It's all well and good to celebrate the people who rocked the world in 2011.
But it's a lot more entertaining to remember the people who blew it.
People do a lot of stupid things all the time. We’re human.
But then there are moments — singular, profound moments — of stupidity that actually seem to lower the collective intelligence of the entire human race.
There were many of these in 2011, and all so painful to witness, that we at GlobalPost found it impossible to rank them.
Therefore we present, in no particular order, the top 10 dumbest moments of 2011.
Herman Cain didn’t abandon his bid for the Republican presidential nomination because of this gaffe. But maybe he should have. The former pizza-chain exec floundered his way through a question that should have been pretty easy to handle: Do you agree with President Obama on Libya?
Pretty easy, of course, if you were aware that a NATO-backed rebellion in Libya had just unseated and killed one of the longest-serving and most well-known dictators in recent memory.
Herman Cain, apparently, did not know this. And so, he said this instead:
More from the "Top 10 Dumbest Moments of 2011":
Poor Rick Perry. It feels cruel, sometimes, to pick on some of these GOP presidential nominees for not seeming to know anything. Herman Cain said himself he had “all this stuff twirling around in my head” when he was asked about Libya.
It’s hard to cram for interviews about foreign policy. We get it. Sometimes you can’t remember which one Gaddafi was, or what Obama did about him. Sometimes you draw a complete blank.
But when you forget your own talking points, that's another level of stupid altogether.
Harold Camping, who ran a regular radio program, told everybody the world was going to end on May 21, 2011.
He said this after a popular book he wrote, called “1994?” incorrectly predicted the end of the world.
And he still really, truly believed it was gonna happen this time. The problem? His followers believed him, too. They said good-bye to their families, they abandoned their children. Some had dedicated their lives and spent all they had to get out the word and persuade people to repent.
And they waited to be zapped into heaven. Everyone who wasn’t going to be saved, of course, was going to die a miserable, fiery death as the world crumbled.
Guess what happened.
Harold Camping, radio host and failed doomsday predictor, said he was “flabbergasted” when the world didn’t end on May 21, 2011.
Things should have ended right there. But instead, he realized that when he thought God said he was going to Rapture the believers in May, God actually meant to beam them up on Oct. 21, 2011.
Guess what didn't happen.
The smartest thing Camping's ever done may have been to retire from the prophecy business.
Don't drink the Nescafe
He found a really creative way to explain the rebellion: Al Qaeda was drugging the young men of Libya.
"Their ages are 17. They give them pills at night, they put hallucinatory pills in their drinks, their milk, their coffee, their Nescafe," said Gaddafi. "You people of Zawiyah, stop your children, take their weapons, bring them away from Bin Laden, the pills will kill them," he said. "Leave the country calm."
Because even if you think it’s off, if you say something dumb, the mic will definitely, always be on.
"I cannot bear [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, he's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation."You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you," Obama replied, according to the French interpreter.
Sheen’s implosion began earlier this year, when he did some interviews that involved a whole boatload of crazy. He insulted his producer, Chuck Lorre, called for an investigation into what really happened on 9/11, compared himself to an F-18, and declared himself not not “bipolar,” but “bi-winning.”
We’re going to have to go with the phrase he used to describe the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
That didn’t work out so well for United Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party.
“A big hello to you,” says the cameraman, Yegor Duda, a 33-year-old volunteer election observer. “This is a violation of the criminal code. The chairman of the electoral commission is filling out ballots. Everything has been captured on the video camera,” he said.
And then, recently, he broke his silence with one of the most delusional interviews in recent memory.