This is the time of year when retrospectives abound. I spent the weekend perusing the Internet, watching a little TV and reading this and that magazine. You pretty much know what everyone was focusing on, which is to say everything from the Presidential race and the deaths of various political and cultural icons over the past year to the overexposed shenanigans of our rehab/jailhouse-bound celebrities young and not so young. Being fond of taking the unique view, I’ve chosen to highlight those activities and events that seem to have largely slipped past the media searchlights to offer my own perspective on the year just about to expire. Herewith, my list:
Most Overlooked Event of 2007: The Virginia Tech Massacre has scarcely merited a mention, perhaps because of the dangerously intrusive way in which it was handled by the media.
Irony Award: The discovery that skin cells might be able to mimic and eliminate the need for embryonic stem cells, thus deflating what was a truly hot-button issue at the beginning of the year
Sports Upset: Not A-Rod or Torre or the Sox or the doping report but the Philadelphia Phillies, who after amassing the most losing record of any major sports franchise in history (10,000 losses) in July, went on in September to win the National League East Division
Where Was That Uprising: Burma, AKA Myanmar, only one of several hot spots this year experiencing uprisings but hard to track because of we didn’t know which name the media was using on any given day.
Reason for Despair Division: Crime rates in cities like Newark, Camden and Philadelphia; the upswing in diabetes and obesity; the failure of the U.S. policy of “democracy promotion” and the lack of a credible alternative plan (actually, that’s been in the news quite a bit but it bears repeating); the television writers’ strike; 2008 is an election year.
Reason for Hope Division: Skin cells and stem cells (see above); anything Mike Bloomberg does in New York; more celebrities coughing up more money than ever before (I don’t care why they’re doing it; they’re committing real time and real money and bringing real attention to real problems); 2008 is an election year.
Well, the calendar will change whether we want it to or not, so bring it on. At least we’ll get an extra day in 2008 to sort it all out.