It’s Thanksgiving Day, a time to express our gratitude for every blessing in our lives. In other words, it’s the perfect time to give thanks for the greatest gift that the celebrity world has given us this year: Ryan Gosling.
Gosling obviously was a fine actor and a celebrity long before 2011. But 2011 was the year that Ryan Gosling the Phenomenon officially came into being.
To those who spend little time navigating entertainment blogs such as this one, Gosling, 31, is merely a movie star who has deservedly earned an Academy Award nomination and appeared in three wildly different films in recent months: “Drive,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “The Ides of March.” (Four, actually, if you count “Blue Valentine,” which rolled out in wider release back in January.)
But to those of us who track the online fervor that surrounds the former Mouseketeer and unofficially designated “dreamboat of choice” to women younger than 40, he is the modern, self-aware equivalent of Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and James Dean rolled into one simultaneously uber-cool, sensitive male soul.
This is why Buzzfeed organized that recent protest outside of People magazine’s New York headquarters after Bradley Cooper was selected as the glossy’s Sexiest Man of the Year instead of Gosling.
Granted, the protest involved only a handful of cheekily irate individuals who carried signs (“Ryan Gosling gave me the courage to wear this jacket”) while chanting “Bradley Cooper is just fine but Ryan Gosling is divine.” Still, the point is: Ryan Gosling makes people take a stand. He is an agent of change. He is also, at last count, at least 187 other things. Here are a few of them; consider this list our way of counting our Ryan Gosling blessings this Thanksgiving.
— Ryan Gosling is the celebrity most capable of generating a meme. He not only inspires Tumblr blogs — including the oft-cited “[Expletive] Yeah, Ryan Gosling,” where the “Hey girl” catchphrase was born in 2009, and the inspired “Is Ryan Gosling Cuter Than a Puppy?” — he also spawns Tumblrs based on his own Tumblrs. (See “Feminist Ryan Gosling,” which features photos of Gosling accompanied by captions like, “Hey girl. Gender is a social construct but everyone likes to cuddle.”)
— Ryan Gosling is the reason that the Pictorial Gosling Compendium exists. Said Compendium is a Web site that looks like a newspaper from the early 20th century and whose mission statement is “For the increase and diffusion of Gosling knowledge.” It includes a detailed glossary with entries such as Gosling’s Similes (a collection of like or as comparisons spoken by Ryan Gosling) and Crocheted Goslings, an informative look at crocheted versions of characters played by Gosling. In summary I am pretty sure this is why the Internet was invented.
— Ryan Gosling is aware of his own meme-ability, which means that he will read “Hey girl” blog entries out loud during interviews while giggling.
— Ryan Gosling is Jack’s smirking revenge. All right, fine. That’s a line from “Fight Club.” But can’t we at least agree that Gosling is now officially 10 times cooler than Tyler Durden?
— Ryan Gosling is capable of making women post videos like this on the Internet.
— Ryan Gosling is an urban superhero, the kind of guy who breaks up a street fight in New York, gets captured on YouTube doing so and is hailed on the Internet for essentially being a hipster version of Batman, even though everyone knows that Christian Bale is clearly Batman.
— Ryan Gosling invades our dreams. Which is why there is a Tumblr — Dreaming of Ryan Gosling — devoted to documenting the tweets that prove he has invaded our collective subconscious. (Example: “I had a dream Ryan Gosling kissed my forehead last night. Excuse me while I try to go into endless sleep and relive it #babyletmeloveyoudown.”)
— Ryan Gosling can inspire feelings of lust even while strumming an itty-bitty ukulele.
— Ryan Gosling is a fascinating enigma that inspires Washington Post pieces such as this one, as well as New York Times essays in which he is called “as interesting as Bob Dylan in 1966.” That is because Ryan Gosling inspires deep thought.
— Did I mention that a few individuals staged a protest outside People magazine because Ryan Gosling was not named Sexiest Man Alive? Oh, right. I did. Well, here’s video of the protest anyway.
— Ryan Gosling represents the completely unrealistic ideal that women want all men to live up to: elusive, edgy, potentially dangerous but also kind to dogs, considerate enough to take his mother and sister to the Oscars and willing to unashamedly fall in love in movies based on lousy Nicholas Sparks romance novels (“The Notebook”) as well as movies about guys who date blow-up dolls (“Lars and the Real Girl”).
— When Ryan Gosling goes to a music festival in Austin, this becomes fodder for — you guessed it — another freaking Tumblr.
—Ryan Gosling can sing the theme song from “My Little Pony.”
— Ryan Gosling would be an ideal husband. As blogger Chelsea Fagan notes on Thought Catalog, there are many benefits to marrying him, should he ever choose to wed: “Being with Ryan would mean being respected/ admired by everyone from the screaming cadavers on the E! network, all the way down to your insufferable, pretentious roommate. Ryan would provide you with indie cred, universal access, and fuzzy cardigans.” I think I speak for women everywhere when I say that these are the three primary things we want out of marriage . . . those things, and Ryan Gosling.
— Ryan Gosling is not God. But I am pretty sure God is a huge admirer of Ryan Gosling and may or may not have started a Tumblr about him.
The real Ryan Gosling may not be any of these things, or responsible for any of these things, or even aware that some of these things exist. But that is irrelevant.
Ryan Gosling is what his collective, seemingly infinite number of admirers have decided he is. And that is a precious gift, one that we hope keeps on giving during what’s left of 2011 and for years to come.
Is Gosling the celebrity for whom you’re most thankful this year? Or is there someone else you appreciate more, which, frankly, is hard to imagine since the Internet has clearly thrown all its support behind Ryan Gosling? Weigh in with a comment. If it includes a link to your Gosling-related Tumblr, you win a free copy of “The Notebook.” (Okay, not really. But comment anyway.)