See the rest of TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2013 lists here
10. ‘No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog,’ by Farhad Manjoo
Dogs at gyms, dogs at the office, dogs at the beach—Farhad Manjoo thinks that the canine incursion is worse than babies and must be stopped. “Dog owners are rarely forced to reckon with the idea that there are people who aren’t enthralled by their furry friends, and that taking their dogs everywhere might not be completely pleasant for these folks,” Manjoo wrote. Apparently others feel the same—the piece got 16K likes on Facebook.
9. “The Female Dollar,” by the New York Sun’s Editorial Board
During the off-scenes battle between Janet Yellen and Larry Summers to become the next Fed chief, the Sun argued that support for Yellen was clearly tokenism for women, and that was just bad monetary policy. “What good is a gender-backed dollar going to do in an era of fiat money?” they asked. Fortunately, being female wasn’t the only reason that people thought that Yellen would be good for the job, and she wound up beating out Summers who infamously said in a 2005 speech before the National Bureau of Economic Research that women hadn’t achieved as much as men because they were inferior in mathematical ability.
8. Snowden Made the Right Call When He Fled the U.S., by Daniel Ellsberg
Two days after the Guardian began publishing details of the National Security Agency’s blanket surveillance of U.S. citizens, Daniel Ellsberg defended the former security analyst Edward Snowden who had leaked the NSA documents. Ellsberg, of course, was the famous leaker of the Pentagon Papers, which detailed the government’s secret escalation of the Vietnam War. While Ellsberg stayed in the U.S. and faced espionage charges, he was allowed out on bail and charges were dropped after a mistrial. Snowden, by contrast, Ellsberg argued, would likely be placed in total isolation and face a completely different, more prosecutorial atmosphere. “Snowden believes he has done nothing wrong. I agree wholeheartedly. More than 40 years after my unauthorized disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, such leaks remain the lifeblood of a free press.”
7. What’s Wrong With The Modern World, by Jonathan Franzen
Couched in an essay about turn-of-the-century Austrian writer Karl Kraus, Franzen was inspired to write a diatribe against the Internet age after seeing Salman Rushdie, someone he thinks should know better, succumb to Twitter. “One of the worst things about the Internet is that it tempts everyone to be a sophisticate—to take positions on what is hip and to consider, under pain of being considered unhip, the positions that everyone else is taking.” Technology isn’t just a distraction, it has turned humanity into a machine that spews trivial data and obeys nothing but its own developmental logic. As a result, “We can’t face the real problems….what we can all agree to do instead is to deliver ourselves to the cool new media and technologies, to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, and let them profit at our expense.” The piece of course went viral through the same media Franzen eviscerated.
6. ‘Christie’s Tea Party Problem,’ by Richard Cohen
In a column attempting to explain why the moderate Republican Chris Christie would never be able to win over the conservative vote in a presidential election, the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen shocked readers with this statement: “People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York—a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts—but not all—of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.” Critics pointed out that Cohen wasn’t just offensive, he was wrong—87 percent of the country approves of interracial marriage. While Cohen remained silent, his editor said he wished he had chosen different words, but publisher Katherine Graham had already added insult to injury by Tweeting out that Cohen’s column was “brilliant.”
5. ‘The Affordable Care Act is a Socialist Ponzi Scheme,’ by Suzanne Somers
The Wall Street Journal inexplicably gave former Three’s Company actress a platform in their “experts” section to attack Obamacare—her main insight into which was the fact that her Canadian husband had friends who were doctors who had moved to the United States to practice because they could make more money outside the clutches of the Canadian health care system. Unfortunately, Somers included an apocryphal quote from Winston Churchill—“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens”—and the Journal had to issue several other corrections.
4. Advice to the Young Women at Princeton: The Young Daughters I Never Had, by Susan Patton
“Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out—here’s what you really need to know that noone is telling you….Find a husband on campus before you graduate,” wrote Susan Patton, Princeton class of 1977, in the university’s daily newspaper. While Ivy League men are perfectly happy to marry down, Patton warned that Princeton women will be frustrated if they wind up with someone intellectually inferior. “Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.” The mother of two Princeton boys herself, it turned out that Patton was engaged in a bit of projection. “I am divorced,” she later elaborated in the Huffington Post. “I did not marry a Princeton man. I wish I had.” Expect a book version of her advice to young woman sometime next year.
3. ‘A Plea for Caution from Russia,’ by Vladimir V. Putin, the New York Times
As America was debating whether Syria had crossed Obama’s “red line” by using chemical weapons against its own people—an act that might lead to military intervention by the U.S.—the leader of Russia wrote an op-ed in the New York Times warning that a U.S. strike on Syria, against the wishes of the U.N. security council, would “throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.” Putin went on to make the somewhat outrageous statement that the poison gas attack in question was the result not of the Syrian army, but was a ploy the opposition forces used to provoke intervention. Putin ended by attacking Obama’s invocation of American exceptionalism. “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy.” In the end, France came up with a plan to make Syria get rid of their chemical weapons, but not before numerous U.S. lawmakers told Putin where to stuff it.
2. Russians Deserve Better Than Putin, by John McCain in Pravda.ru
Eight days after Putin’s op-ed appeared in the New York Times, John McCain made a very personal attack against Russia’s leader on the website Pravda.ru. “He is not enhancing Russia’s global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.” It turns out that McCain may have chosen the wrong Pravda—the site was not the old Communist-era newspaper—a blunder that critics argued would only help Putin in the end.
1. “My Medical Choice,” by Angelina Jolie
I’m not sure which is more amazing—the fact that Angelina Jolie, the most watched actress on the planet, had extensive surgery over the period of three months without anyone knowing it, or the fact that she decided to write about her elective double mastectomy in the op-ed pages of the New York Times. Jolie, we all now know, carried a very high genetic risk for getting breast cancer, the disease that had killed her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, at age 56. While her experience (and lack of a need for insurance to reimburse her) probably bore little resemblance to that of an ordinary breast cancer survivor—you will be happy to know that Brad Pitt accompanied her “for every minute of the surgeries”—Jolie was widely praised for her openness. “My own regimen will be posted in due course on the Web site of the Pink Lotus Breast Center. I hope that this will be helpful.”