Searching for the real news | AspenTimes.com

Searching for the real news

Meredith C. Carroll

Aspen, CO ColoradoJust in time to ring in the New Year, the top Internet searches of 2006 have been tallied and made public.In the all-important quest to snag the juiciest celebrity wedding details, more Internet users sought information about the vows exchanged by Aussies Nicole Kidman and her booze-loving, country-crooning hubby, Keith Urban, than those swapped by Nic’s ex, Scientology-spokesman Tom Cruise and his baby-mama-child-bride, Katie Holmes. Which divorce will be most searched has yet been determined.Dick-flicks, sequels and three-quels dominated the top movie searches of the year on Yahoo, with requests for information on “Spider-Man 2,” “X-Men 3,” “Pirates of the Caribbean 2,” “Superman Returns,” “Star Wars,” “Transformers” and “Saw III” turning up most frequently. A popular search term on America Online in 2006 was the “Chicken Noodle Dance.” Apparently a trend has developed across the globe in which people post videos of themselves performing the new dance craze. The Macarena, Electric Slide, Bunny Hop and Time Warp are reportedly banding together to attempt a joint fad dance come-back.”My Humps, “Beep,” “Grillz” and “Laffy Taffy” were among the most searched song lyrics in 2006. Neither Barbra Streisand nor Tony Bennett has made public any plans to cover any of those songs on their next albums.The St. Louis Cardinals can flash their new World Series rings until the cows come home, but they were dead last on Yahoo’s Top 10 Sports Team Searches in 2006. Love ’em or hate ’em, the Bronx Bombers topped that list, proving, perhaps, that paying an $11 million luxury tax may not buy you a pennant, but it just might draw enough clicks on your site to make up that money in advertising revenue.The content of Google’s 2006 lists were seemingly a tad more highfalutin than those on AOL and Yahoo, but mostly because their results were based on worldwide totals, not just those in the United States. Technology topics, web 2.0 development sites and World Cup soccer made up the majority of Google’s top overall searches.Still, Paris Hilton jockeyed her way to top Google’s list of news searches. She managed to beat out Orlando Bloom (no. 2), cancer (no. 3), Hurricane Katrina (no. 5), autism (no. 8) and Celebrity Big Brother 2006 (no. 10). Given 2006 was also the second year in row that she turned up in the top slot on AOL’s most-searched news items, her parents must be busting with pride.Alas, Paris didn’t have enough arrests, cat fights or accidentally-released super-secret sex tapes to earn her the crowning achievement of securing the top spot on all three search engines. Although she released no new music in 2006, squeezing out baby No. 2 and delivering a second round of divorce papers added up to No. 1 for fellow pop tart Britney Spears, who was the most overall-searched subject of the year on Yahoo.Tom and Katie’s baby Suri won the Internet celebrity baby popularity contest, followed by Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. In a sign that the sun might be setting on her career, Madonna’s latest stunt – adopted Malawian baby David – was only sixth on Yahoo’s top 10 celebrity baby searches.Surprisingly, Canada was the second-most searched country of the year – perhaps as a back-up plan for the Democrats who had little faith the November election would go their way for the nth time.President George W. Bush was the politician most searched on the Internet, followed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. Still unclear is if either can spell or pronounce the big words that were written about them in 2006.The deaths of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and the 20-year-old son of Trim-Spa spokeswoman Anna Nicole Smith were the top news story searches on Yahoo in 2006. The war in Iraq eked into third place, followed by some sort of conflict in Israel and Lebanon. Something about North Korea and nuclear weapons made it to No. 7. Saddam Hussein’s trial and a Dutchman who draws pictures rounded out the list. How depressing.Ratings for nightly television news programs are at an all-time low. Newspaper circulation is dwindling. Let’s face it – keeping up on the news does little more than cause unsightly worry lines and stress. Why not make a pact to boycott real news in 2007 – who needs to hear incessantly about war, famine, disease and death when we can just focus on the racist comics, pill-popping reality stars, party- and bed-hopping has-beens and Paris Hilton?Hey, it works for me.E-mail questions or comments to meredithccarroll@hotmail.com.