2013: Net Gain or Net Loss? A Quantitative Review

31 Dec

These days, everything seems to have some sort of measurement system. We have heights and weights, salaries and rankings, Klout scores, GPAs, BACs — it seems like everything must be put into numeric terms. Accordingly, we’ve put together a comprehensive review of 2013, scored with our proprietary scoring system. Every significant event of 2013 will be judged on a scale of -5 to +5. A score of -5 means the event made the world a much worse place, and a score of +5 means the event made the world a much better place. Let’s take a look back at 2013 and see where our world lies after the year’s events.


Nelson Mandela: -5

Pretty much nobody was happy about Mandela’s death. It’s especially sad that he was never able to write a sequel to his autobiography, titled, “A Long Walk to Taco Bell at 3:45am.”

Mikhail Kalashnikov: +3

Inventor of the AK-47, statistically the deadliest weapon in human history. It was even more dangerous than the AK-46, which a Northwestern University professor once sampled in an after-class demonstration.

Peter O’Toole: -2

Arguably one of the greatest actors of all time. He only gets a -2 because it turns out most people born after 1975 don’t actually know who he is.

Tom Clancy: 0

We were about to give him a -4 for his valiant gay rights activism, but then we realized Rainbox Six wasn’t what we thought it was.

Lou Reed: -3

The world was devastated to see the loss of a music icon this year. Normally, Lou Reed would get a -5 but we downgraded him to -3 because he did give the world a nice demonstration that #DrugsAreBad.

Cory Monteith: -1

I personally don’t watch Glee (read: Glee makes me want to commit double and triple homicides), so I wasn’t terribly affected by Mr. Monteith’s death. But seeing as I had to talk most of my female and gay friends through weeks of grief in the aftermath, it definitely merits a -1.

Roger Ebert: -4

A Hollywood legend. Mr. Ebert’s in a better place now — a place without Wes Anderson.

Margaret Thatcher: -2

Regardless of your opinions about Margaret Thatcher, you’ve got to admit she was an incredible woman. Or am I just thinking of Meryl Streep?

Hugo Chávez: +4

A definite net gain for the world, since the U.S. Earthquake Machine can now be successfully kept under wraps without Mr. Chavez’ nosy investigations.

Chinua Achebe: +1

Okay, bear with me for a second. Did you read Things Fall Apart? If I wanted to read that much about a bunch of fucking yams, I would have read my grandmother’s cookbook. Like, COME ON. This was by far the worst book I read in high school. Do you know what else I read in high school? The Scarlet Letter, The Awakening, The Crucible and Great Expectations. How is it even possible to rank below those novels? Chinua Achebe is essentially the literary counterpart of the Buffalo Bills.

Net Death Score: -9


Mila Hager Bush: -2

Yep, Jenna Bush is now a mother. That means that George W. Bush is this child’s grandfather, and George H.W. Bush is her great-grandfather. This poor kid has the most unpopular grandparents of anyone for the next 20 or 30 years (until Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne get grandkids of their own).

North West: -5

In case you were fortunate enough to have been living under a rock this year, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian had a baby. So what are the nine other plagues going to be?

Charlotte Bryan Hanks: +4

Colin Hanks, son of actor Tom Hanks, now has a daughter. We’re throwing Charlotte Hanks a big score not only because she gets to have Tom Hanks as a grandfather, but because she helps remind America that Chet Haze is, at a fundamental level, terribly unsuccessful.

Prince George: +4

This kid is going to be biologically related to both Pippa Middleton and Queen Elizabeth II. On top of that, he’ll probably be the most powerful man in the world someday. LOL JK not actually powerful, but like, you know, a pretty impressive figurehead with a few fun ceremonial powers.

Carmen Gabriela Baldwin: +1

Being Alec Baldwin’s daughter would have to be pretty great. Right?  Okay, maybe less than advertised. But I still think that another Baldwin child is definitely a net gain for the world.

Axl Jack Duhamel: -3


Net Birth Score: -1

Global Events

Francis replaces Benedict XVI as Pope: +5

For the first time in, well, ever, the Catholic Church is showing some serious signs of structural progressivism, thanks to Pope Francis. A certain net gain for everyone who isn’t a fundamentalist Catholic.

Boston Marathon bombings: -5

Yeah, we put some thought into it and determined that nothing good really came of this.

Snowden discloses NSA secrets: -3

This could have easily been a simple -1, but then everyone slowly realized that Edward Snowden is an obnoxious douche and not actually a martyr. Also, selling secrets to Russia? Come on, this isn’t a Bond film.

Typhoon Haiyan: -5

This confirmed our growing belief that typhoons are really just bad.

Everything in Syria-5

Wow, 2013 is starting to look like kind of a shit year.

Net Global Events Score: -13


Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVIII: -4

Nobody likes Joe Flacco and the only people who like Ray Lewis also happen to like being an accessory in homicides. The only reason this wasn’t a -5 was because the alternative, a 49ers win, would have required the whole nation to spend at least a year tolerating pretentious Bay Area assholes.

Miami Heat win the NBA Championship: -5

It really didn’t have to be this way. Why did it end up this way? Just why?

Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup: +3

The Blackhawks get a solid boost, mostly because nobody wanted to hear Boston fans talk about how Boston is the greatest sports city in the U.S. Seriously, Boston fans, shut the hell up.

Boston Red Sox win the World Series: 0

I don’t get it. Do people still pretend to care about baseball?

Auburn beats Alabama: +10

Yes, bonus points are sort of bogus, but the world has deserved this GIF for far too long.

Net Sports Score: +3

Pop Culture

Breaking Bad season finale: +3

Yes, we’re all devastated that it’s over. But hats off to Breaking Bad for not completely fucking up the series finale.

Game of Thrones Red Wedding: -5

Sometimes I still lay awake at night, shivering and trembling and quietly whispering to myself, “Why? Why?”

Miley Cyrus Just Being Miley: -4

The only reason it isn’t a -5 is because we anticipate that whatever Miley does next year will merit even more of a -5. God damnit, Miley.

Anchorman 2: -3

We’re not going to even bother explaining ourselves on this one, because we know nobody will argue it.

Kanye West’s Yeezus album and tour: +1

We’ll give Kanye some points for doing some cool and groundbreaking stuff, then we’ll take away a few points because he’s probably the Devil.

Return of Arrested Development: -3

This is just a classic case of “let’s take something great and just put our dicks in it.” Thanks, television.

Orange Is The New Black: +2

I guess? I don’t know. People seemed to like it. I didn’t get it. But we’ll give it some credit for popular appeal.

The Rise of Lorde: +4

So yeah, Lorde is awesome. Like, fan-fucking-tastic. The world is definitely a better place with her in the pop music scene.

Harlem Shake: -5

Awful. If it weren’t for Syria, this would probably be the worst part of 2013.

Net Pop Culture Score: -10

Overall 2013 Net Score: -30

Well there we have it, folks. Let’s all just wish good riddance to 2013. Thanks for giving us Lorde and beating Nick Saban. You can keep the rest.

Let us know what you thought of 2013 by taking the Third Annual Sherman Ave Readers’ Poll!

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