Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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50 real-life heroes who won the Internet in 2013 (Part II)

2013 is a year that happened. Throughout that year, people not named Kanye West or Miley Cyrus occasionally broke the Internet/proved their inherent value by rising above the typical vitriol spewed out by everyone with a mobile device. In case you missed it, check out our true American heroes who won the Internet Part I here.

50 real-life heroes who won the Internet in 2013 (Part II)

FILE - This May 6, 2013 file photo shows neighbor Charles Ramsey speaking to media near the home where missing women Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were rescued in Cleveland. Ramsey lived next door to where Ariel Castro is alleged to have kept the women in his makeshift prison until Monday afternoon, when Ramsey happened to be home and heard Amanda Berry´s scream. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Scott Shaw) MANDATORY CREDIT CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
FILE - This May 6, 2013 file photo shows neighbor Charles Ramsey speaking to media near the home where missing women Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were rescued in Cleveland. Ramsey lived next door to where Ariel Castro is alleged to have kept the women in his makeshift prison until Monday afternoon, when Ramsey happened to be home and heard Amanda Berry's scream. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Scott Shaw) MANDATORY CREDIT CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER ASSOCIATED PRESS

2013 is a year that happened. Throughout that year, people not named Kanye West or Miley Cyrus occasionally broke the Internet/proved their inherent value by rising above the typical vitriol spewed out by everyone with a mobile device. In case you missed it, check out our true American heroes who won the Internet Part I, here.

If you're already caught up, please take a few minutes to check out the second half of our entirely subjective list and be sure to leave your inevitable, probably over-dramatic reactions in the comments section so I know exactly how to beat myself up over the holidays. Thanks in advance, you guys.

25. #CrunkBear, Twerk Enthusiast/Former High School Math Teacher

Carly McKinney, better known to the world as CrunkBear, triumphantly held herself up with her arms and put her feet on the walls to shake dat a** in a photo she'd later tweet to Diplo. The 23-year-old lost her job as a math teacher at Colorado's Overland High School after Diplo retweeted the photo, her students and administrators found out about her Twitter feed, and realized that she had sent messages calling one student "jailbait" and talking about the weed she had stashed in her car... on school grounds.

Thus, #FreeCrunkBear was formed.

Do I own a #FreeCrunkBear T-shirt? I most certainly do.

24. Kyle Ayers, Guy Who Live-Tweeted the #Rooftop Breakup

On a chilly night in mid November, comedian Kyle Ayers found himself on the roof of his Brooklyn apartment building as a couple squawked at each other in close proximity, yelling about their living situation and whether or not they should, in fact, order pizza. Ayers, a true American hero, took to the Twitters to live-tweet the demise of the couple arguing about love on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Of course, that led to dramatic readings and the cute/depressing re-enactment posted above. You did the Internet proud, Mr. Ayers.

23. People Who Wrote Awesome Craigslist Missed Connections

Typically reserved for people creeping on women they randomly encountered in public settings, the "Missed Connections" section of Craigslist occasionally offered a brief moment of beauty among the usual male gaze bullsh** and invasive fantasizing about people simply trying to buy their groceries. One such instance was when a young woman in Minnesota posted a "Missed Connection" for a man that verbally harassed her from his truck.

More uplifting stories include the poetic musings of a man admiring a woman on the train as eternity speeds by and the tale of a decades-old one night stand on Thanksgiving Eve in Manhattan. Like little vignettes destined to be in a Richard Curtis film, allow these short, maybe (probably not) true stories to warm your heart for the holidays.

22. Rufus Starlight and Buddy Paris, Guys Who Made Epic '80s Music Video Wedding Toast

When asked to toast their brother at his wedding, Rufus and Buddy opted for a less conventional form of speech and created an epic, '80s-style music video to send him off into marriage.

21. Sparky Sweets, PhD.

Ain't nobody learnin' more kids 'bout classic literature than Sparky Sweets, PhD, the genius behind the viral sensation, "Thug Notes." Basically, Sweets knows how to talk to them young bulls 'bout Atticus Finch and Jay Gatsby, without complicating the themes from their books with big words. Who needs to read Dostoyevsky when Sparky Sweets breaks it down so poetically?

20. Sad Dads at One Direction Concerts

In 2013, the saddest dads to ever sad were the guys who took their daughters to One Direction concerts. That kind of personal sacrifice makes these guys true American heroes, for sure. I mean, have you heard that new single? These men are saints.

19. Kid President, Motivational Speaker

If you ever catch yourself feeling down, please resort back to this inspirational message from Kid President and get back to finding your Space Jam. /watches video. I'm going to go back to school! I should call my dad! I'm going to take that trip to London I've always talked about! I should probably start by wiping the muffin crumbs off of my desk, maybe.

18. Andrew Mason, Former Groupon CEO

In March, Groupon fired its CEO Andrew Mason. Instead of losing it and melting down or cussing at customers through the intercom system, Mason drafted a wonderfully-worded letter to the employees at Groupon.

"After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family," he started "Just kidding - I was fired today."

Over the next few paragraphs, Mason complimented the dedication and passion exhibited by his former employees, thanked them for his service, offered up a lovely Battletoads joke, and dropped the mic to finish the best CEO exit of 2013.

17. Boogie Butts, the Chocolate Lab That Got Lost and Ran a Half Marathon

This extraordinary, 100-pound chocolate lab slipped off his leash and escaped his owner, Jerry Butts on a Friday in October. Boogie wasn't lost for long, though, because he showed up in Evansville on Saturday morning and started running with folks trying to finish a half marathon. Runners say they first saw Boogie right near the start of the race and the dog crossed the line with an official time of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Sadly, though, Boogie has been named a true American hero in memoriam, because he passed away just a week after finishing the race.

16. Matt Labrum, the HS Football Coach Who Suspended His Whole Team for Bullying

Some of the players on Utah's Union High School football team anonymously bullied a classmate on Ask.fm. Head coach Matt Labrum heard about the bullying, but wasn't able to ascertain which players were behind the online comments, so he suspended the entire team, insisting that they participate in community service initiatives and attend study halls instead of practices. Then, he made them all memorize a quote to earn their jerseys back.

"Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it, piece-by-piece—by thought, by choice, courage, and determination."

15. Blake Wilson, BatDad

Not the hero Vine deserves, but the one it needed in 2013, BatDad rose from the mundane existence of suburban America to delight the Internet with glimpses into the life a man leading a double life as a father of four/caped crusader fighting for justice for parents everywhere.

14. Marina V. Shifrin, Kanye Dance Video Quitter

Quitting your job isn't cool. You know what's cool? Quitting your job by filming yourself dancing to Kanye all over your empty office, editing it into a video, and going viral. Can't. Stop. Watching. This. Video.

13. Captain Mike of the Good Ship Netflix

Customer service representatives are demonic beings sent to this plane of existence to punish humanity for all of its materialism and greed. This is undisputed fact. So, when someone like Captain Mike of the Good Ship Netflix comes along to help fix the temporal loop in an episode of Parks & Recreation, humankind can rejoice knowing that such helpful, honorable people occupy this realm, too.

12. Joanna Rohrback, The Prancercise Lady

Just as Americans were beginning to worry that their summer workout plans wouldn't have them squeezing into skimpy swimwear any time soon, along comes Joanna Rohrback with the exercise craze that took over the nation. Once the country caught wind of Rohrback's "springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait and is ideally induced by elation," all bets were off.

11. People Who Didn't Try to Go Viral With Their Marriage Proposals

Let's all raise a glass to everyone who proposed like a normal person in 2013, instead of creating some over-hyped, insufferable, tired video meant to broadcast one of the most personal moments in a person's life to everyone with a smartphone and three minutes to kill in a waiting room, somewhere. Good on you guys. The Internet thanks you.

10. Anthony C. Ferrant, Director, Sharknado

This is the actual description of Sharknado offered on IMDB:

When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature's deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace.

It stars Tara Reid and features a scene in which a guy cuts his way out of a shark's stomach with a chainsaw. Thank you, sir, for being the intrepid Internet champion the world thirsted for. We accept, in advance, your apology for all of the crappy spinoffs and sequels your viral sensation has and will spawn into being.

For those who missed the boat (sorry), you can read up on everything you need to know about Sharknado here.

9. Chris Cox, Furlough Lawn Mower Guy

South Carolina's Chris Cox found his calling when the United States government shut down in the fall of 2013. Nearly a million federal employees were sent home to twiddle their thumbs and watch Family Feud as the country shuttered its parks and monuments. Cox, though, won the Internet when he assumed his alter ego, Furlough Lawn Mower Guy. Armed with a lawn mower and the state flag of South Carolina, Cox cut the grass at the Lincoln Memorial, much to the delight of everyone on Twitter.

 

 

8. Kent Hendrix, Mormon Bishop With a Samurai Sword

True American hero Kent Hendrix came to the rescue of his 35-year-old neighbor earlier this year when she was being attacked outside of his home. Hendrix, a 47-year-old Mormon bishop, grabbed his trusty 29-inch samurai sword and chased his neighbor's attacker down the street. More than that, though, Hendrix proved to be entertaining as all hell, offering up hilarious quotes in the aftermath of the sword fiasco.

"He's probably never had anyone draw a sword on him before."
"I yelled at him, 'I've got your DNA and I've got your license plate: You are so done.'"
"Some people have bats they go to. I have my sword."

7. HMV Social Media Team

When London-based group HMV informed 190 of its employees that they were out of jobs, they forgot to reclaim hold of the company's social media accounts. Fortunately for the rest of us, one courageous (former) employee still had control of the accounts and took pleasure in live-tweeting the mass firing, divulging that the accounts had been established by an unpaid intern and sarcastically tweeting "live from HR where we're all being fired! Exciting!!"

6. Stephen B. Kaplitt, Esquire

Stephen B. Kaplitt is the attorney representing a Mr. Jake Freivald. This past summer, Freivald received a cease-and-desist letter from the attorney representing West Orange Township, New Jersey, regarding the website westorange.info. Kaplitt's response on behalf of his client is exactly the type of lawyering that makes a true American hero. He joked about the letter's laughable attempt to bully Freivald for his political views and ripped the township a new one while mocking the appearance of his own client's website.

 

5. Scott Simon, NPR Host Who Live-Tweeted His Mother's Death

 

 

Back in July, the host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday program, Scott Simon, was in a Chicago hospital's ICU saying goodbye to his mother and sharing the experience with his followers on Twitter. He was there to comfort her at the end and the fact that he thought enough of the moment to use it as a means of advising or guiding complete strangers on the Internet is admirable, if not inspiring.

4. Patricia Lockwood, Author of the "Rape Joke" Poem

Speaking of sharing intimate details of your life with strangers in an effort to improve humanity, Patricia Lockwood wrote about her rape for The Awl back in July. "Rape Joke" is a repetitive and visceral poem that recounts the harrowing details of Lockwood's rape. It certainly won't eradicate sexual assault from this realm of existence and it may not affect everyone in the same way, but Lockwood's bravery persists through her art and, if it arms one single person with the strength to carry on after an assault or is able to prevent one assault from occurring by instilling a sense of responsibility and humanity in someone otherwise capable of committing such a heinous act, then Lockwood is a greater hero than you or I.

3. Rebecca Martinson, Author of That Crazy Sorority Email

What started out as a simple plea for her Delta Gamma sisters to be more social quickly snowballed into the single most terrifying, in-house Greek email to make it to the Internet this year. The profanity-latent correspondence seemed to traverse the Internet in a matter of seconds, prompting a flurry of PR responses from Martinson's school and sorority and, of course, this incredibly NSFW dramatic reading from Boardwalk Empire actor Michael Shannon. Nine months later and you'll still laugh until you cry watching Shannon spew Martinson's vitriol into being.

2. Charles Ramsey, Good Samaritan/McDonald's Fan

Charles Ramsey was the actual true American hero who leaped into action in the midst of enjoying his delicious McDonald's meal to help Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight escape from the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, where they'd been held captive for a decade.

Ramsey didn't stop there, though. Homeboy proceeded to break the Internet with his hilarious interview with a local reporter and followed that performance up with a wonderful interview with Anderson Cooper and, of course, an autotune song from The Gregory Brothers. Thanks for being you, Mr. Ramsey.

 

1. Miles Scott, Batkid

Is it any surprise that Batkid owns the top spot, here? He saved San Francisco's beloved mascot, Lou Seal, rescued a woman strapped to the train tracks, stopped the Riddler from robbing a bank, and captured the Penguin all in a day's work. Plus, he collectively raised the morale of a major American city. People used vacation days and fought traffic to head into San Fran just to catch a glimpse of this true American hero in action.

The city spent $105,000 to make little Miles Scott's dream come true and the rest of the country pretended to be working while we livestreamed the action from our cubicles. That fateful Friday afternoon in November, Batkid won the Internet. But, really, he did more than just entertain us for a few hours while we were fantasizing about the weekend. He reminded us that the world—and the Internet, to boot—is a wonderful place, after all.

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A blog tuned-in to what's happening on the Internet. Twitter. Homeland. Cat videos. Odd local stories. Ryan Gosling. You know, the important stuff.

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