BOSTON (CBS) – It was obviously “laurel,” but enough people heard a now-infamous online audio clip as “yanny” to spark a furious national debate, a fitting symbol of a year when few of us seemed able to agree on anything.

Did alleged sexual predators like movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – or even convicted ones like iconic comedian Bill Cosby – get what they deserved?

Disagreement over that just seemed to fuel everyone’s anger, and a foolish, racist tweet by TV star Roseanne Barr that might have been handled with a sincere apology in the past instead brought a quick end to her comeback, stellar ratings notwithstanding.

We argued bitterly about almost everything in 2018.

What caused terrible California wildfires? The president, without cause, blamed poor forest management, infuriating local officials.

When student survivors of the Parkland, Florida school massacre began lobbying for tougher gun laws, right-wing critics slandered some of them with claims named by the fact-checking website Politifact as its Lie of the Year.

There was constant, bitter political conflict, with longtime aides to the president turning on him, Mr. Trump returning the favor, a Supreme Court nominee caught in a hailstorm of recriminations, and disgusted voters in November turning to divided government for relief.

And even the feelgood global story of the year – the rescue of a boys soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand – drew an ugly response, as American inventor Elon Musk inexplicably called one of their rescuers a pedophile.

Perhaps the only thing we all agree on anymore is that we like cute animals, like that gorgeous duck who showed up in Central Park, or the plucky raccoon who scaled the tallest skyscraper in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Rock on, Rocky, and here’s to a happier new year!

Jon Keller


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