01/07/2013 02:35 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2013

The Good, Hard Spanking of 2012

What a year it was. Did we learn anything? How about...

Bet on the Nazi socialist Kenyan

Is it not refreshing? Is it not all kinds of wonderful to be reminded that all the spittle-flecked hate and hissing resentment in the world still can't defeat intelligence, wisdom, flawed but honest integrity?

Behold: The GOP's relentless, shameless four-year onslaught of racism, birtherism, isolationism and gross antipathy, during which they called the president everything from a communist to a Nazi to a fundamentalist Muslim, failed to rally sufficient numbers of the undereducated and the paranoid to nosedive the nation back into a sinkhole of conservative bile. It was easily the most methodical, relentless personal attack in modern political history, and it failed ugly. Hugs all around.

White men can't jump

Did you feel it? The tipping point? The grand flip from white male-dominated, paranoid n' reactionary cultural stasis to female-empowered, minority-voiced, messier-than-thou, barely controlled chaos? The 2012 election ushered in nothing short of a new phase, era, chapter in the increasingly weird American experiment, one in which the old, scared white guys of the world, while far from being completely sidelined, are at least no longer assured of their unimpeded dominance and political authority. Not only do the Mitt Romneys of America no longer hold all the reins, they never will again. A wobbly, rainbow-coalition future beats an uptight, monochromatic past any day.

Global warming gives you the finger

The adorably ignorant cluster of global warming deniers is now even tinier, more ignorant, and less worth giving a moment's irritated glance than ever. Hurricane Sandy wasn't a wake-up call, she was a mission statement, an attack plan, an overt strategy for Mother Nature's violent reclamation of our despoiled world, given how we apparently can't seem to take care of her properly. Since we've waited far too long to take major action to heal the planet, Mother Nature will do what she does best: devastate our overblown egos and rinse the place clean. No one is actually ready.

Guns hate everyone

We are the most violence-obsessed first-world nation on earth. We are the most paranoid, fearful, antagonistic, excessively armed, drowning in insidious cultural images of firearms and gun fetishism, endless bogus cowboy mythology, the notion that guns are somehow noble or worthy of anything but revulsion and sadness. Gun lovers and hunters can argue to their heart's content that weapons designed solely to kill other living things can be used safely and for fun, and usually are. This is like saying that most of the time, land mines don't explode and mutilate/kill countless innocents. Until they do. Enough of this.

Apocalypse now or never

Keep your snide, anti New-Age quips to yourself. No one of any real mystical intelligence believed the world was going to end in a fiery zombie cataclysm on December 21. But a new era of reinvigorated thought and radical spirit? A more ripe moment than we've ever encountered before to witness and fully honor/celebrate our shared humanity? The feeling that a drastically accelerated culture and endlessly magical technologies are conspiring with a decline in the heartless institutions of the past -- military, church, corporation -- to make it more possible than ever to leap into a new and self-defined consciousness? Now that's an apocalypse worth caring about. Don't believe any of it? Your loss.

50 shades of horrible writing

The big lesson of the worst-written, most mega bestselling soft-core S&M porn books of all time? Nope, not that we're a kinkier bunch than anyone imagined. It's that a huge majority of middle-aged American housewives are dramatically undersexed and apparently suffer horribly insufficient access to quality porn (not to mention quality literature), so awful that they're willing to suffer the most abominable sentences and cheesy smut scenes since your mom fantasized that Fabio was giving her a shuddering orgasm in the laundry room with a large vacuum cleaner attachment. Somewhere, Anais Nin is cringing.

Deep space has got your back

Think you have a basic grip on reality? On the scale and scope of life, more or less and with sufficient whisky and sex and sleep? Think again, tiny biped. Allow 2012's finest and most jaw-dropping astronomy photos whip your tremulous cranium into a frothy frappucino of awe and disbelief, as you realize, to the best of your meek ability, just how remote, humbling and yet awesomely grand it all is. Gaze into the wonder that is the Hubble Extreme Deep Field and watch your precious ego shatter like a tiny porcelain doll against the vast, pulsing slab of cosmic consciousness. Upshot: You do not know what you think you know. Isn't that wonderful?

You do not know what you think you know
Behold, the most timeless and overarching lesson of all...

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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate. He's also a well-known E-RYT yoga instructor in San Francisco. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...