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Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Annual D-Bag Awards Part 1 - What Am I Doing?

Should I just give it up?  Should I quit this?

What the hell, Internet?  Did I become lazy?  Did I get a life?  Did I actually do work? 

20 blog posts last year.  TWENTY!

That’s abysmal.  I did 123 in 2008 and averaged close to 95-100 a year, until I hit a creative or ambitious wall with 2014.  Granted, 2013 and 2014 were pretty much bad years as my content will attest to.

In any case, I couldn’t close the book on 2014 without doing my annual D-Bag of the Year Award.  And if you’ve been keeping score, I kind of mailed it in the last two years as it is.

In years past, I would go through this tournament consisting of several rounds matching like nominees such as The Grim Reaper vs. Mother Nature.  

2014 has had its fair share of celebrity deaths like Mike Nichols, Richard Attenborough, Joan Rivers, Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Mickey Rooney, James Garner, Ruby Dee, Bob Hoskins, Sid Caesar, Casey Kasem, Shirley Temple, and Eli Wallach.  That was some of the Hollywood Old Guard.  The notable names connected to a younger generation of entertainment consumers included David Brenner, Bob Hoskins, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Meshach Taylor, Harold Ramis, Jan Hooks, Maya Angelou, Christine Cavanaugh, Edward Herrmann, and Robin Williams.  That’s nothing compared to the lives lost through tragedies like what happened with airplanes overseas disappearing or crashing, deaths in Ukraine and the Middle East from war and strife, and deaths of police officers and/or alleged criminals like Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, or even my own backyard Pennsylvania with Eric Frein going all Rambo in the backwoods of PA after killing police officers.

But Mother Nature gave as good as she got plunging us into stretches of subzero temperatures with Polar Vortices, a late fall snowstorm in the Pacific Northwest and New England, cyclones, earthquakes, mudslides, landslides, and eruptions as well. 

I’ve also recounted in past years how various businesses promoted themselves with such great audaciousness, like Apple infuriating some of its consumer base with an automatic download and install of U2’s new album via iTunes, whether they wanted it or not.  There was also Hobby Lobby and the controversial Christian values trumps the ACA for contraception case before the Supreme Court.  Probably the biggest and most forgotten story was the NFL’s domestic abuse problem and how it quickly faded once the season got into full swing.

Then the business of politics always took a lot of the focus as nominees in the category would include people like Congress for constantly being a blight on the Democratic process.  Republicans for the ridiculous amount of time and energy wasted on trying to overturn the ACA, and immigration, and women’s rights.  The Democrats could not escape themselves as they completely dismantled themselves from doing anything during the midterm elections because they just didn’t care and it showed at the polls when they got walloped by the GOP.

But, I always found it easy to pick apart the individuals in my round up.  Chris Brown was an easy target as he was constantly finding himself being a royal d-bag, but this year he seemed to take a backseat to others.  2014 probably would have had me compare nominees like James Franco for being a creepy bastard with that underage girl over texting.   Shia LeBeouf would have been up there with his Joaquin Phoenix level meltdown, had that been real, declaring he was not famous, became the unknown comic, cut his own face for Fury, claimed he was raped during the filming of a movie, plagiarized a graphic novelist, and tried to mug a homeless man of Mickey D’s.  It could all be a stunt or he’s just drunk and off the reservation. 

NFL and the NBA all have players, owners, and commissioners who love to be douches.  The NBA had LeBron James, who went back to Cleveland, which made Cleveland look like such a whipped city because they welcomed him back with open arms.   Donald Sterling made the list this year after his much publicized remarks caught on tape by his “female friend” V Stiviano.  The NBA gave him a lifetime ban and forced him to sell the team which he fought.  In the end, justice kind of prevailed but the means to the end involved Ms. Stiviano being pretty much a d-bag in her own right.  

The NFL produced great d-bags this year like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, who were suspended for domestic violence, and supposedly Roger Goodell has “top” men investigating it.  Saying Roger Goodell is handling the situation when it comes to bad behavior in the NFL is like saying Wyle E Coyote is this close to catching the Roadrunner with whatever ACME gadget Amazon Prime just delivered him.   Also with bad behavior, Pittsburgh’s LaGarrette Blount and Le'veon Bell kicked off the season with a rollicking ride in Pittsburgh, while high, missing the team flight and getting pulled over by the police.  It seems a moot point when Bell has been one of the biggest play makers for the Black and Gold, and Blount, after getting less than an acceptable amount of touches, walked off the field and into the locker room, finally being cut by the team and resigned with his former employer, The New England Patriots.  He was happy to be home and Pittsburgh was happy he was, too, I guess.  Still, it’s a move that could be interesting IF and ONLY IF the Steelers are forced to face down their only playoff demon left in the Patriots.   Still, Blount was a d-bag for being a whiny bitch and pretty much a problem child that needed spanked.  If Blount rolls over Pittsburgh in a playoff rout, it isn’t enough to call for the heads of Haley and Tomlin in Pittsburgh.   Christ, people have been calling for them in week 1 and now the own the AFC North.  By the end of the season, another famous d-bag, Ndamukong Suh, finished out his year by stomping on Aaron Rodgers, leading to a suspension, which was appealed and turned over in another great moment by Roger Goodell’s mantra of cleaning up the league.   But then again, I have watched all of five minutes of NFL football this year, taking a much needed breather from all the hypocrisy and thuggish behavior that product has included.   So, it’s really a tossup in sports, but there are no losers in that division. 

Much has been made about women’s rights and the treatment of women this year.  The constant politicizing of women’s right to use contraception took center stage with the Hobby Lobby debate and springing off the Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice stories was the catcalling video “10 Hours of Walking In NYC as a Woman”.  It showed the “reality” of what a woman goes through walking around and being accosted by men of color in “various” NYC neighborhoods.  I use quotes because the 10 hours of footage was not presented in full for viewing.  When taken to task by Slate, the producer said (paraphrased), “White Men catcalled her too, but they were too far off camera or the sound was ruined by a siren.”    That footage was somehow not included.   So, I include the producer of this, not for pointing out the reality of what women go through, but because he did it piecemeal, contextualizing it.  And speaking of being a d-bag towards women, how about Artie Lange and his tweets about Cari Champion?  Or, better yet, the allegations and retraction (apology) by Rolling Stone over the story about campus rape at UVA.  And how about this, as innocuous as this is against women, Justin Bieber managed to piss all over women and the holocaust by writing “Anne Frank Was A Great Girl, Hopefully She Would Have Been A Belieber” in the guest book at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.  That is far worse than those two cancer kids snogging and GETTING APPLAUSE for it in the same house from The Fault In Our Stars.  I jest because I loved the book and the film and thought it was a bit of a WTF moment which made me laugh.  Finally, the invasion of privacy, and sexual crimes against female celebrities due to iCloud hacks calls out a more philosophical question of what constitutes a sex crime?

But no individual’s d-bag story could have topped the one that pretty much crushed a lot of us 70s and 80s kids’ childhood memories when it was reported… A LOT, that Bill Cosby has had a long history of drugging and sexually assaulting women.  Since there have only been allegations and no actual charges filed (I Think) against Cosby and I wish it not true because I have adored the career of Cosby from his stand up to Fat Albert, from Picture Pages to the Cosby Show.   But, there is a hell of a lot of smoke to not think that maybe we should call the fire department. 

In the last segment I usually throw a giant generalization towards something like Me or the Media or Humanity to truly level the playing field in who I think is the biggest d-bag of the year. But one d-bag seems to challenge the faceless nameless category and this year it’s Hackers.   Hackers have been all over the place this year.  First off we need to realize that none of our information is safe.  Hackers hit every category this year.  We have business with all of our credit card and banking information hacked from Home Depot and Target, and NYC Taxi and Limo company.   The cloud was hacked and tons of pictures and videos were stolen from famous and non-famous account holders in what was called The Fappening and The Snappening.  Sony was hacked and emails detailing everything from pay inequality to what people really think of Angelina Jolie was shared.  Online gaming sites like XBOX Live and SONY’s PSN were hacked and kiddies opening up their new PS4s and XBOX Ones on Christmas morning couldn’t go online and shoot each other in the face, leaving them to face the brave new world of actually interacting with people face to face.  And then there is the supposed Sony hack by Kim Jong Un and his legion of TRS-80 hackers a la WarGames who threatened terrorism if The Interview was released.  Frankly, that movie should get its own award this year because I think this was an inside job by somebody looking to boost the hype over watching this film, not actually North Korea.

So, where does that leave us?  We’ve talked about sports and politics and business and celebs and technology in regards to who is the biggest d-bag of the year.  But what could possibly trump all those nominees? 

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