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That was the year that was 2004

Recalling a booby-trapped 12 months

By Todd Leopold
CNN

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(CNN) -- What can you say about 2004?

What can you say about a year that spent more time and indignation on a 38-year-old pop singer's accidentally exposed right breast than the vapidly violent dance routine, erection ads, capitalistic orgy (and football game) that surrounded it?

What can you say about a year in which the two most talked-about movies of the year -- and two of its biggest box office hits -- were a violent film about a man of peace and an effectively manipulative polemic about a president at war?

What can you say about a year that got some of its sharpest news from a fake news show?

What can you say about a year that glorified both a bright man who won 74 "Jeopardy!" games in a row, and also glorified a shallow, inexplicably famous hotel heiress/party girl who became even more inexplicably famous thanks to a Fox reality show?

What can you say about a year that made a self-aggrandizing, strangely hair-styled tycoon with an edifice complex into a TV star and put the queen of domesticity behind bars?

What can you say about a year in which the Federal Communications Commission levies a record fine for that aforementioned 38-year-old pop singer's bared breast -- but the violently graphic details of "CSI"-type shows were met with nothing but high ratings?

What can you say about a year that lost its Genius (Ray Charles), its Superman (Christopher Reeve), its Method man (Marlon Brando) and its "Friends"?

What can you say about a year in which wizards were featured in a top five-grossing movie, a major best-selling book, and the film named best picture of 2003?

What can you say about a year that featured Britney Spears getting married more times than Jennifer Lopez, and Jude Law appearing in more movies in four months -- six -- than a studio contract player in his prime?

What can you say about a year in which Howard Stern's best-known competition for sexually suggestive talk was Bill O'Reilly, and "Monday Night Football" was better known for a silly locker-room skit than a fourth-quarter comeback?

What can you say about a year in which "moral values" was revealed as some kind of bellwether, yet put "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" on the best-seller list, made a cleverly soapy show about "Desperate Housewives" its breakout hit and can't seem to get past a pop star's breast-revealing finale?

I can't think of anything.


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