If there’s one thing you could say about 2012, it’s that it wasn’t boring.
From the grassroots phenomenon of Honey Boo Boo to Clint Eastwood using the Republican National Convention to dress down an empty chair, we saw it all in 2012. And then some.
So it’s no surprise that the year in odd searches covers the full spectrum from the bizarre to the banal of 2012.
Magazine breastfeeding cover: The cover, which showed a 3-year-old boy standing on a chair to suckle his standing mother’s breast, was the first real volley in a number of controversial magazine covers in 2012 as traditional print periodicals turned to shock to curb dwindling readership numbers. Like the National Enquirer or People, the idea was to make the magazine a conversation piece rather than just following the news. Time succeeded in grabbing headlines, but took a beating in the media for being too sensational.
2. Clint Eastwood empty chair: The legendary actor/director stole the show at the Republican National Convention with a rambling, moderately incoherent discussion with an empty chair, intended to symbolize an absent U.S. President Barack Obama. The gruff 82-year-old did little to boost the Republicans’ prospects in November’s election but instead raised pointed questions about his own mental stability.
3. Miami cannibal attack: The story about a crazed, naked man attacking a homeless victim and eating part of his face dominated the news in early summer. At first it was suspected the assailant was under the influence of a new, powerful drug called “bath
salts,” which create violent hallucinations, but it was later confirmed that he had not taken the drug. Regardless, this incident put “bath salts” into our everyday vocabulary, and also made “zombie apocalypse” a viral trend.
4. Tanning mom: Patricia Krentcil’s chocolate-brown complexion began appearing everywhere after accusations surfaced that the New Jersey tanning addict had taken her six-year-old daughter into a tanning booth her. Krentcil denied the claim, added “tanorexic” to the lexicon and quit tanning cold-turkey before returning to anonymity.
5. Real life Barbie and Ken: The lesson here is that there is such a thing as too much plastic surgery. Valeria Lukyanova, a 21-year-old Ukrainian model, made a splash in the spring of 2012, having spent over $800,000 for a carved-out waist, disproportionally large chest and plastic-looking face. Things became head-slapping silly when her real-life Ken appeared in the form of Justin Jedlica, who himself invested $100,000 on silicone and snips. Thankfully, the two never hooked up.
6. Bagel head trend: Just when you thought kids couldn’t do more destructive things to their bodies beyond piercings and tattoos, the Japanese introduced bagel heads. The trend involved injecting a massive amount of saline solution into the forehead and creating an indentation in the middle until it resembled a bagel. Much to the relief of parents everywhere, the passing fad never caught on in North America.
7. Donald Trump’s rants: Not satisfied with dozens of hotels, condominiums and golf courses bearing his name, the real estate tycoon took to airing his political views in 2012, and not in a pleasant way. Trump took particular exception to Barack Obama’s November election victory, using Twitter to call it a “sham and a travesty,” stating that the Electoral College was “a disaster” and calling for “a revolution.” Clearly money can buy a lot of things, but class isn’t one of them.
8. Rush Limbaugh Slutgate: Republican shock-jock Rush Limbaugh was back in the headlines again in 2012, after calling a Georgetown college student who urged lawmakers to contraception in their health care bills a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Despite apologizing for his comments Limbaugh lost advertisers and affiliates, but his radio show continues to draw huge followers in the U.S.
9. Ten-year-old gives birth: Even doctors were shocked when news broke that a 10-year-old Colombian girl gave birth to a healthy baby daughter in April, becoming one of the world’s youngest-ever mothers (that title goes to a 5-year-old Peruvian girl who gave birth in 1933). The baby is healthy and happy, but experts agree that the unique mental and physical harm to the mother will last her lifetime.