Doing something that genuinely shocks people has become increasingly difficult as time has worn on. Still, just like a cat expends the pent up energy from its instinctive need to hunt by chasing after nothing in particular at full speed around your studio apartment for hours at a time, people build up stockpiles of internal anger, eventually, must be released. That doesn't change just because there aren't any legitimate targets around.
In 2013, these six stories quenched the general public's insatiable thirst for misplaced outrage more than any others.
#6. Rolling Stone's Boston Marathon Bomber Cover
Do I have an opinion on the controversy surrounding Rolling Stone magazine putting Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on their cover? Sure, everyone did. If you'd like to hear mine, you can download it here:
For you "please explain what you're talking about" types out there, what you see above is Unpopular Opinion, a new podcast from Cracked.
"Doesn't Cracked already have a podcast?" Yes, sassy, we do, but here's the thing: Cracked is known for spilling its comedy onto a mostly fact-based canvas, like the recent feature article about the psychological dangers of giving people gifts, for example.
There's a whole other side of Cracked, though, where columnists such as myself and I'm not naming anyone else because I'm selfish get to say damn near anything without so much as linking to a source to back it up.
Unpopular Opinion is the podcast where we discuss that more opinionated side of Cracked. I'm the host, and that up there is the very first episode, so everything might sound terrible, but you should download it anyway! Especially if you want to hear me, my fellow Cracked workmates Robert Brockway and Robert Evans, and special guest Jeff May talk about the Rolling Stone controversy and more.
Download it now and listen while you read the rest of the article!
#5. Justin Bieber and Brazilian Prostitutes
Big news, everybody! Justin Bieber went to Brazil and banged a bunch of prostitutes! Well, one prostitute. And it turns out she wasn't really a prostitute, we all just assumed she was because, you know, what kind of chick would stoop so low as to sleep with Justin Bieber?
Fine, name one more, though.
Right, that's his former girlfriend, pop singer Selena Gomez, who quickly become one of the most vocal opponents of Justin's Brazilian sex march. She was quoted as saying that she feels "none of this bad behavior stuff would be happening" if the pair were still together.
Apparently she's the good decision maker.
If you ask me, she's missing the point: This whole trip to Brazil is an obvious sign that Justin Bieber misses Selena Gomez terribly. He can go anywhere and have pretty much any woman, but he opted for Brazil. Selena Gomez was born to a Mexican father and an Italian mother in Texas. If you put those three things on a sandwich, we'd probably call it a Brazil.
Justin Bieber chose that country to make one thing clear: "I love and miss Selena Gomez and want to ease my pain by sleeping with a string of women who look just like her, but also Mexico is way too scary right now, so I'm going to do it in Brazil instead."
That's not to say I'm completely without concern, though. My first question upon seeing this video ...
... was "Where in the hell is this kid's security?" Does he not have a detail of former secret service agents and Liam Neeson action movie co-stars on retainer to make sure any shenanigans like these are quelled before they even have a chance to start? I had to watch that video 17 times just to convince myself she wasn't making ransom demands.
So, to summarize, I'm not mad that Justin Bieber is banging Brazilians, prostitutes or otherwise. I just wish someone was watching over him while he does it, just to keep him safe.
#4. Spying on the German Chancellor
Spying is on everyone's mind these days. That's probably because the government is listening to and watching everything we do all the time. Sure, that's cause for concern, especially if you're saying things you wouldn't want the government to hear.
That doesn't mean we should get bent out of shape every time the feds have a listen to a conversation. Case in point: Remember when it came to light that the NSA had been tapping the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for years?
3D technology didn't just invent itself, you know!
While the majority of the anger came from Germany, naturally, the program didn't escape criticism in this country. Major news outlets like CNN dedicated entire opinion pieces to speaking out against the alleged invasion of privacy, and Senator John McCain went so far as to call on Obama to fire the NSA official responsible for the program.
Isn't spying on other countries what we want the NSA doing, though? I get the concerns about the government spying on its own citizens, but spying on allies and enemies alike is just how that shit works. Even McCain had to concede as much when he was struggling to find a way to make this seem like a problem:
"Friends spy on friends, we all know that, but there have to be certain boundaries ..."
"Like, no dick pics, for example!"
Fine, so what are those boundaries? Is McCain implying that, given the chance to listen in on another world leader, we should just pass in the name of common decency? He knows as well as anyone else that we wouldn't hire spies if we didn't want them to spy on people. In fact, if I were a betting man, my money would be on the fact that even McCain doesn't quite believe what he said in that quote. In this political landscape, saying that Obama didn't do anything wrong would be tantamount to treason.
If you're looking for something about this story to get angry about, that's probably a better place to start.