As we approach the end of the year, we plan parties, hope to find New Year’s kisses, and pre-emptively violate our resolutions. We gather to watch a ball-drop three hours early, cheer when it does, and everyone gets a shot of nostalgia from “Auld Lang Syne” spontaneously performed by the fifty-something who had has one too many. Journalists, news anchors, and even our own Brandon “you don’t know how hard it is to find long enough size 32 pants” Boyd often write thoughtful and entertaining summaries of the year’s events during this time. I am a Seattleite who has never spent more than two consecutive weeks outside of the city limits, and I have always dreamed to see a year-end summary of the events of our fair city. With this Seattle-based forum, I am “Pinocchio becoming a real boy” excited to finally have the opportunity to deliver such a piece.
We had a good year. I’ll stand nose-to-nose with anyone and tell him or her that Seattle had the best year of all cities this year. I’m biased by living here, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Who could have had a better one? You can pretty much eliminate the entire Northeast from consideration via hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. California is sunny and people still prefer to make movies there, but they are also still broke and reeling from their questionable group decision to elect a steroid-pumping bodybuilder/actor (sort of) as Governor. That strategy was a one-hit-wonder with Reagan, and will never work again. The South is wholly consumed by football, a sport that is increasingly becoming defined by concussions, sex scandals, and suicides/killings. The NFL today has the same feeling that we all had about Tony Montana right after he killed Manny and took over Frank’s empire. There’s just too much money and volatility building to create a too-tall Jenga tower. On top of that, Texas has accrued over a hundred thousand signatures from its citizens demanding that it be allowed to secede, and the rest of the country has accrued even more demanding that it be kicked out.
I can already hear my critical parents asking “what about Boulder???? We have 300 days of sunshine a year and nobody is fat!” They’re right, but I can’t believe that Coloradans are feeling great about the fact that over a third of their economy (the ski industry) is in the bulls-eye of climate change. How great of a year can you have if it comes with the knowledge that there is catastrophe coming?
For the rest of the country, we can basically play “fill in the blank” with oil spills, droughts, terrible agriculture subsidies, the effects of sub-par education systems, or in the specific case of Detroit, “all-encompassing economic disaster”.
I don’t want to come off as an ignorant American who doesn’t recognize the rest of the world, but I am an American who still believes we have the greatest country in the world, which is why I put our cities first. To try to cover everyone else briefly:
- The NHL is in shambles. Canada can’t have a good year without hockey, health care and free condoms only go so far.
- The Eurozone is its own sick joke, google “Egypt austerity” if you don’t believe me.
- England hosted the Olympics this year! With all that business and world recognition, its economy is still projected to show negative growth in 2012.
- “Syrian warplanes bomb Syrian bakery” is a serious headline in the Middle East.
- By 2060, 30% of the Chinese population is estimated to be over 65+. That is more people than the entire U.S. population, and poses an unprecedented and very serious health care problem. I’d like to copy-paste my “imminent financial catastrophe” argument about Boulder here.
- I’ll confess that I can’t find a way to go after Africa or South America. Everything that I came up with there was too ignorant, condescending, or racist sounding to feel right.
- The Murray River, in Australia, which provides water for 39% of its agricultural production, is drying out. Australians have to accept Mariah Carey performing on tour there this week as consolation.
That puts the world in shambles in under 650 words, but I feel like I just tipped over a kennel full of puppies. As your fifth grade teacher invariably scolded you after you snapped your classmate’s pencil in order to beat his score on a math test (did this not happen to anyone else?): “taking others down will never make you great”. We must get into why Seattle was so awesome in 2012 before we can know that this year was truly great, and worth celebrating in a few days.
For starters, Forbes published this piece debunking myths that Seattle was “suicide capital, USA” or the country’s rainiest city! We’re not even close! I almost want to end things right there and take a victory lap, but there’s more.
Our State legislature is usually terrible. They let the Sonics leave, openly mocked NASCAR’s attempt to bring a big race here, and are generally sluggish and ineffective. This year, however, they found a way to channel “Brad and Angelina after they figured it out and joined forces in Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and got an incredible amount done. As a state, we passed progressive alcohol regulation reform, legalized marijuana, and, with a little help from hometown hero Macklemore, made gay marriage possible. We got so much done that Pete Holmes, the killer of my father’s re-election bid, said that he would not prosecute marijuana possession cases, or, in other words, publicly refused to do his job.
Legislation was only the beginning for 2012 Seattle. The afore-mentioned Macklemore’s new album “The Heist” reached the #1 ranking on Itunes, and it really, truly deserved it. As Zach West mentioned, we managed to stick a massive ferris wheel in the middle of our skyline, after already having pulled this trick once with the Space Needle, and it has managed to be a hit. Our professional sports scene, historically inept with only one national championship and the strong-arm robbery of our basketball team), was phenomenal this year. The unofficial King of Seattle, Felix Hernandez, threw a perfect game, which was the first in Seattle history, and the Seahawks have been on another level of fun this year, but if you’ve been following along, Boyd already told you that. Our stolen team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, was trounced in the NBA Finals 4-1, and the NHL isn’t happening this year, so we’ve been winning in sports that we don’t even play. To re-enforce this trend, Seattleite Chris Hansen has been doing great work towards joining the Macklemore/Felix “Seattle God” category, by taking on our legislature single-handedly and working to bring professional basketball back. He is looking to become Santa Claus and buy us all a new arena because the three we already have aren’t enough.
If 2012 Seattle hasn’t wowed you yet with all it’s tremendous accomplishments, I (am confused, but) have more proofs to try. Good education is the undisputed best way to guarantee a bright future, and the University of Washington Huskies were ranked 16th in the Shanghai “Academic Ranking of World Universities” for 2012. The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) and OECD (you should know what that is) both ranked Shanghai as the number one education center in the world, so I trust its rankings.
As a fun cherry on top, a Businessweek poll ranked Seattle the 2nd best city in America, behind San Francisco. This serves as a friendly reminder that, as always, there is room for improvement, but also that we’re going in the right direction in a world that increasingly doesn’t. When you raise your glass and say cheesy things like “may the best of this year be the worst of next” for 2012 on Monday, I hope you think back to this article and get the same feel-good vibe that this song gives me. Cheers.