Columns 2009

2009 Hall of Infamy

This was a pretty amazing year for nominations into my Hall of Infamy. Considering it was not an election year, I thought the pickings would be slim. But political pandering lives on in all its glory as seen by the machinations that led to a health care bill that was, quite frankly, hardly worth either the wait, the cost or the pandering.

But I digress. The Hall is about those who have caused such ickiness and disgust as to have risen above the usual sleazy suspects.

Let’s start with Dick Cheney who retired from active politics on January 20, 2009 and immediately re-emerged as America’s boogeyman. His performance as deposed Lord of Fear, opining on every Sunday morning show that would give him air time about how the current administration is setting America up for another 9/11 immediately elevated him into the permanent wing of the Hall. He and Tom Cruise now proudly share that honor.

Keeping the concept of fairness in mind, we must admit that Nancy Pelosi is also close to earning a permanent spot in the Hall if only because she is possibly the most annoying woman in the US Congress today.  And for those of you wondering why Mark Sanford isn’t on this list, I can only say that even the Hall of Infamy has its standards.

I’m also nominating all politicians who did not blink an eye at going trillions of dollars into debt in order to fund a war of choice and then rebuild a country half a world away but bitched about the cost of covering Americans with affordable health care.

A nominating nod must also go to any country, religion or societal structure that believes that women should not be full participants in all aspects of life. And yes, I mean those that make their women wear burkas. Or places where a woman cannot be seen in public without a male relative escorting her. Or societies where a woman can be stopped by morality police and publicly beaten for some imagined showing of a forbidden part of her body… like her eyebrows. Or cultures where a husband, father or brother may kill a female relative if she has the audacity to allow herself to be raped without killing herself immediately afterwards to save her family from shame.

If some of these societies wonder why the Western world seems to be so much more advanced than they are, they might consider that they are keeping half of their intelligence, ingenuity and creativity locked behind heavy doors.

Moving on to the world of entertainment, the choices, as always, are innumerable. They range from such weird anomalies as the Octomom to the brilliant and brilliantly flawed Tiger Woods.  Michael Jackson’s father Joe would be on this list were it not for those standards I mentioned in regards to Mark Stanford. Joe Jackson is one of those people who are too icky even for the Hall of Infamy. And the new reality show Jersey Shore makes the cut for nominations based solely on the fact that I grew up there and am embarrassed by how real the portrayals actually are.

I think the commercials for Broadview Home Security deserve some special nomination in the area of tasteless attempts to scare. I refer to the commercial where a mother is playing with her daughter in a suburban neighborhood in full sunlight at noon while a hooded thug peeks between some boards at the pretty tableau. Mom goes in for lunch and sets her security alarm at which point the thug, possibly the stupidest criminal on earth, breaks through the glass door.  The people who created these commercials should hang their heads in shame.

But we must hesitate no longer in announcing the winner for the 2009 entry into my Hall of Infamy – and it is not Levi Johnston. No, the winner is the people who guided Levi to a centerfold gig in Playgirl magazine, thereby ensuring him iconic status in the world of gay men while also closing the door on anyone taking him seriously for anything for the rest of his life. Shame on those who had a hand in that decision. It’s not nice to take advantage of those with limited abilities, no matter how big your cut is.

Now on to 2010!