A move, the first full year of a new job, and increasingly demanding writing responsibilities further compromised my ability to generate content for this website on a regular basis. However, I did managed to write 25 pieces.
This year also happened to be my “most-viewed” year. By far. Although, I acknowledge that a good portion of that success has to do with views of pieces I wrote in 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014.
There were still several things this year that I liked quite a bit and/or that struck a chord with people. And not even one single piece about WWE made the list! Imagine that. In any event, here’s the Best of 2015, in chronological order:
The Bargain (1/23): I allow myself one introspective piece per year. This was it. It was an especially important one (to me only, of course) because it occurred at a time when I was making the first major change in my life in several years—arguably the first since I graduated from law school. A move away from my lifelong home of Richmond caused me to reflect on how quickly time is passing. For all of us.
Timely Movie Review: Whiplash (2/26): The best movie I saw all year, and one that I think has a great message—a message that may have been misunderstood by many critics.
Let’s Talk about Oklahoma and Free Speech (3/11): After the controversy over a racist fraternity song at Oklahoma and the resulting expulsions, I weighed in on the free-speech implications of a public university taking this sort of action. There was a lot of news in the world of free speech this year, most of it bad. I wrote often about the topic, and I think this was one of my better efforts. It’s always easy to take away the rights of “villains.” It takes courage—and a commitment to principles—to do otherwise.
A Last Word on Mad Men (5/18): This was likely the most “critically acclaimed” thing I wrote all year. It was spotlighted by WordPress as one of their top posts that day on “Freshly Pressed,” and I got a lot of positive feedback from readers. For my own part, I do think I “got” Mad Men about as well as any TV show I’ve ever watched. The Don Draper character was fascinating and, as it was with Whiplash, partially misunderstood.
David Letterman, Full Circle (5/20): I said I only allow myself one introspective piece per year, but this was a bit of a cheat. Yes, it was primarily about David Letterman, and the astounding impact he made on comedy over the past three-plus decades (particularly via the groundbreaking Late Night). However, there was also a bit of a personal connection, since I grew up with Dave, and there had never been a time that I could remember when he wasn’t on television. Anyway, this one got a pretty positive response from people.
Gender in Sport, Redux (6/19): After reading a puzzling take on FIFA’s attempts to regulate testosterone levels in women’s competition, I wrote this piece. It’s a good overview on how anti-science politics can impact sports, especially when it comes to gender and sex.
Is Dylann Roof America Personified (6/20): Upon seeing several lefty commentators say, “See! This is what America is!” in the wake of the Dylan Roof mass murder, I felt obligated to push back against this nonsense. I think I was effective in doing so.
What Was Lost (6/27): My most widely-read piece from 2015, this was a cultural analysis of the astounding Obergefell decision on gay marriage. It got a major signal boost when Breitbart picked it up. I don’t think it was the best thing I wrote all year (the Mad Men piece, the Dylan Roof piece, or the Age of Totalitolerance may hold that distinction), but it was definitely something that cut against the grain in terms of the commentaries being generated in the wake of Obergefell.
Untimely Police Procedure Review: Running Scared (7/1): Realizing that this blog had gotten wayyyyyy too serious, I decided to tackle the national conversation about police conduct through a review of the 1980s buddy-cop film Running Scared. In doing so, I realized that this movie is a LOT of fun—as was writing this ridiculous analysis of the police procedure in the film.
30 Facts for Live Aid’s 30th Anniversary (7/13): At a certain point last summer, it suddenly hit me that Live Aid’s 30th was coming up. I just had to acknowledge it somehow. I pulled together 30 facts and stories about the unprecedented event. This was another fun one to write, although it probably took more research than anything else I wrote this year, oddly enough.
The Age of Totalitolerance (11/10): Fittingly, the last piece on this list is another serious one, as I discussed (at length) the issue of campus pushback against offensive speech—or, really, any idea that student activists find objectionable. This is a pretty important issue to me, as I observe so many people on campuses falling victim to a mentality that runs counter to our society’s core values. And, to see it happen at a place like Yale is particularly troubling, as these folks will be the future leaders of society. If their poisonous notions about “limitations” on free speech in the name of “safety” proliferate once they escape campus, God help us all.
It was another good year, albeit a more quiet one. I’ll continue to try to post at least one new item each month in 2016—and I’ll also try hard not to make all of them so serious (and windy!).
Happy New Year!