6 Reasons 2013 Was the Year 'Revolution' Lost All Meaning
"Revolution" is one of those words we used to save mostly for talking about the achievements of men in poufy white wigs. Not today. We have tablet revolutions and smartphone revolutions and health care revolutions and even gluten-free revolutions. And you know what? None of those are the dumbest thing to be declared a "revolution" in 2013.
Any chance we can get those poufy white wigs back?
At this point, I'd settle for Whigs.
Russell Brand Damns the Man
It all started when the New Statesman, a British magazine, asked Russell Brand to edit an issue on the subject of revolution. If it seems odd that a century-old political journal would give a stand-up comedian run of a whole issue, keep in mind that the New Statesman only sees around 3.8 million views a year. Russell Brand beats that in his first page of YouTube clips.
The cover is based on the flying light bulb monsters that attack Brand whenever he cuts his hair.
Everybody won. Russell Brand got his foray into magazine journalism, and the New Statesman raked in a few extra sweet, coke-stained Internet dollars. And no one outside of England would have ever cared if it weren't for an interview Brand did with Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman. Listen to it here if you'd like Russell Brand's explanation for why voting is useless and wealth disparity is real bad, you guys. Or you could watch South Park's "Douche and Turd" episode and hear the same basic argument.
So, a comedian bitched about rich people and the shortcomings of democracy. Despite that sentence working as the summary for about 98 percent of all stand-up routines in history, the Internet took Russell Brand's little rant as a straight-up "call for revolution." Those aren't my words either -- that's how NPR described the interview. Gawker, meanwhile, branded Brand the new Lenin right then and there:
Although with some white dye he'd make a passable Washington.
The Huffington Post even thought this polite interview between two well-dressed wealthy people might be revolutionary kindling on par with Russia's Bloody Sunday massacre.
I'm not sure if the word "Epic" or the word "Revolution" should be more embarrassed here.
Here's the weird part: When asked point blank in that interview if he's calling for revolution, Brand claims instead that he's calling for "change." I'd turn that last line into a joke about Brand's well-known love for the homeless, but I won't. Being nice to hobos is cool, and this whole stupid media circus isn't even Russell Brand's fault. It all comes down to the fact that shitty journalists see the word "revolution" as a cheat code for traffic. And "Russell Brand Says Revolution Might Happen Someday, Maybe" doesn't look nearly as catchy in your Facebook feed as this:
I'm pretty sure he's not allowed to own a motorcycle or a diary.
The Plastic Gun
3D printing is one of those rare technological developments that might actually deserve the word "revolutionary." Someday. Right now it's less like the replicators from Star Trek and more of a toy for rich nerds. But if you paid attention to the news this year, you'd know that 3D printers aren't just making pizzas and bootleg toys. They're also printing up instruments of mass murder.
It's clearly past time to ban plastic.
Defense Distributed (a bunch of nerds with an $8,000 3D printer) successfully tested the world's first plastic gun back in May. Journalists from the Daily Dot declared this the start of a 3D revolution. Russia Times and NBC concurred: Plastic guns are a "revolution."
The revolution will ... mostly sit in comfy chairs and play around with laptops.
This is one of those stories that actually does sound pretty important when you just skim the details. Just think of the chaos that would result from some madman sneaking a plastic gun past airport security or into a courtroom. Sure, the Liberator only holds one tiny .380 bullet at a time, but that's enough to kill one person at least.
And at most, because reloading the Liberator requires the use of a goddamn hammer. And that terrifying "all plastic" construction makes it prone to exploding in the operator's hands.
Above: The only firearm capable of stopping a rampage all on its own.
But hey! People building their own deadly guns without the government's knowledge sure qualifies as "revolutionary." That kind of thing wasn't possible until ... wait, what's that, me from 2009? Home-made guns are already legal under federal law?
Some guy made this from trash, and it holds way more than one bullet.
Well shit. But surely home-made plastic guns are only possible in our modern age of 3D pri-
I stand corrected, past me.
Back in August, famed billionaire CEO/Bond villain Elon Musk announced plans to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco via solar powered super train. The Hyperloop would supposedly travel at twice the speed of a jet plane while somehow costing a tenth of the price of a boring ol' normal train. Hobos across California rejoiced, and journalists worldwide ejaculated their favorite R-word across the Internet's willing face:
Journalism, like bukakke, is all about money shots.
Even the Telegraph, normally British journalism's sober counterpart to the Daily Mail's hamster-fucking craziness, couldn't help themselves:
So why isn't this future train a revolutionary development? Elon Musk isn't just some loon. His Tesla roadster is the best thing humans have ever slapped wheels on. And a one-hour commute to San Francisco would allow millions of Los Angelinos to satisfy their stoned cravings for sourdough bread without further shitting up California's highways. It sounds great.
Too bad it'll never, ever happen. The Hyperloop needs a perfectly straight, elevated track built on huge pylons that would cost roughly 10 times as much as Musk predicts. He also overlooked a few minor issues, like how to stop it from bursting into flames. And the whole "safer than flying" thing only holds up if no earthquake, terrorist attack, or computer glitch stops one of the passenger pods. See, the Hyperloop only has one track, and pods would depart as often as every 30 seconds.
But the biggest mark against the Hyperloop's odds of ever existing comes from its own inventor. Elon Musk wishes he'd never mentioned the damn thing, because Tesla, SpaceX, and (probable) supervillainy don't leave much time for a gritty reboot of my favorite Simpsons episode.
Plus, I'm pretty sure Musk already has three huge bags of money.
The Tea Party's Millionish Man March
Back in May, this poll came out showing that 29 percent of Americans think an armed revolution might be necessary in the next few years. That number jumps to 44 percent when you narrow it to just Republicans. Sure, we're not in full-on guillotine or tea-dumping mode yet, but clearly a lot of people think America's just one or two Democrats away from straight-up fascism.
Fascism, seen here recreating a beloved Monty Python sketch.
The Reclaim America Now coalition looked at those numbers, then looked at Occupy Wall Street and figured a non-violent revolution against Obama might really pick up steam. Noted crazy person Larry Klayman called for millions of patriots to assemble in front of the White House on November 19 and demand the president's resignation. Because, while Obama is TOTALLY a tyrant, he's apparently the sort of tyrant who'd bow to the demands of a bunch of unarmed dissidents.
Only about 200 people showed up, but they vowed to camp out in front of the White House until the job was done. And then they quit, because Rascal batteries don't last forever and the Capitol Lawn is notably bereft of Cracker Barrels. Yes, the right-wing bizarro world version of Occupy had less follow-through than a bunch of jobless hippies.
"...and ends on November 20."
The Marijuana Revolution
2013 has been a pretty great year for pot smoking worldwide. We've got a marijuana revolution brewing in England:
And Uruguay legalized pot earlier this year, marking the start of both a "global marijuana revolution" and the first time Americans have given one chain-smoking fuck about Uruguay.
No. But I'll bet they're on the cusp of a tourism revolution.
Even weed-hating Forbes referred to the wave of legalization in Washington and Colorado as a revolution. But the people calling pot's few regional victories a "revolution" are forgetting that legalization in two states had no significant impact on total national arrest rates for marijuana. Texas must have decided to pick up the slack, or something.
Remember when Portland, Maine, legalized pot? That didn't change Maine's state laws, and cops can still arrest Porlandees for weed. The closest thing we had to a "marijuana revolution" this year isn't something smokers would welcome. Behold the Nasal Ranger, a device that can pick up the odor of weed at a distance, rendering even your naggest of champas useless.
Just hang a dead skunk out in front of your house every day. Camouflage, bitches.
The Miley Cyrus Revolution
2013's been either the best or the worst year on record for Miley's publicist. Which term you use depends on whether you consider that twerking thing a brilliantly successful attention grab or a terrible slide into madness. Either way, Miley Cyrus is a goddamn revolution. Read Forbes and she's a branding revolution.
Forbes shows up a lot on this list. That's because they're fucking terrible.
And yet I almost never see women out in public humping giant foam fingers.
What everyone's sure of is there's something revolutionary about this girl, because everyone's talking about her, and "revolution" is a word we've decided means "something we're all suddenly SUPER interested in." She obviously can't be just another famous person who's changed her image, because then we'd all be shallow dicks for obsessing over her.
MTV declared Miley herself a revolution, citing twerking as her Declaration of Independence. Because a teen pop star breaking bad is revolutionary, and not something nearly 100 percent of them do.
That whole "not wearing panties in the back of a limo" thing was, what, Britney's Bill of Rights?
Robert Evans is Cracked's head of Dick Joke Journalism. He also manages the article captions and heads up the workshop moderator team. If you'd like to tell him a story or give him lots of money, he can be reached here.
Related Reading: OK, so all these revolutions are dumb as hell. But here's a list of revolutions that created the modern world. If utterly failed revolutions are more your milieu, read about the disastrous NYU food court occupation. Close out your studies with a look at revolutionary war myths everyone believes.