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Things to Like About 2012

more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Monday, December, 31st, 2012, 2:56 pm

barack obamaThe year 2012 of the Common Era was not all doom and gloom, despite some very significant negatives politically and religiously. There are some very good reasons to look back fondly at 2012.

We re-elected 2012′s most admired man, Time Magazine’s two-time person of the year, Barack Obama, after all. We maintained a majority of the sane in the Senate, and added people like Elizabeth Warren to the Senate and Tammy Duckworth to the House. As the House gets more white and male, the Senate embraces new levels of diversity.

Fanatically opposed to Elizabeth Warren, Republicans have watched her not only join the 113th Congress but receive an appointment to the banking committee, showing again that even in troubled times, the right person can indeed be in the right place at the right time.

I’m not saying Elizabeth Warren is Frodo. I am also not saying she is not.

The pretensions of the so-called Religious Right were slapped down. Marriage Equality referendums were passed for the first time in the state of Washington, as well as in Maine and Maryland and Minnesotans voted down a “traditional marriage” amendment.

The momentous aside and turning to what many would see as the trivial, there are other reasons to like 2012. It was, for example, a good year for language.

After all, in what other year could I have crawled into my MAN CAVE, popped open my favorite ENERGY DRINK, listened to the latest MASH-UP by my favorite band, all the while enjoying the SEXTING of the woman in my life and enjoying the latest AHA moment as a Republican SUPER-PAC creates a GAME-CHANGER for a Democratic candidate; the above-events triggering a much anticipated trip to a nearby GASTROPUB to celebrate with an F-BOMB – all without violating the sanctity of the English language as enshrined in the dictionary?

I mean, is life great, or what?

You have to love language – living, breathing language – the language of the hoi polloi. The dictionary is handy, but it’s not how people talk, unless you’re the nerds on Big Bang Theory.

Then, every few years, the dictionary catches up – a bit – with the language we actually speak. We can argue about the details (Politico reports that “The Associated Press Stylebook earlier this year determining that ‘super PAC’ should be written with a lowercase ‘s’  in ‘super,’” while many spell it with a capital ‘S’) but what does it matter? Language in general has never been more fluid.

The Global Language Monitor offers some big words for 2012, like the Cloud and Frankenstorm. Can you imagine a future without Frankenstorms? How did we ever get by without them before? And UPI reports that “London-based CollinsDictionary.com has released its top words of 2012, including ‘Superstorm,’ ‘Gangnam Style’ and ‘Fiscal Cliff.’ Merriam-Webster says the most looked-up words of 2012 are ‘socialism’ and ‘capitalism.’ Is it any surprise?

  1. socialism and capitalism
  2. touché
  3. bigot
  4. marriage
  5. democracy
  6. professionalism
  7. globalization
  8. malarkey
  9. schadenfreude
  10. meme

Schadenfreude is probably the most appropriate word of 2012: “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.”

Yes, Schadenfreude defines not only the Tea Party but the Religious Right and most importantly and sadistically of all, the U.S. House of Representatives.

I’ve got a couple of words for you: sick puppies. And no, I’m not talking about animals unless they’re human animals.

Merriam-Webster even allows you to look at the year in words, a fascinating exercise in itself. I highly recommend a linguistic journey back through 2012.

I love language. How can anyone who writes not delight in it?

I’m not a beer drinker, but apparently 2012 was a good year for beer, as opposed to beer commercials, which left me wanting to drink – something else.

And movies? We finally got the Hobbit, the first of three films that serve as a  prequel to the Lord of the Rings. Entertainment-wise, that alone makes the year for me. Best song? The Lonely Mountain Song. Forget Gangnam Style. Please. A soon as you can.

And then there is texting, which turned 20 on December 3, 2012.  CNN tells us that ” Six billion SMS (short message service) messages are sent every day in the United States, according to Forrester Research, and over 2.2 trillion are sent a year. Globally, 8.6 trillion text messages are sent each year, according to Portio Research.”

I know I’m personally way below quota.

Six billion sent. It’s like McDonalds, but every day, not decades. In the year 2012, technology went insane. And it’s only going to get better – or worse – depending on your perspective. Possibly both together.

The year 2012 has been a curious and bewildering dance of steps both forward and back and you will have to decide for yourself if it has been a net gain. I suppose as in most years we made progress in some areas and regressed in others, but overall I see an incremental improvement over 2011. When all is said and done, the results of Election Day 2012 show that we, as a people, have, by and large, affirmed what is good and rejected what is bad, and I find that a very hopeful thought indeed.

Things to Like About 2012 was written by Hrafnkell Haraldsson for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Mon, Dec 31st, 2012 — All Rights Reserved




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