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The Last of the New Year's Party Chatter

For some reason, there are 11 stories on Nexis's top ten list of most talked about stories of 2005. But at the various New Year's parties and brunches I attended over the weekend, not a single one of these stories was talked about by me or anyone else I heard yakking.
Check it out:

Most talked about news stories of 2005 Percentage of votes
Source: LexisNexis, November 2005 Survey of 1,500 adults:

Hurricane Katrina 97%
The spike in gasoline/oil prices 88%
The war in Iraq 83%
The tsunami disaster 62%
London terrorist bombings 36%
U.S. Supreme Court nominations 35%
Terri Schiavo 33%
Missing in Aruba, Natalee Holloway 25%
The Michael Jackson trial 24%
The breakup of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt 9%
The Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes relationship 8%

Ok, so maybe you go to more erudite parties than I do, but I'm willing to wager that none of these stories, with the possible exception of Iraq, and that only briefly enough for folks to express their frustration at not knowing the solution, made it into your New Year's conversations. (I take it back: I did hear a fleeting chat about gas prices, but the subject was the opposite of the one on the above list--the topic was marveling at how far down gas prices have come in recent weeks.)
Instead of yammering about Sam Alito or Michael Jackson (how fast the big tabloid stories fade), the chatterers I was hanging out with were much more inclined to be trading tales of excesses among the teenagers in our kids’ schools, dissing the parents of said wayward teens, and bemoaning the impending return to early morning rituals as school vacations come to a close.
If we got into news stories, it was with a much more local focus: How could the D.C. Council manage to muck up the return of baseball so royally? How could the town of Manassas believe that its attempt legally to redefine the family as rigidly nuclear and force all aunts, uncles and cousins out of every house would pass constitutional muster? How do you compare murder rates in the District and the suburbs without getting into race, class and gentrification? And maybe it's just because of what I do for a living, but it seems hardly an hour goes by without someone asking me when some halfway decent candidate will finally emerge to succeed Tony Williams as mayor.
But the big topic: Which paella tasted better, the one with the meat or the one without?
What topics dominated your New Year's gatherings?

By Marc Fisher |  January 3, 2006; 10:09 AM ET
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Strippers. And Ryan Seacrest's need to get an uppercut to his face.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2006 5:40 PM

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