The year began with birds dropping out of the sky and ended with dictators heading into the ground. Bookended by the Aflockalypse and Kim Jong-il’s death, 2011 gave us everything: Osama. Occupy. Tsunami. Royal Wedding. Jobs. Egypt. Arab Spring. Phone Hacking. Norway. Gadhafi. Sandusky. Weiner. Sheen. Ted Williams. Cain. Casey Anthony. And much more. All in one wild year.
Yet very few of those subjects ranked among the top 10 most trafficked stories on HyperVocal this year. So what did make the list of people, places and offbeat oddities you most liked to read about in 2011? Take a look at the list below, and click each title to read the corresponding posts.
At the University of California at Davis in mid-November, Lt. John Pike casually pepper sprayed a line of nonviolent seated students who clearly posed no threat. He was oblivious to all the other students armed with smartphones taking pictures and uploading the travesty for the world to see.
No sooner had the videos begun circulating around the Internet did a Tumblr pop up with Lt. Pike’s image Photoshop’d into people and things throughout history. It also happens to be the most pleasurable Photoshop meme since strutting Leonardo DiCaprio and prancing Michael Cera in 2010.
To celebrate his rock band’s 40th anniversary, Queen drummer Roger Taylor offered singers across North America the chance to upload a video to QueenExtravaganza for a chance to ditch their day job and become a rock star. One entrant, Christian rock band Downhere lead singer Marc Martel, submitted a video of himself singing “Somebody to Love.” This dude’s so good he can be accused of lip syncing.
It used to be easy. It used to be you could break-up with your honey in Burger King — have an argument with her and complain she doesn’t do the dishes — and not worry about some guy giving it the Al Michaels play-by-play over Twitter for the entire world to experience. (Then again, it used to be that women and black people couldn’t even vote, so you take the bad with the good when it comes to measuring progress.) Still, check out this insanity from Andy Boyle, which he’s titled “The Restaurant of Broken Dreams.” It’s “a study in marriage disintegration, with anthropological data collected in the field.”
Back in 2004, around the time of Mean Girls, if Lindsay Lohan announced she was posing for Playboy, the spread was already shot and it was just a matter of time before her naked body would be revealed to all the horny dudes in the world, it would have been the biggest story in the country. Instead, it turned out to be just our 7th highest-trafficked nonstory — hey, at least she beat out ScarJo.
You may have seen this video of a young boy rapping on a local Christian channel. It had, after all, been viewed more than 400,000 times a week after it was uploaded to YouTube (and 1.7 million times as of this writing). The young boy, Michael Clancy, who was 10 at the time the video was shot in 1992, is now a 29-year-old lawyer living in Phoenix, AZ. We got in touch with Clancy to see what it’s like being the center of a viral video storm and whether or not he’s laughing, too. Read it here.
Everyone loves a good measurement and expectation story, and Larry Harris Jr’s was no exception. “Aside from the fact that far too many men are insecure about the size of their penis, Lawrence also found that women have totally unrealistic penis size expectations,” he wrote. “As exhibited in the chart below, most women would describe a penis as ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ if it is 7.25 – 8.25 inches in length, and 6.25 – 6.5 inches in girth. However, the average penis is 5.5 – 6.3 inches long and 4.7 – 5.1 inches in girth. Most women’s ‘ideal’ penis is longer and wider than 98 percent of all men.”
You almost have to feel for high-school and college kids. It used to be you were allowed to mess up. You were allowed to say the wrong thing, make the wrong call, be the idiot you’re pretty much supposed to be at 15, at 19, at 21 even. Everyone’s expected to play the game now. Every little screw-up is magnified, every bad decision begets national comment. For chrissakes, it’s gotten so bad that even people who would defend you won’t do so because then they would be in the crosshairs for such a defense. So two USC kids got caught fornicating on the roof of a building this weekend. So what?
It’s clear why these photos went viral. It’s entirely unclear why some people are freaking out about this like they were found with a weapons cache. The “all screw-ups is national” genie will never go back in the bottle, but it’s high time we remember that young people still like to get drunk and screw.
“A search of Ms. Mackaliunas by a doctor at Community Medical Center turned up 54 bags of heroin, 31 empty bags used to package heroin, 8.5 prescription pills and $51.22.” Look at that list again. That’s 54 bags of heroin, 31 empty bags used to package heroin, 8.5 prescription pills and $51.22. Found. Not hidden on her person. Hidden inside her vagina. At this point, we turn it over to Larry David:
Evan Emory, a musician who posts his material on YouTube, uploaded a video that almost got him 20 years in prison. Yes, you read that correctly. One totally harmless video. Twenty years in prison.
The 21-year-old Emory posted a video of himself on YouTube singing a sexually explicit song to elementary school students. Before you take the side of law enforcement, it’s not as raunchy and inappropriate as it sounds. The video was only edited to make it appear as if young children were in the classroom, even though they weren’t. Emory posted two disclaimers on the video that elementary school students were not exposed to the explicit lyrics. He was threatened with one count of manufacturing child sexual abusive material. As part of a plea agreement, he ended up doing 60 days in jail. YES, THAT’S SIXTY DAYS IN JAIL FOR WHAT SOME PEOPLE CAN’T SEE AS JUST A BAD JOKE.
The most widespread critique of the #OccupyWallSt movement is that the loose coalition of protesters doesn’t seem to have a unifying message (and, okay, that some of them are dressing like zombies). But when given an honest chance to voice the goals and origins of the protests, that critique falls flat.
Here, in an interview shot for Greta van Susteren’s Fox News show, occupier Jesse LaGreca coherently lays out some reasons for the growing movement. You might be shocked to learn that this interview did not make it onto Fox News’ air. Shocked! Thankfully, the Occupy Wall St. media team sent the link to the NY Observer, who made it public for the world to see.
Gee, it’s hard to imagine why the news organization that gave birth to the Tea Party, which incubated the “grassroots” movement, didn’t want to air this footage.
And let’s end this post with a look at what really happened in 2011:
CHECK OUT MORE RECAPS OF 2011:
• 2011: Shook Us All Year Long
• Top 10 Stories Missing from All the Top 10 Lists
• 2011: The Year Beyond Words
• And the 2011 Mother of the Year Is…
• 2011 Cinescape: The Year in Movies
• And TIME’s “Person of the Year” Is…