? OK, but reassure me: There never ever was a show called “Honey Boo Boo.” Please.
Have we already forgotten the NFL trying to explain the nuances of domestic violence, an explanation that turned into a train wreck and had commissioner Roger Goodell wishing for a Heidi Bowl moment? It felt like he got jammified, meaning seriously jammed up, while insisting that the boys on the field were gentle giants. However, in the parlance of 2014, jammified means showing up at Starbucks wearing your jammies (at least the bottoms).
Life lesson No. 49: We once again are reminded that the characters actors portray on the big screen (or the small) are not the people they are in real life. They may portray someone we long for or want as our BFF. Bill Cosby is a fine example. But it’s possible (alleged) that this glorious TV dad is not so glorious after all.
Already a distant memory: The Olympic Winter Games held in Sochi, Russia, where V. Putin medaled in all events – shirtless. And speaking of Vladimir, who can forget Rudy Giuliani’s bromance with Vlad, Rudy waxing poetic, so impressed by the Russian’s decisiveness and lack of concern for public opinion (like, say, the electorate). This is a man ready to charge ahead and get stuff done. You know, like quasi-dictators can do. Rudy was breathless in his praise.
And speaking of Vlad going shirtless, 2014 was the warmest year on record. Aloha shirts for everyone. Except, of course, during that awful winter last January named for the Polar Vortex, which sounds like something you wear under your fleece. It was cold. Really cold. But this in no way obviates the reality of global warming, which is just another name for extreme weather. Tell Sen. James Inhofe and crew, deniers all.
Stunning mystery of the year: Malaysian flight 370, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, with 239 people on board, vanished without a shred of debris, thousands of miles off course and somewhere over the South China Sea (maybe).
And recall, grimly, Malaysian flight 17, the target of ground-to-air missiles, the alleged perpetrators denying any connection to the shoot-down or Russia. Sure.
Other names we couldn’t avoid: ISIS (a magnet for worldwide psychopaths?); Boko Haram (the school girls are still missing); Ferguson (a traumatic racial-divide reveal to include New York’s “I can’t breathe”); and the scourge of Ebola, still ongoing in Africa.
And there was the Nov. 4 shellacking (high-gloss finish) of the Dems in the mid-term election: Senate and House now solidly Republican, for reasons that still elude.
And sadly, wondering why, a sincere farewell to Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman. We will miss their immeasurable talent.
Final words and trends for 2014: al desko (eating lunch at your desk); social media oversharers who are all about assuming that everyone truly cares what hair gel they’re using; gnarly, gnome-like, state-sponsored meta-hackers gone seriously rogue, this go-round targeting Sony; words to live by from the hit film “Frozen”: “Let It Go”; and last and clearly least: pastel arm hair. Let it grow.
Chris Honoré lives in Ashland.