For me, this year has been, on the whole, The Year of Awesome. However, there’s been a pretty good deal of world suck in the past year; frankly, there’s way too much to choose from. Obviously, there’s the fact that the vast majority of the world is still not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 (get on that, UN!), especially the goal to reverse the spread of HIV and malaria, which still effects hundreds of millions (if not billions) of people in the world. Of course, there’s the fact that Osama bin Laden is still in hiding…somewhere, and al-Qaeda still has its roots in places around the world. Those are numbers 1 and 2 every day, as they have been for the past decade, and I’m not including them on this list of made-of-suck things in the past year. Rather, I’m limiting it to events within the past year, and here they are:
5. Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (14 Apr. 2010)
Compared to the rest of the list, this is fairly minor – I could easily have included the earthquake in Chile instead of this – but the eruption of the Icelandic volcano no one can say (just remember the song!) cost the air travel industry around $200 million and brought commerce in Europe to a relative halt. On the other hand, it was the impetus for one of my favorite stories of the year – John Cleese’s Oslo-to-Brussels-to-Paris-to-London excursion that included a 932-mile cab ride – so, again, definitely not the worst thing that happened this year.
4. Crash of Polish Air Force Tu-154 (10 Apr. 2010)
This was not only more made-of-suck than the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, but also took place around the same time. The flight was carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski and his wife, the president of the National Bank, the deputy foreign minister, 12 MP’s, and other members of government, the clergy, and the public (including relatives of victims of the Katyn massacre). The flight was doomed due to lack of visibility, but ultimately led in a tragedy of epic proportions for the Polish people and a huge hit to the Polish governmental infrastructure.
3. Continue of recession/Euro crisis (All of 2010)
Greece was probably the worst hit by the economic crisis, as they were the first of entire countries that needed to be bailed out (leading to them being the butt of jokes on Weekend Update, not the worst thing in the world, but still), which in turn led to another general strike among the Greek people (protests also occurred in France and in England, the latter leading to this priceless picture). Ireland, Portugal, and Spain (who had one of the best moments of the year, which I’ll discuss on Sunday) are still in a crisis, making our bailout of GM and Chrysler seem like peanuts (the bank bailout, on the other hand, was still a heist…sorry, saw Inside Job at MoMA yesterday – best. snow day. ever).
The two worst things of 2010 will have a hugely lasting effect, as they’re…
T1. Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill (20 Apr. 2010)
Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say. The explosion itself killed 11 people, but the spill (which lasted from April to mid-September) will obviously effect wildlife, tourism, and commerce in the Gulf of Mexico (already battered from Hurricane Katrina, five years later) for years to come.
& T1. Haitian earthquake (24 Jan. 2010)
The only good thing that can be taken from the Haitian earthquake is that, hopefully, there will be a surge of building and formation of infrastructure in the poverty-stricken nation. But 250,000 dead, 300,000 injured, and over a million made homeless from over half a million buildings collapsed or otherwise destroyed is very, very tough to temper with that – especially considering that the efforts to rebuild and recover from the quake have since come up for naught.
As noted, I took the day off yesterday – I went to MoMA and was pretty damn exhausted thereafter – so Top 5 songs and albums will be seen on Thursday. Tomorrow, Top 5 most interesting people of 2010.