weather icon Partly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

DAVE BARRY: Looking back on 2022, Part II

Editor’s note: For Dave Barry’s analysis of the first half of 2022, visit reviewjournal.com.

The year is finally over. But before we move on to 2023, it’s time to don surgical gloves, reach deep down inside the big bag of stupid that was 2022, and see what we pull out in the second half, starting with …


… President Biden, on an official visit to the Middle East, is widely criticized for fist-bumping with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, an alleged human-rights violator who is believed to have ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Responding to the criticism, the White House press office explains that the president “thought it was a different Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

In other foreign news, Boris Johnson announces that he is resigning as prime minister of Great Britain so he can spend more time on his hair.

On July 4, America’s Independence Day celebration is marred by a horrendous mass shooting allegedly committed by a young man who had an extremely disturbing social-media history but was still able to legally obtain a semiautomatic rifle. As you can imagine, everyone is shocked.

In financial news, Elon Musk announces that he no longer wants to purchase Twitter and will instead use the $44 billion to buy two Springsteen tickets.

The House January 6 Committee, concluding Phase One of its investigation, votes unanimously to reinstall Donald Trump in the presidency so he can be impeached a third time. The committee also announces plans for “January 6: The Musical.”

The nation enjoys a welcome break from all the negative news when NASA releases images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope — the most powerful space telescope ever built — showing, in spectacular, never-before-seen detail, a dead squirrel on the roof of a Walmart in Plano, Texas. A NASA spokesperson promises that the images will be even more impressive “once we figure out how to point it toward space.”

In Moscow, a 7-old-boy has his finger broken by a robot he is competing against in a chess tournament. We are not making this up. “The robot broke the child’s finger,” states Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, adding, “This is, of course, bad.” The robot is immediately hired as director of customer relations by the U.S. airline industry.

As the month comes to a close, the economy dominates the news with the Commerce Department reporting that the U.S. gross domestic product shrank for the second consecutive quarter. Traditionally this has meant that we are in a recession, but President Biden reassures the nation that it actually is NOT a recession, for reasons clearly stated on the teleprompter. This triggers a heated debate in Washington between Democrats and Republicans about whether we are or are not in a recession. As always, the real winners are the American people.

Speaking of heated, in …


… a political firestorm is ignited when FBI agents search Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s personal residence and rental party venue, and seize classified documents as well as what a Justice Department source describes as “several thousand misappropriated packets of White House ketchup.” Trump declares that this is part of the Fake News Deep State Witch Hunt; his opponents declare that Trump is finally — This time IT’S REALLY HAPPENING, PEOPLE — going to be arrested for something. And thus the Donald Trump Show, now in its 358th week, continues its seemingly interminable run on the center stage of American politics, like the “Phantom of the Opera,” except it never even gets to the intermission.

In other political news, Congress passes the Inflation Reduction Act, which will reduce inflation because it says so right in the title. The act will also lower prescription-drug prices, fix climate change, reform the tax system and provide every qualified American with a puppy. This is viewed as a much-needed win for the Biden administration and a boost for the Democrats heading into the midterm elections, where they could also benefit from the fact that in a number of key races the Republicans have decided, for tactical reasons, to nominate lunatics.

President Biden also announces a massive new program to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student-loan debt. Also everybody who failed college chemistry will get bumped up to a B-plus. As is so often the case with massive government programs, this is popular with the people who will benefit from it and unpopular with the people who will pay for it.

In international news, Nancy Pelosi lands in Taiwan, strips off her pink pantsuit to reveal a camo pantsuit underneath, swims across the Taiwan Strait and singlehandedly destroys a Chinese naval base. At least that’s you would think happened, based on the Chinese reaction to the Pelosi visit, which is to almost start World War III. God only knows what would have happened if we had sent, say, Cher.

A Texas jury awards nearly $50 million in damages to two Sandy Hook parents in their lawsuit against Alex Jones, who is usually described in the news media as “a conspiracy theorist” because it would be unprofessional to describe him as “a gigantic talking bowel movement.”

California environmental regulators, always in the forefront of efforts to save the planet, decree that by the year 2035 it will be illegal for any vehicle on the state’s highways to have wheels.

Speaking of states taking action, in …


… Ron DeSantis, who we remind you is governor of Florida, uses Florida state funds to charter two planes in Texas, which is not part of Florida, and has them transport a group of migrants from Venezuela, which is also not part of Florida, to Martha’s Vineyard, yet another place that is not part of Florida. This would be a hilarious gubernatorial prank if not for the fact that these are actual human beings, as opposed to Muppets to be deployed in a cynical game of Migrant Whack-a-Mole.

Martha’s Vineyard responds to DeSantis’s stunt by welcoming the migrants with open arms and offering them a permanent home for nearly two full days before having National Guard troops ship them off to the mainland. For its part, the White House blasts DeSantis for undermining the administration’s program for dealing with the humanitarian crisis at the border, which is to pretend that there is no humanitarian crisis at the border.

As Russian forces suffer mounting losses in Ukraine, an increasingly desperate Vladimir Putin, in what observers say is a clear violation of international law, annexes Connecticut.

In a legal development that dampens the drawers of MSNBC panelists, New York State Attorney General Letitia James files a civil lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements and failure to pay $327 million worth of parking tickets. Just for fun, Trump declares that he’s guilty, while the Democrats call the lawsuit a politically motivated witch hunt. Everyone enjoys a hearty laugh before order is restored.

On a sadder note, the world mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the beloved monarch who reigned over Great Britain during its transition from the center of a vast global empire to a popular tourist destination roughly the size of a pickleball court. She is succeeded by her 143-year-old son, King Charles the Uncomfortable, who will be officially crowned next year in a traditional British ceremony-gasm featuring numerous horses.

In response to yet another viral TikTok “challenge” video, the Food and Drug Administration, issues an urgent bulletin stating that people who eat chicken that has been marinated in NyQuil “probably deserve to die.”

NASA, culminating a $300 million planetary-defense project, successfully crashes a spacecraft into an asteroid 7 million miles away, only to discover that the impact has nudged the asteroid, which previously posed no threat, into a collision course with Earth. Red-faced NASA officials immediately make a “semi-urgent” request for another $300 million.

Speaking of money, in …


… the national debt creeps up by yet another trillion and now exceeds $31 trillion, but again this is nothing to worry about, because it has absolutely no economic consequences. We don’t know why we even bother keeping track.

In other financial news, Elon Musk announces that he has decided to buy Twitter after all, because the only Springsteen tickets he could get for $44 billion were “way up in the balcony.”

But the big story in October is politics, as voters prepare to cast their ballots in what everybody on cable TV agrees will be the most important and historic midterm elections since the dawn of time. At issue is nothing less than the fate of the nation, with the voters choosing between two opposing philosophies of government, as clearly laid out to the American public in several billion dollars’ worth of paid political commercials: On one side is the party of far-right, election-denying, coup-supporting, anti-democracy, environment-destroying, racist sexist homophobic transphobic gun-worshipping pro-slavery Handmaid’s-Tale fascists who are literal Nazis; on the other side is the party of extreme radical leftist, anti-family, anti-border, pro-rioter, criminal-coddling, tax-raising, economy-wrecking, godless un-American Communist baby-killing groomer pedophile sex perverts. The choice is yours, voters!

The House January 6 committee subpoenas Donald Trump in a historic action that Democrats blah blah blah while a defiant Trump blah blah blah etc.

In foreign political news, Great Britain Prime Minister Liz Truss resigns after a term lasting a little under 14 minutes. She is replaced by Rishi Sunak, whose name can be rearranged to spell “Is a hunk, sir.” Meanwhile Chinese president Xi Jinping wins an unprecedented third term when delegates to the Communist Party congress, after considering all their options, elect to not die.

Speaking of matters of life-or-death importance, in …


… as the historic midterm elections approach, with the fate of democracy hanging in the balance, verified blue-checkmark media personalities on Twitter focus with a ferocious intensity on the single most critical issue facing the nation, if not the world: the status of verified blue-checkmark media personalities on Twitter.

The problem is that Elon Musk intends to charge people $8 a month for a blue checkmark, which would mean any non-elite rando could get one, which would be a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Twitter Verification Clause. Some verified users go so far as to declare, on Twitter, that they are seriously considering leaving Twitter, although it is not immediately clear what they would do with the extra 14 hours per day.

The verified drama on Twitter is interrupted, briefly, by the midterm elections. For weeks the political experts, relying on Scientific Polling Data, have been predicting a Red Wave, with the Republicans taking control of the House and Senate as well as large swaths of Canada. The outlook is so dire that The New York Times tweets out a list of five “evidence-based strategies” for coping with election anxiety, including — we swear we are not making this up — “Plunge your face into a bowl with ice water for 15 to 30 seconds.”

But then the voters — who do not have access to Scientific Polling Data — go to the polls. It takes a while to get the final results, in part because Arizona has chosen to tabulate the vote on a malfunctioning Etch-a-Sketch. But in the end the Red Wave turns out to be more of a pinkish squirt, with most of the candidates belonging to the Republican party’s Loon Wing losing.

It’s a good outcome for the Democrats, not counting the 14 New York Times readers who, tragically, drown in their ice-water bowls. It is an especially bad outcome for Donald Trump, who, after most of the candidates he backed lose to Democrats, lashes out at the obvious cause of the Republicans’ poor performance: Ron DeSantis. A few days later, Trump, having established what kind of a winner he is, announces that he is — Why not? — running for president again.

With the midterms out of the way, the focus of professional journalism returns to Twitter, and which professional journalists are leaving Twitter, and where they are going, and whether Twitter will survive. If you think we are exaggerating the amount of attention this topic receives from the journalism profession, then clearly you are not a professional journalist.

In finance, the big story is the catastrophic collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX, which implodes as stunned investors discover that maybe it’s not such a great idea to trust your money to a company with a meaningless name and an incomprehensible business model headed by the fourth runner-up in a John Belushi lookalike contest.

Meanwhile the World Cup gets under way in Qatar, a small desert nation with no soccer tradition that was chosen to host the world’s biggest tournament by officials of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, as part of an effort to extend the reach of their sport into regions of the world capable of paying very large bribes.

Speaking of scandals: Entertainment-industry giant Ticketmaster comes under intense criticism when millions of disappointed Taylor Swift fans discover that all of the tickets to Swift’s upcoming concert tour have been purchased by Bruce Springsteen.

As the month draws to a close and the nation prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving, President Biden, in a beloved lighthearted White House tradition, pardons lucky turkeys named “Chocolate,” “Chip” and — this was a surprise last-minute addition — “Hunter.”

Speaking of surprises, in …


… the World Cup, in a major upset, is won by the plucky underdog national team of Qatar, which did not, technically, win any games, but nevertheless is awarded the championship trophy thanks to what FIFA officials describe as “a huge amount of sportsmanship.”

In a historic milestone for the U.S. space program, the Artemis 1 spacecraft, after a 25½-day voyage that took it past the Moon to a point 260,000 miles out in space, returns to Earth to pick up the crew. “From now on,” states a red-faced NASA spokesperson, “we’re going to make sure they’re on board before we launch.”

On the political front, there’s a refreshing new “vibe” in Washington as the two major parties, finally past the toxic nastiness of the midterm elections, look forward to the new year — an opportunity to end the cynical partisan gamesmanship and instead seek common ground in a sincere effort to solve the problems that the American people actually care about, such as the epidemic of illegal drugs that we apparently ingested before writing this sentence.

Because in reality there is no new vibe in Washington. Washington is “Groundhog Day” with Congress as Bill Murray. The only change is that the Republicans have narrowly regained control of the House of Representatives, which means they can spend the next two years seeking revenge on the Democrats. For example, they could form a House Select Committee to investigate the House Select Committee that investigated January 6. Of course the Democrats still control the Senate, which means they could retaliate by forming a Senate Select Committee to investigate the House Select Committee investigating the House Select Committee that investigated January 6. Thus the legislative branch of the federal government could spend the next two years probing itself, like some kind of deranged proctologist.

And if that isn’t enough political excitement, we can also look forward to two soul-sucking years of buildup to the 2024 presidential election, which could very well wind up being a contest between — speaking of “Groundhog Day” — Joe Biden and Donald Trump. That’s right: The voting public could face a choice between two men who are both, according to the polls, unpopular with more than half of the voting public, and who will both be older, in 2024, than the Adirondack mountains. But that’s the kind of quirky political scenario we sometimes wind up with in this country, thanks to the unique system of government created by our Founding Fathers, who are rotating in their graves like hot dogs on an airport food-vendor grill.

So at the moment the situation appears grim. And yet there are plenty of reasons to feel hopeful about the future. To name just a few: (NOTE TO EDITOR — Please insert some reasons to feel hopeful about the future, if you can think of any).

Thus it is with a feeling of guarded optimism that we, as a nation, reach the end of this disturbing year and, thankfully, enter the holiday season. The festivities are somewhat subdued this year, as inflation forces consumers to cut back; according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Conifer Statistics, the Median Household Christmas Tree Height (MHCTH), which last year was “LeBron James,” currently stands at “Danny DeVito.”

But it’s still the holidays, a time when we gather with loved ones from near and far, assuming the ones from far were able to sell enough blood plasma to afford the airfare. So let’s forget about the year we just went through. Let’s give our loved ones a big old holiday hug and enjoy this moment.

And on New Year’s Eve, as we prepare, nervously, to face 2023, let’s be sure to have a big calming bowl of ice water handy when the clock reaches midnight, and we say:

Happy New (GLUB)

Dave Barry is an author and humor columnist.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
LETTER: Biden’s inflation triggers problems with banks

Be aware that all banks have most of their reserves in low interest bonds, and more closures can result if depositors want to withdraw their money.

LETTER: What’s wrong with Making America Great Again?

As long as the Left is name-calling, I propose those on the right start referring to the Left as DEAD Democrats, standing for Destroying Every American’s Dream.