#2. The Worst People Want to Rule Over Us
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This year, Christmas came early to comedy writers when God opened our eyes to the roly-polyiest cautionary tale who ever graduated from the Chris Farley School of Excess. His name, as you probably know, is Rob Ford, and he's the best thing to happen to politics since alternate universe William Howard Taft got stuck in the White House tub. (Real world Taft probably never got stuck in a tub. Buy the Cracked De-Textbook.)
While alcoholism, obesity, crack use, complexions that lend themselves to crazy red faces, and obesity again aren't inherently hilarious on their own, good Lord, they're funny when you bundle them up into one politician who insists on staying on the job after common sense and the entire country of Canada suggest that he do the opposite. If your behavior is so egregiously awful that it would get you fired from the night shift at Whataburger, you might not want to plan on running a major metropolitan area anymore.
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Holy crap, we looked 10 years in the future and found Rob Ford!
To be fair, Ford wasn't the only politician to cross the line from incompetency to indecency this year. Along with Mayor McGreasy, we can look to a whole slew of guys who couldn't maintain a kindergarten level of ethics in office. Anthony Weiner was caught sending dirty texts again, even after he was trying to make a comeback from his 2011 dirty text scandal. The Mayor of San Diego was forced to resign after former employees accused him of sexual harassment. (He was convicted.) The former head of the Los Angeles Republican Party was arrested for sexting a 16-year-old girl. U.S. congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was convicted of using $750,000 in campaign funds to buy himself Rolexes, one of Michael Jackson's fedoras, an Eddie van Halen guitar, and trips to Build-a-Bear workshop. BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP. At least Ford got some crack out of the deal. Jackson went home to a horror all the crack in the world couldn't fix.
With each resignation, or, as in the case of Ford, anti-resignation, we look at these guys and ask ourselves, "Is this really the best we've got? Crackheads who use campaign money to buy teddy bears? This is who we trust with the governance now? Him? OK. Welp, if you say so." (Shakes head. Looks up immigration laws to Canada. Remembers that's where Ford is. Quits life.)
Why It Was Old News:
The exact same traits that propel pricks into positions of leadership are the characteristics that compel them to send pictures of their erect genitals to women and use campaign funds to buy Michael Jackson's fedora. In other words, the same people who say to themselves "I should rule over these people" are also saying "That crack/vagina looks like it needs some lovin', and I'm just the man to do it."
Way back in the olden days of 1998, psychologists Robert Hill and Gregory Yousey administered a test called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to random professionals in four different fields: university professors, clergy, politicians, and librarians. Remember, 1998 was the year the president of the United States got caught putting his underwear parts in a 22-year-old's mouth parts.
Before hitting the inevitable conclusions of the study, we should know what psychologists mean by "narcissist." It's not just someone who keeps posting selfies on your Facebook timeline. Technically, a narcissist has a "need for admiration ... exaggerated self-importance, a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance, envy, entitlement, exploitiveness, limited empathy, and arrogance." This is beyond "please notice how pretty I am," it's "I deserve to be on top." Obviously, of these four specific professions, the politicians displayed the most narcissistic traits. There's a caveat, though -- they were also the least likely to respond to the survey in the first place. Because they're so important and busy.
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People like LBJ, JFK, Richard Nixon, Rob Ford, and Anthony Weiner aren't like us. They see the world through a lens that automatically turns them into douches, and not the good kind that cleans your insides out. The bad kind that gives you infections down there. But that narcissism is actually what makes them better at their jobs, provided they don't screw it all up. Experts think that leaders who display higher levels of grandiose narcissism perform higher in crisis management, persuasiveness, and keeping their agenda on the table. The big news wasn't that more politicians got caught with their pants down, it's that they're all fighting their instincts to not meet in one room and have a coke-fueled orgy as we speak.
#1. Humanity Is (Always) Going in the Right Direction
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In a world where George Zimmerman is out there pulling his gat on whoever looks at him funny and Trayvon Martin isn't a living person anymore, it's only natural to get caught up in the worst the world has to offer. Then when something good happens, we're knocked off our feet. This year, a single man refocused the entire mission of one of history's most influential institutions. A Pakistani teenage girl was recognized for her constant fight to educate Muslim girls, even after getting shot in the head for her advocacy. And the Supreme Court struck down the section of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevents gay married couples from getting federal benefits. So, to recap: The future of two of the world's most conservative religions are in progressive hands, and the United States government is tired of fighting gays for their constitutional rights. Are you excited? Good. Should you be surprised? No.
Why It Was Old News:
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History always punishes conservatives, not because conservatives are bad or wrong, but because they are, by definition, stuck. If you're standing still while the world is moving, you're going to get left behind.
Now remember, the word "conservative" isn't just a political term. If you want something to stay the same, whether we're talking about your religion, your music choices, or your hairline, you're conservative in that respect. Civilizations that turn inward and reject progress fall behind every time. Before Europe even figured out how boats work, China was already navigating their way to the Middle East and Africa. They should have been the ones who colonized the world -- except around the year 1500, the Chinese decided "we're good here" and ceased all exploration to the outside world. While European powers were clamoring all over each other to discover/take over different parts of the globe, China officially banned all sea travel. By the time European countries got their sights on China a few hundred years later, the technology gap was too wide to cross. Europe won.
The exact same thing happened in Japan. Beginning in 1633, Japan went into isolation mode: no one could come in and no one could leave. Two hundred years later, England had the firepower and technology to force their way in to get access to that delicious Japanese trade money. In both cases, both cultures started out ahead, then shut in on themselves for whatever reason, therefore missing every opportunity to see new things, experiment, and improve on others' ideas, or move forward in any way. They were conservative. And they got stuck.
Thank God Tom Cruise came along to unstick them.
Whether you're talking about weapon technology or values, the same holds true. Hunkering down and refusing to budge leaves you in the past, and the best example of that is Jesus Christ himself. His whole mantra was "You heard it said like this _______. I SAY ________." He was like FDR bringing a New Deal to the Jews. And if there's anyone we can say history has been kind to, it's that liberal rabble-rouser. (Jesus. And on second thought, FDR. Both.)
So don't be surprised if the next generation of Christian conservative leadership is a lot less conservative than you'd expect, or if the Tea Party slowly fades away in the next few election cycles, or our grandkids never quite understand what the big deal with gay marriage was.
Kristi is a senior editor with Cracked, and she contributed to the De-Textbook. Buy it today!
Related Reading: These are the biggest news stories of 2013. Now read the stupidest news stories of 2013. Greeks aren't giving themselves HIV to get healthcare and the world's first robot suicide was just a malfunctioning Roomba. Worry not friends, we've got plenty more where those came from.
As 2013 draws to a close, be sure to check out Cracked's year in review because, well, we know you don't remember it half as well as you think.