As 2009 draws to a close, most of us look back on the year’s events with fondness. Or grimaces, depending on which event you’re thinking of. This was a year of “shocker” moments–every couple of months, it seemed, we were blindsided by some unexpected news story. Some made us sniffle, some made us angry. Some were so strange that we simply blinked at our televisions for a few seconds, then turned to the people around us to make sure that we really did just see that.
The Nine Shocking Moments of 2009 is an attempt to pay tribute to this year of shockers. It sticks mostly to pop-culture, with a couple of exceptions. A few political and economic concerns were so big and so shocking that they made it into the awareness of even the most tuned-out tabloid-reading pop culture junkies.
#9: Jon & Kate Plus Eight Minus Jon = Tabloids.
Jon and Kate Gosselin’s failed marriage shocked many fans of the show–not because their breakup was sudden, but because we couldn’t believe it would happen to them. Jon and Kate embodied for many the ideal of making your family dynamics work, no matter how difficult.
#8: Blaggo on the Radio.
Wait a second! I thought we finally got rid of Rod Blagojevich. Wasn’t he removed from office? Isn’t he kind of — in the doghouse — with most of the country? How on earth did he weasel his way into hosting a talk show? Did everyone in the Chicago radio industry get collective amnesia and forget that most of Illinois doesn’t want to listen to Blaggo anymore?
#7: AIG Bonu — er, *cough*, — I Mean BAILOUTS.
An economy in crisis. People losing homes right and left. Companies filing for bankruptcy. And the people at AIG really think it’s okay to use their portion of bailout money to make life super comfortable for their elite members? The shock factor here comes from the fact that they’re either horrendously stupid or gutsier than most of us could ever hope to be.
#6.: Quinto vs. Nimoy.
The new “Star Trek” movie is the strongest proof yet that human cloning is possible. Audiences sat stunned in the midnight showings, unable to comprehend the sight of a living, breathing, 40-years-younger version of the original Spock. If Zachary Quinto is not a clone of Leonard Nimoy, then I am a yellow-bellied marmot.
#5: Balloon Boy.
Imagine listening to your friend’s half of the phone conversation when she hears this story for the first time. “A kid floated away in what? But he really didn’t? They think who was behind it?” ‘Nuff said.
#4: White House Party Crashers.
Sure, I was surprised when I heard that Tareq and Michaele Salahi managed to sneak past White House security. But the really surprising part? The centuries-long stretch of media coverage that followed the ordeal. Please notify the online news sources that we never again want to hear anything about this story.
#3: And the Nobel Prize Winner Is…Obama.
Wow. Didn’t see that coming. Whether you agree that President Obama should get the Nobel Peace Prize or not, you have to admit, it was one of the biggest surprises of the year. Come on, admit it. You shook your head and cleaned out your ears to make sure you heard right, just like the rest of us did.
#2. Gimme That Mike!
Oh Kanye. Kanye, Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. Kanye. What were you thinking?
And the number one shocker moment of 2009:
#1. WHO died?!?!
What? Michael Jackson died? But–but he’s like a permanent part of my world. He’s always been there. Like the moon or the rocky mountains or plastic. What will the tabloids talk about now that he’s gone? Who will I make fun of as being the ultimate in child-man creepy? More importantly, does this mean the 80s are officially over?? (Oh by the way, we miss you too Farrah!)
What about you? Any shocker moments you think I missed? How about this; do you remember where you were when you heard these stories? I’ll start: I was driving home from the gym when I heard about Michael Jackson.
This post was brought to you by Up and Writing as part of Daniel Scocco’s latest group writing project. Check his Daily Blog Tips for links to other bloggers reviewing the best and worst of 2009!