Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

The 12 lessons of 2012

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
updated 12:22 PM EST, Sat December 29, 2012
Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" phrase went viral. Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" phrase went viral.
HIDE CAPTION
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
What we learned in 2012
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dean Obeidallah: You are smarter today than 365 days ago
  • Obeidallah: You probably learned a few Korean words like "Gangnam Style"
  • He says we found out poultry can be a political tool and some people talk to chairs
  • Obeidallah: The good news is that we'll soon forget the inane lessons of 2012

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and co-director of the upcoming documentary, "The Muslims Are Coming!" Follow him on Twitter: @deanofcomedy

(CNN) -- You are smarter today than 365 days ago. You know more than you did at the end of 2011.

And here's the kicker, you may not even be aware of how much you learned this past year. It's analogous to how you're affected by the hit songs of boy bands. No matter how much you might try to avoid them, you can't, because these songs are everywhere. Consequently, the words are subtly drilled into your head and the next thing you know, you find yourself unconsciously singing along to the songs when they play on the radio.

So regardless if you were paying attention or not, there's a lot of new information from this past year trapped inside your brain. Here are just some of the things we collectively learned in 2012:

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



1. Mitt Romney had binders full of women

During the second presidential debate, Romney shared with us that when he was governor of Massachusetts, he had binders filled with information about women he was considering hiring. (When I was a teenager, I, too, had binders full of women. But mine I hid under my bed so my mom wouldn't find them.)

2. We picked up some Korean

We're not fluent yet, but thanks to the Korean pop singer PSY and his song "Gangnam Style," we all learned a few Korean words. And because of the song's ubiquitous music video -- which broke the record as the first video to get more than 1 billion views on YouTube -- some of us even have a vague idea of how to do his famous "horse dance."

3. Women love to read "porn"

The runaway hit book, "Fifty Shades of Grey," created a sensation across the country as women -- many over 30 years old -- bought this sexually provocative book, thus coining the term "mommy porn." In contrast, most men are waiting for the movie because we are more traditional in our "porn" tastes.

4. Poultry can be a political tool

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A went from just serving chicken to serving a political message as the head of the company announced publicly that he opposed marriage equality. Consequently, ordering a chicken sandwich at this chain came with a side dish of right-wing politics.

5. Some people talk to chairs

Clint Eastwood taught us at this year's Republican National Convention that you can have a full conversation on national television with your furniture. Hey, Clint made it OK for you to have a conversation with your couch or end table.

6. "James Bond" met the "The Real Housewives"

CIA Director David Petraeus resigned from his job because his extramarital affair was discovered. This is especially shocking because Petraeus' job as the nation's top spy chief was to keep secrets.

7. Cliffs are not just in nature

As we get closer to a precipitous "fiscal cliff" -- a term more overexposed than "Gangnam Style," it seems -- we have all learned that Congress has truly earned its low approval rating -- any lower and certain infectious diseases may become more popular than Congress.

8. What's the big deal with silver?

U.S. Olympian McKayla Maroney made it clear at the London Olympics that she was not impressed by winning the silver medal with her famous "I'm not impressed" face.

9. The way to reduce gun violence is more guns

At least this is what we were told by NRA's Vice President Wayne LaPierre in December as he called for armed guards to be placed in each of the roughly 100,000 public schools in the country.

10. Reality stars are not just for dysfunctional adults

Child star Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson proved that children can be just as self-absorbed and horribly demanding as adult reality show stars.

11. Calendars are not always reliable

The fact you're reading this means that the Mayan apocalypse did not come to pass. That's good news. The bad news is that I now have to pay late fees on the credit cards I didn't pay because I thought there was a chance the Mayans were right.

12. America is the best democracy money can buy

This year's presidential election saw roughly $2 billion spent by the two campaigns and their supporters. That's more than the annual GDP of numerous countries.

You probably recalled more of these things than you guessed you would. While old acquaintances should not be forgot, the good news is that we will likely soon forget the details of the more inane lessons of 2012. Of course, the bad news is that they may be replaced by even more ridiculous ones in 2013.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
You could be forgiven for thinking no one cares -- or even should care, right now -- about climate change, writes CNN's John Sutter. But you'd be mistaken.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
David Gergen says the White House's war against ISIS is getting off to a rough start and needs to be set right
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says making rude use of the Mexican flag on Mexican independence day in a concert in Mexico was extremely tasteless, but not an international incident.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Michael Dunn is going to stand trial again after a jury was unable to reach a verdict; Mark O'Mara hopes for a fair trial.
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Laurence Steinberg says the high obesity rate among young children is worrisome for a host of reasons
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT