If it bleeds it leads, and if it’s profoundly insignificant it often leads too. Each year, silly little things undeserving of much attention blow up into nationwide stories. Last year, for example, Lady Gaga’s middle finger at a Mets game received wall-to-wall coverage for days. When we wrote about the Gaga silliness and other major-minor stories last year, we wrote: “Despite their insignificance, these stories can’t help but become significant. By ‘significant,’ we mean that the sheer magnitude of coverage forces people to pay attention, even when they know better.” Join us for this year’s magical mystery nonsense tour.
10. The Apocalypse (Both Of Them)
Family Radio‘s resident nutjob Harold Camping is batting 0-2 this year in a game that ends if he’s ever right. Camping has predicted twice this year that the world would end: The Rapture was supposed to take place in May, he said, but when that didn’t happen, the 89-year-old wackadoodle said he was off by a few months and the world would end in October. That didn’t happen either. We think what Harold meant to say is that one day the world will end and that proclamations by men who makes millions of dollars off doomsday-predicting businesses are basically bull****.
9. Donald Trump For President
The Donald never wanted all of the United States and the world’s problems, though he had people going for a while. He just wanted the attention. Because the only thing Trump loves more than attention is Donald Trump.
8. The McRib’s “Return”
All you McRib lovers are getting played. There is no shortage on the McRib’s roughly 70 ingredients. McDonald’s has created an artificial scarcity to create a buzz and continue an interest that would wane if it were available all the time. Maybe McRibs are so delicious that McDonald’s is worried that if this mysterious sandwich is offered all the time, customers will live off them and die of heart failure.
Listen, we loved planking at much as the next group of bloggers, but once mainstream news outlets began running several-minute reports on the possibly fatal “latest craze online,” it lost its luster. Death by overexposure. The takeaway here is, local news broadcasts should not be allowed to cover internet fads, particularly those based on resurgences of decade-old inventions of Tom Green, because that’s how cool things die.
6. Zodiac Signs Did Not Change
The internet freaked out in January because “due to changes in the Earth’s alignment the dates of many zodiac signs have changed.” And there was supposedly a 13th Zodiac sign: Ophiuchus. All of which would be quite troubling for people with Zodiac tattoos. However, folks were whipped into a frenzy for no reason, because, put simply, Zodiac signs did not change for anyone in the West. The next day, horoscope readers quietly returned to selectively believing things in their daily forecasts.
5. Lindsay Lohan–Miscellaneous
4. Rebecca Black’s “Friday”
The So Bad It’s Awesome Hall of Fame welcomed Rebecca Black in March after the video for her manufactured song “Friday” went viral. It landed her multiple appearances on talk shows and headlines for days when, really, people were just mocking the musical atrocity. Did anyone ever figure out why that random dude was driving in his car rapping about R.B. Rebecca Black?
3. Chris Brown Loses It On “Good Morning America”
In March, Chris Brown acted childish at his “Good Morning America” appearance when he stormed off set after Robin Roberts asked him questions about the 2009 Rihanna altercation. He had an outburst in his green room afterward. But that was it: A performer with a nose for trouble had a temper tantrum; what it became was a several-day mainstream rehashing of the Rihanna incident.
2. Kim Kardashian’s 72-Day Marriage
Oh, Kim Kardashian. We were certain that your multimillion dollar “Fairy-Tale Wedding” to Kris Humphries would produce a marriage that lasted…longer than 72 days. We had six to seven months in the divorce pool! Nevertheless, Kim’s profits will endure, although she denies making money from the wedding because “she would never marry for a TV show, for money, for anything like that.” Because Kim would never do anything just to be on camera or for money…
1. Charlie Sheen Mania
Remember the time when important things were happening in the world and ABC’s “20/20″ did a special one hour interview with Charlie Sheen who looked like he hadn’t slept since 2003? Winning. Tiger Blood. “Fastest Time to Reach 1 Million Followers” Guinness World Record. The whole spectacle following Sheen’s firing from CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” was amusing and highly meme-able (we got in on it too), but let’s face it: It was insignificant.
+ Check out all of our Best of 2011 coverage