The Favorite Series: The Top Stories of 2007

Here is my list of the stories that were most significant from 2007 in the world of current affairs and pop culture. By significant, I mean those that most changed how we view the world or will shape us for years to come.

1. The elections in Pakistan, the death of Benazir Bhutto, and Musharraf’s emergency rule

2. The success of the military surge in Iraq as well as the defeat of 75% of Al Queda forces there. President Bush will be seen more favorably on Iraq as the year progresses, and in the history books. It won’t be a laboratory of democracy probably, but it may yet resolve its political conflicts and emerge as a struggling democracy.

3. The candidacies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. African-American, Muslim upbringing. Massachusetts governor and Mormon. Just to get this far is groundbreaking. To win would be truly transformational for our country.

4. Al Gore winning the Nobel Prize. It’s not that important in and of itself, but it capped a year in which Gore’s work on global warming shifted the tide against climate control and emerged as a consensus among all political parties and peoples.

5. Brittany, Lindsay and Paris. The party girls of Hollywood lived out their legal and personal problems for all the world to see. And all of us learned about the costs of early stardom, hidden insecurity, and a thoughtless trivial life. It certainly kept us interested.

6. The Beckhams arrive in Los Angeles. Angelenos embraced Posh and David Beckham, but their presence was about something much more than paparazzi fare. It signaled the potential for soccer to emerge as a major sport in America. Now if he could actually play and not have injuries …

7. The crazy college football season in which the predictable winners and BCS standings meant little, and the little boys beat up the big boys. What fun!

8. The writer’s strike in Hollywood. The strike of course has its share of self-interests, but the issue is an important one. “Media” now includes several platforms including the IPOD, Internet, and cell phones. Paying writers their fair share for their content on those platforms is critical and will change the outdated structure and control of the studios over film and television.

9. The economy: the credit crunch, foreclosures, climbing gas prices, the falling dollar, and exploding debt. It’s coming home to roost, and it will be the top political issue of the 2008 election.

10. The ascendancy of Russia and the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Putin was Time Magazine’s person of the year for a reason. His leadership is bold, confident and anti-democratic. What comes next is the big question.


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