Here we are on New Years Eve, looking back at 12 months of chaos. 2018 brought us a World Cup, the midterm elections, 2 royal weddings, the Winter Olympics, Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle, Paul Manafort’s indictment, Kylie Jenner’s baby, and so much more. It feels like the world packed a solid 3 years’ worth of news into just this one year.
One year ago, I published a list of big predictions for 2018 and promised to look back later on to see if they panned out. Here’s the scorecard.
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This might have been some wishful thinking on my part! CNN is still, well, CNN. To its credit, though, the network started standing up to some of its stars’ serious errors in judgement. When commentator Marc Lamont Hill made anti-Semitic comments, CNN dropped him.
Ding ding ding, we have a winner! In January, Vermont decriminalized marijuana by state law. In June, Oklahoma legalized it for medical use. In November, Michigan voters said YES to Proposition 1 to legalize marijuana. Also on election day, Utah and Missouri legalized medical pot. Voters in North Dakota, however, voted down a similar proposal. There are now 10 states (plus D.C.) with decriminalized pot.
With Jeff Sessions on his way out, the Trump administration has the chance to repeal a nationwide prohibition. The war on drugs has been won by drugs. Pot itself doesn’t kill people, but the drug trade – and the kingpins it supports – certainly do. It’s past time to bring this industry out of the shadows.
A Free Iran
Closer, but not quite. In December 2017, women in Tehran started protesting the hijab despite constant threats to their safety. These protests ramped up throughout 2018, and they’re gaining ground against the Mullahs. On International Women’s Day, three Iranian women rode the subway without their headscarves. They managed to evade arrest. In April 2018, a video emerged showing an Islamic morality police officer assaulting a woman who had a loose headscarf. The video went viral worldwide, and the Iranian regime was forced to respond (a women’s affairs official – yep, that’s a job in Iran – said that the officer’s response was unacceptable).
The protests were not limited to women’s issues. In fact, students are protesting right now over a deadly bus crash. Throughout the summer, thousands of people took to the streets to oppose unstable wages caused by government corruption. In Iran, protesting is illegal. The regime can arrest some of the protesters some of the time, but it cannot arrest all of the protesters all of the time.
I predicted that “Republicans will lose some seats, but Democrats won’t win control of both houses of Congress.” And that’s the result we got. Thank u, next.
A Banner Year for Baseball
A swing and a miss! Game attendance and television ratings declined for the MLB this year.
The Death of Identity Politics and the Return of Subject Matter Experts
Identity politics, as a practice, is still around and still failing. Kanye West knows this. Nobody is entitled to your vote based on your race, gender, religion, and so on.
As for subject matter experts, they’re around if you know who to read and watch – but you probably won’t find them in primetime television. Instead, you find conservative hosts interviewing the dumbest liberals they can find (Laura Ingraham and the Vape God being the most obvious example) and vice versa. Both political sides make celebrities out of their enemies by dunking on them repeatedly. Just look at how Kent State gun girl became famous – or better, don’t.
A Bad Year for Hollywood
Considering that the 2018 Oscars ratings hit a record low – and the 2019 Oscars don’t have a host – all signs point to a bad year in Tinseltown. Box office results were bleak (only a slight improvement on last year’s record lows). Traditional television is struggling, too, with a record-setting 1.1 million people ditching cable and satellite this year.
What Comes Next
Well…I’m not sure yet, and that’s the fun part. I’ll be back in 2019 with another round of predictions for the new year. In the meantime, I Hope you have a wonderful holiday.