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2008, was it great??????

January 4, 2009
by

Happy New Year!!

Now that 2009 is in full swing, let us reflect on the year that just ended. I will start by first by mentioning music and television which made for a memorable 2008. Ranking and awarding art is a fun but ultimately silly exercise, but I will try hard to compile a few definitive top-ten lists (film for sure) soon. But first some quick reflections…..

The new music I listened to this year was overall much more subdued in tone. There were no album releases by big names like Radiohead, who blew everyone away in 2007 with In Rainbows. This year a rookie artist from western Wisconsin had a lot of play on my iPod. Justin Vernon and his bandmates call themselves Bon Iver and those who read this blog have seen their mention before. At risk of overkill, watch the sublime clip below of Bon Iver performing Skinny Love on Letterman from mid-December, wrapping up a big year of touring and increased exposure. They are releasing a EP called Blood Bank on January 20 with all new material.

As far as television, 30 Rock and The Office were excellent, but their seasons are only half-way done. So ranking TV shows is a bit goofy in light of that. But television in 2008 cannot be discussed without two words: Presidential Campaign. The onslaught of ads, verbal assaults, debates, punditry and network news rhetoric was tempered only by the comic stylings of two gentlemen: Stewart and Colbert. Sure there was a renewed interest in Saturday Night Live because of the election, but the opening sketch and Weekend Update have been the best part of that show for years. They capitalized on that fact by having those 4 Thursday shows toward the end of the campaign which were essentially only those segments. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report brought hilarity 4 days a week, month after month during the campaign and the writing staff and actors on both of those shows deserve lifetime achievement Emmy’s already because their work.  During a tense and tiring social and political climate such as the American Presidential Campaign, satire plays a critical and even healthy role. It not only dissects culture but painfully reflects it, exposing the hypocrisy of not only of our potential and current leaders, but the hypocrisy of our expectations of them and our system of government. I can’t figure out how to embed a clip from either of the shows, but I would have trouble picking just one anyway. I thank Hulu.com for giving the cable and satellite deficient masses the ability to watch these fine shows.

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I  know this post is a bit redundant, reading much like a few of my past posts, but hey, I am reflecting on the past year, so redundancy is expected. I really just can’t wait for LOST to get back on the air. Only 17 days left!!!!

More reflections to come on the year in film and maybe even a list or two. As always, we would love to see your favorites and lists about 2008 anytime.

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