An annual tradition for over a decade and a half! This is my list of ridiculous people from 2014 (so far). Pass me one of those rolls, please:
- The Greasy Gravy Award for oily publicity that makes the main dish inedible goes to confidence-game-playing boosters of vanity- and self-publishing as a legitimate business plan. Again. It's not that self-publishing is never appropriate; indeed, it is both more possible (and more necessary) in the face of dysfunction in commercial publishing than it has been since Gutenberg. It's that self-publishing a single work and expecting that to, ahem, kickstart one's career is still just as silly. That expectation is precisely what the con artists play upon.
- The Red-Tide Oyster Stuffing Award for carelessly poisoning an otherwise tasty dish goes to the FCC. Watch the video... and realize that things have, in many ways, gotten worse since. Even though, amusingly, the trolls did exactly as requested.
- The Broken Wishbone Award for shattering dreams goes to the long-term, old-white-xtian-guy leadership of Ferguson, Missouri; St. Louis County, Missouri; and the state of Missouri. I'm sure there are additional mistakes they could have made in handling the utterly unjustified shooting... but they've each made so many that it would be very difficult to separate them from the mess they've made with errors ranging from a governor calling out the National Guard for a law enforcement function (prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act) to police and prosecutorial demographics that would have been questionable thirty years ago.
- The Golden Gristle Award for assertions far too difficult to digest (and usually stuck in one's teeth) goes to the Hon. Jeffrey Sutton and the Hon. Deborah Cook (PDF), who together (under Judge Sutton's signature) assert that judges have no power to do what the Supreme Court did in Brown or Mapp... or the ironically named Loving, which is directly on point. Those who advocate for judicial restraint may hope and wish that judges will exercise their authority sparingly (although the mere fact of judging is far, far more powerful than those from outside of empowered demographics understand), but that is a preference — not, as the Sixth Circuit's remarkably obtuse opinion asserts, lack of power. In dissent, Judge Daughtrey eviscerates the absence-of-power argument... so she gets a nice, gristle-free serving of meat today.
- The Crabapple Pie Award for marketing something sour as something sweet goes to Cliven Bundy and similar morons who haven't yet figured out that that evil federal government is the reason that they have the right to protest on behalf of their own greed in the first place.
- The Wilted Salad Award for the one part of the meal that's supposed to be "good for you," but is instead rather past its sell-by date, goes to the reactionary SMOFs who actually control the World Science Fiction Society and refuse to change. Change the awards; change demographics; change damned near anything. The irony that this is fandom for the literature of change is both too much and entirely expected.
- The Brussels Sprout Award for stinky, slimy, overcooked, gentrified little cabbages goes jointly to Hachette USA and Amazon for their little contretemps regarding pricing that utterly failed to consider the interests of either the suppliers — which, for at least some works, Hachette was obligated to protect — or the interests of damned near anyone else. In short, AmazonFail 5.x was a startling example of selfish bullying... fought out between two bullies.
- The Dried-Out Breastmeat Award for overcooking the books goes to banks ignoring that debts discharged in bankruptcy are, well, discharged. This is exactly the kind of behavior I've come to expect. One must also question if those banks have been paid already from other sources, such as credit-default insurance, for those very same debts...
- The Rancid Drumstick Award for something that should be edible, but isn't, goes to the "protest" about "journalistic ethics" that became gamergate... and most especially to those who continue the argument, refusing to let it die, because girl cooties.