12.23.10 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotCould 2010 have been any weirder?

While there was plenty of mainstream news this year throughout Florida and the world, it seems as if more of the strange leaked out than in years past.

Take, for example, this year’s long and seemingly never-ending mid-term election campaigns. Mid-term elections have historically been much quieter than their major, presidentially-fueled counterparts. But in 2010, campaigns were front page news almost daily and the mud slinging seemed to reach new depths. We had Christine O’Donnell, a woman accused of witchcraft, vying for a senate seat in Delaware and a crazed “Man of God” in Gainesville hatefully campaigning against a gay mayoral candidate while, months later, threatening to burn copies of the Koran.

LGBT icon Lady Gaga pleaded with lawmakers to use rational thinking and repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—just weeks before she appeared on a televised awards show wearing a dress made out of meat. Maybe it’s just me, but pleading for rationality while wearing raw steaks doesn’t scream sanity.

This year we also had a GOP lawmaker from Virginia who said the newly implemented pat downs by the Transportation Safety Authority are part of the “Homosexual Agenda.” Like we gays are anxiously awaiting a chance to feel up (or get felt up) by our fellow cranky and tired airline passengers.

Then again, that could work better than Larry Craig’s planning from a few years back…
Speaking of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, 2010 was a roller coaster of emotions for those of us hoping for repeal, which finally came this month. The story of the repeal is just as stressful and nauseating as the ongoing battle for the overturn of Proposition 8 in California.

In a strange but depressing turn of events, a seemingly unprecedented number of LGBT teens and young people took their own lives in 2010 after facing homophobic bullying. The rash of headlines repeating their stories inspired celebrities and Everyday Joes like us to participate in the “It Gets Better” Project, which took YouTube by storm.

In a not-so-gay related news item that made me chuckle, it was reported by the Associated Press this year that a larger number of emergency room visits were the result of not car accidents or hate crimes, but of cell phone usage. Apparently we’re so invested in updating our Facebook status and texting that we forget to look out for curbs and potholes while we walk down the street.

I don’t know if it’s an improvement in technology or the myriad of ways we are now able to access our news, but 2010 was just plain weird.

However, while looking through the 25 back issues of Watermark from 2010, I was amazed at the number of news articles, event pieces and larger investigative works we produced this year. I was proud, for sure, of the many diverse and fun covers our Art Director Jake Stevens created and by the sheer volume of news we shared with our readers and advertisers.
But at the same time, I realized I had forgotten so much of what happened this year.

While we begin celebrating the myriad of holidays before us, it’s nice to take a look back at where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve experienced.

I hope you enjoy exploring this annual “Year in Review” issue of Watermark as much as we enjoyed producing it. Each news section has an area dedicated to our Top stories—and those areas were hard to trim down. We go even further with Kirk Hartlage’s funny take on pop culture in 2010 and our look at politics throughout the past year. And online editor Jamie Hyman tackles the ever-changing world of technology in what will probably become known as the year the iPad met Facebook.

Looking back at the last 12 months made me realize that it’s impossible to predict what an upcoming year holds. 2011 could be full of just as many surprises as 2010, or it could be a dull year. (With only a few elections, that’s possible.)

But it’s intriguing to imagine what’s next for us. Will some strange politician wander out of obscurity again this year? Will some celebrity have a major, public meltdown?

And, wouldn’t it be hilarious if someone gave Sarah Palin a reality show?

Oh, wait…

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