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The Best Of 2011: Steve Stajich:

I’m not sure what Top 10 and “Best of” lists accomplish, exactly. They are fun for writers to put together, but would you really change your opinion of a stinker movie because it started showing up on other people’s lists? We should give one “Best of” award this year and be done with it: “Best Excuse to Create Content Out of Nothing: ‘Best of’ Lists.”

So of course I’m about to gift you with my own “Best of” list. I’ve done what I can to create some interesting categories, but then… I also know you’re dying to hear what my favorite movie and TV show choices are. I didn’t pick a best music CD of the year yet. I will illegally download that soon, and let you know.

Best Republican To Lose To Obama: Mitt Romney

Obama will be re-elected by another overwhelming margin, so we should consider which of the feeble Republican candidates currently in the race might serve some purpose during the campaign process. Mitt Romney tanking in 2012 could finally put an end to the notion that Republican candidates don’t have to have any ideas, or even an operative philosophy that grows out of anything in their past. Obama will crush Romney in debates, putting all the attention on peripheral issues such as Romney’s Mormon faith. In a circuitous way, a Mormon presidential candidate fairly and justly defeated for no reason other than lack of talent for the job might help America get over other religious prejudice such as our struggle to accept and embrace Muslims.

Best Continuing Issue: Santa Monica Airport

In 2015 Santa Monica’s contract with the FAA regarding Santa Monica Airport expires. Of course neighbors don’t want the noise and pollution of airport traffic flying overhead, but even if time has caused the airport to outgrow its welcome there is still plenty to debate in terms of needing the facility. Some aspects are quite simply dangerous and wrong: Planes shouldn’t crash in your front yard. There will be much more to talk about regarding the airport in the New Year.

Best Person To Leave The Earth: Kym Jong-Il

In the first few days following Kim Jong-Il’s death, I wasn’t sensing a lot of love for the guy. Human Rights Watch posted the following: “Kim Jong-Il exercised total control for 17 years over one of the world’s most closed and repressive governments. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of North Koreans through widespread preventable starvation, horrendous prisons and forced labor camps, and public executions.” And here you were all worked-up about Newt Gingrich…

Best Turning Back The Hands Of Time: Voter ID Measures

There’s a sweeping wave of photo-identification and related voter-restriction laws emerging from newly Republican-controlled state legislatures that can cause you to hear the clock hands of justice winding backwards. Here are two things we’re not going to do: Take away rights that people fought like hell to win, and elect an opportunist putz like Newt Gingrich president. America might be groggy at times, but we’re not asleep.

Best Dream: America Off Oil

We’re not fighting each other about alternative sources of energy; even big corporations like the airlines are testing alternative sources of fuel for their planes. The armed forces are testing ways to create alternative fuels in the field so that troops aren’t exposed during fuel caravans to combat zones. This is a war with only one enemy: The powerful conglomeration of interests I choose to call “the oil government.” Trouble is we’re still dizzy from eight years of rule by the oil government from 2000 to 2008.

Best Movie: “Hugo”

Steven Spielberg’s 3-D “Tin Tin” just opened, but intellectually it will wither next to the beauty and art of Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” Rarely is film technology this smartly applied to the subject matter, and Scorsese’s goal is to make us understand why we should love (and preserve) all film, not just the most recent piece of plastic marketing to hit our multiplexes. Here is a lesson in the difference between “art” and “commerce” that achieves visual poetry.

Best TV Show: The Sing-Off

NBC doesn’t always make mistakes. “The Sing-Off” took the dynamics of the talent contest, used smart and talented contestants who could sing amazing a cappella harmonies, and made the other singing contest shows look like bowling alley karaoke. Secret to good TV talent contest shows? Actual talent.

Best Hope: War Is Over

Not just because it’s a lyric in a favorite Lennon song, but because the New York Times printed this as recently as Dec. 18: “Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense, said this year that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.” Amen, and Happy New Year.

in Opinion
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