Foreign and Defense Policy

Most Googled deaths of 2011

2011 saw some of America’s most infamous adversaries meet their ends—from al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. But the Atlantic Wire reports that “Of all the famous people who died this year … the person who sent the most people searching for information on Google was … Jackass‘s Ryan Dunn.”

Yes, that’s right, the creator of a program in which people perform crude, dangerous, and asinine stunts, was the man Americans were most interested in learning about when he died. He beat out not only bin Laden (#2) but Apple Founder Steve Jobs (#3).

Awlaki—the man behind attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane over Detroit, and an al Qaeda plot last year to blow up two planes over the Eastern seaboard with package bombs—did not make the Top Ten. Neither did Moammar Gaddafi, though the Atlantic suggests that this may be because there are more than 100 ways to spell his name. (They gave him honorary status as #10 “since if you combined the many different spellings, he would have ranked much higher.”) Also not on the Top Ten list was the Dear (departed) Leader Kim Jong Il. Maybe they should have checked Google searches for “Kim Jong the Second.”

Awlaki, Gaddafi, and KJ2 lost out to rappers “Nate Dogg” and “Heavy D” and pro wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage. No wonder its so hard to get a discussion of foreign affairs on the campaign trail.

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