Even though most of my historical knowledge comes from multiple viewings of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
, I appreciate the fact that Wisconsin has a state agency dedicated to writing down the important stuff. That state agency, of course, is the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Every year around this time, the Society puts out its top ten list of the biggest stories of the year
. Check out their list for 2007. It's a good list of events you'll actually remember a long time from now: Wisconsinites in Iraq, stem cell breakthrough, Favre records, floods, etc. The list, as the Society's director says, is "largely built upon what stands out in people's minds."
Interested in a stroll down memory lane, I sought out the Society's top ten lists from years past.
Before I go any further, I want to make clear that I understand the purpose of making top ten lists. They are totally subjective and they are meant to spark debate. However, the onus is on the list-writer to start said debate with defensible rankings.
You read that right. Like all Wisconsinites, I certainly remember where I was when I learned the Wisconsin Historical Society was nicked with the budget razor. (And "nicked" is a pretty fair verb here. The Society says it cut $1.5 million for a two-year period. The Society's total budget for that two-year period: $36 million.)
Judging by the quality of this list, I'm guessing "writing down important things that happened this year" was a casualty of the Society's budget cut in 2003.