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The Unapologetic Geek


Top 5 Heroes & Idiots of 2013 - Page 2

3. Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

He is also a world-class idiot. I'd have a lot more respect for the guy if he'd made his revelation through a United States news outlet while living in the United States. Doing it from a country he won't be extradited from is the coward's way out and it doesn't allow the court system or the people have a say in how we react to him. Even worse, it's hard to listen to the lectures of government overreach, paranoia, and tyranny from a guy living in Russia. One questions whether Snowden's intentions are really as noble as he claims or if he's just trying to damage the United States' reputation overseas while thriving on his own infamy. If he'd stayed here and faced the music, I'd be his biggest supporter, but since he won't come home and insists he has more damaging revelations to make, I say we don't hesitate to capture him, give him a closed trial, and execute him as a traitor.

Angelina Jolie
2. Angelina Jolie

In an age where paranoia about the medical establishment is on the rise because of anti-vaxers, Big Pharma conspiracy theorists, homeopaths, and various other "alternative" medicine proponents, it's refreshing to find somebody in the public spotlight putting her faith in modern medicine and good science. Angelina Jolie is a great actress (see A Mighty Heart), but let's face it, a big part of her fame can be attributed to her stunning body. The news that she had her glorious breasts removed--not because she had breast cancer, but because she was at an extremely high risk of getting it--was heartbreaking, but the fact that she defended her decision with science made it understandable. She went on to educate a curious public about her reasoning, encourage others to get genetic testing, and raise awareness about one of the greatest plagues of the modern age. Her bravery and advocacy will undoubtably save lives, and for this reason, she is a hero.

2. Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorists
Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorists

Conspiracy theories tend to annoy me, because I find most of them so incredibly irrational and improbable. Still, I understand why they exist and can admit that they can be fun to think about from time to time. When they rise to the level of truly idiotic, however, they become dangerous and malevolent. In January, various conspiracy theorists became convinced that the horrible tragedy at Newtown last year was part of a government plot, a "false flag" operation to garner support for gun control legislation, the covering up of the fact that the shooting was carried out by "Israeli death squads," or some such other nonsense. This wouldn't be a huge problem if it weren't for the fact that these theorists began harrassing survivors and heroes like Gene Rosen and Robbie Parker. If your conspiracy theory drives you to pen vitriolic, profanity-laden death threats towards the father of a little girl who's dead body is practically still warm, you are a terrible human being.

1. Michele Knight, Amanda Berry, & Georgina DeJesus

In May, Amanda Berry, cradling her six-year-old daughter, called the police and informed them that she had been held captive for a decade and subject to more horror than I am willing to relate. She also told them that two other women were still being held. Police immediately stormed the home of Ariel Castro, who would later die in police custody, and rescued the women. All three of them deserve recognition for surviving their unimaginable captivity. Gina DeJesus was 14 when she was kidnapped, Amanda Berry nearly 17, and Michelle Knight 21. I have no doubt that the ordeal has damaged all three of them far beyond repair, but their will to not only survive but successfully escape on their own makes them stronger than any of us have any right to think we could be. These women are heroes who deserve our respect, our admiration, and a life from this point forward that is as peaceful as possible.

1. President Barack Obama
President Obama

I have resisted putting the president on these lists in the past for a number of reasons, but the first year of Barack Obama's second term is coming to an end with such a display of shrugged-shoulder incompetence that I have to put him here. Regardless of what you think of the man's politics, you have to acknowledge that the president is running the risk of becoming a lame duck with three whole years left in office. Blame what you will--the disastrous rollout of the website, the "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" lie, his failure to capitalize on Republican intransigence, etc--but the most telling explanation for his floundering agenda is how he has reacted to the various scandals that have rocked his administration. Whether it's the NSA leaks, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the unreadiness of the ACA website, etc., the president's immediate reaction is one of surprise as his administration assures us that they are just as outraged to learn of the problems, even as it does apparently nothing to prevent such problems from slipping under the radar again. The ACA exchange rollout, in particular, is vexing, because if the president can't be bothered to check on the readiness of his signature legislation on the eve of its big launch, how can we expect Barack Obama to be on top of anything, much less the execution of the entire federal government? This president has made a better case in one year for the inevitable incompetence of big government than the Republican Party has been able to make in over twenty years, and fans of a progressive liberal ideology should be just as angry about that as the rest of us are.

-e. magill 12/18/2013

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