Well, with all these Best/Worst of 2005 lists coming out now, I thought I would contribute my two cents: 2005 was awful. There were some high points in there, but for the most part it was a nightmare. On a personal note, I had a lot of good stuff happen to me this year, (I got my own place in Manhattan, I got a great job, I had two acting performances that I think went well...), and as you know, some seriously bad stuff as well. But outside my cave, horror after horror.
Throughout the year, Iraq has been in the spotlight - the endless stream of violence and death there is just overwhelming. Whatever you think of the war, it has costed the US, its few remaining allies, and the Iraqi people dearly in blood. It's time to get the hell out of there ASAP...
Immediately before 2005 started was the Tsunami, the anniversary of which was yesterday, I believe. The sheer devastation is still difficult to comprehend, and the people in the affected regions are still in bad shape. Anyway, you know all about the Tsunami, so no need to elaborate on its horribleness here.
In March, a student in northern Minnesota went on a shooting spree in his school.
On July 7, terrorists attacked the London Underground. As if that wasn't bad enough, it turns out that the terrorists were actually raised in London
Then we had the heart-wrenching Gaza withdrawal. By almost all accounts that I've heard, the Jewish community in Gaza was something of a paradise - warm people, strong communities, agricultural achievements, great schools, etc. Seeing all that destroyed was painful, to say the least. And it was chilling to see Palestinians burn down all the Gaza synagogues at the earliest opportunity - showing a complete lack of tolerance or respect. On top of it all, it was probably pointless, and almost certainly politically motivated. One of the theories I heard was that Sharon did it to take the heat off his son, who has been under investigation for corruption. If that's true, it's beyond sick, and Sharon should be immediately removed from power. No leader has the right to be so selfish.
Shortly afterward, Hurricaine Katrina. I mean, Holy S---. A major American city, rich with history and culture, all but wiped out. And one of the worst parts is that just about every aspect of the disaster could have been prevented. From the levees to the shockingly incompetent response to the obnoxious stonewalling by insurance companies, it brought out the worst in human nature. I wrote a wishy-washy entry about FEMA here.
Not to mention the absurd number of hurricaines before and after. "Day After Tomorrow" anyone?
The Transit Strike. Smack in the middle of the busiest shopping season of the year, seriously damaging the New York economy, and hitting lower-class workers the hardest, since they get paid hourly and can't afford alternate transportation, like taxis. Not that taxis go to poorer neighborhoods anyway.
The persecution of Jews in Paris and Paris riots.
On a more trivial note, Star Wars came to an end. The fact that Episode 3 was probably the last ever Star Wars movie is depressing, and the movie itself was depressing.
Other notable craptastic stories: Chinese Pollution, Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff (someone I'm embarrassed to say is a practicing Jew), Karl Rove and Valerie Plame, Ward Churchill calling some World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns", Sony's virus/spyware, the usual string of celebrity debacles - the list goes on and on.
Some synagogues have the custom of reading a prayer immediately before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). "Let the year and its curses end - Let the year and its blessings begin." Amen!