Last year blew. It sucked serious donkey balls. The entire set of 365 days was sent from Beelzebub himself to showcase the conditions down below. Seriously though, 2008 was a crap-tastic year that I won’t be nostalgic for any time soon. An informal poll, conducted over several bouts of public binge drinking, confirmed my suspicions that ‘08 wasn’t very popular with the masses either. Why? Let’s review…
* The final year of President Bush’s reign seemed to drag on, a seemingly endless period of an unpopular government making unpopular decisions without regard or foresight. Must have been the extra leap-second tacked on to the end of the year. Or maybe it was the string of stupid shit his administration gave us in 2008.
* The official beginning of the Global Financial Crisis. The U.S. stock market lost it’s will to live. People’s IRA’s & 401K’s were left on their death beds, gasping for breath while the federal government avoided even acknowledging the recession for months after it became clear to everyone else. The price of gasoline soared past $100 per barrel for the first time EVER and went up to $147 per barrel by July. Food prices also went through the roof internationally, sparking riots in the developing nations & a surge in Top Ramen sales domestically. American financial institutions imploded and took out much of the world’s national economies in the process. The Big 3 car manufacturers applied for welfare. Once mighty corporate giants have been falling like flies & Chapter 11 bankruptcy appears to be the chic business move this season. Essentially, 2008 brought the financial “OUCH” heard ‘round the world.
* Politicians were disgraced by the truckload in 2008. NY Governor Elliot Spitzer was linked to a prostitution ring & resigned. Sarah Palin was knocked for behaving like a diva & blowing thousands of bucks on a wardrobe, while running on the Working Man’s Party theme. Rod Blagojevich just got caught trying to sell Obama’s seat in the Senate. Banner year for crooked politicians it was.
* California legalized, then prohibited by Constitutional Amendment, the right to same sex marriage. The Proposition 8 campaign proved that American’s will believe whatever bullshit they see on television ads, however illogical & flat-out untrue it maybe. For the record: Kids can’t go on field trips without parental consent, so a lesbian teacher didn’t force her students to attend a gay wedding against their parent’s will. You don’t formally “learn” about marriage in school, so “teaching” it was never a threat. Families, Marriage, and Children were not endangered by Bill & Ted’s holy matrimony. You were duped.
* The Beijing Summer Olympics. Lamer sports than the Winter version, karaoke at the Opening Ceremonies, and too much compliance with the Chinese government’s media regulations. Why allow China to host the Games if you don’t illuminate the social climate of the nation? That is the point of having a host nation! The mainstream media tip-toed around discussion of Tibetan separatists, the Communist nation’s prosperity despite the lack of capitalism, and China’s zeal for political and religious oppression. Instead, we heard all about the air quality and how capitalist values are gaining popularity in Mao’s land. What a waste of an opportunity. Plus, China whipped our Red, White, & Blue asses when it came to bringing home the gold (except in swimming! Go Phelps!).
* Cyclone Nargis hit southern Asia on May 2 & became the deadliest cyclone of all time, killing an estimated 147,000 people with thousands more missing. Since it made landfall on the politically unstable nation of Burma/Myanmar, the international relief aid was minimal & doled out by an unpopular government more concerned with the political repercussions of Nargis than the cost in human life. Relief workers were initially denied access to the afflicted regions, resulting in unnecessary suffering and starvation, by Burma’s military junta. There have been reports of government workers trading food and supplies for physical labor within the refugee camps & exploiting the suffering of Burmese citizens like a bunch of assholes. Yet another public relations fuck-up for the military junta of Burma & another atrocity suffered by the Burmese people at the hands of their own government. Other climate concerned happenings included June’s Typhoon Fengshen that killed hundreds in the Philippines, February’s tornado outbreak in the U.S. that left a record 58 people dead, a snowstorm in January that resulted in 133 dead Chinese folks, Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, & Ike slammed the Caribbean & the still recovering Gulf Coast, and the Santa Catarina floods in Brazil caused mass evacuations and 126 deaths in late November.
* August 7th saw the start of the 2008 South Ossetia War between Russia and Georgia. The separatist region of Georgia, the South Ossetia mentioned in the conflict’s title, was backed by the Russian government in opposition to Georgia’s claim on the territory. When Georgian forces tried to punk the separatists, Russia sent in troops & the mutual ass beating commenced. Technically, the war ended by mid-August but there has been an on-going stream of reports about violent incidents in the border region & Georgia’s diplomatic relations with Russia are not exactly doing well. Especially when the Russians give vocal support to every sect that wishes to free themselves from Georgian control.
* Comedians George Carlin and Bernie Mac; Hollywood Hotties Brad Renfro & Heath Ledger; Ideologically Entertaining Right-wingers Charlton Heston, Tony Snow, & Jesse Helms; South Park’s own Isaac Hayes; the Iconic Bettie Page; and Nixon’s nemesis “Deep Throat” (a.k.a. Mark Felt) all kicked the bucket in 2008.
* The heavy metal band Quiet Riot (“Come on feel the noise, Girls rock your boys…”) disbanded. Now, these washed up rockers will be available to lend dull & asinine commentary to even more Vh1 Countdowns. The Police officially ended their run & I am personally fearful of the crap-music of Sting’s solo career, which he now has more time for, so The Police’s demise is tragic in my book. Scott Wieland was booted from Velvet Revolver & an actually promising rock act was announced dead… probably overdose, huh Scott? The most embarrassing musical fiasco of the year was undoubtedly the return of the New Kids on the Block. A close second was the long-awaited release of Guns N’ Roses “Chinese Democracy”. Talk about yawn-worthy tunes.
* Thailand has been in a state of political turmoil throughout 2008. The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) resumed it’s popular protests of the Thai government’s policies & diplomatic relations with Cambodia. PAD protesters invaded & occupied the Government House (the Thai version of The White House) in August, causing the temporary freeze of transportation and communications in the country. Several airports were seized by the PAD. In September, violence erupted & the Thai government declared a state of emergency, but Prime Minister Samak was ousted shortly thereafter & the declaration was revoked. The Thai Supreme Court has since dissolved the nation’s three top political parties, sort of like calling “Do Over!” in the political realm. The country is now as politically divided as our own nation & an ease in the turbulence isn’t foreseen in the near future.
* 2008 was designated by the United Nations as the International Year of the Potato and the International Year of Sanitation. 'Spuds and sewage? Not exactly appealing, interesting, or awe-inspiring. Let’s make ‘09 tasty & entertaining by naming it the International Year of Baklava and Explosive Demolition!
* The lamest sequels & other dumb films were prolific in 2008. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Rambo? Australia? The Day The Earth Stood Still? Answer: Super fucking sucky cinema.
In conclusion, FAREWELL 2008 and Fuck Off!