On Friday, a most remarkable thing happened. “Evel” Knievel, that most American king of daredevils, died. In bed. Of something utterly mundane. After a career of spectacular stunts and even more spectacular failures, injuries, and traumas, Evel’s end might have been that of any elderly American.

But, as the Washington Post writes, however mundane his death, his life remains “larger than life:”

Any time ABC showed a Sunday afternoon Knievel stunt on “Wide World of Sports,” you could expect half the neighborhood to show up in the cul-de-sac immediately afterward, in an act of instant emulation. Someone would get a piece of plywood or a couple of 2-by-4’s and a cinderblock. Everyone had their bikes (bicycles, that is — Huffys, BMXs, with the banana seats and faded Wacky Packages stickers) and would perform jumps. You could get the little kids to lie flat on the asphalt in a row next to the ramp. (I can jump all four of you.) Kids would jump until the wood broke, or, more wonderfully, a daredevil got hurt and ran home bleeding.

In a way, Evel inspired a generation (if not to greatness, at least to extremes). Whether they know it or not, the skateboarders of the 1980s, the Extreme sportsmen of the 1990s, and the “Jackasses” of the 21st Century all owe their debt to Evel Knievel. He moved daredeviltry away from actually succeeding at apparently dangerous tasks to attempting truly, spectacularly dangerous tasks. And because, by sheer force of showmanship, he succeeding in that shift, his failures never really damaged his legend.

Because the story of Evel Knievel isn’t about success, or failure. It’s about daring to do the (sometimes literally) impossible. Defying death, sense, and sometimes even physics to reach for a dream—even if it really can’t be done. If nothing else, Evel taught us that you can defy all the rules and, if not walk away from it, at least be carried off with a thumb held high. In Evel’s stunts, raw courage and optimism were set against brutal reality. And if, brutal reality usually won brutally, you never stopped hoping against hope that this time, just this once, Evel would prevail.

In that, Evel Knievel truly symbolized America, in all her glory and folly. And he symbolized America too in his final embrace of God and Jesus Christ, realizing at last that there are some things man need not face alone. In Evel was played out the longstanding paradox of America: materialistic and faith-driven, huckster and preacher, worldly-wise playboy and humble penitent. In those latter days, no less than before, Evel was quintessentially American.

Requiest in pace, Evel.

Regular readers will be familiar with our “Troll of the Week” category which we often award to worthy individuals. This week, its time for something completely different. We’ve found an individual which we wish to name Hero of the Week. This is not a title we will give out often, and will only be awarded to truly worthy individuals, who had the courage to stand up and fight one form of injustice or another, and who have championed the greater good.


Our current Hero of the Week is a would be Jedi Knight from North Carolina named Christopher Knight. The young Jedi made an ad for his campaign for the Rockingham County, North Carolina board of education. In his entertaining campaign video, which aired on local television stations, Christopher unveils his secondary career as a Jedi, and his commitment to protecting the local youth from evil while he quests for elected office. The ad is quite well done, creative, and an excellent bit of amateur movie making. His video was so popular, that Knight decided to post his video on YouTube to share with the internet community as a whole.

Viacom owned TV channel VH1 grabbed Knight’s video without permission and aired it during their series “Web Junk 2.0”, technically violating copyright law as they did not even ask for Knight’s permission to air his copyright work. Knight however, as a true student of the Light Side of the Force, didn’t mind. He accepted their action with good humor and enthusiasm saying:

I’m delighted that as a proud son of Rockingham County, I got worldwide exposure for this… How often does a local school board ad wind up on VH1?”

His response showed wisdom, patience, mercy, and benevolence, all traits true Jedi should possess. In fact, he so enjoyed their review of his video that he placed a copy of it with their commentary on YouTube so others could enjoy his work in this fashion. Viacom responded quickly by sending Imperial Stormtroopers with cease and desist letters to YouTube and our Jedi Hero, telling them that they were in violation of copyright law and if they did not comply immediately, they would “face the full firepower of this fully operational company”. Chris replied:

Viacom says that I can’t use their clip showing my commercial, claiming copy infringement? As we say in the South, that’s ass-backwards.”

Ever the brave hero, Christopher Knight risked life and lawsuit by filing a counter complaint against Viacom, noting that they had violated his copyright first. In an amazing win for the forces of good, Viacom surrendered to the Jedi Rebellion and YouTube restored his clip. His actions have not only saved his video, but all of the galaxy… I mean internet. Thanks to his bravery users everywhere know that they too can file counter DMCA claims should their rights be threatened.

For his heroism, valor, and courage, Christopher Knight is awarded Hero of the Week and will receive an honorary beer at the Man Lunch. Even though we know a Jedi craves not these things, we hope the Jedi Knight will accept our praise and know that today he is a hero to all of the Rebel Alliance. Mr. Knight, may the force be you, always.

Edit: Our Hero’s blog. Also, welcome to Fark.com, feel free to look around.