It was the year that popularized two new controversial words in our modern day vocabulary. Thanks to Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s in September, we spent the last quarter inundated with images of full squat grinding, otherwise known as twerking. And, it’s hard to imagine how any of us made it through the day without chronicling our every action with a photographed selfie taken on our smart phone. Yes, twenty-thirteen didn’t exactly change the direction the currents were already flowing in. On the contrary, it just further validated our humiliating reign as vulgar Americans. An article in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal proposed that we’ve gone so far off the grid our crudeness has become almost commonplace. We are hardly surprised when a rude act is committed or a public figure experiences yet another fall from grace. We’ve become numb, desensitized. Forget blurred lines, how about blurred boundaries? There is no differentiation between private and public life anymore. The NSA and social media made sure of it. We are all living under one mega-sized microscope and every action, thought, photograph and post is memorialized for the masses to dissect and discuss. We can only hope that 2014 brings about dramatic change. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what transpired these last twelve months as we review our best and worst manners moments of 2013.
Celebrity Model Behavior & Meltdowns
Best: Jennifer Lawrence. Not only is this 23 year old box office darling grounded, but she is transparent and handles herself with age appropriate grace. A prime example of her humor and authenticity shown brightly at the Oscars when the star accidentally tripped on her gown as she ascended the staircase to receive her award. Instead of ignoring the unfortunate incident, she picked herself up, smiled and poked self-deprecating fun endearing everyone in the audience.
Worst: Justin Beiber. This teenage heartthrob lost his title this year with a series of offenses that landed him a bucket load of bad press from urinating in a mop bucket to underage drinking, attending brothels and even defaming the sign-in book at Anne Frank’s home. Miley Cyrus also tried desperately to shun her squeaky clean Disney shine with a sequence of stunts laden with sexuality. Her now infamous duet with Robin Thicke at the MTV VMA’s will go down in history as a turning point for the singer both for the dramatic change in her image, as well as for introducing the masses to twerking.
British Royalty vs Duck Dynasty
Best: Our nod goes to the British, both the Royal Couple and the fictional cast of Downton Abbey. The world watched once again as Kate Middleton and Prince William introduced a perfect Prince George of Cambridge to the world over the summer continuing to ingratiate everyone with their natural charm and ease. The cast of “Downton Abbey” also gets our vote for their impeccable demeanor both onscreen and off.
Worst: Duck Dynasty. They may be the most watched reality show on television with $400 million in merchandising sales, but that may soon change if patriarch and star Phil Robertson doesn’t watch himself. He landed the family in hot water, and even caused A&E to temporarily suspend him from filming, after learning of his personal and insensitive views on teenage marriage and homosexuality.
World Class Figures or World Class Embarrassment
Best: We must honor Nelson Mandela, who recently passed, as one of the most powerful and influential world leaders who endured 27 years in prison for his unwavering dedication to integration and inclusion. He achieved the highest level of decency and humility that may never be matched. Pope Francis also gets our vote this year as the new pope who is of the people, by the people and for the people. He has been embraced for his ability to accept and assimilate, whether it’s riding the bus, posting a tweet or taking a selfie. He has also been lauded for softening his tone on sex and abortion and for supporting gays. He wants the church to return to its roots of being less judgmental and more caring.
Worst: Other public figures caused unfortunate world class embarrassment to their respective countries. Formerly disgraced U.S. Representative, Anthony Weiner, attempted an honest comeback as mayor of New York only to find himself embroiled in even more scandal that resulted in a tumultuous and ultimately losing campaign. In another shameful incident, Toronto's controversial Mayor Rob Ford, was caught on video smoking crack cocaine and admitting to a habit of drunken stupors. Amazingly, he has officially submitted his name on the ballot to run for another term.
Television Hosting Milestones & Mistakes
Best: Good Morning America beloved co-anchor, Robin Roberts, garners a spot on our list for not only returning to the job she holds dear with a bright smile and a complete recovery, but for also bravely deciding to come out on Facebook at the end of the year to thank her supporters and especially her longtime girlfriend, Amber.
Worst: Southern cooking former star, Paula Deen, had one of the worst years of her career when it was revealed she made racists remarks during a deposition. Rather than speak truthfully, Deen irreparably tried to cover up her wrongdoing and then further buried herself in an unfortunate interview on the Today Show that wound up stripping her of all ties with the Food Network, Wal-Mart and Target stores.