2011: A Year in Review (Teen Edition)

A revolution in the young stages

click to zoom

As the final days of December are used up like the last bits of toilet paper on the roll, we begin to wonder what impact the past year had on our lives (just as seriously as we’d begin to wonder if we had any more toilet paper under the counter, or if we were completely out).  This leads us to the point where we realize that I should not try to create metaphors, ever.

But what were the major events of this year, ones that specifically impacted teens? I’m not sure. Neither is Time Magazine, apparently, as their list for “Person of the Year” leaves many unanswered questions. However, the good news for me, you, and Time magazine is: the internet is still around to tell us all the answers.

So, thanks to myself and the internet (but mostly a coffee-table book of every issue of the New York Times published in 2000), I give you a wrap-up of 2011, which will make sure you know everything about the year 2011 before the next one starts (because we all know the majority of this year was spent on Facebook, talking about how you spend too much time on Facebook).

Social Media Revolutions

These were also known as the “Arab Spring,” but spring has too many definitions, meaning that I would definitely have made a bad joke if I used that reference instead (such as: the remember that toilet paper metaphor? Well, an improved version of the little spring inside the holder that keeps the toilet paper holder against the frame was massively marketed on an infomercial campaign that launched this year, which used only middle-eastern actors. And if you believe that, then it is really a shame you are not a teacher, especially my teacher).

Actually, a Tunisian vendor started the whole thing by lighting himself on fire.  This spread to the neighboring Arab nations.  In Syria, for instance, the government is using tanks to put down the protesters, which, for some reason, is getting only as much coverage as the Kardashians (and I’m pretty sure turning tanks on the Kardashians would receive a higher TV rating than either their current show or news footage of the Syrian military).  In Egypt, the protesters, dubbed by Obama to be an “inspiration to people around the world” (presumably for establishing democratic government) have continued in the spirit of the burning Tunisian vendor by…burning the flag of the only democracy in the Middle East (Israel).

For teens, this means that we can now not only market ourselves to adults as expert social media marketers and instructors, but also as expert revolutionaries.  After all, many of these protests were organized on Twitter or Facebook, with messages like “lost a bet, now I hafta live in Tahrir square for a wee, #sucks. Wanna join me?” being retweeted massively.

Other Protests

For lack of a better word, and in order to keep this short, “other protests” (which I can not in any way possibly tie in to the toilet roll metaphor) also happened this year.  There was Occupy Wall Street, where groups of people decided to block traffic and hurt business everywhere in order to improve the economy for everyone (scientists are more baffled by this theory than that of the neutrino discovery). Lockouts occurred in both the NFL and NBA, because the players needed to protest the fact that they were only making enough money to, to put in ‘occupy’ terms, be in the 99% of the top 1%.

So, the next time your parents tell you that you complain too much, just remind them to be thankful that you are not opting to chain yourself to your stairwell, blocking off the upstairs, in protest.


With an upcoming presidential election, political news is never ending. As a teen, you should at least vaguely know what’s going on in the world, so you don’t make the mistake of assuming that Africa is a country (we all know it’s a city in Russia somewhere, or maybe in China).  The highlights are:

  • Congressional Resignations; those of Anthony Wiener, David Wu, and Chris Lee.  If you anagram those names, you get: “They said, ‘Chew no vile, rude NW rain.”’ I’m pretty sure that’s a secret message for something, but I guess I’ll just have to wait for another “National Treasure” movie to come out to find out what.
  • The Republicans appear to be out of presidential candidates of any quality above the rating “Walmart quality assurance” (which falls just above ‘made in china’ on the presidential candidate scale; essentially, that means that they can’t legally run).
  • Europe’s economy begins to collapse, probably because a few hundred years ago rowdy US colonists decided to stop sending over ships full of money.  Also, they dumped a lot of tea into the ocean, meaning the manufacturers took a loss (and tea is the only product anyone in the US could think of that was made in the UK, then Britain, aside from the queen.  If we’d thrown her in the harbor, though, there might not have been any royal wedding this year to spend money on).
  • Other political names you should be vaguely aware of: Hillary “Not Bill” Clinton, Nicholas “whatshisname” Sarkozy, Kim-Jung “I’m not sick” Il, Moammar “How do you spell his last name” Ghkqadhafei, Vladimir “V-man” Putin, and Osama “We Got ‘im” Bin Laden.

Mother Nature

Contrary to numerous conspiracy theorists (you know you are one of these if you have already formulated a meaning for “They said, ‘Chew no vile, rude NW rain,’” and haven’t even finished reading this yet) telling us that the world would end, it actually didn’t.  Surprise there; I thought the 403rd prediction of the world ending would be correct.

Otherwise, you have a few major events.  A tsunami/earthquake hit Japan, causing problems with their nuclear power plants (along with the rest of their society). A hurricane code-named ‘Irene’ by, as I recall, the CIA, hits the east coast.  Thirdly, various other weather events occurred, including tornadoes, snowstorms, rain, hail, thunderstorms, ‘overcast,’ and sun.


The major scientific discovery this year was that of the neutrino particle’s property of moving faster than light.  All possible jokes on this subject have already been made, so let’s just say that if you could figure out how to make a gum that never lost the taste it has in the first five seconds of chewing using these particles, then you would not only be the hero of every teen, you would also probably be investigated by the FDA.

In tech news, Apple and Google occupy center stage (with Internet Explorer playing the part of a spotlight-it makes them both look good). Steve Jobs died, meaning we literally have no more “Jobs” in the US anymore, and Apple unveiled SIRI, the main purpose of which is to allow teens to be even lazier than before, when we actually had to press the screen of our phones to do anything or learn anything (“back in my day we had to plant a tree, care for it as it grew, cut it down, chop it up, build a ladder, and climb to the top shelf of your great-grandaddy’s bookshelf, where he kept the encyclopedias. Then we had to learn Latin so we could understand it.”). Google created Google+ and continued working towards world domination


Teens are largely overlooked in the news, so here are some major events:

  • Sleep studies show teens, like the bumblebee, should not be able to fly, which has been verified by dropping teens off the Grand Canyon viewing platform.  These studies also show that teens are pretty much doomed because of how little sleep they get.
  • Google opened up a social network, but to prevent teens from using it they opted for an 18+ age limit.  And this is why we need a Facebook “dislike” button.
  • High School Humor Blog (this blog) is created in February (not this month) to provide entertainment (like laughing, misinformation, and outright lies that you should laugh at while becoming more misinformed) to teens of all ages (between the primary high school ages).

Aaaaannnndd…..that’s it.  I’m sure I missed a gazillion other events, including the fact that one boa constrictor escaped from a zoo and could be on a plane right now (‘could be,’ except that they found it). Otherwise, I recommend you read gum-labels to get any information that I missed.

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  1. burstoutinsong!!! says:

    wow that toilet paper metaphor was deep…almost to uncomprehensible to my teenage (nonexistent) mind…

    • Thanks, Abbey. I just wish my teachers felt the same way about my English papers (I’m considering writing “the thematic significance of the absence of toilet paper in ‘The Red Badge of Courage'” for my next project). Sorry I almost overloaded your mind.

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