Well, 2013 was quite the year, right? If you're like me, you probably felt like it sped by super fast, and now we're sitting here, on December 19th, scratching our heads and going "what the heck just happened?"
Here's the good news: I'm about to recap it for you. We're about to cover all the most important news stories. Politics, entertainment, technology - we're doin' it all.
So, January got off to a pretty slow start. Wait, did I say slow? I meant scandalous. After news broke in 2012 of Notre Dame quarterback Manti Te'o's grandmother and girlfriend dying, people started doing some research, two reporters from Deadspin reported that Te'o's girlfriend never existed. Did he make her up? Was he Catfished? Eventually, a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo confessed to falling in love with Te'o and posing as the girlfriend. Even though it was resolved, everyone was still left feeling pretty confused.
The idea is that if a person loses an ear in an accident, or a child is born with a deformed ear, scientists will be able to grow and reattach them instead of surgically altering the existing ear. Being able to totally customize a prosthesis for someone would totally change how we deal with children born with birth defects, adults who have been in accidents, and everyone in between.
And in March, the world watched closely (even though most of them only knew anything about conclave because they'd watched Angels and Demons) as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the new Pope. He took the name Francis, and he's the first non-European Pope in over 1000 years. In his nine-ish months as Pope, he's spoken about helping the poor, being kind to everyone (several LGBT organizations named him their man of the year. Time Magazine did too), and even criticized capitalism. His open-mindedness has renewed many people's faith in the Catholic Church.
In 2012, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forth a ban on sodas above 16 ounces. In March 2013, a judge struck it down, saying that it was "arbitrary" and "capricious." Soda-holics were relieved for obvious reasons, and everyone else was too, because who wants to be regulated on how much soda they can drink? Not me.
In April, two bombs went off during the Boston Marathon. The morning started like any other; police swept for bombs twice, finding nothing. Just before 3pm, a two bombs went off close to the finish line. After scouring surveillance tapes, authorities were able to determine that the bombers were two brothers named Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. After being hunted down by Boston police on April 19th, Dzhokhar is in police custody. Most recently, his lawyers have asked for a continuance while they can decide if they should ask for a change in venue due to the high profile nature of the case. (For what it's worth, I think they should keep the trial in Boston.)
No gif here. Just love to all the victims and families.
In June, a former National Security Agency employee named Edward Snowden leaked over 100 classified documents, alleging (among other things) that the US was spying on our phone calls. At first, there was denial across the board, and then they admitted that they DID spy, but only on suspected terrorists, and THEN they admitted that yeah, they could spy on anyone they wanted to, for any reason, at any time. Edward Snowden was in Hong Kong when the documents leaked, and has since fled to Russia, who has given him temporary asylum. I guess we'll see how his future plays out in 2014.
Later in June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. DOMA denied same-sex couples the right to federal benefits that heterosexual couples received in states where gay marriage is already legal. The most important plaintiff in the case was a woman named Edie Windsor, a resident of New York who faced a huge estate tax bill when her partner of over 40 years passed away in 2009. Knowing that the estate tax would be much lower if she was straight, she sued the federal government - and won! While there's still much more work to be done, this was a huge step in the right direction.
In August, Miley Cyrus, a person most people had forgotten about, twerked her way back into our brains, our hearts, and our living rooms with a totally cringe-worthy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Practically everyone with eyeballs was offended, but her performance put the term 'twerking' front and center, so that's... something? She was criticized for appropriating black culture, treating her backup dancers as props, and never being able to keep her tongue in her mouth, but she defended her performance, calling herself a feminist (lol.) and saying that what she was doing was a "movement." (double lol.) While she's a grown woman who can make her own decisions, many people (including yours truly) were left wondering why she felt like she needed to act and perform the way she does. She was one of the most searched-for people on Google this year, so despite most people claiming to dislike her, she's put herself back in the spotlight and was named MTV's Artist of the Year. Maybe the joke's on us? No, she still kinda sucks.
In 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. Despite heavy opposition, it was deemed constitutional multiple times, so in a last-ditch effort to stop its implementation, Republicans refused to fund the government unless a "compromise" was reached in Congress, even though the compromise they wanted was defunding Obamacare entirely. Since a compromise wasn't reached by October 1st, the majority of government offices were shut down. Members of Congress still got paid, but other government employees were forced to go without a paycheck. After being shut down for 17 days, the government reopened. No real changes were made to the ACA during the shutdown.
Yep. A bunch of middle-aged white dudes didn't get what they wanted so they shut down the entire government, but MY generation is the one that's spoiled and entitled?
NOPE. Healthcare.gov, the website created by the Obama administration to handle enrollment was, to put it nicely, a total disaster. It crashed almost immediately from all the traffic, and hit issue after issue. President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius (the Secretary of Health and Human Services) were heavily criticized for requiring people to sign up for healthcare, but not being prepared when people actually did so. It was a pretty poor showing. I'm no tech genius, but if I was going to say that people were required by law to do something, I'd surely make sure they were able to do it. President Obama was also criticized for going back on his statement that people would be able to keep the doctor they already had. All in all, it was not President Obama's finest moment.
In October, Apple announced the new iPhones. There was a bit of a twist this time, as they revealed two models instead of just one. The iPhone 5C is a cheaper, plastic model for people who don't want a breakable, expensive phone, and the iPhone 5S is a more expensive, fancier model with a fingerprint sensor and a more advanced processor. Naturally, all Apple fans had the exact same reaction:
In December, Beyonce broke the internet by releasing an album in secret in the middle of the night. This is a big deal because 1) no one knew she was recording an album, 2) all the people working with her filming 14 videos and recording 17 songs kept their mouths shut the WHOLE TIME and 3) she didn't spend a single penny marketing it. Not a penny. We did that for her. She knew we would, and she sold a million copies in less than a week. Beyonce's self-titled album outsold albums released this year by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, AND Britney Spears. For reference, Lady Gaga spent almost 25 million this year marketing Artpop, and it still flopped. In my opinion, there aren't too many artists that could employ this strategy and be this successful; either way, Beyonce has changed the music industry forever.
So there you have it. The entire year, squeezed into one not-so-short post. In your opinion, what was the most important event of 2013? Any predictions for what will ensue in 2014?