The Humanoids: Auld Lang Syne

It’s been about two months since I last wrote a Humanoids column. What better time that the end of the year to drop another set of ridiculous opinions about the year that was and some more recent events. This year may just go down as one of the more depressing years on record. Bad news seemed to dominate the world in 2010. Of all the top news stories of the year, the only one that you could actually classify as good or even neutral is the rescue of the Chilean miners. But let’s take a look back at the year that was and toss in a random story for the fun of it.

Trainwreck TV
When some of the biggest news stories of the year include the John and Kate divorce and what the gang from Jersey Shore are up to, we see how far society has collapsed. How shows like Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of Whatever Major US City, 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom and whatever other piece of exploitative television that MTV or TLC rolled out during the year get viewers, I’ll never know. Why people feel compelled to watch shows that only serve to prove PT Barnum correct when he said that there’s a sucker born every minute I’ll never figure out. The only thing I can think of is that people watch other people worse off than themselves so they can feel better about themselves. Though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include LeBron’s “The Decision” show in trainwreck TV. After all, one of Letterman’s producers said something to the effect of the point where society bottomed out.

Trainwreck News
For some reason, we’re a society that is hellbent on focusing on and sensationalizing the negative. This year’s biggest news stories are almost entirely “negative” stories (with the exception of the next story). The tone of the news for the year was established in the second week of the year with the Haitian earthquake and the never-ending crush of depressing news continued from there. There was the Chilean earthquake, Polish government airplane crash, Icelandic volcanic eruption, BP oil spill, Qur’an burnings, and full body scans at airports. With stories like these dominating the news coverage over the course of the past twelve months, it would be hard for even the most optimistic of people not to be depressed by the goings on in the world around them. Hell, the fact that so many Americans seems opposed to their health care bill which would have benefited everyone in the US goes to show that maybe society has been brainwashed into not wanting to hear anything good in our news.

Chilean Miners
After 69 days underground and being told that they may have to wait until 2011 to be freed, Los 33 were pulled up one at a time from their refuge room to the surface in one of the few “good news” stories of the year. By now we all know the story. A mine with a poor safety track record suffered yet another collapse which trapped 33 miners deep inside. Seventeen days after being trapped, they were discovered by a search and rescue drill and pulled to the surface a month-and-a-half later. It was the feel good story of 2010. Despite all the good that came out of this, it still had its down moments. Miner #21 Yonnie Barrios was exposed as having a long affair while down in the mine and his wife never took him back. Then there was the mine collapse in New Zealand not long after where everyone held out hope that folks would be safe after the happenings in Chile. It turns out that all did not go well in New Zealand and the story of the Chilean miners gave false hope down under. See, now I’m focusing on the negatives. It’s contagious!

While this story was only really big over the last few weeks, this may be the one that we could be talking about for years to come. Granted in sort of a protectionist way, the mainstream hasn’t really gone into much detail in covering WikiLeaks apart from the arrest of founder Julian Assange. In 2010, WikiLeaks gave us video of US soldiers killing Reuters staffers, 92,000 documents about the war in Afghanistan, several thousand documents about the war in Iraq and those infamous US diplomatic cables that have recently dominated the news. Well, they would have properly dominated the news if they hadn’t been hacked, kicked off Amazon’s servers, and had governments and corporations try their best to slow the release of these cables down. I’d also figure that the conveniently timed charges against Assange aren’t on the up and up either. WikiLeaks is being treated as a terrorist organization for revealing the truth to a public that has bee mislead by the governments it put in power. Assange and WikiLeaks are doing the work of old-time journalists in a digital age. Was Deep Throat a terrorist when he exposed what Nixon and the Republican Party was up to at the Watergate? I don’t see that being any different than this except that these cables are far more damaging to the US government’s reputation than Watergate. And if Assange is a terrorist for releasing cables but carefully censoring them so nobody is endangered as a result of their release, can we arrest members of the Bush 43 administration for revealing the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame?

The gang at Deadspin managed to outdo themselves yet again this year. They had the usual stuff that we expect from them like the Rex Ryan foot fetish videos or the AFL player caught in a compromising situation with a dog or the dozens of other amazing and salacious (or amazingly salacious) stories that Deadspin ran over the course of the year. Of course, there was that whole Brett Favre story. When Favre apparently retired before the season, we found out that he allegedly sent pictures of his penis to Jenn Sterger. After weeks of the mainstream media not caring and most folks doubting if the story was true, the pictures and voicemails were produced. That’s when we saw a virtual firestorm of debate over the ethics of releasing the dong pics without Sterger’s consent. The fact remains that Deadspin say it was Favre’s dong but the NFL claim they couldn’t prove it. Now Deadspin’s influence is bigger than ever while Favre has been pummeled into what appears to be retirement.

Year of the Pitcher
In 1998, Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in the midst of a thrilling chase for the record with Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. Then it turned out that Big Mac was on the juice, Sosa might have been using steroids or a corked bat and Griffey could pull a hammy getting out of bed in the morning. The Steroid Era was baseball’s brightest yet darkest time because the sport grew like it never had before but it was essentially all fraudulent. With steroids largely out of baseball, the pitchers started taking over and that was proven best this year. This season, six no-hitters were thrown and two of those were perfect games. Roy Halladay (who threw two no-hitters) and Dallas Braden threw the perfect games this year. There was also the Armando Galarraga no-hitter that happened in all but the record books. Even the World Series was won on the power of the pitching and defense of the San Francisco Giants. The resurgence of the pitcher is the worst thing that could have happened to Major League Baseball because, as the old commercial went, chicks still dig the long ball. Based on baseball’s ratings from last season, it seems that all viewers love the long ball.

Bum Shots
I had to sit through this topic of conversation at my office Christmas party so you have to as well. Apparently, teenagers are now getting drunk through a method that we have termed “bum shots.” Basically, you soak a tampon (or other absorbent thing) in an alcoholic beverage and shove it up your ass. Your intestines will allow your body to absorb the alcohol more quickly than if you drank it so you get drunk quicker and don’t have the telltale smell of alcohol on your breath. The only other place I saw something like this was that episode of South Park where it was found to be more healthy to shove food up your ass and crap out your mouth. I hope that nobody actually took South Park seriously when they tried this one. Maybe I’m getting old but what’s wrong with the old-fashioned way of binge drinking. That’s what everyone did at dinner. Everyone got just as drunk but I guess not as quickly as they might have. But if people are willing to shove shit up their ass to get drunk, at what point do they stop shoving things up their ass? However, if I was director Kevin Smith, I would point out that women who do bum shots must be more willing to do anal. Remember when this was a respectable blog and radio show/podcast…

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