Winner: Barack Obama
He was easily re-elected to a second term as The American President. Thanks to strong pressure from protestors, he stopped deporting millions from the Latino community while simultaneously offering them temporary citizenship and he made history by being the first President to publicly support gay marriage.
Loser: Barack Obama
The hypocritical secrecy; the illegal drones; Guantanamo; the unprecedented war on whistleblowers including the heroic Bradley Manning; the refusal to end the drug war; the sickening resistence to various reforms including gun policy, drug policy and foreign policy; the on-going murder, imprisonment and torture of countless innocent Muslims; the harassment of honourable dissenters; the watered down health care law; the blind loyalty to the consistently beligerent Israel; the lack of support for Palestine and real democracy in the Arab world; the further solidification of endless war and the illegal surveillence state; the lack of prosecutions of Wall Street crooks; the overly cozy relationship with corporations; his full-on embrace of a two-tier justice system: one for the rich and one for everybody else, particularly Muslims and critics; the lack of prosecutions of American war crimes; the heartless sanctions against Iran; Libya; the unkept promises and so much more.
Winner: Chris Brown’s Critics
It was supposed to be the night of his big return to the spotlight, the event that brought him back into the good graces of the public. On February 13th, after performing two numbers at the 2012 Grammys and winning a gong for Best R&B Album, Chris Brown looked like he was on his way.
It was too good to be true. Shortly after the ceremony, he posted this series of tweets on his official Twitter account:
“Strange how we pick and choose who to hate! Let me ask u this. Our society is full of rappers (which I listen to) who have sold drugs (poisoning).”
“But yet we glorify them and imitate everything they do. Then right before the worlds eyes a man shows how he can make a Big mistake and learn from it, but still has to deal with day to day hatred! You guys love to hate!!! But guess what???”
“HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate FUCK OFF!”
Brown (or an underling posing as him, if RadarOnline is to be believed) was responding to critics who didn’t approve of his appearance on the show. Needless to say, this supremely childish (and not at all persuasive) outburst didn’t shut them up. In fact, it made them even more outspoken.
Actor Seth Rogen, country star Miranda Lambert, Sheldon Cooper’s former nemesis Wil Wheaton and Howard Stern were among the most vocal who were not pleased with the music industry’s public reconciliation with the young man who nearly killed his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, while driving in a car three years earlier. (At the ceremony, more than a few audience members gave him a standing ovation. Really?) Proving that he actually hasn’t learned a damn thing, Brown engaged almost all of these conscientious objectors on Twitter which greatly tarnished his Grammys success.
When WWE Champion CM Punk half-jokingly suggested that he would love to battle the singer at WrestleMania, Brown foolishly responded, wrongly accusing him of being a steroid abuser. Not realizing that the real-life Phil Brooks is straight edge (like myself), Punk offered a brilliant two-minute video rebuttal that garnered him a lot of positive press and numerous media interviews. Not surprisingly, Brown didn’t accept his offer to fight him for charity. Despite briefly tweeting him back, the singer eventually announced he wouldn’t get into it with him again.
If only that were the end of his troubles. As 2012 continued, Brown couldn’t leave well enough alone. Not that long after the Grammys, he angrily stole a fan’s iPhone, called her a “bitch”, and later threw it out his car window. He got into a club fight with Drake which turned into a brawl. (The club lost its liquor licence as a result.) He got a controversial neck tattoo. He dressed up as a member of The Taliban for Halloween. He violated his probation by testing positive for weed (which, you would think, would mellow him out just a little). And even his own lawyer gave him hell in an L.A. courtroom.
Then, near the end of the year, he got into another pointless Twitter war with the very funny comedian, Jenny Johnson, who had been humourously tormenting him on the social networking site for many, many months. His disturbingly juvenile responses to her proved once and for all that he is his own worst enemy. Despite temporarily quitting Twitter for a short time, Brown ultimately returned. But true to his pathetic character, all of his previous tweets (including the defensive ones that had already been removed from earlier in the year) were nowhere to be found.
Amazingly, despite all of that avoidable nonsense, Brown still managed to reconcile with Rihanna. After secretly seeing each other for months, once Brown broke up with his girlfriend they started sharing overly cozy photos of themselves to the world online. They even made new music together in the form of remixes. But the welcome criticism kept coming. Brown’s latest CD, Fortune, was not loved by most professional reviewers. It’s also his biggest commercial flop to date selling just 300,000 copies. (Before the assault on Rihanna, his first two albums collectively sold four million units.) Were it not for two Top 10 singles (out of five released from Fortune) on Billboard, he would’ve been completely absent from radio this year.
With a mid-January 2013 court date looming (regarding a possible probation violation) and more music in the works, Brown would be well advised to do two things from here on out: shut up and stay out of trouble. His many critics, however, can keep right on talking.
Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking creation was once a personal sanctuary for me after a terrible online break-up, a welcome place to reconnect with long lost friends and a public game room worthy of time wasting.
That was five years ago. Today, I’m barely on it. From the constant crashing while trying to sign in and out to the annoying freezing of the home page after you finally manage to get in there to the generally slow loading of pages, particularly games like Zynga Poker, to endlessly irritating requests for various things I’m not interested in and that stupid timeline, not to mention the complete lack of control and ownership over your private data, were it not for my friends (the ones who didn’t abandon me), I would’ve quit a long time ago. I wonder if others feel the same way.
Meanwhile, the company continued to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. In February, it reinstated a ban on harmless breastfeeding photos while in the summer it refused to remove groups dedicated to hating and humiliating females, particularly 12-year-olds. Just wonderful.
In May, after much fanfare Facebook became a public company, offering itself up to potential stockholders at 38 bucks a share. But instead of reaping the financial rewards from such a move, the stock tanked thanks to this and arguably, this. In August when the company revealed that almost 100 million profiles were either fake, duplicates or spam (roughly a tenth of the overall billion total), the stock fell again. At one point, the value dropped as much as 50% before gradually climbing back to almost $30 a share, still lower than its original asking price. Regardless, Zuckerberg made billions. It’s a good thing, too, because he may have to settle all these related lawsuits (here and here, as well).
That same month, Limited Run, a new music-oriented business site, claimed that 80% of the ad clicks it received through its Facebook ad were not made by human beings. As a result, they deleted their page and switched to Twitter. General Motors pulled its ads, too, but, curiously, not its own Facebook page. Is this a bad sign?
Finally, despite asking for users to vote on the latest proposed changes near the end of the year, Facebook is doing whatever the hell it wants anyway, regardless of the results. In fact, it’s doing away with the whole democracy thing altogether. And it still owns much of what you post.
Now, after all this cheery news, like me, aren’t you glad you signed up in the first place? (December 19 UPDATE: Especially after this.)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, December 18, 2012