Worthy candidate for most irritating phenomenon of year
After 12 months of griping and scowling, the season of renewal beckons and we settle down to celebrate the year’s more joyous moments. Let’s clear a paragraph for Katie Taylor’s sequence of amiable demolitions in the London Olympics. Mention should be made of Barack Obama’s victory in the US election and of the hilarious paralysis that (momentarily at least) fell across Fox News. Didn’t some little girl get rescued from a tree in August?
Oh, sod that. If you want to feel warm and cosy, watch The Railway Children. It’s sure to be on somewhere. We can have far more fun discussing the most irritating phenomena of 2012.
This is probably not the place to ponder truly ghastly events and personalities. But no opportunity should be squandered to turn one’s nose up at Vladimir Putin and note his increasingly effective efforts to make Ivan the Terrible seem like a model of executive restraint. Pussy Riot would, no doubt, concur.
There’s Jimmy Savile and company. The revelations about the moral corruption that characterised 1970s television cry out for some angry attention. One is reminded of that unreliable myth concerning those Native Americans who looked towards the invading European ships and, because they didn’t have the mental machinery to process the image, saw only an uninterrupted expanse of benign ocean. For a decade or two, we watched various increasingly superannuated men snuggling up to visibly discomfited young women and concluded that it was all in good fun. Collective delusions have rarely been so potent.
Grotesque behaviour by satanic representatives of the National Rifle Association in the US after the Sandy Hook shootings deserves attention. Once again, however, the story is a little too grim for a new year banquet of snark.
A better candidate for real-life pop-culture nightmare is the recent elevation of Piers Morgan to the status of hero after bashing gun lobbyists all about his television studio. Some tens of thousands of rifle nuts are now calling for his expulsion from the United States. Can I live in a world that has Piers Morgan as one of its good guys? Can I? Can I?
There’s more. After decades of idle threats, the ironic Christmas jumper has finally imposed itself fully on western European high streets. The fall of the Roman Empire spun out at a faster pace than that creeping catastrophe.
South Korean pop music went from exotic novelty to all-out menace in a matter of minutes with the dizzying rise of Gangnam Style. If you wanted to be an insufferable bore this year you knew which dance to do when wearing your Christmas jumper.