23 November 2006

2006 Turkey Awards

As in years before — including last year — I offer the following Turkey Awards for the most ridiculous persons thus far in 2006.

  • The Greasy Gravy Award for oily publicity that makes the main dish inedible goes to Judith Regan and OJ Simpson. It's somewhat embarassing when Rupert Murdoch shows better ethical sense than his employees. This is a perfect example of what happens when acquisition decisions discount the quality of the underlying work.
  • The Red-Tide Oyster Stuffing Award for carelessly poisoning an otherwise tasty dish goes to Dan Brown for his bizarre legal strategies in defending the "originality" (and I use that term only in its technical, copyright-law sense) of The DaVinci Code. Between the disdain the judge expressed for Brown's testimony in the UK Baigent (see especially paragraph 343) and the disingenuousness of his defenses against the almost equally disingenuous infringement assertions made in the US Perdue matter, I'd check my compass very carefully if Mr Brown asserted that the sun rises in the east.
  • The Broken Wishbone Award for shattering dreams goes to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. His tenure was, and is, a disgrace to the profession of arms. Don't take just my word for it; take that of a centrist current reservist who just got back from Iraq. And after Hamdan...
  • The Golden Gristle Award for assertions far too difficult to digest (and usually stuck in one's teeth) goes to virtually every candidate for elective office earlier this month. The "attack ad" implication that the attacker does not share the same (or remarkably similar) problems as his/her target was spectacularly invalid.
  • The Crabapple Pie Award for marketing something sour as something sweet goes to the now-apparently-dormant International Independent Literary Agents' Association. This was not a way to help authors, but a way to justify the dubious business practices of a group of agents with virtually no discernable record of publishing success.
  • The Brussels Sprout Award for stinky, slimy, overcooked, gentrified little cabbages goes to parents who advocate censorship of children's books, especially in public school systems. It's bad enough when it's a children's picture book; it's even worse when the parents disclaim discriminatory intent while parading their right to parent their children. And over something that occurs in nature in virtually every animal species... even vultures.
  • The Dried-Out Breastmeat Award for overcooking the books goes to the Wall Street Journal for its ridiculous mischaracterizations of publishing industry accounting practices. Dishonorable mention goes to Robert McCrum for his illogical, and indeed intellectually dishonest, "survey" of the "best" novels of the preceding quarter century, a follow-up on the equally ill-conceived NYT version.
  • The Rancid Drumstick Award for something that should be edible, but isn't, goes to those who engage in blackrobemailing — using legal process, and especially escrowing during the pendency of a lawsuit, as a lever to force an opponent to assent to an unfavorable settlement. That's not just the Disney/Lion King issue, either...

This is an unusually depressing set of "winners." It's bad enough when they're merely ridiculous; it's entirely unacceptable when it involves casualties. It's not just the poor turkey's wishbone that got broken this year.