Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, fans and haters of Bored on the Corner, it is that time of year again. Today, I announce the nominees for my favourite award, The 2009 Douchebag of The Year. It is a special award, given to the person or people who you the fans, feel made the biggest ass of him/her/themselves in the last year. It was actually really hard to narrow it down to a short list -- I reeeeally wanted to squeeze Suzanne Lukas into this, but alas... Without any further ado, here are the 12 finalists for the second annual Douchebag of the Year. Why 12? Just to piss off The Nostalgia Critic.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for... oh jeez, where to begin? Off the top of my head, he abandoned and slandered Canadian citizens of Muslim heritage, when they got in trouble abroad; his government blocked a law-abiding Scottish MP from giving a lecture in Canada, just because he supported Palestine, while the Harperites totally ignore an extremist group like the Jewish Defense League; his party pulled funding to a Gay Pride parade and fired the minister who originally gave it a grant, just because they aren't comfortable with cross-dressers; he couldn't resist a single oppourtunity to attack and bully the Opposition, even when his statements were wrong and he was on the world stage; he got caught on camera threatening to teach Parliament a lesson if he gets a majority (as well as slagging women and gay rights groups as "Left-wing fringe groups" when he's supported by Right-wing fringe groups); funneling stimulus money rather conspicuously to ridings that support his CRAP Party; not giving a rat's ass about the unemployed until he was almost kicked out of office -- AGAIN; shutting down various watchdogs and inquiries meant to keep an eye on what his government is doing; and finally, not showing a single shred of financial competence in this recession, despite supposedly being an economist.
But, an incompetent and tyrannical leader can only do so much damage on his own, even with a cabinet that has no idea what they're doing. They say a hero is only as good as his villain, and so a wannabe dictator is only so effective without an ignorant public, and an opposition that wouldn't scare a chipmunk. I'd say, "The less said about Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton, the better", but they've done so little that I can't really say anything about them anyway. As for the public... if more of them were inclined to actually pick up a newspaper once in a while and find out what's going on in the world around them, maybe the Tories wouldn't be able to get away with this verbal and ideological assault on Canada. All it takes is five minutes and a connection to Google, folks. There's no excuse; if God wanted us to just roll over when told, He would have gotten to the point and made us dogs.
The many "celebrities" who've more than overstayed their fifteen minutes of fame. Normally I wouldn't get that bent out of shape over the sort of people who put the kids of tabloid publishers through college, except for two things. First of all, I've got this psychotic hatred for people who are famous for no reason besides having a famous daddy, being good looking, or giving good head. Second, while I normally have no issue with famous people wanting to get involved in world events, some of them are so slimy that they almost make the scumbags they're protecting look like gentlemen.
Here's a list compiled by me and the fans: Kanye West for once again being such a douchebag at an awards show that I was a little tempted to put his face on MY award; Megan Fox for being an obnoxious and very stupid diva, while having absolutely no talent at all; Miley Cyrus, for not only being so thin-skinned that she left Twitter over some idiot calling her fat, but for claiming to have a strict moral Christian upbringing while being one of the most sexualized products of the Disney Channel today; Richard and Mayumi Heene, aka The family of "Balloon Boy", for possibly the most insulting, insipid, and just plain dumb publicity stunt of this past year at least -- yeah sure, give some reality show has-beens another show, because their kid supposedly got stuck in a balloon that looks like a pastry hat, great idea!; Roman Polanski and his apologists, for thinking that there's NOTHING wrong with drugging a 13 year old girl, raping her repeatedly, and running from the country to avoid a reduced sentence; Perez Hilton, for... well, with this guy you almost don't need a reason, but let's go with his knack for picking fights and then crying bigotry when they backfire; Amy Winehouse for actually making Keith Richards look good... even when sober; Nadya Suleman, aka The Octomom for single-handedly making a sick joke out of fertility treatments, living on welfare, and single motherhood simultaneously; Jon and Kate Gosselin for milking every last drop of their questionable family values with book deals, tabloid exposure, and spending so much of their divorce bitching about money, instead of who's supposed to take care of those eight kids of theirs; and finally The Learning Channel, the producers of "Toddlers and Tiaras", and pageant families in general, for needlessly exploiting kids through these shallow, pointless, and sometimes oversexualized beauty pageants, when some of them aren't even done breastfeeding yet!
The Nobel Prize Committee, over its very odd decision to give this year's Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama. Now I have a lot of respect for Obama and what he's tried to do, but the thing is, he was nominated for the Peace Prize just a few WEEKS into his presidency -- he barely even had time to change the carpets in the White House yet! And frankly, whether you like Obama or not it's pretty hard to deny that when people get major awards just for PROMISING to make the world a better place, then the awards are pretty much meaningless.
Gary Bettman, The NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames, and Sean Avery just for good measure. Mr. Bettman and the NHL used every dirty trick in the book to keep Blackberry Billionaire Jim Balsille from buying the defunct Phoenix Coyotes and moving them to Hamilton, where they might actually make money. Not only that, but for the longest time they said that Hamilton will get an NHL team over Bettman's dead body -- don't tempt me, Gary. Then when the ugly bankruptcy hearings tarred and feathered everyone involved, these gentlemen turned around and said that they'd be open to a new team in Southern Ontario after all.
As for the Maple Leafs, never mind them being the textbook definition of crappy hockey at the best of times, during this slugfest they had the nerve to claim that they can and will personally veto any NHL team that wants to play in Southern Ontario -- which, you know, would give them competition and force them to either play a good game or lower their ticket prices to something you don't need a second mortgage to pay. By the way, guess where they went, once the new hockey season started? STRAIGHT TO THE BOTTOM! Even if you guys don't get the Douchebag of the Year award, you've certainly been served some karma.
The Calgary Flames are on here for a very simple reason, that we all know by now: even though there isn't enough H1N1 vaccine to go around, even though they are all healthy men and therefore very unlikely to be affected by this virus, they illegally got the vaccine anyway. And think it's perfectly justified -- yeah, tell that to the family whose grandfather they might have to bury because of your entitlements, guys.
And Sean Avery? Well let's just say it takes a very upstanding guy to go out of his way to get a bunch of reporters to look at him, and call his ex-girlfriend "sloppy seconds". I guess Elisha Cuthbert really did wear all the class in that relationship.
The Obama Haters (aka "The Devil-Spawn of Joe McCarthy and possibly the KKK"), for not even trying to use facts and good taste to criticize the President. No, they insist on calling him a Muslim -- which is badly disguised racism if I've ever seen it -- calling him a Nazi (which makes absolutely no sense), screaming "Socialist!" at anything that actually tries to help people, and insisting that he was born in Kenya despite very easy-to-find evidence that he was born in Hawaii. Incidentally, these same people never ever raise a peep at the fact that John McCain was born in Panama, and therefore is much less likely to be a natural-born U.S. citizen than Obama.
While we're at it, this nomination also goes out to the people who use any shooting as an excuse to threaten Muslims. I swear, every time there's been a shooting or explosion or anything dramatic in America in the last few years, the trolls ALWAYS say two things: that at least one Muslim MUST BE responsible, and that EVERY LAST MUSLIM must be either kicked out of the country, or just wiped out. What makes it particularly insulting is that these are usually the same arm-chair militants who wear their flags on their sleeves and scream that we must support our soldiers -- refresh my memory, but aren't the soldiers fighting for freedom from this sort of horseshit? And about this crap that says "The West must cease to be liberal, or it will cease to exist", coming from AMERICAN conservatives... maybe you haven't noticed, but the people trying to kill us ARE CONSERVATIVES. Why the hell are you trying to emulate them?
By the way, Fox News, for feeding and occasionally starting this vile, dishonest, bigoted, hateful propaganda, with nothing even resembling journalism ethics, you can be guaranteed that if you win this award, you're the first people I'll mention in the speech. Oh, and since you claim to be "fair and balanced", answer me this: why do you go so far out of your way to criticize the Obama government, even for things that he inherited from your hero George W. Bush, when just a few years ago you said that criticizing the president at all, makes you Un-American and a traitor?
Bell Canada, for charging its business customers for long-distance calls, made on hacked phone lines. These are calls that Bell knows for a fact, their customers couldn't have made, yet they insist on charging tens of thousands of dollars, or more. This is not only very sleazy, but I could swear that it's a criminal offence -- after all, they're directly making money off of fraud and identity theft. Incidentally, this is yet another thing that our wonderful federal government refuses to get involved in, claiming that it has no jurisdiction -- what was that about being tough on crime, Emperor Harper?
Focus on the Family, The National Organization for Marriage, Carrie Prejean, the Republican Party, etc. (aka "Bigots in Suits"), for trying their damnedest to stop gay marriage in America at all costs, including revoking it in states that have legalized it, even by the free votes that the Christian Right claims to insist on. Even though there is not a single thing in American law that says Christian beliefs have superiority to everything and everyone else in the country -- in fact it's forbidden in the Constitution -- for some reason these people think that the Church must rule all.
Not only that, but they repeatedly scream that gay marriage will destroy families, destroy marriage, and destroy society. Um guys? Many countries have had same-sex marriage for years, and the Earth is still here. Maybe you didn't know that. They also have the nerve to say that going out of their way to block homosexuals from having the same rights as everyone else, is somehow not being bigoted or discriminatory -- wow, and religious conservatives wonder why they have a reputation for hate and stupidity? By the way, I'd just like to say once again, that women and black people -- who had to fight the exact same conservatives for their own rights less than a hundred years ago -- are the ultimate hypocrites if they actually side with the "family values" groups. Evidently that equality stuff you were preaching fifty years ago only applies to you, right?
And Republicans... where do you get off slamming gays all the time, when quite a few men in your party have been caught looking for action in public bathrooms, or hitting on underage boys (even though Fox News "accidentally" mislabels you as Democrats)?
And as for Carrie Prejean, who famously lost the Miss USA pageant when she opposed same-sex marriage -- and recently made a scene on The Larry King Show by refusing to talk to a gay caller -- she's just another example of the typical two-faced fundy; she says in one breath that she respects the choice of gay marriage, then totally opposes it the next, cries religious persecution when people stand up to her, and the entire time that she claims to have had a morally upstanding upbringing, she conveniently forgets to mention that she posed in just her underwear in previous modeling gigs, and she made a sex tape for her boyfriend when she was 17. By the way Carrie, I'd just like to remind you that in America it's a federal crime to create and distribute child pornography. The next noise you hear will be the cops knocking on your door. Have a nice day.
Various unions, for even thinking of striking while we're in the middle of a recession. The most famous examples in Ontario lately have been the York University teaching union, and the union representing driving testers -- who already seem to do a really spotty job, based on some of the morons on the road, but that's a different matter. Look, in principle I support you guys trying to be treated well and make a decent wage, but bickering over not getting a big enough raise is just stupid; the economy is in the crapper right now, where the hell do you expect that money to come from? Criss-Freaking-Angel??
Shona Holmes, Betsy McCaughey, Sarah Palin, and the private health insurance industry, for not only demonizing the idea of lower-class Americans having any kind of health care, for free, but resorting to complete lies to do it. Obama's health care plan wasn't perfect to start with -- and is even less so now, after you vultures had your way with it -- but instead of using legitimate points, you decided to make it sound like middle-class Americans would be wiped out in concentration camps (which isn't far off from what's already happening, interestingly enough). You also claimed public health care is insanely expensive, when America actually spends far more per patient under the current system, than any country with public health care, AND its people usually don't live as long. Hmmm...
In the case of Canadian Shona Holmes, this is particularly interesting because she went on TV coast to coast, claiming to be the survivor of a brain tumour that would have killed her if she'd waited for treatment in Canada. The problem with that story is that it's a total lie; she only had a mild cyst, and one that the American insurance companies would have refused to treat, by the way, because it was a pre-existing condition. Then she has the further nerve to sue the Ontario government for health expenses that she racked up ENTIRELY of her own free will. Yeah, good luck with that.
I'm slotting the mainstream media in for this as well because they very rarely -- if ever -- stood up to any of these pundits for their bullshit. Holmes was never personally questioned about her fake story, even by her local newspaper; Sarah Palin and Betsy McCaughey were never asked to prove any of their accusations by so-called "real" journalists -- it took Jon Stewart of all people to illustrate to the public that McCaughey was talking completely out of her ass, and sure enough she lost her lobbying job the next day. Guys, when comedians and bloggers are doing a better job than you at that thing called journalism, something's seriously wrong
The Oxford Community Police, in Woodstock, Ontario, for their absolutely absurd level of incompetence, in handling the abduction and murder of Tori Stafford. Most people in Ontario already know the drill by now, but for anyone else I'll give you the short version. Tori was taken from her school back in the spring, by a woman who no one knew. This was filmed on a surveillance camera, as well. But for reasons that no one has ever explained very well, the Oxford Police refused for the longest time to treat the case as a kidnapping. This is despite the fact that a child being taken by a stranger and both going missing, IS abduction under Canadian law. Sure enough, Tori was eventually declared dead, and her remains discovered several months later.
Exactly how Tori died remains unknown at this time, but I have always maintained that if she wasn't murdered soon after being taken, then she may be alive today if the Oxford cops didn't drag their feet. Sadly, this part of the case has gone very quiet in the grand scheme of this investigation.
The World Health Organization and the media at large, for creating this totally unnecessary panic over the H1N1 flu virus. First they call it the "swine flu" for no particular reason, crippling already struggling farmers. Then they make it sound like the worst plague since The Black Death, when all credible research -- and actual cases around the world -- have shown it to actually be less dangerous than the usual flu virus. And they do this repeatedly. My personal favourite, is when the WHO recently gave this advice to anyone who is sick from the virus: No joke, they said to "seek medical attention". Really! See a doctor, no shit! I was just going to sit in my living room for a few days until my family has either died or turned into zombies.
Finally, The Niagara Crown Attorney's office/Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty et al. /Hamilton City Hall, for doing fuck all in general. McGuinty's distaste for solid action is already well known to residents of Caledonia, who've had to suffer through a hostile Native land occupation for the last three years, while the Ontario Provincial Police refuse to enforce the law -- unless you're a WHITE citizen -- and McGuinty and Ottawa each dodge any responsibility for the land claim. More recently, he's been dogged by problems in the Health ministry, under George Smitherman, who has now decided to run for the mayor of Toronto. I guess time will tell, as to whether or not his opponents will bring up the many millions of dollars embezzled by the eHealth program, or the hundreds of people who died from a huge C. Difficile outbreak, both of which happened under Smitherman's watch with no action at all taken by McGuinty. His successor, on the other hand, DID resign to save face.
The inaction by McGuinty's government took an even more outrageous turn when the Niagara Crown Attorney's office inexplicably dropped charges against James Cedar, an admitted peeping tom who continues to stalk his next-door neighbours. Yet strangely, the authorities in the same area thought that a protest by senior citizens against their hospital being closed, somehow warranted arrests.
As for Hamilton City Hall, they spent a huge amount of time bickering and putting their heads in the sand, when the recession caused one of our two major steel makers to shut down -- a very big deal in this town. More importantly though, when the lower parts of the city were flooded due to old and crumbling sewers, and an emergency meeting was called to try to fix it, Councilor Bob Bratina pulled the plug on it as soon as any notion of a city insurance plan was proposed. This sabre-rattling needlessly postponed help to thousands of already impoverished families, whose homes are all but uninsurable because of the frequent flooding problems. Oh, and guess where councilors Brian McHattie and Russ Powers were, during this disaster -- apparently they were on summer vacation and couldn't be bothered to show their fucking faces.
So you can probably guess how shocked I was when -- through Toronto -- Hamilton got a big piece of the Pan Am games. And you can probably guess how much I'm expecting them to fuck this up, too.
There you have it, everyone. Those are the official nominees for the 2009 Douchebag of the Year. Please leave your notes, comments, e-mails, and video responses to vote -- the deadline will be December 18th, and the winner will be announced on New Year's Eve. That's it for me.