New Year’s Eve is the traditional night for thoughtful consideration of the year gone by. And that’s a myth. (More)

Mithellaneous, Part III: New Year’s Eve Myths (Non-Cynical Saturday)

This week Morning Feature considered the role mythology in contemporary culture. Yesterday we looked at the controversy surrounding Kwanzaa, an African-American midwinter celebration. Yesterday we saw how social media influence the growth of contemporary mythology. Today we conclude with the mythology of New Year’s celebrations.

The First New Year’s Eve

Just over 6000 years ago, Adam pulled out a calendar carved by God on two stone tablets, looked at his partner and said “We should name a holiday for you. How about the night before start of the new year?” She told him to drink less wine and eat more dinosaur steak, but Adam insisted and humans have celebrated New Year’s Eve ever since.

Okay, some of the details were off. But there was probably wine involved.

New Year’s Eve traditions vary around the world. For example, in Canada the holiday is celebrated with fireworks and alcohol, while in the U.S. the alcohol comes before the fireworks. But there are common elements. Some countries have a traditional dance before the alcohol and fireworks, others dance between the alcohol and fireworks, and still others dance after the alcohol and fireworks. Some countries substitute some traditional food for dancing, before, between, or after the alcohol and fireworks.

Regardless, New Year’s Eve is a time to look back on the year just passed, expressed in the oldest and most universal of all traditions: the journalists’ years in review. Journalists usually write these before the alcohol and fireworks, because afterwards many of the audience have passed out. Those that haven’t passed out can’t read because it’s dark. They can’t even turn on lights because some of their guests passed out while wearing the lampshades.

The tradition of journalists’ years in review began with colloquial cave drawings, as memorialized in the ancient New Year’s Eve song “Old Slang Signs.” As the cave walls got full, journalists saw they would soon have to paint over their old work, so they invented written language. Fast-forward a few thousand cycles of alcohol and fireworks, and we have the internet. So strap on your lampshade and look back on….

2011: The Year in Review

January – The year began with the Arab Liberation and Equality Commission (ALEC) coordinating protests against dictatorial governments in Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt. Seeing the success of that movement, and having campaigned on platforms of jobs and freedom, newly-elected Republican governors and state legislatures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan coordinated with ALEC to protest dictatorial teachers, janitors, and other public employees.

February – Stubbornly defending their dictatorial regimes, teachers, janitors, and other public employees chopped down palm trees in Wisconsin and gathered outside the state capital in Madison, ultimately causing almost a few dollars in damage while Governor Scott Walker pleaded for help from ALEC. Recognizing the danger, other Republican governors and state legislatures leaped into action, proposing laws to stop dictatorial pregnant women from oppressing religious groups.

March – Amidst the rising unrest against dictatorial teachers, janitors, and pregnant women, Charlie Sheen was fired. ALEC’s efforts spread to Libya, prompting European leaders to ask President Obama for help. In response, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan offered a plan to stop dictatorial senior citizens from oppressing doctors. Dictatorial voters struck back, circulating petitions to oppress Wisconsin state senators.

April – Emboldened by courageous protests against dictators, Donald Trump demanded a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate. Meanwhile, in England, Prince William and Kate Middleton protested the oppressive war on marriage in a ceremony that billions of dictatorial viewers insisted be discussed non-stop on every channel and every news forum for three straight weeks. Thus, few noticed as Republicans in Congress threatened to shut down government unless President Obama and Democrats cut dictatorial taxes on oppressed millionaires.

May – The month began with President Obama oppressing Donald Trump with jokes at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, while Navy SEALS oppressed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. President Obama continued to oppress Donald Trump by releasing a copy of his birth certificate, which was immediately proved a forgery because it did not include the words “Kenya,” “Muslim,” or “Socialist.” Ground under the dictatorial boot, Trump decided not to to join the Republican presidential candidates gathered in South Carolina for their first debate, where all agreed that they were oppressed.

June – Republican presidential candidates gathered again, this time in New Hampshire. Michele Bachmann protested against the oppression of reality, giving her an early surge in the Not Mitt Romney category. In Wisconsin, dictatorial voters gathered enough signatures to oppress six Republican state senators with recall elections. Oppressed Republican voters bravely fought back with recalls of three dictatorial Democratic state senators.

July – Oppressed Republicans in Congress refused to increase the federal debt limit unless dictatorial spending for social programs was cut and a Balanced Budget Amendment was passed to liberate millionaires from taxes. Dictatorial Democrats refused to budge, offering a deficit reduction package only twice as large as the oppressed Republicans had demanded. In response, Republican presidential candidates protested by not debating all month.

August – Dictatorial voters in Wisconsin oppressed two of six Republican state senators. Republican governors and state legislatures across the country rallied in support, coordinating with ALEC to end this oppression by passing laws designed to prevent dictatorial Democrats from voting. Meanwhile, President Obama used strong-arm tactics against oppressed Republicans in Congress by offering a deficit reduction package only four times as large as they demanded. Republicans bravely refused, but dictatorial voters began to oppress pollsters by demanding jobs. Oppressed Republicans accepted a deal for deficit reduction, even though the bill threatened to slash the helpless Pentagon budget by almost as much as the damage caused by dictatorial teachers and janitors in Wisconsin. In response, Republican presidential candidates debated in Iowa, where Michele Bachmann spelled “I Am Not Mitt Romney” with straws.

September – Enraged by the threat to their regime, students and teachers and janitors and other dictators gathered to Oppress Wall Street, a crackdown that left oppressed bankers and hedge fund managers unable to calculate their bonuses. Republican presidential candidates bravely fought back by debating in California and twice in Florida, where Rick Perry protested that dictatorial moderators expected answers to their questions. Meanwhile, President Obama threatened a program to create jobs that would allow dictatorial Americans to feed their families and pay their bills.

October – The Oppress Wall Street crackdown spread across the nation and around the world, as the dictatorial 99% ruthlessly held up signs, chanted slogans, and waggled their hands at the oppressed 1%. In Libya, dictatorial rebels oppressed Muammar Gaddafi, while dictatorial Greek citizens oppressed bankers across Europe. This forced Republican presidential candidates to hold two more debates, which was as high as Rick Perry could count. Herman Cain protested that he was oppressed by the number 9, pushing him to the top of the polls.

November – With tensions rising, dictatorial women struck back at Herman Cain, who held a Lincoln/Douglas debate with Newt Gingrich and protested by forgetting about Libya. This was the first of five Republican presidential debates in November, forcing a ruthless response by viewers, who changed channels. Police forces across the country attempted to placate Oppress Wall Street gatherings with offerings of “a food product, essentially.” And dictatorial Democrats on the Super Committee oppressed Republicans by refusing to withdraw threatened cuts to the helpless military budget.

December – Newt Gingrich rose to protest dictatorial poor children and defend oppressed millionaires, while Herman Cain’s dreams were crushed by dictatorial women including his wife. As the world teetered at the brink, President Obama ruthlessly backed dictatorial working people and waged war on Christmas by having a tree in every room of the White House, forcing oppressed Republican presidential candidates to have four more debates. Meanwhile, dictatorial voters gathered signatures to oppress Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, while Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry were heartlessly oppressed from gathering enough signatures to get on the Virginia primary ballot. As the year drew to a close, Mitt Romney promised to end the oppression of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns, unless President Obama relented and released his college grades and a real birth certificate including the words “Kenya,” “Muslim,” and “Socialist.”

In short, 2011 saw plenty of fireworks. Must be time for alcohol….


Happy New Year’s Eve!