Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Most Foolish Statements of the Year

As the year draws to a close, the ever-original tradition of making best and worst lists has moved into top gear. Best movies, worst outfits, best songs, worst gadgets, best apps, worst this, best that. We really need a meta list of the best and worst best and worst lists, I think. But that seems like a lot of work.

Instead, lets consider the apparent need people have to see see the tabulation of all of these things into lists. It's certainly not a new phenomenon. And it's something that--I think--begins in early childhood. Children live to list their preferences, are quick to name their best friend or their favorite toy. It gives them--and us, when we do it--a sense of control or power over things, even inanimate and uncontrollable things.

But what's surprising about the popularity of these year-end lists is that someone else is ordaining who or what is best and worst, is establishing a ranking. Of course, the lists can also be great fodder for debate. But debate about what, really? Which LOL cat picture was truly the best, the funniest? On that level, it's all meaningless blather. Yet, we largely accept the lists as somehow valid, as somehow signifying a reality.

Do the lists say more about us--as people--than about their actual content? Do we need to see a list of the Most Embarrassing Celebrity Moments of 2011 to feel better about ourselves? Do we take a false pride in the Most Memorable Sports Plays or 2011 because we happen to have seen some of them, or because one of our favorite teams or athletes is represented? Or maybe we bothered that one of our favorite moments is not represented in the list.

Regardless, I give you the top five most (in reverse order) foolish statements of 2011:

5."I probably heard about it in the last few weeks."--Eric Holder, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in May, with regard to Operation Fast and Furious.

4. "This was a prank intended to derail me or distract me, whatever it is. It is not a federal case. Now maybe it will turn out, maybe it will turn out, forgive me, maybe it will turn out that this is the point of Al Qaeda’s sword and that this is the effort that is going to, this is where it’s going to begin..."--Anthony Weiner in June, still attempting to falsely claim that his Twitter account had been hacked.

3. "The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don't know who he is. It's crazy."--Donald Trump in February, with regard to Obama and his birth and subsequent childhood in Hawaii.

2. "However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline, they're going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance."--President Obama in December.

1. "As the thing started to unfold and there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth. Who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing."--Glenn Beck in July, on the tragic shootings in Norway.

Cheers, all.


  1. I agree with #2, only because President Obama is forgetting all the Environmental clean-up jobs that will be created by having that oil hazard run across the entire United States.

  2. LOL! Well-played, Ed.

    Cheers and a happy new year to you and yours!