Saturday, December 7, 2013

Top Ten Anti-Heroes of 2013

(By S Mavima, J Ricotta, and T Nemmer)

A week ago to the day, CNN continued its recent annual tradition of celebrating the Heroes of the Year; individuals who have distinguished themselves in their selfless dedication to mankind. 

The reason the heroes are worth celebrating is because of the overwhelming negativity and anti-heroism in the world against which their good deeds are justxtaposed. 2013 was no different. Here at RSS, we have taken the liberty of compiling our counter-list of this year's anti-heroes. While (some of) these individuals may not have done the worst things imaginable, they have definitely carried themselves in ways that have left us fully entranced in our detestation of them! The list is not necessarily ranked according to the gravity of misdeeds, but rather, their ability to command our attention. Without further ado, here it is: The Rogue Scholar Society's Top Ten Anti Heroes (2013)!

10) (Former) Teen Idols Gone Beserk

Bieber. Bynes. Brown. Cyrus
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Oh, to have been once upon a sweetheart!
Before his 15 minutes of child stardom had reached its limit, Justin seems to have lost the glossy clean image that has resonated ever-so-well with teens and their parents alike. Legal troubles, reckless behavior, tasteless humor, and choice fashion options have left many beliebers disillusioned.

Not to be outdone, former Nickolodeon darling Amanda Bynes (now 27) has resurfaced showing very little resemblance to the "Amanda Show" Amanda we all loved. Legal troubles, including a pending DUI trial, and absurd social network behavior have called for questions on her mental competence!

Since his savage beating of Rihanna in 2009, Chris Brown has done little to re-endear himself to the world; 2013 was no different. In January, he was involved a very public parking lot altercation with fellow R n B crooner Frank Ocean (just before he posted a picture of Jesus on instagram the next day, saying that is how all the persecution made him feel!). In October, he was arrested on felony assault charges after attacking a man outside a DC hotel. Then he checked into rehab to seek 'insight' into his behavior, before getting kicked three weeks later after smashing his mom's car window during a family session. There is just no end in sight.

Then there was Miley. Oh Miley. Her slow degeneration from Disney innocence was first noticeable when she start putting out twerking videos and in lyrics about 'doing lines in the bathroom'. Her decadence culminated, however, in her infamous, cry-for-help, VMA performance with Robin Thicke.The show had everyone upset: those who would have her remain Hannah Montana were mad because the performance was too risque; and those partial to the 'art' of twerking were just disappointed that the dancing was classless and not sexy in the slightest.

Terrible fate, if we may say! All four are talented, and we would love to see them bounce back and do something worthwhile from here on. Fingers crossed.

9) Pope Benedict XVI

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"I have had recognize my incapacity…"

 Dogged with a tenure as checkered as the Catholic church's recent history, it was common knowledge that the Pope was in for a tough reign. It wasn't until his Holiness's butler leaked the famed 'Vatileaks' documents that we noticed that this particularly papacy may be dogged with a certain type of modern controversy.

All that, would have been understandable if it had been just business as usual in the Vatican: until you consider that Pope Benedict is the first Pope to resign in 600 years. I mean, nobody in the modern world would have even paid particular mind to the idea that the Holy Father could quit.

The incredulous question asked by all- Catholic or otherwise- resounded loud and clear:

"Oh you're just gon' up and leave huh!"

(For what it matters, the new guy is one heck of a guy- and people seem to be happy that way!)

8) Yingluck Shinawatra

9153ri-Yingluck Shinawatra.jpg

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"I am ready to fight... to have the chance to prove myself"

The last few years haven't been kind to the Kingdom of Thailand - and if the current (woefully not Star-Trek themed) violent protests between the pro-Shinawatra Red Shirts and the anti-Shinawatra Yellow Shirts are any indication, the immediate future isn't looking to be a picnic either. 

This year's round of protests are the result of Prime Minister Shinawatra attempting to pass an amnesty law that would allow her brother, the ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return to the country, and pardon him of previous crimes he allegedly committed during his term as Prime Minister. What charges, you ask? Former Prime Minister Shinawatra has been convicted in absentia of stealing what Thai economists estimate to the "all the money" from the Government. Both Yingluck and Thaksin have adamantly insisted that the charges are politically motivated, and have bravely and decisively addressed the charges by... introducing no evidence... or talking about the charges... to anybody... ever.

Of course, things aren't looking much better on the other side of the riot shields with the "People's" Alliance for "Democracy." I bring in the douchey internet-air-quotes because the main goal of these protestors is to overthrow the legally-elected Shinawatra, and replace her with an unelected three-man council overseen by the King of Thailand. 

So ultimately, the people of Thailand have the choice between the Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch of Government graft, or a some unhinged lunatics who seem to have learned everything he knows about representative democracy from watching the second season of Rome. What could possibly go wrong?

7) Walter 'Heisenberg' White

"I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really... I was alive."

The only fictional character to make it on our top ten. There is no denying that Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) of 'Breaking Bad' will live on infamy as one of television's most memorable flawed protagonists. So intriguing was this character than 10.3 million  viewers turned up for the series finale, and a further 500 000 downloaded it illegally 12 hours after it aired (insane numbers, considering how limited the scope of AMC is! 11.9 million viewers watched The Sopranos finale a few years ago, and that was on HBO!)

He came; he taught; he cared; he cooked; he went out phenomenally.
Some loved him; Some hated him; We all miss him.

6) The Obamacare Website

This was it. The law that would define a presidency. The Commander in Chief's ultimate legacy.
After years upon years of bickering back and forth and often almost bringing the nation to its knees, this administration's Affordable Care Act was law! We were all set to go- until you visited the website.

Yep, when the countless hours of planning, writing, and fighting were done; the website wasn't ready! You've got to imagine that there was someone/ some people out there whose entire responsibility under the Obama administration was to make sure that, when the time came, the website was ready.

Well, not so. In the moment of reckoning, the website failed.

5) Rob Ford

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“I made mistakes, I drank too much, I smoked some crack some time. What can I say? I made a mistake, I’m human"

What a guy! He might have arrived at the 2013 party a little later than most, but boy, did it become one heck of a party thereafter!

On November 5th, the Toronto Mayor admitted to smoking crack while in office, during one of his 'drunken stupors'. Further revelations of homophobic and racial slurs, allegations of engaging in oral sex with a female staffer (allegations he so colorfully denied), and a video tape of him threatening to 'kill this f$%king (unspecified) guy".

In all this, Ford has refused to step down and continues to slam anyone who calls for his resignation. For what it matters, he also remains inexplicably popular with the Toronto public!

“My question is, I urinated in a parking lot. What does that have to do with anything?- Rob Ford

His blubbering idiot-reminiscent demeanor, his incessant borderline sociopathic behavior and equally ludicrous statements, and the fact that he remains a beloved leader in one of the world's foremost metropolis makes for a fascinating 2013 story!

4) Oscar Pistorius

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Well, this downfall came quicker than the 'blade runner' could have run the 100 meter sprint.
Less than a year removed from his Olympic exploits, Oscar found himself on the wrong end of the law after he shot his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp to death- on Valentine's Day, not in the least!

Questions were already being raise about the 'unlikely hero's character after he reacted poorly after coming in second in the 200M Paralympics final, citing the winner's 'unfair advantage' in having slightly longer prosthetic limbs (ironically, criticisms much similar to the ones he himself had to weather earlier in his career!)

Then he shot his girlfriend. on Valentine's Day. Although he claims that he had mistaken her for a dangerous intruder, revelations of fighting in days leading up to the incident have cast serious doubts onto this defense. Now, recent revelations that Oscar is a gun fanatic (owning, together with his father and uncle, 55 guns) who is now also being charged with firing his gun on two occasions, one of them weeks before Reeva's death.

Alas, but for a short while, he was a hero.

3) Ariel Castro
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"What I'm trying to get at is these people are trying to paint me as a  monster, and I'm not a monster. I'm sick." - Castro

When the sickening news of three Ohio girls who had been kidnapped and kept locked up in the basement by Ariel Castro (unbeknownst to his resident family!), it sounded like something out of a nightmarish B-list movie.

Between 2002 and 2004, Castro kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus and held them prisoner in his barricaded basement until May 2013 when Berry was able to catch the neighbors' attention. During their time in captivity, Castro constantly raped the three women and even had a baby with Amanda Berry.

"But uh, most of the sex that went on in that house. practically all of it was consensual. These allegations about being forceful with them, that is totally wrong. There were times when they would even ask me for sex. Many times"

Castro was eventually found guilty on 937 counts and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 1000 years! He won't get to see out the millennium behind bars though, seeing as he hanged himself in his cell on September 3rd (just a month into his sentence!)

2) George Zimmerman
"He's in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun, and he's saying, 'Step closer.' He's just threatening all of us with his firearm,"- Shellie Zimmerman.

Can he just stop?

You would think acquittal from what many had concluded a foregone guilty murder verdict would be enough to send someone under the radar for a while- at least for a while.

Not our George though!

After being found innocent of all charges related to the killing of unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin, it didn't take Zimmerman too long before he found his way back in the limelight. September, he had been stopped for speeding twice, and his wife had filed for divorce.

In late November, his girlfriend, Samantha Schiebe, called 911, saying that he had threatened her with a gun after "a verbal altercation turned physical" . He was then charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief, and is currently out on $9000 bail.
What's worse, when the police raided his house, they found five guns and more then 100 rounds of ammunition!

If he didn't before, Mr. Zimmerman now most certainly lives in a world wherein right and wrong, acceptable or otherwise are all just a blur. 

1) Bashar Al-Assad

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"We didn’t launch the war and we didn’t choose which kind of war because we didn’t choose it anyway. You have terrorists coming with very sophisticated armaments, nearly all kinds of armaments that they can carry with them and started killing people, destroying infrastructure, destroying public places, everything."

The United Nations finally came out and said what we were all thinking this past year: Bashar al-Assad has committed crimes against humanity. Stubbornly holding on to power for the past two years, he has ruthlessly killed tens of thousands of Syrians, forced millions out of their homes and into refugee camps, and pushed the delicate power balance of the Middle East to its breaking point. Despite flirtations with reform in the early 2000s, it has become pretty clear the President Al-Assad has no intentions of bringing Syria into an enlightened age of democracy. Not only has this conflict ruined (or ended) the lives of many Syrians but  has irrevocably destroyed beautiful world heritage sites, including but not limited to churches and mosques that can never be replaced. The ramifications of the Syrian Civil War will be felt for years to come, proving that Bashar Al-Assad is truly as horrible as his father was, and definitely the world's creepiest, most amoral ophthalmologist.

(Special Mention- NSA, Kanye West, Zimmerman's lawyer, these eight South African police officers, Aaron Hernandez)

Who are some people you feel should have been included in the countdown?


Leroy Jenkonius Monk said...

his is great!! the Yingluck thing is spot on lol

Travis Nemmer said...

Haha, thanks a lot! We're all glad you appreciated the article.

Look for more this winter break!

Anonymous said...

Good list!
I personally think the South African cops mentioned under 'special mentions' deserve to be high up on the list. Mido's murder was one of the most disturbing, inhumane thing I saw this year!