The Culture Maven: Oh, dear, what a year

The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six
is best described thusly:

Ms. Prim and Proper in Prison, Martha Stewart, admitted Christmas week that she used to have a crush on satellite radio’s premier skank dog, Howard Stern. Until she met him.
That’s the kind of topsy-turvy annum it was.

For decades it’s been a universally accepted maxim that only two species can survive nuclear apocalypse (which doomsday is surer to come sooner rather than later if the world keeps giving the finger to Kim Jong Il). That’s at least one more creature than predicted to survive Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto.” Those last species standing would be cockroaches and Keith Richards.

The past year has proven otherwise. Karl Rove, too, shall trod the land of the free and the home of the brave long after his failed attempts to rip this country from its constitutional moorings. He’s tried to tilt the nation off its axis. He’s wrecked his party. Yet he lives another day at the White House, stirring more boil, boil, toil and trouble.

In 2006, we learned that the only job as bad as being Saddam Hussein’s lawyer is that of judge hearing his case. Working as a congressional page also proved fraught with peril., a company few had heard of last New Year’s, rendered some guys gazillionaires. Which made them almost but not quite as rich as Rick Pitino, who, we discovered as the year lurched to a close, no longer walks on water.

It was the year the Internet finally told all. A peasant woman in Haiti could develop a blister on her finger. Thirty seconds later you could google 217 photos and read thousands of blogs dissecting her condition.
The vice president of the United States shot a guy on a hunting trip. There were media present, but the story didn’t break until a day later, the tattle of a small-town paper in Texas.
It was wacky crazy, I’m tellin’ ya.

We learned Emmitt Smith can dance as good as he could avoid or run through tacklers. And that people still care where Paris Hilton is partying and what color Lindsay and Britney’s panties are — if they’re wearing them at all. But we haven’t heard a lot lately about the vice president’s chief adviser who committed the minor offense of revealing the name of a covert CIA operative to the press.
Louisville Metro is a diverse town with a relatively small Jewish population, less than 10,000. Yet the mayor and our new congressman are both of the Hebrew persuasion. As is Kentucky’s Secretary of State, who has tossed his hat in the gubernatorial ring.

John Yarmuth is going to get more press for appearing with Stephen Colbert than he would if Katie Couric said come on down for a chat.
Walter Cronkite is still alive. Francisco Franco is still dead.
Immigration was a major issue. Send ’em back. Let ’em stay. Prosecute the employers to the fullest extent of the law. So they did. Some legitimate immigrants were sentenced last week in federal court for employing illegals at their Chinese buffets.

Meanwhile, landscaping, roofing and painting contractors named Smith, Jones and White continue to clean up, paint up, fix up our properties using illegal labor, then drive over in a new foreign pick-up to get our check.
If you made this stuff up people wouldn’t believe it.
ESPN The Magazine named Ricky “If you ain’t first, you’re last” Bobby its Sports Figure of the Year. Oh, wait a second — that was just a special cover jacket advertisement. That it would make sense is nonetheless a sign o’ the times.

At the beginning of 2006, a majority of Americans realized their president was an XXL idiot. As the year progressed, President Ostrich continued to refuse to listen to any person with any sense whatsoever. That majority grew.
He continues to throw obscene amounts of good money after bad in Iraq. He continues to ignore the languishing Gulf Coast.
Even loyalists jumped ship. His vice president came to town. Former acolyte Anne Northup said she never knew he was coming.

The electorate spoke clearly in the fall elections.
President Ostrich ended the year planning to add more troops, inclined to add them to the fray.
Even Ricky Bobby must be shaking his head, wondering if 2006 wasn’t that LSD flashback they warned us about back in the day.

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