The Top Ten Greatest Pop Culture Heroes Of 2013

While the brimming band of despicable villains in 2013 gave us a lot to groan about in the past twelve months, we’ve also been spoiled with the kind of heroes that make life worth living, the internet worth perusing and GIFs worth making. Thankfully, for every Red Wedding tragedy, Jaymes Diaz screw up or enthusiastic foam finger, the following list of glorious legends have emerged and bestowed on us a satisfying dose of the inspirational. Raise your glass, ready a salute, bow down and worship the Ten Greatest Pop Culture Heroes Of 2013.

seems an age since it first came to prominence, bursting forth through the gossamer thin wool blend of the trousers that would make an indelible mark on pop culture, but no other wang made its presence felt more solidly in 2013 than John Hamm’s Ham – much to the alarm of Jon Hamm himself. Poor Jon Hamm expressed his distaste in being objectified and proclaimed himself the victim of sexism, telling Rolling Stone: “it’s not like I’m a fucking lead miner. There are harder jobs in the world. But when people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my cock, I feel like that wasn’t part of the deal…” Mate, there are worse things to be teased about.

Noel Vasquez for Getty Images


Ya boi Flerm, whose dizzying level of fame is confirmed by the increasing superfluity of his real name – Harley Streten – took 2013 as his own and did the Australian music scene proud. Following his entry into the scene in 2012, Flume’s passionate fanbase have helped propel the producer to his current status, from inspiring and enabling a new wave of bedroom producers and motivating devotees to move to Australia because of his signature lush beats and liquid vocal-sampling; to receiving a torrent of inappropriate snapchats once he allowed the gates of social media’s (fleeting) nudity friendly/cesspit app open. The waves of Flume’s rise – that have now seen him kill it at the ARIAs and receive triple j’s ultimate seal of approval – continue to power through, following his exceptional self titled (and platinum) debut album. 2014 will only be bigger for this kid. 

Watch our chat with Flume from back in April below.

Where to begin with this precious, beautiful tropical fish? Rocketing to fame and finding a tender spot in our hearts at the exact moment she flipped the bird at The Oscars, the 23 year old would hold an equally deserving spot on the list of the greatest pop culture heroes of all time, let alone in the humble year that is now drawing to a close. Let’s give it a shot: Jennifer Lawrence, aside from perfectly embodying one of Hollywood’s most – unfortunately rare – empowering female characters in The Hunger Games, has captured our hearts and elevated herself to hero status by being a beguiling legend offscreen at all times. Being a champion for body positivity and a passionate opposer to fat shaming, presenting an inexplicable human quality that celebrities of her calibre often lack, telling this heartbreaking story and being a huge babe with her new haircut (haters to the <—), it’s achingly difficult to succinctly sum up why Jennifer Lawrence is great. Allow the following quote, tribute to Jen’s recent fashion editorials and GIF elaborate on what we mean. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, on sabotaging her own career: “It’s almost like I subconsciously don’t want to work anymore, so I’m trying to ruin my career. [Leans into the tape recorder] I’m pregnant! I did this to the New York Times. My publicist called me and was like, “This is the New York Times. Be serious.” And then I found myself talking about orgies in three seconds.”

More than 1AD, 2013 has redefined what it means to be living in ‘The Year of Our Lorde‘. Sorry bb Jesus. No other artist this year has experienced a meteoric rise to global stardom of the kind experienced by the now 17-year-old Teen Of The Year Ella Yelich O’Connor, who went from selling out GoodGod in May and stepping in as an eleventh hour Frank Ocean replacement at Splendour In The Grass, to, well, ruling the world with an excellent four Grammy nominations for her debut album Pure Heroine. The interim between fledgling fame and ubiquity saw her charm the world with her refreshing brand of real talk, coming in like a wrecking ball to claim the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard charts and a place in the still waters of your heart.

There is a Reddit thread solely dedicated to cataloging his Breakfast Television adventures. Grimes is a fan of his antics. He is in troll-mode 24-7. He thinks he’s twenty-something surfer people. He is Karl Stefanovic. It was a highlight of our year when Australia’s most GIF-able human being acknowledged our presence and confirmed via tweet that if enough of you click ‘like” on this here blog post he and his Channel Nine cronies Ben Fordham and Richard Wilkins will come down and share a beer with you because 1) Karlos is a man of the people 2) He clearly loves alcohol. Admittedly the #CampaignForKarl temporarily lost momentum, but we’re still pushing to get face time with our hero as our New Year’s Resolution for 2014. Of course, we aren’t the only ones with a soft spot for Karlos. When we asked 2013 ARIA nominees/guests for their thoughts on Karl, their answers included “king”, “the best man ever”, “I love that dude”, and “lord (like, without a ‘e’).” The people have spoken.

From the 48 second mark:

I’ma let you finished but Beyoncé had the greatest year of all time. Let’s take it from the top: the year got off on a (flawlessly) lip-synced note following the revelation that Yoncé could convincingly mouth to a backing track better than most at the Presidential Inauguration, a move decried by Haters as an affront to the sanctity of life itself. ‘Puhlease,’ Bey responded in kind, assembling an emergency press conference to quell a rumoured insurgency and put everyone in their place with a righteous live rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to silence naysayers in anticipation of her inevitably highly-scrutinised Superbowl Half-Time Show performance, where Bey did slay. Oh, did she slay. 

Soon after, the newly-minted Sexiest Woman Of The 21st Century embarked on the first leg of her life-affirming Mrs. Carter Show World Tour Presented By Beyoncé, peppering each global stop-off with leakspromotional semi-singlescovers and teasers at a new sound purportedly belonging to a much-rumoured, delayed fifth album. Going some way to assuage doubts, Beyoncé also found time to premiere an HBO documentary directed by, produced by and starring Beyoncé, Life Is But A Dream, the debut of which was nearly overshadowed by the facial debut of her adorable scion Blue Ivy. Things then escalated quickly when The Mrs. Carter Show reached Australia, where Yoncé was spotted shooting segments of what can now be confirmed as her ‘No Angel‘ music video in Brunswicka casting call for her ‘Mine‘ video set your world temporarily ablaze at the thought that you could be in a Mrs. Carter music video; and where Bey continued to deliver not only consummate performances in rapid succession but extend her positive vibe radius to encompass talents both known and entirely unexpected
The Mrs. Carter Show is thus 2013’s most elaborate and heroic red-herring, culminating in last Friday’s baller surprise album release of the self-titled Visual Album: a genre-straddling, aural sex masterclass of fourteen songs and seventeen ***Flawless music videos featuring appearances from Jay Z, Frank Ocean, Drake, Kelly and Michelle, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and Blue Ivy, released with zero press because Beyoncé is press. I think this quote appearing over the weekend in The Hollywood Reporter best sums it up: “Beyonce is bigger than a single. Beyonce has created a movement. She just kills it. She is the standard. Beyonce made every radio station, blog, TV station react to what she did. Jay by himself is great, Beyonce by herself is great. Together? There’s nothing like it.” I’ll stop now.

Although the Texan Senate would go on to pass two extremely archaic anti-abortion bills alongside a temporary ban on the presence of tampons in the gallery [BYO handgun, that’s still cool], the marathon effort of Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis warrants inclusion on this list for her staging a thirteen hour filibuster in favour of a woman’s right to choose and against the state’s restrictive abortion bills, of which Davis said at the time: “[they create] a situation where women in Texas today not only will not be made safer but they will absolutely be at risk of their health.” For drawing widespread international attention to what remains an ongoing and a vital issue through her dogged perseverance and determination to protect the best interests of constituents both present and future, we Hunger Games three-finger-salute Wendy Davis – who is currently campaigning for the Texan Governorship – for literally standing tall against the prevailing myopia of a privileged few. Or, as Lil B best put it:

Amidst the casual racism that unfortunately made it on to our villain list, Sydney Swans star shone particularly bright this year as a champion of anti-racism in the face of cutting adversity. After being subjected to racial abuse from a 13 year old while playing at the MCG, Adam Goodes took the surrounding media frenzy in his stride and delivered an admirable response to a terrible situation. “To hear a 13-year-old girl call me an ape. It was shattering. When I saw it was a young girl. I was just like really? How could that happen?” Goodes said after the incident. “This week is a celebration of our people, our culture. It’s not her fault. Unfortunately it’s what she hears, it’s the environment she’s grown up in that makes her think it’s OK to call people names.”

Goodes then used the incident as a springboard to encourage anti-racist sentiments and promote the ‘Racism. It stops with me‘ cause. As only further testament to Goodes’ resilience, Eddie Mcguires disenchanting ‘King Kong’ gaffe that followed a few days later was met with a similar reaction by Goodes. Tweeting the news to shame Mcguire’s racially-charged fuck up, Goodes followed the story by continuing to support the #Racismitstopswithme campaign. 

Hats off to one of Australia’s most noble sporting figures who continues to triumph over the racism that is too often found infecting our society. After all, it’s up to individuals to quell racism now more than ever, considering the government’s current stand on things.


While Walter White certainly made it on to our Villain list, it’s an undisputed truth that TV wizard Vince Gilligan and the cast of Breaking Bad ought to be praised for creating one of the most compelling, exquisitely well-executed, expertly written and completely wrenching TV dramas in recent history. Much like how The Wire and The Sopranos ignited the long form genre and gave birth to what we now call the Golden Age of television, Breaking Bad holds an especially important place in pop culture. When fools like this are rewarded bountifully for being insufferable on the small screen, and ‘news’ in Australia just gives up altogether, the relief of astoundingly intricate character development and utterly spell-binding drama in Breaking Bad provided a welcome relief in 2013. 

While praise be to Vince Gilligan; Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris and the eloquent, noble hater-addresser Anna Gunn are all worthy heroes of 2013 for delivering outstanding performances in the unforgettable ode to Albuquerque and cautionary tale of the surprisingly simple, but devastatingly tragic descent from Mr Chips to Scarface. 

A special shout out must go to the inspiring BB fandom who regularly make dreams like this come true. 

Inspirational sixteen year old Malala Yousafzai is a true hero in the purest and most uplifting sense of the word. The survivor of a Taliban shooting stunned the world in July this year with an astounding speech on her 16th birthday. Yousafzai spoke, “Dear friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they could change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage was born.”

A global icon for education, girls’ and women’s rights, Malala Yousafzai has provided hope and an empowering voice for those without the privilege of an education. Perhaps one of 2013’s most memorable and admirable quotes comes from the Pakistani activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and human rights award winner: “Let us pick up our books and pens, they are our most powerful weapons…One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

Main image courtesy of Drizzle.