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The Unapologetic Geek


Top 5 Heroes & Idiots of 2013

As 2013 nears its end, it's time once again for me to list the men and women who got my attention for their heroics and their idiocy. As always, I disclaim that this is a personal list that is not meant to account for the best and worst the year had to offer, but the ones that meant something to me.

Mayor Bob Ford
5. Bob Ford

I'm not going to try to convince you that Toronto Mayor Bob Ford is a good human being or a good mayor, but holy crap, if a guy who smokes crack and goes on drunken rants and rampages can become the mayor of a major city like Toronto, that means you have no excuse for letting your own flaws hold you back from your dreams and ambitions. Bob Ford should be an inspiration to us all that, no matter how terrible the person, he or she can still make it out there. The fact that he has finally admitted his bad behavior in the face of video evidence but is still being mayor just further proves my point. Hell, he seems to be loving all the attention he's getting for being such an embarassment to all of Canada.

5. Square Enix
Square Enix HQ

2013's Tomb Raider is a fantastic game that was released to much fanfare, stellar reviews, and record-breaking sales. It sold over a million copies in the first 48 hours and had the most successful launch the popular franchise has ever seen. This wasn't good enough for the publisher, Square Enix, however, which went public with the opinion that this incredible success was "disappointing" and failed to meet the company's sales expectations. Combined with the news that Square Enix pulled the plug on Legacy of Kain: Dark Sun because they didn't expect it to sell well enough, and I'm beginning to wonder what, exactly, Square Enix expects from their games.

Stonesifer and child
4. Patty Stonesifer

Patty Stonesifer is a woman who could have done whatever she wanted with her impressive resumé. Former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Senior VP at Microsoft Corporation, a founding board member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, board member at and the GAVI fund (which supplies vaccines to third world countries), and a former delegate to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS, Stonesifer went into 2013 as one of the most powerful women in the world, but instead of using this power for money, fame, or her own personal ambitions, she took a job in April as the president of Martha's Table, a modest non-profit in D.C. that fights poverty. In other words, she took an enormous paycut and derailed her seemingly limitless career path in order to feed, clothe, and educate the poor.

4. Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong

Few people outside of Europe really cared much about professional cycling as a sport, until Lance Armstrong came around and gave the United States a cycling superstar we could all rally around. The man seemed humble, determined, and honorable--as clean-cut as it gets--but then, with his age slowly chipping away at his fame and success, he did a hugely-publicized interview with Oprah Winfrey (my pick for 2010's Idiot of the Year, incidentally) in which he admitted to having done a whole lot of steroids throughout his career. This makes him an idiot on multiple levels, but even worse in my opinion than the doping itself was the way he milked his own shame in the public spotlight for profit and attention.

Edward Snowden
3. Edward Snowden

Regardless of his true motives, Edward Snowden's leak of information about how the U.S. government covertly collects intelligence has sparked a world-wide debate on the scope and ethics of government surveillance and secrecy in the name of national security. A federal judge, just this week, has confirmed that the government collection of metadata on the populace "almost certainly" violates the constitution. With the reveal of programs like PRISM (and many others), we can now see how truly out of control and paranoid our intelligence agencies have become and how far the government has overstepped its constitutional mandates. Snowden is, of course, a criminal, but he released this information knowing that it would mark him thus; he believed that getting this information out was more important than his own life, and therefore, he should be considered a hero. However...

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-e. magill 12/18/2013


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