In 1992, the Queen described the year as an ‘annus horribilis‘. If you happen to work in the finance industry or for the Liberals, you might feel the same way about this year. Whilst 2008 will not go down in the history books as a vintage year, there were many inspiring stories to take heart from.
These are my loves and hates of this year.
Love; Barack Obama
During eight dismal years of ever increasing spending, more commitments to foreign soil and dreary rhetoric, the USA had lost its friends and its confidence. Yet the world needs a confident and respected USA. The passion Obama has aroused in ordinary, normally apolitical people has been both astounding and a joy to watch. Yes – expectations are ludicrously high and disappointment will set in, but Obama is exactly what the world and America needs. If nothing else, he will force the lazy band of Bush-haters to think about policies they actually stand for.
Hate; Moralising busybodies
The anti-fun Nazis were in the ascendancy in 2008. For forcing us (occasional) smokers to congregate outside in the driving rain, to producing adverts designed to terrorise our Alcopops-imbibing teens, to warning us of the horrors of Betfair (the new Marlboro?), to convincing the population that a single joint will turn you into a paranoid schizo, my vote for Hate of the Year goes to the new Victorian arch-conservative moralisers – and in particular, the truly appalling troika of Clive ‘I’m Only Happy When I’m Miserable’ Hamilton, WorldVision chief Tim ‘I’m shocked and appalled’ Costello, and Senator Nick ‘Family Values’ Xenophon.
Love; The Beijing Olympic Games
Despite the usual doom-mongers warning the athletes to carry round an oxygen cylinder at all times to avoid the Beijing smog, luckily no-one died of asphyxiation and records tumbled everywhere. Michael Phelps embodied the ideal of the supreme yet humble Olympian by winning 8 gold from 8 attempts. In an era of mediocrity, a leisurely 35 hour week and an ‘all must have prizes‘ mentality, it is a treat to worship every four years at the alter of elitism, the highest competition and sheer bloody determination. God Bless the Olympics.
Hate; The Republic of Bailoutistan
It started with Bear Stearns in March, it then swiftly moved to Fannie and Freddie, to AIG, to Citigroup (but not Lehman for some obscure reason), then the Auto industry, then the entire finance industry. Then Kevin Rudd decided that the entire population of Australia needed a bailout despite retailers hailing Xmas 2008 as one of the best year’s ever. I eagerly await 2009’s lucky recipients.
Love; Heath Ledger’s Batman
One of the most riveting performances in one of the most brilliant movies, made all the more eerie and powerful by his sudden death. Compare and contrast with Baz Luhrman’s indescribably awful flop ‘Australia‘.
Hate; The Mumbai terrorists
On 26 November ten fanatical Islamists landed in Mumbai off a stolen trawler and began a killing and bombing spree that left 170 people dead and many more injured. Their choice of location, one of India’s most modern and successful, says it all about their nihilistic, stone age mindset. Yet, the usual suspects in the West couldn’t wait to ‘understand’ their actions.
Love; The Melbourne Cup
Everyone gets drunk, everyone gambles, no-one knows anything about the actual horses but no-one cares, work is discarded for the day, city centres are full of marauding drunk office girls in high-heels at 5pm, and Australia is united in a piece of shared culture that excludes no-one (except the moral busybodies, of course)
Whilst the big question for the past few years may have been ‘Is Global Warming Real and Being Caused by Man?, the big one for 2008 has been ‘Do You Like Human Beings?‘. The eco-crowd is rapidly morphing from a bunch of people nobly trying to preserve our natural heritage, to humanity-haters. It hasn’t taken the Greenies long to realise that there is a Final Solution – the best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to have less children. Some are even calling for a plague to wipe out humanity. Anti-science, evangelical in their fervour, human-haters to their core, regressive beyond belief, the EarthHour crowd are Australia’s worst nightmare.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!