Enter springtime, and youth again: Billboard's top moneymaker for 2011 is TAYLOR SWIFT, less than half Madonna's age. In 2012, Swift will have the biggest sales week for any album in a decade, for "Red." She also writes for the soundtrack of one of the year's hottest movies, THE HUNGER GAMES. Speaking of which, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, 22, becomes a breakout star this year, rocketing to fame as Katniss Everdeen in the first installment of the Suzanne Collins trilogy. In fashion, MARC JACOBS' Louis Vuitton show in Paris has models in Edwardian hats stepping off a reconstructed retro steam train, with valets carrying vintage-inspired hat boxes.
In technology news, FACEBOOK buys INSTAGRAM for a cool $1 billion, banking on people's insatiable desire to share photos of their most mundane moments. And oh yes, it's an election year, and it's dog eat dog: Talk focuses on SEAMUS, GOP candidate Mitt Romney's Irish setter. The pooch is long departed, but the image of him strapped to the roof of the family car, suffering gastric distress, is too much for many dog lovers to stomach (sorry) and will continue to dog Romney (sorry) for some time. Romney supporters, meanwhile, point out that Barack Obama sampled dog meat as a child.
The weather's getting warm, and certain phrases are fast becoming ingrained into our consciousness. One of them is "Call Me Maybe"; Carly Rae Jepsen's dangerously catchy tune hits No. 1 on iTunes. Another is "Fifty Shades of Grey." The so-called "Mommy Porn" trilogy — the publishing sensation of the year — is banned by some public libraries due to its steamy content.
"Call Me Maybe" hits No. 1 on the Billboard chart. But let's dedicate the month to NORA EPHRON, the author, filmmaker and essayist whose searing wit put her in a class of her own. Her death at age 71 brings a flood of tributes. And rarely does a secretary of state make it onto our pop culture radar, but let's welcome HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, ever more popular, who wears green-and-purple cat-eye sunglasses this month to swear in a purple-loving public servant. (By now she's famous for her shades-wearing power texting, the subject of an Internet meme.) She apologizes for not wearing a purple pantsuit; it's the only color she doesn't own, she quips.