The Chinese assign animal names to each calendar year far in advance, but I think we’d be better served to wait until the year is over, and then link it to an appropriate theme. That’s why I have designated 2009 as “Year of the Irony.”
Here, then, in no particular order, is a laundry list of events from the past year which make my case.
• A priest in Great Britain proclaimed that poor people were justiied in shoplifting,
so long as they conined their thefts to large corporations. It is ironic that a man of the cloth would advocate breaking a Commandment, but if proitable industries were the target, why didn’t he just advise his lock to steal from the church?
• Hanesbrands continued to shut down American plants and lay off American workers so they could then open new plants in third-world countries and pay their new employees slave wages. That’s bad enough, but then the company announced it would raise the price of underwear. Thus, the cheaply produced products are being shipped back to America at a higher price so that the Americans Hanesbrands laid off can’t afford to buy what they used to make.
• Speaking of underwear, thousands of Americans were strip-searched by airport guards because the TSA feared we might be trying to sneak bottles of nose spray onto planes. Meanwhile, an al Qaida operative hid explosives in his undershorts, passed through security unimpeded and almost succeeded in blowing up a jetliner over Detroit. I believe this was a sign from God that we should not import underwear.
• The Obama administration, which includes a bevy of lunkies who used to work in the inance industry, rewarded greedy bankers and brokers for triggering a depression. The bailout worth hundreds of billions of dollars is ironic considering that regular folks like you and me who lost our homes and life savings now have no money to put into the banks that we bailed out.
• After spending a year debating the merits of health care reform, Congress has only managed one reform: the elimination of pre-existing conditions as a barrier to getting insurance. Unfortunately, our stalwart politicians failed to place a cap on premiums. Therefore, while you’ll have access to insurance, you just won’t be able to afford to keep it.
• Tiger Woods cheated on his wife and lost most of his sponsors. Charlie Sheen allegedly tried to kill his wife, yet Hanesbrands retained him as their spokesperson. I would protest this miscarriage of justice, except that Sheen may be the only American still employed by Hanesbrands.
• A Vatican cardinal said that homosexuals will not be allowed into heaven. This is the same Vatican that covered up child sexual abuse by priests.
• This year, the death toll of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan rose to nearly 5,000. Meanwhile, an estimated half-million innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been killed as a result of our crusade to bring peace to the region.
• And speaking of peace, President Obama had the gall to accept the Noble Peace Prize on the same week that he ordered 30,000 more soldiers to war.
• And on a related matter of irony, a judge allowed Blackwater goons to go free on a technicality, even though they murdered 17 Iraqis and wounded 20 others. That same week, the Pentagon announced a new policy whereby any soldier serving in Iraq who becomes pregnant will face jail time. And so we ended the year of irony by showing the world that we don’t mind sending soldiers to create death, so long as they don’t create a life in the process.
I suppose every year is illed with irony, but 2009 was a particularly bitter pill to swallow, at least for those of us who could afford the pills.
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).