“I liked it. All in all, a solid year.” — Vladimir Putin
“Hated it. Terrible. Zero stars.” — Barack Obama
“Someone told me that if I wanted my year I could keep my year but now I’m being forced to switch to 2014. OBAMA’S AMERICA!” — Health-care subscriber
“2013 was good until I realized it wasn’t 1863.” — Paula Deen
“2013 was a soulless, empty vessel that would not go away, no matter what we did. Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were asking about me.” — Anthony Weiner
“Everything I did in 2013 was a great idea.” — Dennis Rodman
From the same team that brought you 2012 (the year, not the movie), 2013 was a year filled with excitement. It had everything we’ve come to expect in a year, and Miley Cyrus. The special effects were breathtaking — remember that meteor?
If the amount of coverage is anything to go on, the most important event of 2013 happened in November 1963.
A few other news stories managed to penetrate the thick fog of JFK anniversary headlines. 2013 picked up quickly right where 2012 left off, with the inauguration of President Obama to a second term. Beyonce made news by not singing, which surprised people even though Britney Spears has built an entire musical career on not singing.
Dennis Rodman ran out of friends to play basketball with, so he went to North Korea and became pals with a terrifying dictator, instead of joining a MeetUp group like the rest of us.
For a few awkward weeks we all pretended we’d been paying attention to Syria for years. Fortunately we all stopped because some celebrity had a baby or something and babies are NEWS whereas there will always be plenty of humanitarian catastrophes to go around.
The best that could be said for Sen. Ted Cruz was that he existed, which was more than could be said for Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.
Sen. Harry Reid used the nuclear option, transforming the Senate into a frozen wasteland full of radioactive spiders. This was a notable improvement on the way the Senate usually operates, and they were able to actually pass some stuff afterwards. House Speaker John Boehner is trying to find out if there are any nuclear options he can use on the House, because the tea party spent all year shouting, “You can’t do that! That was tried in 1793 and it didn’t go very well!” whenever anyone tried to pass any legislation, and it got old fast.
In 2013, we learned that Edward Snowden likes airports so much that he was willing to leak top-secret information about the National Security Agency (NSA) to several newspapers in order to be able to spend more quality time in a terminal in Moscow. It turns out that the government’s information collection approach have been exactly as opaque as Lululemon pants aren’t. Yes, the NSA has been snooping into my e-mails and phone records to find out what I am doing all the time, which makes me sad, because it means the NSA must not be following me on Twitter.
Gay people got married in more states than before. A meteor hit Russia. These two events were unrelated, no matter what the “Duck Dynasty” guy says.
Google Glass came out, resulting in a plague of yelling people with neck sprains.
The government shut down but then started back up with a new operating system that didn’t work either. After the shutdown, the federal government and the Obamacare Web site agreed that only one of them would work at any given time. Right now, it’s the government’s turn.
Wendy Davis, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz all talked for a long time — Wendy in a filibuster to protect the reproductive choice of Texas women, Rand to keep his name in contention for the 2016 GOP presidential race, and Ted to support the cause of Hearing Ted Cruz Talk.
Several tech companies made inroads into 3D printing. Whereas before you had to order products, wait for weeks, then have them arrive and reveal that they were cheap stuff you did not want, now you can make cheap stuff you do not want instantly in the privacy of your own home.
Drones droned on and on. Anthony Weiner somehow performed the incredible feat of ruining the Weiner family name. Everyone you didn’t want to get a pixie cut, got one.
Chris Christie won the 2013 GOP primary that is imaginary and run by pundits. Unfortunately the actual primary is not until 2016 and it is run by real live Republican voters.
Pope Francis was exactly as amazing and universally popular as George Zimmerman wasn’t.
Lorde became the most famous person with a vowel hiding in her name since Rachael Ray. Ylvis asked “What Does the Fox Say?” although the answer, surprisingly, was not “Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi.” Maybe there was an IRS scandal? I don’t know.
Justin Bieber said something stupid, which was not news, but he did it at the Anne Frank house, which was.
Our national nightmare of prestige television neared an end. “Breaking Bad” broke good, at least according to all the people who have been saying that “Breaking Bad” Is Like Having God Touch You With His Hand And Make You Superior To Everyone Around You And Also It’s Like “The Aeneid” But You Know More Erudite Don’t You Think Yeah I Really Think. Netflix released two original series, one of which starred Kevin Spacey as a Machiavellian figure laboring under the mistaken impression that Congress is actually supposed to accomplish things. You could tell that the show was deeply accurate because it included a newspaper reporter being discouraged from tweeting and blogging.
George W. Bush’s paintings revealed that he should not have quit his day job. (Actually, at the time of writing, the paintings had gotten us into zero wars, so, never mind.)
Miley Cyrus expanded the range of “just being Miley” activities to include “twerking” and “alarming everyone” and “spawning hordes of thinkpieces.”
There were some hairy moments. We all remember that point mid-August after the VMAs when we worried that national reserves of indignation had been depleted through careless overuse of adverbs. Or how the year’s early efforts to explore themes of race in a thoughtful way had disintegrated, by October, into Julianne Hough’s Halloween costume.
But all in all, I would recommend this year, with some reservations. For instance, the news relied too heavily on anniversaries. Isn’t it a bit early to start the Hillary 2016 speculation? And did we really need so many babies? Also, there seemed to be some redundancy with the theme of government dysfunction, which has been explored sufficiently in years 420 B.C. to 1992 A.D. and 2000 to present, with brief pauses for the Clinton era and Visigoth invasions. This has been played out, and for 2014 it would be great to see more exploration of themes like peace, prosperity and functionality, all historically underrepresented. Still, a solid year. Three stars.