And so we come to that special time of the year when we say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. Before we do, let me announce the nominees for my 2011 Hall of Infamy. Who will get to join such permanent inductees as Tom Cruise and that thing on Donald Trump's head?
Let's start with a nod to those pregnant celebrities who show up for special events wearing outfits stretched so tightly across their bellies that you could actually see the fetus trying to tap out "Help me!" in Morse code on mom's stomach. If I can tell your embryo's sex by its outline on your dress, it's too tight.
Charlie Sheen receives a nomination for attempting to make the abuse of alcohol, cocaine, one's family and one's co-workers a thing of which to be proud. It's not. Calling yourself a warlock while holding on to "goddesses " who are barely one step above streetwalkers doesn't make it so. Trying to make this all cool is simply despicable.
Speaking of despicable, enter Rod Blagojevich, a man who doesn't understand the concept of shame. His blatant and crass attempt to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat surely qualifies him for some special section of hell. It's not as though America isn't already pretty sure most politicians are barely one step above horse thieves. We don't need someone like Blagojevich rubbing our faces in it.
Another nominee from the political fringe is Donald Trump. While that thing on his head has already been retired to the Hall's permanent section, Donald himself has not yet earned that status. This may be his year. At a time when most Americans can barely contain their contempt for their political leaders, Trump comes along and gives the final deathblow to any hope of keeping political discussion sane and serious. Instead, we get his buffoonery, his obnoxious, loudmouthed and absurd statements, and his attempt to hold a debate that, had it occurred, would surely have drained any dignity left in the Republican nominating process.
It is with gratitude that I acknowledge the Republican leadership's discomfort at the thought of a Trump moderated debate, and with even greater gratitude that I acknowledge that most Republican presidential candidates had the good taste to turn down the invitation. I think rather than retiring Trump to the permanent wing of the Hall of Infamy, I should instead condemn him to that same special section of hell being saved for Rod Blagojevich. Given their hairstyle choices, they seem to have a lot in common.
It's hard to choose which person running for the Republican presidential nomination should be selected for a nomination into the Hall of Infamy since they all fought hard for the distinction. But after much thought, I believe that Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry deserve it the most. I want to include Newt but he is such a grotesque caricature of the worst of the world of politics that it seems as though his head and ego together would fill the Hall and leave little room for others.
Besides, Michele and Rick have worked hard all year to get this nomination.
Perry's ad trying to equate the right of gays to serve openly in the military with what he characterizes as children being unable to pray in school was a new low even for someone attempting to suck up as hard as possible to the extreme Christian right. Michele's pronunciation that because a gay man scored the music for "The Lion King" children will somehow be gay, on the other hand, always brings a smile to my face. I wonder if her husband's seen that movie?
If Rick Perry is Bush 2 Lite, then Michele definitely is Sarah 2 Lite. Imagine, some of us thought you couldn't possibly get lighter than the originals.
So who will be honored with induction into the 2011 Hall of Infamy? Really, is there any doubt about who most sullied our country and its institutions this year?
Welcome to the Hall, Donald. I am springing you from Blago's hell to reunite you with your hair over in the permanent wing. May you have many happy years of intricate hair wraps ahead. And may you never denigrate our political process again. We don't need more buffoons in politics. We need some leaders.
Elise Patkotak is an Alaska writer and author of "Parallel Logic," a memoir of her 28 years in Barrow. Web site, www.elisepatkotak.com.