The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The year in review: 9 icons, trends of 2009

2009 was definitely a year filled with ups and downs, featuring everything from a global pandemic to fame-mongering families on steroids who joined the long list of pseudo-celebrities behaving badly. It was the bookend to one of the most depressing decades in history, and though the new year has already thankfully begun, The Talon takes a look back on all of the happenings, trends and pop culture fixations that made many call 2009 one of “the worst years ever.”


The obsession with brooding, 200-year-old guys who have a penchant for using too much body glitter continued into 2009 with the release of “New Moon,” the second installment of the Twilight saga. This also led to a whole slew of copy-cat vampire spawn, from “True Blood,” a practically X-rated romp, to the “Vampire Diaries,” a show perfect for the diary-toting, emo-tween demographic.

“Twilight,” however, continues to dominate the vampire market, exploiting its popularity by producing everything from those obnoxious Team Edward/Team Jacob shirts to underwear with Edward Cullen’s face for the “Twi-hards” taking over Hot Topics around the country. The level of over-exposure and downright creepiness of this undying trend definitely needs to be put to rest. Hopefully, someone will finally be able to put a stake in this unfortunate fixation before the sun sets on 2010.


President Barack Obama had a 60 percent approval rate when he was inaugurated, but after a year of presidency, his approval rate has gone down 20 percent. Obama’s economic stimulus package, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” gave America hope for a quick response to the country’s economic crisis. However, his health care reform plan to extend coverage to uninsured Americans resulted in opposing views among U.S. citizens. Furthermore, Obama’s promises to close Guantánamo Bay (a military prison in Cuba) and to withdraw troops from Iraq earned the approval of human rights activists nationwide—but when 2009 came to an end, Guantánamo remained opened for business with no closing date in sight.

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Still, Obama took his first year as president as an opportunity to recover America’s image abroad, working hard to fix America’s relationship with both Muslim countries and Russia. Whether 2009 was a good or bad year for the new president is open for interpretation.

Swine Flu

It seems like everywhere people went this year others were worried about catching the H1N1 virus (swine flu). Although the precautions were well-intentioned, some of them—such as thermal scanning at air- ports—were flat-out ridiculous. But it was not just government regulation. Even com- panies like American Apparel jumped on the pandemic bandwagon, promoting the use of their “moustache ski mask” as one of the “8 Fashionable Ways to Combat the Swine Flu.” So at least people now know that they can be among the hippest of the hip on their influenza deathbed. Then again, it sure beats those ugly surgi- cal masks á la 2003’s SARS pandemic.

Hipster Kid Movies

Hipsters from Williamsburg to San Francisco cracked open cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon in celebration when they heard their trifecta of favorite “indie” directors (Spike Jonze, Henry Selick and Wes Anderson) were all coming out wtih new movies this year, albeit for a slightly younger set.

This gave hipsters the opportunity to finally wear their child-predator glasses and swarm “mainstream” movie theater multiplexes around the country to watch “Where the Wild Things Are” (Jonze) “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (Anderson) and “Coraline” (Selick). Unfortunately, however, this also meant that everyone else had to suffer through hour- long conversations about the philosophical implications of Selick’s use of buttons in “Coraline” and the underlying significance of Jonze’s choice to spell his name with a “z.”


If 2006 was the year of MySpace and 2008 the year of Facebook, then 2009 was the year of Twitter, the newest entry into the ever-expanding realm of social media websites. The site allows people to type 140-character updates about everything from their showers to their breakfast cereal, which are then sent out to the feeds of their followers, allowing users the kind of insight that only stalkers used to have in the days before the Internet. Real celebrity stalkers were probably also delighted to hear that many of the famous folk they obsess over also “tweet” on a regular basis. Twitter set off a microblogging boom that is still continuing to exponentially explode, but as the cyberworld has seen before, some new social media site will probably soon take over as the dominant site of 2010.

Bad Tempers

Constant brawls between egotistical musicians brought the rage in the music industry to a new level. At the 2009 Video Music Awards, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for winning Best Female Video to announce that “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time,” going from one of the music industry’s most popular rap artists to America’s definition of the ultimate scumbag.

Then there were musicians that quite literally got into other celebs’ faces. Last year’s testosterone-maniac Chris Brown was sent to jail for beating up his girlfriend, the famous pop star Rihanna. Ironically, both West and Brown made public apologies on national television in attempts to save their jerk reputations. Oh, please.

Celeb Deaths

Unfortunately, last year was filled with a significant amount of deaths for people of all ages, both young and old. The global community was shocked when Michael Jackson passed away in June. The 50-year-old “King of Pop” died as a result of cardiac arrest, which doctors claimed to be a cause of the countless meds Jackson was prescribed. On the very same day, the “Charlie’s Angels” TV show star Farrah Fawcett faced her death at 62 years old after three years of battling cancer.

In August, 2 months later, the famous DJ Adam Goldstein, nicknamed DJ AM, died of a drug overdose at 36 years old. Before the year came to an end, in December, Hollywood’s sweetheart Brittany Murphy died from cardiac arrest. At a young age of 32, it was believed that the “Clueless” star’s death was a result of previous issues with anorexia.

Cheating on your wife

What do the high-brow world of professional golf and the flashy, drunken cable programming known as reality television have in common? Apparently in 2009, it was sleazy men cheating on their wives. Both Jon Gosselin of TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” and golfing legend Tiger Woods became the darlings of TMZ and Perez Hilton alike, which made it seem like quite the celebrity trend to sink to new lows by snuggling up to anyone but their wives. Thankfully however the media hoopla means that the American public will no longer be constantly solicited by Tiger’s baby-smooth face selling shaving cream or have to cringe while watching Jon dress up like a d-bag dude bro in too-tight Ed Hardy tees. There’s always a silver lining, right?

Famous Nobodies

2009 was the year everyone became a celebrity—“everyone” meaning the used-to-be nobodies that are now running reality TV. First, there’s Speidi, otherwise known as Heidi and Spencer Pratt, the attention-starved newlyweds from “The Hills” who dedicated the past year to becoming idolized celebrities. The year only got trashier when MTV aired the eight orange-skinned Guidos and Guidettes on its most recent hit “Jersey Shore,” advertising low-class losers who believe life’s purpose is to drink cheap vodka and get laid.

However, nothing can beat the stupidity of the “balloon boy” publicity stunt, in which all of America watched a Mylar balloon floating above Colorado, believing that six-year-old Falcon Heene was trapped inside. After hours of searching for the boy, authorities announced that he was in the attic of his own house. In a box. When the boy was asked on “Larry King Live” why he did not come out of hiding Falcon said to his parents, “You guys said we did this for the show,” blowing his father ’s cover and leaving him in complete embarrassment.

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