2012 in Review: Games, Politics, Political Games… #auspol

Weird year.

Let’s start with fun things.  Music this year was kinda rubbish.  This thought struck home when I went to vote for my top ten songs of the year for Triple J’s Hottest 100.  In true hipster fashion, if it were any good, nobody had heard of it.  Jens Lekman released I Know What Love Isn’t, which probably takes out the spot of my favourite album of the year.  Disappointing releases from Bloc Party and Muse; on the other hand, Paul Banks’ album under his own name (instead of ‘Julian Plenti’) was all kinds of amazing.  For me, 2012 was a year when I rediscovered and became re-enchanted with existing music: vast amounts of Talking Heads, Beirut, and Cee Lo Green.

The film industry proved why we should never have high expectations.  The Avengers was a really dreadful film made up of superlatively brilliant ingredients.  Prometheus was an echo of Alien.  And Dark Knight Rises…  It was just really bad.  The Artist was easily my favourite film of the year, even though it was technically released in 2011.  Despite being disappointed in 2012, I’m still looking forward to a number of films in 2013.  Oz: The Great and Powerful looks like it will be interesting (even if it does look very similar in style to Snow White and the Huntsman).  The new Iron Man and Star Trek films look promising.

Also, Much Ado About Nothing with Amy Acker as Beatrice?  Swoon.

Television was awesome this year.  Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell was not only a great return to the surrealism that Micallef does best, but Francis Greenslade’s performances were routinely the best thing each week.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPK-pAq0W60]

But the best show of 2012 was Danger 5.  Far too few people have seen it but it is simply fantastic.

In gaming, I struggle to think of a single game released this year which I even bothered to play, let alone enjoy.  Not being inclined towards car racing games or military-style shooting thingies, I guess I’m a vanishing segment of the market.  In other news, I picked up a super cheap copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic (cheap because Bioware is desperate for people to play the game…  It’s now free even though it was only released late 2011).  I love it.  Download it for free and get into it.  Trust me.

And now, without further ado, My Grand List of the Most Overrated People of the Year.

Last year, we had Ricky Gervais, Neil Gaiman, Lady Gaga, Malcolm Turnbull, Christopher Hitchens, Voldemort, Robert Manne, and Paul Dini.

As the shine has faded from Gervais, we can now safely declare that he is no longer overrated.  On the other end of the spectrum, Malcolm Turnbull is still adored.  Last year, I wrote:

Here’s a guy who’s pro-Work Choices, who used tax payer funds to investigate unscientific cloud-seeding methods to end droughts, and who completely tanked over Godwin Grech, and yet people want him as PM.

He actually managed to make it worse this year.  His performance on Q&A included lines such as:

I think, Kevin, with respect, you’ve got to remember this: when you guys got in there was no net debt. We actually had cash at the bank. So we had zero net debt. We actually our net debt we had cash at the bank and you spent that and then have borrowed another $150 billion.

I think you’ve got to remember that your policies have got to carry the people with you and there is no question, we overreached with WorkChoices and we have got to make sure that reform is incremental and brings the community with it and so that’s the challenge. […] So the paradox is if you want to get more people into work you’ve got to create more flexibility in the management of workplaces by employers. That is going to get more people into work and, of course, you know, the best way to get people employed and get them into lifetime employment is to get them started. At the moment one of Labor’s contributions is in the middle of this terms of trade boom, in the middle of this growing economy, we are seeing more and more young people out of work. And that’s a problem.

Julia Gillard said “There will not be a carbon tax under the government I lead.” She made that solemn promise and then, of course, broke it. Now, you know, that has completely poisoned the debate and the Coalition is absolutely right in saying that tax, born out of a broken promise, should be repealed and we are committed to that.

And so on and so forth.  The only explanation I have for his popularity is that nobody actually listens to a damn thing the guy says.  I can’t stand him because he’s a libertarian.  When the libertarians of the Centre for Independent Studies or Institute of Public Affairs are invited on to the ABC, lefties scream blue murder.  When the libertarian Malcolm Turnbull is invited on to the ABC, lefties get all hot and bothered.  I don’t get it.  You people are insane.

Neil Gaiman is still overrated, but his wife, Amanda Palmer, reached new heights of self importance with her antics this year.  Having made over a million dollars in a Kickstarter campaign, she decided that her budget wouldn’t stretch far enough to pay for backing musicians.

New to the list is Wayne Swan.  Could the ALP please, for the love of all that is good, find a treasurer that can communicate economic ideas?  I was one of the few people (along with John Wanna for almost identical reasons) who agreed with the Government’s attempt to return the budget to surplus.  Setting that goal meant that it could carve into some of the expenditure — such as the grandfathering arrangements for a particular group of single parent support recipients.  But we never received anything even approaching a communication strategy from Wayne Swan.  The ALP in general are very poor communicators, but Swanny keeps receiving accolades for the Treasury’s work (ministerial responsibility only holds when they’re taking the credit for a job well done) and this buffers him from self improvement.

But the most overrated person in 2012 was, of course, Hawkeye from The Avengers.  Why was he even in this film?  Why does he start off using guns and then regress to a bow and arrow?!  Why?!

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Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based blogger and policy wonk who writes about conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

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