Monday, January 12, 2015

My Random 2014 Rewind

Normally, I match the number of noteworthy news bits from the last year to the year itself (14 for 2014, etc.) but since I'm publishing this in 2015, we'll do a plus one. So without further adieu, here is your 2014 year in review.

Hey, that rhymed! (Ficky, ficky, fresh!)

A Nightmare on Main Street – The shooting of 21-year-old Michael Brown sparked a national debate (and in many cities, outrage) over the not-guilty verdict and acquittal by a grand jury who indicted Ferugsson, MO police officer Darren Wilson for shooting an unarmed Brown seven (7!) times. Call me old fashioned–and yes, context matters–but shooting an unarmed man 7 times (he fired 9 times btw) isn’t quelling civil discord. Unfortunately, the only other person who could give this any perspective is dead. 

Gamergate – In August 2014, the debate over sexism in video games came to a head due to ongoing harassment and threats–primarily targeting women–in the video game industry. Everything from rape and death threats to bomb threats highlighted the maniacal state of ethical issues like sexism and misogyny in the video game industry. Many women in the gaming industry have been victimized by harassment and threats to themselves and their loved ones for calling out the inequities of the industry. Feminist culture and industry critic, Anita Sarkeesian who released a video manifesto on the very male-dominated face of gaming, characters, development, and propaganda was at the seething heart of this growing cultural and media scandal. Rest assured, this one is just getting started. 

Sony: The Interview and The Hack – The Christmas Day DDOS attacks on the world’s largest entertainment and media servers included spamming the servers of Amazon, Xbox Live, and Sony PlayStation as well as leaking vital Sony financial, movie and employment info. This culminated in the unauthorized release of the Sony film, The Interview online. Ultimately, this did little to motivate people to see a film that pretty much no one wanted anyway.
Computer terrorism, it appears, has arrived. 

Oh, Obamacare –Also known as the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s landmark blueprint to reform health care was plagued by technical glitches and consumer confusion. Under heavy crossfire from conservatives, the salvos are getting loaded as the real battle to keep it begins. Standby for a looming Supreme Court case that threatens the entire program.

I knew those Jell-O® pudding pops tasted funny – We really lost two great comedy minds to tragedy this year. Robin Williams (see below) and the 80’s sweater man himself, Dr. William Cosby. Creator of the Cosby kids (a.k.a. Fat Albert), I Spy co-star, and America’s perfect Dad Heathcliff Huxtable. Cosby is / was a entertainment media super-mogul—who just so happened to like drugging women and sexually molesting them ruffi style. At the time of this post some 20+ women dating nearly four decades have stepped forward with similar allegations of sexual misconduct. Since, all future projects with TV and movies and all re-runs of Fat Albert, I–Spy and The Cosby Show. “Hey, hey, hey… its a faaaaat class action suit!” Coming at ya, Cos.

Ray Rice: The Slugger Chronicles – The scathing video of Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice punching his then fiancĂ© (now wife) out in a casino elevator brought the conversation of athletes and domestic abuse to the American table of discussion once again. He is far from the only culprit but listen, a 265-lb pro football player shouldn’t be hitting ANYONE… other than other 265-lb pro football players.

Tragedy in the Far East – In February, (and then again in December in 2014) the world held its collective breath when a Malaysia Airlines flight first went way off course and then went missing, later to be declared a crash out deep over the Indian Ocean with all aboard lost. To this day no one know s why these two events occurred but it is the stuff of nightmares and not very a good year at all for Malaysia Airlines. 

I Saw What You Did Last Night  – At this point there is no understandable reason why anyone should be surprised by anything movie stars do. I mean who else has naked sexy-time pics of themselves on their phone these days? Its so 2004. Sure they were ‘deleted’ but any 4th grader knows anything that's been digitally trashed can be recovered. If you live in a world were your career is affected by technology you don’t understand, then you deserve anything that happens to you. So, J-law, calm down, those naughty-girl pics of you as a naked Catniss Everdeen only helped you. Stop pretending you’re so outraged. The real tragedy is that you took the pics in the first place. 

The Walking (Ebola) Dead – So, color me lost on this one but hasn’t Ebola been around for like, a kajillion years? How was it that this Walking Dead kind of pandemic disease made its way into the US? As a nation, this country was completely at a loss for how to deal with the mother of all viruses and several infected people in New York and Texas lost their lives. Though the CDC was Johnny on The Spot, I fear this isn’t the last of this deadly killer. 

Mork Signs Off, One Last Time – As with every year we lost a whole lot of really stellar folks in 2014 but none will eclipse the loss off comedy legend Robin Williams. Known for his campy 1970’s alien funny-man role as Mork from Ork, Williams was one of Hollywood’s most esteemed funny-men. Tragically taking his own life, we were lucky to enjoy a slew of unforgettable movies from one of the very best. So, Nanu, Nanu, Genie. Godspeed. 

Cold Days in Hell – Welcome to the SOCHI 2014 Winter Olympics. Take a region just an hour away from a savage, bloody civil war, add packs of wild dogs (in the hundreds!) and award it the largest international sports competition in the world and hi jinks ensue. What was laughable, was the Wifi didn’t work (kind of important when thousands of media correspondent from around the world will be on hand), the showers didn’t have running water and the hotel staff at the event would steal liberally from its patrons. (Sigh)

Kicking Old Habits For New – If you were near a TV set this past summer then all you heard about was the American Soccer Team during the FIFA 2014 World Cup and how this was “our year.” And by that we meant, this was our year that every sports nut who was tired of Baseball, jonesing for Football and between Golf tournaments, needed yet another reason to take a two-hour lunch and get faced while pretending to be passionate about a sport they knew nothing about. Welcome to Soccer in America. Oh, and congrats, Germany

I Dare You To Dare Me – You must have been on another planet this past summer if you didn’t hear or see anything about the ALS Ice Water Challenge. In the most egocentric awareness campaign of all time, throngs of well-meaning do-gooders challenge each other endlessly to dump water on each other within 48 hours or donate to the ALS foundation. I got just as caught up in this as everyone else. Maybe next time, we don’t make it about us and instead make it about the disease. The victims need financial help, not a viral campaign of do-nothing awareness. Just a thought.

Last Comet Standing – The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission achieved a first in 2014, sending a lander onto the surface of a comet. Millions of curious viewers world-wide tracked the landing on Nov. 12 in real time–on TV and online. Landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, was so hard that the lander’s anchoring harpoons couldn't sink in, and it bounced twice before settling down. Churyumov-Gerasimenko continues its course that rounds the sun, hopefully with more information to come.

Apple Doesn’t Miss A Beats – How’s this sound? In May of 2014, Apple writes a $3 Billion check to acquire Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics and Beats Music — by far the largest acquisition in Apple history. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre joined Apple. And even though the Beats brand will remain separate from Apple’s, when you think Apple, think funky Beats. 

Happy belated New Year to all my readers and a prosperous and joyous 2015 to us all!