John Ridley's Top 'Nontroversies' Of 2011

Dec 29, 2011
Originally published on December 30, 2011 8:07 am

Commentator John Ridley is the screenwriter for the upcoming movie Red Tails.

It's been another year of stories so overblown, overhyped and overrated, 365 days were hardly enough to contain them.

So before they fade into the Potter's field of time, like the marriage of Kim and what's his name, let's take a look back at the biggest nontroversies of 2011.

Charlie Sheen Vs. 'Two And A Half Men'

Yeah, 'cause really, with Charlie, there were no warning signs.

The Roger Clemens Perjury Trial

Roger comes out smelling like the Old Spice dude as his trial for allegedly lying about steroid use collapses like Solyndra. See, this is why guys like Ryan Braun juice up, allegedly. 'Cause in the end, nobody really cares.

New York Congressman Peter King's Terror Hearing

Officially it was called "The House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on the Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response." Apparently that looks better on letterhead than "We Be Religion Baiters, Sponsored by Lowe's."

The NBA Lockout

It was the millionaires versus the billionaires. The big winner? The Miami Heat, 'cause people will be able to hate them only for 66 games instead of a full season.

Comedian Tracy Morgan Telling Homophobic Jokes In A Comedy Club

Just to be clear: It's NOT offensive to play a stereotypical crazy black man on network TV, but it IS offensive to be one in real life.

Donald Trump Jumping On The Caboose Of The Birther Train

President Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate telling the Don, "We've got better stuff to do." Four days later, the president was announcing to the world Osama bin Laden was dead.

Chaz Bono On Dancing With The Stars

Some parents were worried they wouldn't be able to explain transgender activist Chaz to their kids. If you can explain Nancy Grace, you can explain anything.

Bill O'Reilly Does Abe Lincoln

This totally crushed the sales of my new book about Frederick Douglass hunting down commie spies in the '50s, but ...

And the biggest nontroversy of 2011?

America Loses Its AAA Rating (Sort Of)

Is it right to be disappointed in the amount of doom in a "gloom and doom" scenario? Maybe something really bad will happen at some point, but right now this is some very slow-moving pre-28 Days Later zombie-type badness. It seriously couldn't be any more nontroversial if Gloria Allred was representing it.

Here's hoping for nothing but significance in your 2012.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, we can't finish 2011 without commentator John Ridley's annual list of non-troversies, news stories we should never have heard.

JOHN RIDLEY: It's been in another year of stories so overblown, over-hyped, and over-rated, 365 days were hardly enough to contain them. So before they fade into the potter's field of time, like the marriage of Kim and what's his name, let's take a look back on the biggest non-troversies of 2011.

Charlie Sheen versus "Two and a Half Men." Yeah, 'cause really, with Charlie, there were no warning signs.

Roger Clemens Perjury Trial. Roger comes out smelling like the Old Spice Dude as his trial for allegedly lying about steroid use collapses like Solyndra. See, this is why guys like Ryan Braun juice up, allegedly, 'cause in the end, nobody really cares.

Congressman Peter King's terror hearing. Officially it was called The House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response. Apparently that looks better on letterhead than: We Be Religion Baiters, Sponsored by Lowe's.

The NBA lockout. It was the millionaires versus the billionaires. And the big winner: the Miami Heat, 'cause people will only be able to hate on them for 66 games instead of a full season.

Comedian Tracy Morgan telling homophobic jokes in a comedy club. Just to be clear: it's not offensive to play a stereotypical crazy black man on network TV, but it is offensive to be one in real life.

Donald Trump jumping on the caboose of the Birther train. President Obama released a copy of his long form birth certificate, telling the Donald we've got better stuff to do. Four days later, the President was announcing to the world, Osama Bin Laden was dead.

Chaz Bono on "Dancing With The Stars." Some parents were worried they wouldn't be able to explain transgender activist Chaz to their kids. Look, if you can explain Nancy Grace, you can explain anything.

Bill O'Reilly does Abe Lincoln, which totally crushed the sales of my new book about Fredrick Douglas hunting down commie spies in the 1950s, but...

And the biggest non-troversy of 2011: America loses it's triple A rating - sort of.

Is it right to be disappointed in the lack of doom in a gloom and doom scenario? I mean maybe something really bad will happen at some point, but right now this is some very slow moving pre-"28 Days Later"-zombie-type badness. It seriously couldn't be any more non-troversial if Gloria Allred was representing it.

So, look, here's hoping for nothing but significance for your 2012.

INSKEEP: John Ridley, screenwriter for the upcoming movie "Red Tails." You can comment on his essay on the Opinion Page at NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.