It’s been a hell of a year, with a lot of crappy stuff. We saw hurricanes, political campaigns and far, far worse in 2012. And yet, we still managed to keep our heads up and stay positive. We did have help, though. There were some truly wonderful things in 2012 that made existing in the end times more tolerable. Here are ten things that made life worth living in 2012.
Louis C.K.’s 2012 was in many ways just a continuation of his awesome 2011, when he released a DRM-free comedy special to the Internet for just five bucks and made over a million dollars doing it. That inspired many other comedians like Aziz Ansari and Tig Notaro to go the same route. In addition, his FX show "Louie" continued to be the best comedy on TV, with C.K. winning his first Emmy. Louie also hosted the best episode of "Saturday Night Live" this year. The only sadness to this entry is that we won’t see a single new episode of "Louie" until at least 2014.
Let’s face it: most of Twitter sucks. It’s full of racist teenagers, clueless celebrities and spambots. But there are some accounts that are worth following. People like @dril, @degg and @cool_pond use the microblogging platform to release demented, hilarious squirts of comedy onto the face of an unsuspecting world. The scene even has a little bit of academic analysis, as a PhD student wrote a ridiculously obtuse analysis of “Weird Twitter” in August.
One of the best things the Internet has done for us is bring beautiful women down to earth a little bit, in a good way. It used to be that supermodels and other hotties were distant and reserved – you’d never be able to interact with them without winning some kind of contest or something. But the new era of beautiful girls are right here with us, on Twitter, Tumblr, and the like. One of the most pleasant examples is brunette Shay Maria, who shot to fame this year by producing dozens of irresistible photoshoots.
Inept Fresco Restoration
One of the most entertaining news stories of the year came from a little village in northern Spain called Borja. A Catholic church in town had a fresco on display, a replica of Jesus with a crown of thorns by 19th century artist Elias Garcia Martinez. Over the years, the fresco had suffered some water damage and paint was flaking, so an 80-year-old member of the congregation named Cecelia Gimenez took it upon herself to fix it. The hilariously goofy job she did, which left the Son of God looking like a bearded monkey, became a global sensation.
The tech world has recently started using the buzzword “disruptor,” a product or service that comes into an established space and totally changes the way people do business. 2012 saw Kickstarter.com be just that disruptor. In the olden days, to make a new product you needed to have a lot of cash on hand. Now, crowdsourcing has made it possible to sell your idea first and then use that money to manufacture. As a result, 2012 saw tons of awesome new music, movies, video games and tech products, all funded by Kickstarter. Way cool.
Normally track & field isn’t going to occupy a ton of our attention, but this year’s 14th IIAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona produced one of the absolute best feel-good moments of the year. Warming up for the 100 meter hurdles in July, 19-year-old Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke dispensed with the usual warm-up stretching, choosing instead to start dancing at the starting line with the biggest, goofiest grin on her face as others looked on grumpily. A thousand GIFs were created immediately. Then she proceeded to absolutely smoke the competition, coming in first in the race. Here's a nice little video of her run:
No, not the donuts (although those are always spectacular). Some of the funniest YouTube videos of the year were created by a young man from somewhere in rural America who goes by the name of “Krispy Kreme.” Featuring encyclopedic parodies of overblown hip-hop subjects and the continual presence of mute hypeman Money Maker Mike, Krispy’s videos landed him a spot on Tosh 2.0 and the love and acclaim of the Internet. A recent video indicated that he might have to change his rap name due to protests from the donut company, but he’ll always be Krispy Kreme to us. Here's his new Christmas song:
Scumbags Outed on Reddit
We’re not typically involved in crusading for justice on the Internet, but 2012 brought some cases to the world’s attention that showed how the web can be a force for good as well as evil. Popular subforum “Creepshots” on Reddit featured pictures of women taken without their permission and posted for users to fap to. When a teacher in Sharpsburg, Georgia was busted posting pictures of his students to the site, it kicked off a firestorm that resulted in some of Reddit’s biggest dirtbags getting outed to the world as the nasty pieces of trash they are. Most notably, power user “ViolentAcrez,” who enjoyed posting in communities like “Jailbat,” was exposed by Gawker and publicly humiliated on TV by Anderson Cooper.
Legal Pot All Over
The 2012 election involved a lot of heated words and strong emotions, but one measure in Colorado and Washington seemed to get nothing but good feelings. Both of those states passed laws to permit the sale and use of recreational marijuana, to be taxed and regulated by the state. That means that being over 21 and having a little bit of weed for personal use is now completely legal. Bringing marijuana consumption to the same level of legality as alcohol consumption stands to make those states billions of dollars in new tax revenues while also cutting law enforcement costs. It’s win-win for everyone.
Next: Hilariously Awkward Holiday Photos
Sure, as the year comes to a close the Korean pop hit might be transitioning into “a little annoying,” but how great is it that 2012’s most popular song – and the new most-watched YouTube video of all time – was made by a chubby South Korean in a powder-blue suit? “Gangnam Style” may be a scathing indictment of a yuppie Seoul neighborhood, but you don’t need to be a local to appreciate the genial goofiness and awesome dance moves of PSY.