Top 11 of 2011

Just a couple of days ago, I was at a lavish, extravagant engagement party which rivaled most weddings I had been to. Besides making jokes about being surrounded by the 1%, I realized at one point that the world is filled with people like this. People who care only about superficial things, and all the wonderful heart in everything is in danger of being extinct in a civilization that may not value… substance. It was a sobering thought, so this top 11 of 2011 list is dedicated to all the things in the world that make me believe that Heart (the weirdest captain planet kid ever, and the one I associated with the most) will prevail in 2012.

11. Best Comeback Story: The Muppets! They came back! Starting with the adorable story of Jason Segel working through depression through his own brand of puppet therapy, all we had for years was the brief taste from the compelling Dracula’s Lament from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The Muppets movie that he co-wrote with Nick Stoller was a runaway hit, reuniting Kermit, Miss Piggy and the whole gang for their infectious fun and cheesy tomfoolery. Critics loved it, and so did most of the viewing public. What made it even more heart-warming? The fact that making the Muppets movie has been a dream of Segel’s since basically, forever.

10. Most Meme’d Celebrity: Ryan Gosling and his brand of Hey Girl has gone too far. And by too far I mean it’s amazing to see a new Ryan Gosling Hey Girl offshoot in my Facebook feed about once a week near the mid-end of 2011. From , to , this was the year for Ryan Gosling holla’ing at all different types of ladies out there.

9. Best Comeback of an Old Video Game as an App: Tetris! Tap with your finger and forego with the Nintendo controls (which, if pressed incorrectly made you lose out to your friend AGAIN!), not speaking from personal experience or anything.

8. Breakout Indie Band Who Hides: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, with their long-running mysterious, guess-who-is-in-this-band ness following the release of their single Ffuny Ffrends, followed by the later “coming out” phase of New Zealand born Rubin Nielson, the band’s lead who just wanted to create a sound that is an: “escape hatch to a new musical dimension where his vision of junkshop record collector pop could be realized in a sound that recalled Captain Beefheart, Sly Stone and RZA jamming on some kids tv theme too dark to ever be broadcast.” (Besides leading me to write the longest freaking run-on sentence ever, the band proved that a little bit of mystery, followed by a press photo and an eclectic, texturized album full of fun beats and Beefheart style funk, can go a loooong way).

And if they look like stoners, it’s because they are (be cool).

7. Best Comeback Publication: The past several years, magazines have been dying left and right. One of the first to go was the Conde Nast backed Jane magazine. Featuring the editor-in-chief of Sassy, Jane was for smart, creative girls who liked to look good but maybe with not so much make up (hence, the favorite column, the MakeUnder, where a Jane beauty team took a usually tarted up to the nines person look more approachable and naturally pretty), and featuring fun sex stories and hilarious real life stories. For years I got my Jane fix from Bust and AOL’s short-lived Lemondrop website. Then in early 2011, behold the power of the internet, when Jane came back as a web-only version of it’s former self, featuring their Real Life stories and their MakeUnder of Sweetie from Jersey Shore. Jane still gets smart girls, and speaking for all smart girls, (I know, I know, I’m not worthy) we love it!

6. Best Survival Story: Really, you’ll have to pick this one yourself. Go to , pick your favorite, and repeat weekly. In terms of inspiring, it works every time.

5. Biggest Political Gaffe: This has less to do with the Caucus and more to do with social media and sharing. In 2011, Facebook launched the Facebook reader app. I have heard complaints about this from more people than I care to count. But the conversations mostly go like this: “Did you read that article on [Insert Eye Catching Headline Here], no? Well, me neither, because to read it I would have to submit all my private info to ANOTHER stupid Facebook Application, and I really wanted to read it. Maybe I’ll find that asshole friend who did read it and ask them all about how I can get to it without giving some other nameless computer organization all my information… maybe. Unless, I’ve defriended that person already for tantalizing me with it in the first place.” Bad move publications who want to be shared, bad move. (Washington Post Social Reader I’m looking at you!)

4. Best Magazine Cover: TIME magazines person of the year was The Protestor. Immortalized by the ever-graphic Shepard Fairey.

3. Best Shared Web Article: About a month ago I was directed to this article on the Huffington Post, a short look at gender politics really. But it was fascinating, as a young woman, seeing the way our culture looks at women and their reactions. The fact that it was written by an Arab man makes it even more mind-blowing.

2. Best Buzz-word: Storytelling. It’s been showing up in all the latest ad campaigns (from Citibank to Tom’s Shoes) and it was the great awakening of 2011. People went back to the basics of telling a story to garner interest/money/followers. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, it’s all a part of the story-process.

1. Best Movement: Occupy Wall Street, inspired by other movements to change regimes in countries far from our own. Sure, sometimes I wish there was a specific and plausible list of complaints, and sure sometimes I wish that list didn’t contain the self-damaging “legalize marijuana” posters and “communism is the way to go!”. To me, the occupiers are an inspiration to values this country was founded on, making sure to check and balance a gross overabundance of power, and being able to work hard and be rewarded for it. The unchecked greed has just burned us out, and it’s time for some changes. Wait, wasn’t some 2008 campaign based on changing this system in the first place? Wha happen?

Here’s to 2012! And getting blog posts out in a timely fashion. Later this week – most anticipated of 2012! (Besides the apocalypse of course…)

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