The first annual Sticking It to the Man Awards recognize those proud individuals who really stuck it to the Man in 2008. Let’s face it, 2008 was a bummer year, and there won’t be too many tears shed as it takes its place in the pages of history. But in times of strife, those who really give the business to the Man shine all the brighter.

Eli Manning. Stuck it to two Men of the NFL: his insufferably photogenic brother Peyton and the infinitely more insufferable, Adonis-like photographic presence of Tom Brady. Eli won the Super Bowl, made the millions of football fans not from New England cheer to see the smug, loutish Patriots step off the pedestal of perfection in the last game of the season and proved that the underdog does sometimes finish first.

Amy Winehouse. The girl loves crack. She walks around London in winter with only a bra and jeans on. She made millions not going to “Rehab” and then spent all of her millions not going to rehab. If the Man is the guy bossing you around telling you not to smoke crack and not to get in fights with strangers and not to ruin your life before you’re 25, Winehouse is definitely Sticking It to him.

Ron Paul. Here’s a dude who’s made a career of Sticking It to any Man he could find. A major thorn in the side of Democrats and Republicans alike running for the presidency, Paul and his deranged supporters fought tooth and nail to get airtime with the Man only to use that airtime to say how horrible the Man and the Man’s apparatus are as they subverted the will of the people. Paul kept his stealth campaign going for months after John McCain was the presumptive nominee and fought a grassroots battle against anything and everything that smacked remotely of power, authority, responsibility or government.

Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise, you say? The Man himself? This year the Scientologist-in-Chief flipped the script on his bizarre life, at least for a memorable string of cinematic moments as he played Les Grossman in the uproarious Tropic Thunder. Cruise’s veiled Weinstein/power-producer send-up stuck it in the face of the Men of Hollywood to whom Cruise owes so much. Cruise stuck it to the Man by playing the one character more ridiculous than himself and did it with characteristic brilliance and manic aplomb.

Sarah Palin. In a victory for women everywhere, Governor Palin proved that you don’t have to be old, white, rich, male, from the East Coast or have a command of national or international policy to be a major political player in this country. She got mavericky against the Man at every opportunity and didn’t mind telling eager voters that Barack Hussein Obama was palling around with terrorists. That’s Stickin It to him. Oh, and women, as a consolation prize for not having the first woman Vice President, you still have to pay for your own rape kits in Alaska.

Yearning For Zion Ranch. Obviously, the polygamist sect in West Texas stuck it forcefully to the Man, who kept demanding that they keep their clothes “fashionable” and “not crazy.” YFZ weren’t about to take the Man’s advice on how young is too young to marry, how many wives are too many or how tall a woman’s hair should be. But best of all, they did the talk show circuit with vigor, wouldn’t back down in the face of modern ridicule and were ultimately rewarded with the return of their children from state protective services by the Texas Supreme Court.

Barack Obama. So, you’re middle name is Hussein, your father is from Kenya, you said that people from middle America cling to guns and religion when times get tough, your former pastor thinks white people gave black people AIDS as a plague and you’re elected the President of the United States in an electoral beatdown. That is hardcore Sticking It. Seems like if you’re a competent, well-spoken, well-educated leader with a mantle of change who inspires millions of first-time voters, you can pretty well do anything you darn please. About a million dead white guys in white suits sipping mint juleps on their porches overlooking their cotton plantations are rolling over in their graves. About time.

Muntada al-Zaidi. Doesn’t ring a bell? You know him. Most of the world does, or at least his shoes. He’s the Iraqi journalist who launched both of his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad. Yes, definite props to Mr. Bush for his catlike reflexes (it’s all those early nights to bed) in dodging the projectiles, but the inaugural Sticking It To the Man Award goes to al-Zaidi for his inspired form of protest against the ultimate Man of our yucky world.