Wednesday October 07, 2015
January 1st, 2015
It was an "awesome" year. In my annual search for a word that pretty much describes the past year, I have found that almost everything, everywhere, was "awesome."
I am using the A-word in the sense that I have heard my son's generation use it since he was in grade school in the 1990s.
Poetry is a window into the soul. And one lesson to me from the reaction to my "When Whites Just Don't Get It" series is that we need soul-searching about race in America. So I invited readers this month to submit poems about race.
Thanks to everyone for sending in more than 300 poems, and I'm happy to turn this column over to you readers and your verse.
"If meritocracy exists anywhere on earth, it is in Silicon Valley," wrote David Sacks in an email to The Times' Jodi Kantor.
I'm sorry to say that the going word on 2014 is that it was the worst possible year. If you had ordered the year from a catalogue, you would have sent it back with an angry note attached: "Just give me two 1929s, and stop delivery of 2015." It was awful. It was lousy. It stank.
For starters, "The Interview" is very funny, in the Seth Rogen foul-mouthed, silly way.
And while the propriety of showing a real world head of state being assassinated can be debated - the latest in a long list of political and social boundaries pushed by Hollywood - it also has moments that are surprisingly smart and politically astute.
Support it or not, there's no denying that this was a watershed year for marijuana.
Within hours of the new year, the nation saw the first legally sanctioned sales of marijuana for recreational use in modern history. Throughout, states considered and often passed expanding access to the drug and, as recently as last weekend, Congress was interfering in D.C.'s pot policies and promising to stay out of the states.
Maybe I'm just projecting, but Christmas seemed unusually subdued this year. The malls seemed less crowded than usual, the people glummer. There was even less Muzak in the air. And, in a way, that's not surprising: All year Americans have been bombarded with dire news reports portraying a world out of control and a clueless government with no idea what to do.
The plot was so bizarre it was hard to believe: The government of North Korea, offended by an adolescent comedy that jokes about assassinating Kim Jong-un, warns Americans not to go see the movie because they might blow up any theatre that screens it.
I once told a favorite pastor of mine that I liked him because he wasn't too pious.
While most citizens were distracted by the holidays, the enlarged Republican majority in Congress was laying golden pavers for its magical kingdom -- a fabulous place where taxes are cut, military spending is not and budgets balance effortlessly. The coat of arms reads, "Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves."