A Year of Mood Swings

After 9/11, we were supposed to be a nation sobered up, turning from frivolous matters to the serious concerns of a dangerous world. Nobody foresaw American Idol. A look at what preoccupied us in '02. --By Rebecca Winters

FRIVOLOUS

FEB. 15 Is Olympic judging rigged? A skating scandal leaves us wondering

JUNE 5 Newsmaking child abductions like that of Elizabeth Smart, 14, in Salt Lake City, Utah, fuel our fears of a (nonexistent) crime wave

JUNE 11 American Idol premieres, launching debate over Simon Cowell's put-downs, e.g., "Who's your teacher? Get a lawyer and sue her"

AUG. 30 World Series...

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