In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that all human needs aren’t created equal; in fact, their interdependence can be best visualized by categorizing and arranging them on a triangle-shaped chart. At the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are basic survival staples—food, water, shelter—and at the top, the pursuits that distinguish humans from other living, breathing, shitting animals. Self-esteem. Self-actualization. Selfies.
In the modern era, many westerners (and certainly most celebrities) don’t have to worry about the bottoms of their Maslow hierarchies. They don’t have to worry about the middle, either. And, thanks to instant gratification in the form of devoted millions on social media, the Fame Pantheon doesn’t have to worry about the top. Their needs are being met so hard that excess needs spew out the top of their pyramids like baking soda and peroxide from a science fair volcano. They puke self-esteem; they are constantly emptied, and in need of filling.
That’s a fairly academic way to look at the phenomenon of “thirst,” but an in-the-know teen might put it more simply: for a normal, non-celeb, thirst is lust. For sex, for fame, for approval. It’s unseemly striving for an unrealistic goal, or an unnecessary amount of praise.
Here are the people and entities who impressed us the most with their thirst levels in 2014, as compiled by the Jezebel staff. Enjoy, but not too much.
Certifiably one of the most boring women in the world, somehow she’s grown up surrounded by people who have convinced her that she’s so fascinating that she should sell her used maternity clothes on a website as, like, a business.
Go home. Stay home. Don’t leave the house again.
DMs are the new First Base, the thirstiest of bases.
An impressively thirsty year from an impressively thirsty man. A man who has desperately strived for attention of any kind since years before the lyrics for “Mercy” were even a glint in Kanye’s eye. But posting this to Instagram is what really propelled him up the list.
Congrats, Franco. We expect even stronger thirst in 2015!
Sarah Palin: still tryin’.
One Jezebel staffer, in order to better understand the cultural phenomenon, recently finished reading the first volume of the Twilight fanfic-cum-suburban mom jill-off treatise and was quite taken by the dangerous levels of thirst on display throughout the book. Fifty Shades of Thirst, more like.
Thirsty: The Newsroom. Thirstier: The oblivious/poorly written campus rape subplot in The Newsroom. Thirstiest: Sorkin’s defense of The Newsroom’s oblivious and poorly written campus rape subplot. Why don’t you and the internet just hatefuck already, Sorkin?
Thirsty for similar reasons that New Year’s Eve is thirsty — a quest for a good time, when good times should develop organically. You can’t try-hard fun.
J-school literally teaches people to basically act like how a normal college freshman acts when she’s had 5 too many drinks and really wants to know who that girl is in her friend’s pictures. Journalism is glorified and constitutionally protected light stalking.
This elevator is abuse-free! This college career is not. :(
“I couldn’t help but notice that somebody mentioned BDSM, and I would like to educate you all on the fact that I live a BDSM lifestyle. It’s sexy, and correct, unlike the dumb and bad BDSM in Fifty Shades of Grey. In conclusion, I’m into BDSM and I want you all to know that. Are you picturing me spanking or being spanked? Thank you.”
Leave Hillary Duff alone, Aaron. She doesn’t love you anymore.
Part mom, part pimp, all thirst. (And shart!)
Look: their videos are cloying at best, cringeworthy at worst, and when they were called out, they wrote a self-pitying blog post about how they found, somewhere in the lemon-scented depths of their McMansion souls, the strength to rise above bullying. Thiiiiiiiirsty.
I will find her - this ring means nothing without a heartbeat to go along with it -
Nothing more attractive than a smart, sexy, independently successful woman who’s been through some “stuff” in her life and she hasn’t allowed a thing to steal her JOY - I want my wife to be so committed to God that I would have to commit myself even more to seeking HIM in order to win HER -
Good god, man. Have some self-respect.
16. NYPD officers who urged a moratorium on protests until the funeral of Officer Ramos only to use the funeral as an opportunity to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comments on police.
Calm your pride-boner until the man you insist you respect is in the ground.
Look: we’re not saying that 1989 isn’t a catchy album. But by age 25, a woman of her means (and correlating access to experiences and knowledge means afford) should be done with the era of her life where it’s emotionally feasible (or socially acceptable) to be best friends with 17-year-old. Between the irritatingly tenacious Who, Me?! award show act, struggle dancing, and aggressively performative Instagram friendships with a gaggle of BFFs that seem selected from a catalog, Taylor was a standout in a very thirsty year indeed.
Accepting the title of “Supreme Leader” indicates alarming thirst levels from the get-go. Then there are the truly absurd posed propaganda photos, released to the outside world like Instagrams from a wholly fictional beach vacation. “Look at what a great time we’re all having!!!!” Let’s not even get into the Dennis Rodman thing. Diagnosis: daddy-issues-induced thirst.
The unintentionally hilarious Thirst King of the Smith family.
Actually is the new literally.
Her Instagram is a messy Petri dish of Hot New Trends.
People keep asking her to appear on cable news. And she keeps saying yes.
Music about being a hard workin’ farmer by drawl enthusiasts who wouldn’t know the first thing about manual labor if Garth Brooks were singing it to them.
Like, I’m dancing here.
(Five texts in a row about gardening) (Two hours pass) (Another text arrives) “???????” (One hour passes) “PLEASE CALL NOW.” (You call) (It’s about the dog.) (The dog has a new bowtie and he looks cute in it.)
27. PR emails that are like “I just stumbled upon this awesome thing” but are clearly sent by the person being promoted
In fact, all PR emails are drawn from a vast well of thirst. One PR person has particularly endeared herself to the Jezebel staff by subject lining her emails BREAKING! [Celebrity name] wears [name of designer she works for]. The only thing that is breaking right now are our eyes. For we have rolled them too hard.
A lot of talented comedic minds work for Jimmy Fallon. Those comedic minds are devoted to fashioning cool living room games for an adult man to play with celebrities. He is your newly-divorced uncle who got a tan and discovered Twitter, except he visits your house every. Single. Night.
The thirstiest man in comedy.
They are like greenhouse flowers, rarely if ever able to thrive in the wild.
New parents can’t help it, of course. But the only way to find parent-friends after birthing a child of your own is to resort to thirsty methods like “parent speed dating” and “parent play dates.” Embrace the thirst or embrace loneliness.
Bonus: if the married men currently work with your dad, and the photo is of your niece, who is 15.
Going from practically tonguing Angelina Jolie’s nether orifices in an email directly to the actress to shit talking her nightmare-dom in an email to somebody besides the actress is Hollywood thirst—combining cowardice, shit-talking, and poor sentence construction into one slimy package.
The thirst that started it all.
35. 4channers who insisted on their grandmother’s graves that they had nothing to do with that Emma Watson thing
Sure, guys. Seems legit.
Breaking the news of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s pregnancy to a tabloid before the couple themselves could break the news is almost catastrophically thirsty.
Crazy to think that Rachel Berry was a toned-down version of a real person.
So desperate for water.
It makes about as much sense as a blog post celebrating L.A.’s Most Authentic, or White Brooklyn’s Least Obnoxious.
Unless you’re barking about Nellie Bly’s exploits around the world and it is the year 1888*: wholly thirsty.
Now that enough time has passed since the Mariah Carey version that it’s not embarrassing to even attempt to sing that song, the imitators are coming out in droves. And all of them are thirsty.
*”Um, actually, Jezebel, Nellie Bly made her famous ‘Round The World’ voyage in 74 days starting in November, 1889, not 1888. So. Consider this hyperbolic statement made for comedic effect debunked.”
Gamergaters called her “based mom” because the conservative opportunist realized that if she took their side, a lot of them would tweet nice things about how smart she is (in turn, she retweeted many of those nice things, a classic thirst move). So knowledgable about Gamergate was she that mere hours before taping a segment on the movement and surrounding controversy, she asked her followers to explain to her what, exactly, it was.
You’ll get that big promotion yet, Johnson!
Rita Ora career pitch meeting: “What if Rihanna…. kinda sucked?”
Richards’ entire plot line on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills this season is about being suddenly and concernedly self-conscious about her wealth. In theory, a nice revelation. In practice, it’s layers upon intricate layers of humblebragging.
So Omarion named his latest album Sex Playlist. Does Omarion also roll into the club wearing a shirt that reads “Here Be My Cock For Doing Sex” with a big arrow pointing to his crotch?
Oh, Jason. You’re so oUtRaGeOuS!
Where does that little turd get it from?
Oh. I see.
The entire point of Twitter is to make your fucking point within 140 characters, not number your tweets like you’re Martin ballkicking Luther nailing a series of politically risky Ninety-Five Theses on social media. Get a blog.
Her presence on this list goes to prove that saying dumb things so the boys like you likely won’t get you very far. (Unless you consider cohosting Fox News fever dream The Five an achievement, in which case— :( )
We’re flying halfway across the country and taking a day off work and buying a new dress and getting a manicure and convincing some other person to do the same. You can take this check for $150, deposit it into your bank account, and pick out your own damn punch bowl.
She’s spent so many years trying so hard to be funnier and meaner than she’s capable of being. Malkin is Struggle Ann Coulter, who is herself a right-wing Struggle Bill Maher (see below) who is himself Struggle George Carlin.
Remember that local news station and some retired cops in Minnesota that tried, so, so thirstily hard, to insinuate that Mayor Betsy Hodges was making a gang symbol in a picture with a reformed felon who was volunteering? And how a wider crop of that picture featured a police officer? And how after everybody in the world laughed so hard that they self-peed, KSTP reporter Jay Kolls just kept trying, harder and harder? I’m sad now.
Victoria’s Secret makes underwear for thirsty teens, and the show represents an idea of sexy so far removed from sexual reproduction that it represents something else entirely; it pushes forth the bizarre notion that she is sexiest who tries the very hardest.
… and the mostly-dudes who run them.
Tracking imaginary things is thirsty.
60. Men when they find out you know more about sports (or music, or history, or weed, or anything) than they do
Every 90 seconds in America, another woman is subjected to embarrassing flattery after she reveals to a man that she actually knows more about music, weed, sports, or other things the dude thinks he knows everything about. Whoa! Pretty good for a girl! he says, practically whipping his dick out right there.
Has this ever worked? Have any women among us ever fucked a dude because he acted impressed because you were “really funny, not like those other girls!” or “whoa! For a girl you know way more about sports than I’d expect!” And yet. And yet! They keep doing it.
For fans of thirst, the 2016 primary season is going to fucking own.
If a country for the Thirsty were ever to form, Amanda Palmer would be its ambassador to the UN. Christina Aguilera would sing its national anthem. Chris Christie would be its President.
The second thirstiest staff at Gawker Media.
Go ahead and notify us you’re there all you want, you needy, thirsty, relic. We’re not going to check you.
Jezebel’s favorite and most committed Twitter troll.
67. People who cannot accurately use slang (“shade,” “thirst,” “basic,” “bae”) writing headlines incorporating those slang words
Learning new slang is fun and cool and a great way to connect with your #sullen #teen #daughter, but not with your #savvy #mobile #audience.
Watching Nancy Grace cover the Slenderman case was almost profane, like watching your aunt bring herself to sexual climax live on the air, for half an hour straight. An ever-renewing, ever-sated thirst. Truly a wonder.
Not good at football. Not good at talking into a microphone. Not good at wearing shirts that don’t look like they’re about to explode off. About as charismatic as day old string cheese. But still trying.
Pretty bored with being told that buying Dove body wash will somehow change the fact that their parent company is Unilever, makers of Axe Body Spray.
Catholicism—and any evangelical organized religion, in general— is thirsty. But Tim Dolan is exemplary in his thirst.
The flag bearer of the Thirst Olympic Team.
They just want your love so bad and it’s like, please stop. I’ll come to you when the time is right.
Stop trying to make shitty plots happen when all we want is some good T Bone Burnett songs and Rayna and Deacon to do sex.
Can someone be thirsty because of how much they make their audience salivate? Nick Jonas can.
Is anything as sad as someone who breaks up with their significant other and then starts a company that is a knockoff of said former significant other’s company? This is the opposite of “winning the breakup.”
Limp Bizkit was to 1999 what Iggy Azalea will one day be to 2014. We just have to wait for everybody to realize how much she sucks, and then people in their twenties, in the future, can say to each other at parties ho ho ho! Remember how we used to like Iggy Azalea? We were such stupid kids!
#wegetit #youwatchedtheshow #nowtweetaboutSerial #ibetitwillbehilarious
Lifetime has gone from ruining Elizabeth Taylor to ruining Saved By The Bell to ruining Aaliyah to ruining Whitney Houston. Whose life won’t they shit on? You’ll find out this spring on Lifetime Presents: Your Mom.
THE LEOPARD PRINT BEBE DRESS AT A CLASS REUNION OF WRITTEN SUBTLETY.
85. Facebook fishing through your online shopping browsing history and forever suggesting you “may be interested in” an item of clothing you already have.
“We thought you might like this!” says Facebook, barging into your house with a dress that is the exact dress that you just bought online. Sit down.
Struggle George Carlin (see no. 55).
Ban Old Media Trend Pieces.
Drinks so much water.
Or should we say “taskmasters.” That cat is a fur-covered slave. Free Grumpy Cat.
This song is about Idris Elba. We know because she told us, and it’s obvious as hell.
This goes double if you’ve switched industries and people in the old industry keep getting in touch with you about opportunities you’d rather kill yourself than take.
Runner up: DNCC fundraising emails with the subject line “Hey.”
The best piece of celebrity gossip this year was this report from the front lines of the now-bygone Ass Wars of early November, partly because the Ass Wars were a magical time and everything that came from them was magical, but also because it seemed to so perfectly fit Naya Rivera’s whole oevre. Thirst. So thirsty she chases Professional Thirst Queen Kim Kardashian.
So very eager to document the cutting edge; much more likely to document something closer to the doughy middle.
Counterpoint: but without brand gaffes, where would we get our single serving rage?
Tiny babies eat literally all the time and will start screaming when not fed from a bottle and being carried like a tiny baby.
There’s a scene in the Netflix Mitt Romney documentary that features Paul Ryan getting on an airplane and attempting, harder than anybody has ever attempted, maybe, to bro down with people who are already on the plane. It is so thirsty that we developed a winter itch from watching it. It is this, but on film.
Our favorite song by Mr. Levine is called Harder to Thirst, by his band Thirst 5. You can also catch him as a judge on NBC’s reality competition show The Thirst, on seven times a week until your whole family is dead and you realize you’re alone.
Who but the thirstiest of human beings would be able to compile such a comprehensive guide through the thirsty minefield of 2014? It takes thirst to know thirst. And we know thirst.
Congratulations to all.
Illustration by Jim Cooke.