Winners & Losers Of 2010 (Part Three)

Winner:  Jaden & Willow Smith

The son and daughter of actress/singer Jada Pinkett-Smith and actor/rapper Will Smith (who has another son from an earlier marriage) had the kind of year much older folks would kill for.  12-year-old Jaden took the lead in The Karate Kid, the hugely popular June remake of the 1984 Ralph Macchio original.  Raking in over 350 million globally, this 2010 update was a surprise critical favourite, as well.  (Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 67% fresh rating.)  Unsurprisingly, a sequel is in the works.

As for 10-year-old Willow, music was her claim to fame this year.  With the strong backing of rapper/mogul Jay Z, she released her first single, Whip My Hair to much acclaim.  It peaked at #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart.  (It was even bigger in the UK where it got as high as #2.)   A full album is soon to follow. 

Not yet teenagers, they’re making the rest of us look like slackers. 

Loser:  British Petroleum

The Columbine murders.  The botched Bay Of Pigs invasion.  Hitler’s birthday.  Historically, April 20th has seen its share of dark moments.  One of the worst happened on that date in 2010.

A fifth-generation oil drilling unit called Deepwater Horizon was put to work in the Gulf Of Mexico near Louisiana.  Close to 10 o’clock in the evening, it exploded then sank, killing 11 workers and injuring 17 more.  The remaining 100 or so employees escaped serious harm.

That was just the beginning.  Then came the oil spill

The Gulf Of Mexico was flooded with approximately 5 million barrels of oil which started to affect wildlife and nearby beaches.  Even after the leak was capped (after a number of failed attempts), more oil flooded the Gulf until September 19, almost exactly five months after the initial explosion.

The fallout was swift and fierce.  British Petroleum, the beleaguered owner of the Deepwater Horizon unit, became the focus of intense media criticism.  It turned out the company has a long history of screw-ups.  In fact, just a fortnight before the Gulf Of Mexico disaster, another spill took place in Texas City which involved the release of a cancer-causing chemical called benzene as well as nitrogen oxide.  Good times.

With the federal government investigating, BP will be under the critical microscope well into next year.

Winner:  Modern Family

This much loved sitcom began the year in the middle of its highly regarded first season.  12 days into January, ABC announced it would be returning for a second one. 

Then came the Emmys.  After stealing the show with a funny pre-taped bit that featured a cameo by George Clooney, the program walked away with 6 gongs including Best Comedy Series.  (The show had 14 nominations.)

When the show returned in September, it saw its ratings increase significantly.  In its first season, Modern Family averaged a little over 9 million viewers per week and finished in the Top 40.  Now the show averages more than 14 million and thus far, has moved into the Top 20. 

Even better, the show has already been sold into syndication.  For Ed O’Neill, there is finally life after Married…With Children and David Mamet.

Loser:  Linda McMahon, Joe Miller, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle

For all their electoral successes this year, The Republicans did have four high profile defeats.

Former WWE executive Linda McMahon went after a Senate seat in Connecticut and proceeded to spend tens of millions of dollars in order to win it.  The campaign got dirty fairly quickly in May as McMahon’s camp claimed to The New York Times that Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal lied about his Vietnam record, a charge that upon closer inspection didn’t pass the smell test.  (Blumenthal had a huge lead in the polls at the time.  It shrunk to just three points after the misleading story came out.)

Blumenthal countered by criticizing McMahon’s association with professional wrestling and the way her husband’s company treats its employees.  When a number of former WWE wrestlers died during the campaign, McMahon didn’t do herself any favours by appearing callous and unsympathetic.  In the end, all the money in the world couldn’t convince voters to give her the job.  Blumenthal ultimately filled outgoing Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd’s old seat. 

In Alaska, Joe Miller faced the humiliating prospect of being beaten by a write-in candidate.  During the Republican primary, he managed to defeat sitting Senator Lisa Murkowski who refused to give up and ultimately ran against him. 

Aligning himself with the misguided Tea Party movement, Miller soon found himself in the middle of two, unavoidable controversies.  First, there was his previous job as a government lawyer.  In 2008, he accessed office computers for partisan political purposes, an ethics violation that he initially lied about before coming clean.  The story got plenty of media coverage in October.

That would explain Miller’s unprecedented snub of the news media.  With the exception of occasional press conferences, he steered clear of their questioning.  It would also explain why he hired military personnel to run security for one of his campaign stops.  When a reporter tried to do his job during this particular swing, he was handcuffed.  Miller’s unethical behaviour and shocking thuggery cost him the election.  Despite losing, he tried in vain to use the court system to give him what he couldn’t earn legitimately.  Murkowski has now been certified as the winner.

It had been years since Christine O’Donnell, a super conversative activist, had appeared on TV espousing her rather rigid views on sex.  But after she surprised many by becoming the Republican Senatorial nominee in Delaware (she also won in 2008, it should be noted), that old footage was dusted off and played relentlessly.

O’Donnell’s appearances on Bill Maher’s old Politically Incorrect program, where she admitted to dabbling in witchcraft and seemed confused about evolution, were resurrected by the host on his Real Time show as a ploy to get her to make an appearance.  Like Miller, she avoided the media like the plague, including Real Time.  Although there was that “I’m not a witch” campaign ad and the occasional visit to Fox News.

Then, another clip from a long forgotten MTV special was unearthed where she claimed that because the bible says you shouldn’t have lust in your heart and you need lust in order to masturbate, you shouldn’t masturbate.  (Honestly, the woman needs to lighten up already.)

In September, The IRS came calling.  O’Donnell brushed the whole unpaid taxes thing off as a “computer error”.  And let’s not forget her rather cheap way of criticizing ex-Republican Governor Mike Castle.

Needless to say, she never stood a chance in the election.  Democrat Christopher Coons easily took over the seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden.  (He had double digit leads throughout the entire race.)  As the year draws to a close, O’Donnell now faces a federal investigation into her fundraising practices, thanks to the efforts of CREW, a watchdog organization that drew attention to the matter three months ago.  Happy New Year, Miss O’Donnell.

Finally, there’s Sharron Angle in Nevada.  Like Alaska, her race with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was very tight, literally neck and neck.  But instead of winning over independents and open-minded liberals, she gave them plenty of reasons not to vote for her.

Like Miller and O’Donnell, she refused to deal with the media.  When you consider her positions on the issues, it’s not exactly a shock.  She believes in passing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.  She wants the Department Of Education abolished.  Ditto Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  She thinks global warming’s a fraud despite voluminous evidence to the contrary.  She opposes all forms of abortion for every reason you could think of (including incidences of rape and incest) and she would like to see the end of Social Security and Medicare.  She opposes the legalization of pot, falsely claimed that sharia law was being practiced in two U.S. cities and wrongly thinks the 9/11 hijackers came from Canada. 

Amazingly, despite all this ridiculousness, she still managed to receive 44% of the vote.  Embattled incumbent Senator Harry Reid was ultimately able to retain his seat.

Despite the depressing news of Republicans overtaking the House Of Representatives in early 2011, at least these four extremists won’t be joining them.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, December 30, 2010
11:46 p.m.

Published in: on December 30, 2010 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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