2012 précis

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Olly Lennard takes a swipe at writing some jokes about the highlights of 2012, whilst also engaging in some uncharacteristically serious and opinionated social commentary. He leaves it to you to discern which is which.

The opening sentence of this article originally drew attention to the predictability of December articles summarising the preceding year, but since self-aware humour often comes across as smug in print the opening sentence is going to be taken as read. Here are some jokes about 2012:

As per tradition, the year started in January. The EU imposed a trade embargo on Iran but due to a spelling mistake they inadvertently sent the Iranian government 5,000 cartons of Umbongo.

The Diamond Jubilee arrived in February, providing ample opportunity for news networks to pointlessly interview punters, and for people to incorrectly refer to the Union Flag as the “Union Jack”. Later that month the Greek economy was bailed out by the EU in order to prevent the price of feta rising above eighty euros a kilogram.

March was a bad month to be in Africa, as Mali suffered political unrest and at least 250 people were killed in explosions in the Republic of the Congo, giving everyone a chance to mistake that country for its neighbour, the DRC. Both of these events were overshadowed back in the UK by the release of the Hunger Games film, which at least broke Hollywood tradition by having a strong female protagonist, who sadly couldn’t save it from being boring. The film “Kony 2012” was also released, which misrepresented the facts and patronised its audience to an extent that would make the Pope blush. In that same month the film’s creator Jason Russell was arrested for indecent exposure in San Diego.

April saw North Korea launch a satellite that exploded shortly after takeoff, prompting many to ask whether it would have been more environmentally friendly to just burn the money. An official government spokesperson said: “In North Korea life is like a box of chocolates: Kim Jong-un controls most of it.”

A trend of extravagance was started in May when an Edvard Munch drawing sold for $120 million in New York, a trend that came to Durham and St Andrews later in the year with porting and champagning. The Avengers hit cinemas, a film in which an American agency conducts superpowered military operations on German soil without asking the permission of the German government. Feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian began fundraising for a YouTube series entitled “Tropes Vs Women in Video Games”, which, if it’s anything like her previous work “Tropes Vs Women”, will be illuminating and brilliant.

A historic transit of Venus in June led many to ask why she still doesn’t have any arms. Predictable jokes about transits of Uranus abounded.

July saw the birth of “Gangnam Style”, now the most “liked” video on YouTube ever despite being inferior to its Ghostbusters mashup counterpart. The Olympics and Paralympics came to London and in a shock result the UK came third in both medal tables – take a moment to feel proud if you’re British. The worst power outage in history occurred in India; the person responsible for switching it back on missed the opportunity to make the greatest He-Man related joke ever.

In early August Curiosity landed on Mars and promptly murdered all the cats.

September saw the nation of Canada do something genuinely inspiring as it cut political ties with Iran over human rights violations and nuclear ambitions, doing just about everything except giving Ayatollah Khamenei the finger. Sadly this outstanding display of morality in politics went largely unnoticed as an American cyclist had his medals/titles confiscated for cheating. A film called The Innocence of Muslims was released on YouTube, which – being undoubtedly more stimulating than The Perks of Being a Wallflower – provoked a violent backlash. This reaction prompted many to condemn the film, while missing the obvious chance to condemn the actual violence.

In October Felix Baumgartner proved conclusively that Red Bull does not give you wings and Hurricane Sandy relocated the Jersey Shore about thirty feet further inland. Skyfall was released, a film about an ageing, grizzled crime-fighting icon adjusting to a new role in a modern world whilst coming back from a personal injury, and it was enormously popular despite being a rerun of The Dark Knight Rises. More importantly, the first ever performance of “Bubble Bath”, the St Andrews comedy panel show, took place in Venue 1 and was hilarious [so says one of the comedians in it, even if he is right – Ed].

More political disturbance arrived in November after the killing of the Hamas chief; sandwiches were also disrupted by the coincidental death of the Hummus chief. Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States to the relief of people everywhere. The Leveson Report was published and it was quickly found that Lord Justice Leveson had submitted the wrong document and that the British press was to be restructured entirely around erotic Buffy fan fiction.

As December limped onto the horizon it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge had become pregnant, marking a surge in articles referencing Princess Diana or using the word “graceful”. Smelting began for the silver spoon for the baby’s mouth. Max Clifford was arrested in connection with the Jimmy Saville sex abuse case along with the entire BBC except Wogan.

It’s December 14 at time of publication, so the following are predictions. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will get more mixed reviews but will still make millions. December 22 will mark the date that everybody stops talking about the Mayans; idiots everywhere will panic buy water and red trousers in preparation for an apocalypse that never comes. Christmas will happen and will be falsely celebrated as the birthday of a Jewish peasant who was probably actually born in spring, not winter, in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. Someone will complain, fairly, that there were significant events not included in this article. The Doctor Who Christmas special will be underwhelming.

You will reflect on 2012, a year in which the terms “elitist, sexist and racist” were used pointedly in St Andrews, not for the first time; a year in which the USA embarrassed itself by underperforming in the Paralympics; a year in which the Pope was still not charged with obstruction of justice despite helping Cardinal Bernard Law avoid questioning for covering up child rape cases in 2002 (look it up).

I give my Good Deed of the Year Award to Canadian Foreign Affairs minister John Baird and all his staff. For Worst Film of the Year award, Ice Age 4 came close, but I give it to the Katy Perry 3D Movie, a shameless piece of deplorably shallow marketing fluff. There are so many good candidates for the Shithead of the Year Award; the human cockroaches like Kim Jong-un and Ayatollah Khamenei’s achievements would be trivialised by it, so this year it goes to Todd Akin, the representative who made the infamous “legitimate rape” comment on August 19. Whether he is a genuinely despicable person or just an idiot, Mr Akin contributed in a significant way to a culture that already dehumanises women far too much.

Have a wonderful holiday (how’s that for sentence juxtaposition?). For a fun Christmas prank, why not roll this article up, stick it in a Christmas cracker and play it off as an extremely long cracker joke?

Olly Lennard is a second-year comedian and actor. You can follow him on Twitter @OllyLennard.

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