Sunday, December 20, 2009

Worst-Of List for 2009 (Part 1)

My previous list, the Best of 2009, was fun to write but it was kind of difficult to come up with. The Worst of 2009 List, on the other hand, practically wrote itself in an embarrassment-of-riches kind of way. There was absolutely no shortage of stupidity, awful behavior and downright lunacy in this past year, and the following barely scratches the surface:

Most Annoying Social Trend: Tweeting/Texting/Sexting
There seems to be a concerted effort to make the spoken word obsolete, as if it's too much trouble to deal with or something. Concurrently, there seems to be a real appetite for taking the minute details of one's everyday existence and throwing them up on a global stage for everyone to see. This is narcissism and self-absorption on a level never before witnessed in history. The question is, why? I never imagined typing could be easier than just speaking but apparently it is, given the popularity of texting and tweeting. I have seen people sitting in adjacent rooms texting each other, because presumably getting up and walking to the next room to tell someone something is now considered gauche. And sexting - sending revealing/obscene pictures of yourself via cellphone - how insane is that? Once those pics get released into cyberspace they live forever and can gain a world-wide audience faster than you can sneeze. Get a grip, kids.

Dumbest Socio-Political Trend: Can't Keep It In Your Pants
Just what is it with male public figures that cause them to screw up in the most ridiculous, embarrassing way possible - getting caught with their pants down in tawdry sex scandals? Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina told his staff he was going hiking in the Appalachians when he was really skipping down to Argentina to canoodle with his alleged soul-mate. Creepy one-time presidential candidate John Edwards gave up his political aspirations along with any shred of dignity he might have had by messing around with a female videographer. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) was busted doing something icky with a woman and his family tried to pay her hush money to keep her yap shut. Luckily, she didn't. The list goes on and on. Why do these repulsive old farts think they can play around like they're eighteen years old or something? Unfortunately there is no shortage of morality-free skanks for whom public whoring is an amusing pastime, and the combination of the two means that there will be many more stomach-churning hookups to endure for the foreseeable future.

Worst TV show of the Year: Jersey Shore
This is a very late entry into the tsunami of drivel that regularly pours out of our sets, but it has rocketed to the front of the pack and left everything else far behind in its odoriferous wake. Jersey Shore is part reality show/part weird, post-apocalyptic minstrel show which chronicles the astonishingly pointless and completely delusional lives of a group of twenty-somethings inhabiting a vacation house in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. They spend their days scantily clad bickering like mildly retarded six-year-olds and dealing with manufactured crises like running out of hair gel, and their nights trolling from night club to sleazy night club getting drunk and grinding up against one another. Referring to themselves as "guidos" and "guidettes" (which makes me really unhappy because my last name is "Guida" and I'm constantly being mistaken for Italian even though I'm Polish) they have drawn the ire of Italian-American groups who are rightfully embarrassed by their stereotypical buffoonery, but in truth anyone who claims to be a member of the human race should be profoundly mortified by their swinish, completely classless lives. America in particular and the world in general has reason to be deeply worried should any of these dimwitted pinheads start reproducing.

BONUS! Worst Show of the Decade: American Idol
AI has been around for, oh I don't know, fifty or sixty years now. Maybe it only seems that way, but what started out as an innocuous, rather unimaginative talent contest has metastasized into a cultural phenomenon, commanding stratospheric television ratings and becoming the centerpiece of the Fox TV network schedule (irony intended). Every year it's the same thing - the audition shows where severely mentally disturbed people display their total lack of talent to a nationwide audience and then lose their shit in a very public way when the truth hits them like getting smacked in the face with a dead fish. It's actually more than a little upsetting when they show you one of their "pity cases," someone who is trapped in a very bleak, dead-end life and is betting everything on this show turning them into a star when there is no chance in hell of that ever happening. Then we move on to the talent contest itself and the seemingly endless series of "semi-finals" when America votes on their favorites. Most of the voting is done by tween-girls in the Midwest who have fully harnessed the power of their ADHD for speed-dialing, and it's no surprise at all they choose "winners" such as the mayonnaise-on-white-bread Kris Allen or the annoying, embarrassing Taylor Hicks, but also near-winners like the deeply horrifying freak of nature that was Sanjaya Malakar. As for the so-called "judges" of this hot mess of a show we were regularly treated to the acerbic, sarcastic stylings of Simon Cowell, the often hilarious/more often incomprehensible ditherings of drug-addled Paula Abdul and also the enduring mystery of why Randy Jackson is even on this show at all. After all this time there may be some cracks appearing in the AI juggernaut and some long-time judges either are or may be soon exiting, most notably Abdul who was memorable in a watching-a-drunk-fall-down kind of slapstick way. If you have no idea what I'm writing about and don't know who any of these people are, consider yourself extremely lucky and know that I would gladly give up five years of my life if I could make the same claims.

False Alarm of the Year That Everyone Fell For: H1N1 Flu
Earlier this year we were all warned in the direst terms that doom is surely coming to us this fall, and everything we know of would be devastated by the H1N1 virus, a.k.a. swine flu. Nearly every day the news programs were beating the catastrophe drum and throwing out the "pandemic" card. I'm pretty sure most people don't know what a pandemic is, all they know is that it's worse than an epidemic because... well, it just is. Breathlessly the media gave us daily updates of the government's efforts to produce enough vaccine and told us in grave tones that there would not be enough! Panic, anybody? I don't know if they were trying to distract us all from the imploding financial mess, but all their gruesome threats have yet to pan out. Maybe we can consider ourselves lucky, for once.

Real Alarm of the Year That Everyone Is Ignoring: Global Warming
The evidence for global warming is everywhere, one needs only to look at such disparate locations as the polar regions and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. The Arctic ice fields are retreating at an alarming rate, and scientists predict the north pole area will be free of ice in the summertime sometime in the next decade, pushing the polar bears to the edge of extinction. Satellites in the southern hemisphere have been tracking an iceberg several times the size of Manhattan which broke off from the Antarctic ice sheet and was cruising past Tasmania. The glaciers on the top of Kilimanjaro are rapidly shrinking and it's all but certain they will disappear in 10 years, depriving the surrounding farms and settlements of a critical water supply. And what are Congressional "leaders" doing in this country instead of coming up with an energy policy to combat the warming? They are having teabag rallies and hollering about how someone is trying to take their guns away from them and encouraging their simple-minded followers to throw tantrums at town-hall meetings. They are so good at doing the ostrich-head-in-the-sand bit, I hope that helps whenever things really go to hell and their children and grandchildren have to find another planet to live on.

More Worst Of 2009 in Part 2.....

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