See the rest of TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2013 lists here
Following in the footsteps of their interspecies friends Lolcats, Shiba Inu dogs have become the latest animals to be associated with poor spelling skills. Called “Doge,” an obvious misspelling of the species stemming from the dimwitted look on the face of its original Shiba model, the meme knows no bounds – it goes anywhere a Shiba can. The focus is the hilarious, misspelled inner monologue of the Shiba (also misspelled as Shibe) that surrounds the image, using grammatically-flawed phrases like “such wow” or “so scare.” Adding to its street cred, the Doge meme found its way into an ad released by food-delivery website Seamless in September, a non-sequitur to say the least, but still a winning combination.
9. “I Quit” Dance Video
We all wish we could quit in such grandiose style. That’s why Marina Shifrin’s daring move was embedded into our public consciousness this year. Shifrin, who worked as an animator with Taiwanese company Next Media Animation posted a video of her resigning from her job on YouTube. The construction was simple – Shifrin danced goofily to the aptly-chosen “Gone” by Kanye West while subtitles explained her reasons for quitting. Her video came full circle when her former coworkers posted a retort – a video filmed in the same style, with the same underlying track, announcing that they’re hiring. It wasn’t all for naught, though – Shifrin quickly received job offers from around the world.
8. Obama Goes Skeet Shooting
Really, the White House was damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. In response to skeptics who didn’t believe that Obama goes skeet shooting “all the time,” the administration released a photo of the president shooting clay targets at Camp David. The Flickr photo came with a disclaimer three times longer than the photo caption itself warning people not to manipulate the photo, but it struck many as a challenge instead of a demand. Within days, Obama could be seen online firing a toy gun with a “BANG” flag, holding the rifle backwards or aiming it at the Constitution. But even a photo of Obama holding a gun wasn’t enough to appease the NRA, who fired back, saying one picture wasn’t enough to erase his “lifetime” of supporting gun bans.
7. Marco Rubio’s Water Break
One small sip for the Florida senator, and one giant outburst of laughter for armchair pundits. Rarely does such a monotonous action gain so much viral traction, but then again, rarely does someone lunge so awkwardly for a sip of water. When a parched Marco Rubio paused his State of the Union rebuttal to grab a drink from a tiny Poland Spring water bottle, it was quickly labeled the new “Watergate” (har har). Cue the parody Twitter accounts: @SenRubiosWater and @MarcosH2OBottle found their moment in the fleeting Twitter spotlight with one-liners like “Stay thirsty, my friends” and jokes about his “drinking problem.” But by night’s end, it seemed like there was only one response we hadn’t heard: Poland Spring’s. Not to worry, a day later, an image appeared on Facebook as they basked in the glory of free publicity.
6. Unflattering Beyonce
When Beyonce took center stage at the Super Bowl in February, it was hot, sweaty, chaotic and fast-paced, and photographers were capturing her every move. But when BuzzFeed published a selection of the “fiercest” Beyonce moments, the website received a stern phone call from Queen Bey’s publicist, who demanded they remove photos she deemed “unflattering.” This only fueled the fire. The more illicit the images seemed, the more we wanted to see them. Beyonce with her mouth agape or with a scowl on her face or mid-squat. Photoshoppers were in full force, depicting the superstar as a hulking weightlifter and as ET. That’s probably why she made her World Tour this year closed to press photographers.
“Derp,” a colloquial reply to an ignorant or asinine statement, has finally found its moment in the spotlight. Though the term has been around since at least 1998, you know it’s hit its peak when it appears in the New York Times used by a Nobel Prize-winning economist. Indeed, 2013 may have felt like the year of one giant derp in Washington, as partisanship reached new peaks and a government shutdown became reality. It’s a word with real-world application despite its grade-school sound. Derp found its way into the pages of the Oxford Dictionaries Online, vouching for its widespread use and perhaps seeking a way to make the world a little less derpy.
4. Manti Teo‘s Fake, Dead Girlfriend
At first we weren’t sure if we should laugh or feel sorry for Manti Te’o. The Notre Dame football player rocketed to fame when his girlfriend and grandmother supposedly passed away on the same day in September 2012, but he didn’t skip a beat to mourn. When the story broke in January that Te’o’s girlfriend Lennay Kekua likely didn’t exist after all, our heads spun as we tried to make sense of the news. Were we being played by Te’o, or was he being played, too? It turned out to be a classic case of Catfishing, but this time it was with a public personality. Next came the jokes: The act of Te’oing (think Tebowing) was spawned where people took photos of themselves posing with an arm around an invisible girlfriend. In May, men’s magazine Maxim bested us all by including Te’o’s girlfriend on its annual “Hot 100” list — offering a photo of a black bikini suspended in thin air. If only Kekua had been so revealing in the first place. TIME reporter Jack Dickey, who was part of the Deadspin team that broke the Manti Te’o scandal, looks back at the year’s most perplexing sports story.
Sharks. Tornadoes. Tara Reid. Rare is the film that combines three can’t-look-away elements in one awesomely campy package. The funny thing was: it sort of crept up on us. There wasn’t much advertising or social-media buzz in the days leading up to the Syfy airing in July, but it caused a veritable tweet-nado (sorry) when it aired. Celebrities like Mia Farrow and Olivia Wilde shared their glee while watching the C-list movie, and millions of fans got in on the discussion by suggesting puntastic names for a sequel. The –nado suffix then found its way into arenas much drier than the entertainment world — everything from Obamacare to the gridlock in Washington adopted the swirling, spinning, harrowing term. While the show ended up not doing well in the TV ratings, it still spawned an eye-rolling sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, which is bound to spark more shark-centric conversation when it storms into movie theaters in July 2014.
2. Harlem Shake
It’s no surprise that the simplest videos are the easiest ones to recreate. Take an obscure electronic song from a no-name artist, add some wacky costumes and an over-the-top dance style, and do it in front of a camera. The “Harlem Shake” craze (no, not the 1980s’ shoulder-shaking shimmy dance of the same name) begins with a group of bored-looking people going about their daily business until they’re interrupted by a wild masked dancer jamming to the song’s bass-heavy beat. But when the song’s only complete sentence is uttered – “do the Harlem Shake” – everyone breaks out in a wild dance. And groove we did. Offices, frat parties, late-night talk shows and soldiers all got in on the action. We shook underwater, on live news sets, in fire trucks and even while skydiving. The Harlem Shake consumed every possible locale and was stuck in our heads for the first few months of this year. And then, just as quickly, we grooved ourselves out of it.
Twerking has been namechecked by artists from the Ying Yang Twins to Beyonce for more than a decade, but Miley Cyrus made it a household name this year — in fact, months before her now infamous August VMA performance. In March, she shamelessly released a video of her butt-bouncing moves in a unicorn onesie, and by May, 33 high school students copied her and got suspended for it. In September, 300 “dancers” in New York City set a world record for the largest twerking crowd. Even Rapper Juicy J got into it and reportedly offered a $50,000 college scholarship to the best twerker. If that wasn’t mainstream enough for you, the wordsmiths at Oxford Dictionaries thought it should be preserved for posterity, adding the word to its online pages. That way we’ll never forget — but in reality, how could we?
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