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 2:25 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Maria Cardona says Republicans should appreciate President Obama's executive action on immigration.
updated 7:44 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Van Jones says the Hunger Games is a more sweeping critique of wealth inequality than Elizabeth Warren's speech.
updated 6:29 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
obama immigration
David Gergen: It's deeply troubling to grant legal safe haven to unauthorized immigrants by executive order.
updated 8:34 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Charles Kaiser recalls a four-hour lunch that offered insight into the famed director's genius.
updated 3:12 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
updated 10:13 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
updated 5:56 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
updated 3:11 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
updated 8:45 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
updated 10:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
updated 12:59 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
updated 9:58 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
updated 4:41 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
updated 11:07 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT