An annual tradition for over a decade! This is my list of ridiculous people from 2012 (so far). Pass me one of those rolls, please:
- The Greasy Gravy Award for oily publicity that makes the main dish inedible goes to the local and state governments of Arizona (PDF) for clothing their nearly overt racism in concern for the economic "burden" of "unlawful" immigration (when the immigration laws are, themselves, a relic of racism... especially when one looks at them in detail). One must wonder aloud about how many of the sherriff's and governor's ancestors had the documents they would demand of anyone with brown skin found in Arizona... or, for that matter, whether they themselves carry sufficient proof of US citizenship on their persons and are prepared to present that proof on demand to any law-enforcement officers who stop them. Since this particular award is for a sauce, I wish to put it on the goose and the gander.
- The Red-Tide Oyster Stuffing Award for carelessly poisoning an otherwise tasty dish goes to the Authors' Guild and its inept legal team for bungling their lawsuits against institutionalized e-piracy, and particularly for claiming without a valid warrant or data to represent the interests of all — or even most — authors, as is apparent from the AG's membership criteria.
- The Broken Wishbone Award for shattering dreams goes to both major political parties, who accept Emmanuel Goldstein ("the object of power is power") more than they do the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The real margin of error in all polling related to this election was not some percentage figure based upon misuse of sampling-error estimates; it was who the parties chose to run for office.
- The Golden Gristle Award for assertions far too difficult to digest (and usually stuck in one's teeth) goes to Fox News for more, umm, "creative reporting" than I can put on the table. Mr. Ailes's kingdom certainly isn't the only exemplar of this sort of thing. I'll freely admit that the "fairness doctrine" was worse, but there's a very simple reason that many media outlets have reporters/anchors/other actual providers (as opposed to owners and production staff and back-room powerbrokers) who seem to lean opposite Fox News et al.: Those are the people who actually discern the facts, and the facts are leaning left... and won't bow to the ideological preferences and unenlightened self-interest (aka greed) of the people who own the media (who lean much farther right).
- The Crabapple Pie Award for marketing something sour as something sweet goes to Grover Norquist and the Americans for Tax Reform
for the Rich, who constantly seem to forget that the police protection paid for by taxes, and the trained workforce coming out of public schools and paid for by taxes, and the enviably efficient legal system paid for by taxes (if you don't believe me, try dealing with the system in, say, Italy), and not least the military that intervenes to protect interests overseas that is usually not fully paid for by taxes, all disproportionately benefit the upper classes. Sure, there's some waste in government, and some ridiculous programs that are completely irrational... but anyone with even the most elementary understanding of thermodynamics or human nature knows that an efficient system is extremely condition-specific, and this world is constantly changing. Unfortunately, I can't really say that Norquist lies every time he protests that taxes are too high, because "lie" implies a certain level of self-awareness that hasn't been apparent in, oh, thirty years.
- The Brussels Sprout Award for stinky, slimy, overcooked, gentrified little cabbages goes to Jill Kelley and the rest of the arrogant little people involved in the downfall of the director of the CIA... not excluding said director. A dishonorable mention goes, in a related side dish, to those Heffalump members of the Senate who have rushed to judgment on Ambassador Rice with even less reason, with the disturbing undercurrent of attempting to deflect attention from their own policy, behavioral, and intellectual shortcomings.
- The Dried-Out Breastmeat Award for overcooking the books goes to the Congressional lemmings intent on rushing off the fiscal cliff in the name of ideological purity on both sides, but in particular on the Heffalump side. If one excludes the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions — and I mean the fully extended cost, not just the literal one; that is, the cost overruns in new systems caused by inadequate attention, etc. — one would find that the budget is actually close to balanced, and that instead we're just dealing with deficits inherited from the 1980s (gee, who was in power then?). And all of that assumes that nobody has actually read Keynes.
Nobody should assume from the foregoing that I was not in favor of "enforced regime change" in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. The ill-chosen mechanism is what I object to, particularly in light of its entirely avoidable costs (many of which appear nowhere on any balance sheet).
- The Rancid Drumstick Award for something that should be edible, but isn't, goes to the government of France for its efforts to avoid the orphan-works problem that instead only reinforce French cultural imperialism, both in concept and in implementation. The irony that the French government is the one that pushed hardest for the twenty-year extension of copyright resulting in the current life-plus-seventy excessive term is a bit much to swallow before I uncork this afternoon's American zinfindel to go with my holiday meal.