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Top 5 Heroes & Idiots of 2009

Once again, it is time to list the best and worst that humanity had to offer in the previous year. There were some good role models in 2009, but also some truly infuriating douchebags. This list does not necessarily represent the actual worst or best, but instead lists those who got my attention for their excellence or for their lunacy.


Damon Lindelof
HERO
5. Damon Lindelof

Writer/Producer Damon Lindelof makes my list of heroes for the second year in a row. Not only did he continue his stellar work on Lost, but he helped successfully restart the seemingly dead Star Trek franchise. He didn't work alone, of course. J.J. Abrams is largely responsible for Lindelof's current career, and there are several other writers involved in both Lost and the Star Trek reboot, including Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman. However, Lindelof maintains his humility and sense of humor and isn't afraid to communicate candidly with his fans and the press. I have to put Damon Lindelof on this list, because not so deep down, I wish I could be living his life.

IDIOT
5. Richard Heene
Richard Heene

Attention seekers are a dime a dozen, and people who want to start their own reality television show are so pathetic they are easily dismissed as irrelevant. Therefore, it takes a startling amount of imbecility for one of these people to get a spot on not only this list, but almost every list of 2009's biggest losers. It probably has something to do with the fact that Richard Heene used his own child as a tool for his selfish shenanigans, and that he captured his spotlight by pretending his son was in mortal danger. When it was revealed that the balloon boy wasn't actually in a balloon but hiding in an attic, his father, Richard Heene, blamed his son for scaring the nation. Even when the boy sheepishly admitted that the whole thing was his father's idea, Richard went on denying it by throwing his own son under the bus. Perhaps his sense of good parenting, along with his moral fiber, was what really floated away in that balloon.

Patrick Magill (with grandson Tommy)
HERO
4. Patrick Magill

I'm not a believer in the notion that people who get sick or people who die suddenly deserve admiration and respect. The collective love-fest for Ted Kennedy and Michael Jackson, for example, make no sense to me; if you want to show how much you love somebody, you should do it while they're alive and well. Still, I'm putting my father on this list because he got sick. It's no secret I've always admired the man, but the way he faced down cancer last year needs to be recognized. If I were diagnosed with cancer, I can't imagine how I'd be able to stay as strong and optimistic as my father. The man sucked up his fears, his anger, and every other emotion that comes with cancer, not because he wanted to bury them, but because he didn't want it to be hard on those around him. He gets cancer, and all it does is prove again how selfless he can be. Yeah, I'm biased because I'm his son, but I know my opinion is not unique among those who know him.

IDIOT
4. Kanye West
Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech

Kanye West has been a douchebag, no doubt, since the day he was born. How this man is a celebrity is a mystery to all of us except him, but his continued parade of brainlessness is at least amusing most of the time. When the entire country was turning against President Bush a few years ago, even the most left-leaning American sidestepped away from Kanye when he asserted that Bush didn't care about Hurricane Katrina because he didn't like black people. Then, in 2009, Kanye rose to even greater heights of stupidity by interrupting Taylor Swift's award acceptance speech to announce that Swift didn't deserve the award. What a douchebag.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger
HERO
3. Chesley Sullenberger

Probably the biggest heroes in this world are people who are just doing their jobs when they save lives, and who then refuse to consider themselves heroes. Chesley Sullenberger--a.k.a. Captain Sully--is just such a hero. A former Air Force Pilot with 42 years of flight experience, Sullenberger was the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. When the plane passed through a flock of geese, both its engines were disabled in the air. Unable to reach a viable landing site in time, Sullenberger calmly made the decision to land the Airbus A320--an $80 million piece of equipment weighing in at over a million pounds with 155 occupants--in the Hudson River. After the safe water landing and full evacuation of passengers and crew, Captain Sully stayed behind to check and double check that nobody was left behind. He then calmly abandoned the aircraft himself, a bonafide hero in the eyes of the entire world.


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-e. magill 2/9/2010








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