An annual tradition for over two decades (in various formats)! This is my list of ridiculous people from 2022 (so far). Pass me one of those rolls, please:
- The Greasy Gravy Award for oily publicity that makes the main dish inedible goes to Alex Jones and his business empire, which were founded on the twin principles of shameless personal enrichment notwithstanding preexisting obligations to be, well, marginally honest and deception of its own audience and customers as its fundamental — indeed, only — business model.
- The Red-Tide Oyster Stuffing Award for carelessly poisoning an otherwise tasty dish goes to the Federalist Society, which — through an ideologically based and fundamentally unsound distortion of "reliance on the text" that ignores two centuries of literary and philosophical developments regarding "texts" — has turned merely reading the law and the law's sources into an expression of partisan loyalty, into inability to even contemplate penicillin (94 years ago yesterday) and the luminous aether (over 145 years ago) because those actual, observed, verified, replicable data were not part of the expected/anticipated results. Given the hostility of the organized bar to science, scientists, and the primacy of data ("fact") over theory ("seasoned precedent"), I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the leading proponents of enforced orthodoxy, social conservatism, and reified privilege masquerading as neutral theory are so inept at recognizing the value of outliers… or that those Founders whom they would deify as infallible were by definition outliers.
- The Broken Wishbone Award for shattering dreams goes to the author(s) of this C- (at best) opinion piece on American history. Not to mention this equally-ill-founded one. (I may not have a PhD in that subject, but I was a Professional in the field, albeit without a leather jacket and motorcycle.)
- The Golden Gristle Award for assertions far too difficult to digest (and usually stuck in one's teeth) goes to the new McCarthy, who hasn't yet figured out either that (a) the immigration/border control problems are almost entirely caused by over a century of bigotry expressed in Congressional gridlock and (b) threatening an administration official who heads a department cobbled together by McCarthy's own party in an effort to mask that party's own half-century-plus of neglect is rather futile. Meanwhile, he wants to return loony theocrats like MTG to positions of prominence in the House, which perhaps explains why he and his ilk have been barely audible regarding Iranian theocracy. I would ask of him, as was asked of his namesake, "Have you no sense of decency?" — but the answer is pretty obviously a resounding "No, what's it to you?" followed by a subpoena to appear before HUAC.
- The Conspicuous Consumption Cranberry Relish Award for the most-outrageous example thereof goes to Ticketbastard, further proof that Karl Marx was shooting at the wrong target. It's not control of the means of production that matters so much as control of the means of distribution… and especially so in the arts. In antitrust terms, that's because the entry barriers to manufacture and production are a lot lower than the barriers to logistics (which extend long after mere "entry"); but analyzing the early-nineteenth-century European economy masked that because vertical integration was much more common and complete. None of which is to endorse Marx's purported universal response to abuses under the status quo; diagnosis and treatment are often distinct skills.
- The Crabapple Pie Award for marketing something sour as something sweet goes to a certain failed candidate for the Senate who was trounced by a purportedly entirely-ineffective septuagenarian. (No, not the Georgia campaign, that's still ongoing, and frankly slightly less ridiculous.)
- 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… ok, it has to go to a person and not a head of lettuce… the UK's prime minister for a whole 44 days, Liz Truss (who lasted longer as PM than did a certain unworthy as US National Security Advisor).
- The Brussels Sprout Award for stinky, slimy, overcooked, gentrified little cabbages goes to purportedly-not-competent-to-participate-in-the-inquiry disgraced lawyer Tom Girardi… and decades of neglectful/oblivious bar regulators who let him get away with it. The fundamental problem with "legal ethics" is that the standards are far, far too low — in part due to the organized bar's disdain for civil rights, and civil rights/criminal defense attorneys, as reflected in the "zealous advocacy" imperative of the old Disciplinary Code. Law is a profession that will enable a decent-or-better living when competently practiced — not an entitlement to print money, accrete power, and behave badly in the fashion that Martin Luther complained of a few centuries back.
- The Dried-Out Breastmeat Award for overcooking the books goes jointly to Paramount/Simon & Shuster and Bertelsmann KGaA/Penguin Random House, whose proposed merger (really a straight-out acquisition) was "justified" by purported financial imperatives cognizable only under H'wood accounting. Which didn't distract or deceive Judge Pan (PDF with graphical elements).
- The Rancid Drumstick Award for something that should be edible, but isn't, goes to either the former or new
owner(s)controller(s) of Birdpoop. It was a worthless collection of middle-school lunch cliques, mean girls, bullies, and inedible food even before the current "owner" (who appears to have taken out substantial loans to support his purchase, leaving the question of who really owns it open) began further unreasoned anarchistic sabotage (supported by a "vote" taken among far less than all "eligible voters" by any definition of "eligible").
- The GMO Tofurkey Roast Award for a main-dish item that's supposed to be more wholesome, nutritious, and/or ethical, but merely hides something that's perhaps worse under that veneer of virtue, goes to New York City-based publishing organizations. And the rest of the arts and culture, for that matter. One wonders if a better conception, understanding, and implementation of "diversity" in both viewpoint and content might have prevented another part of this meal from being so embarrassing… such as considering whether any of the witnesses really contributed to a sense of "reflects either avid readers' or America's demographics."
And just as last year, I'm not inviting the mostest ridiculous of them all to this feast. I'm still trying to decide, for insurance purposes, whether he's better characterized under the DSM (pick your favorite edition) as a narcissistic sociopath or sociopathic narcissist — remembering, of course, that I'm not a licensed mental health professional (merely a former commanding officer who had to make such decisions, with the advice of licensed mental health professionals, regarding fitness for military service), so that's a statement of opinion and not of fact. But please, please sue me for defamation, you arrogant POS — I could use the forthcoming sanctions.