The headline here says it all. There are plenty of contenders for the disgrace of this label for 2011 but there can be only one Meathead of the Year (MOTY). Those who merit only a mention here and the lesser label of “Meathead” can take solace in the Biblical verse:
“Many are called but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
If that is too “heavy” for any of them, they can think of a variant on those words:
“Many are cold but few are frozen.”
The Committee that votes on who gets mentioned herein and who becomes the Meathead of the Year consists of one person – - me. The criterion for consideration for the award is to do something that the Committee – - me – - finds outrageous even by the lowered standards of an age dominated by Twitter, Facebook and Current TV.
The world of sports provided a plethora of nominees this year – - but in a bit of foreshadowing, no none in the world of sports could make it to the MOTY level.
Lawrence Taylor pled guilty to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute. Before you think that I have set the bar for meatheadedness too low this year, let me color in a few squares for you. The prostitute turned out to be 16 years old; the price for the tryst was $300. A Hall of Fame linebacker is reduced to buying sex from a $300 hooker. Sic transit gloria mundi… That pleading makes Lawrence Taylor a sex offender who has to register as such when he moves about the country. Lawrence Taylor, Meathead.
Greg Cote had this comment about the Lawrence Taylor pleading in the Miami Herald:
“Lawrence Taylor, sentenced to six years probation for patronizing an underage prostitute, explained, ‘I don’t card them.’ L.T. must have been out cruising the boulevard the day God handed out contrition.”
When the Penn State pederasty scandal hit the wires in November, several thousand Penn State University students took to the streets to protest the fact that Joe Paterno had been fired as the head football coach there. These protesters turned over cars and at least one news truck and generally committed themselves to a low-grade riot. These are university students; nominally, they are not morons. However, what tipping over a news truck has to do with the employment status of Joe Paterno made no sense then and makes no sense now. Penn State protesters, Meatheads.
Last February, the Super Bowl was in Dallas at the new stadium Jerry Jones built. Someone figured out that there are people out there who will do anything to be part of the Super Bowl experience and so they set up some giant TV screens outside the stadium and offered to let people stand outdoors to watch the game on these giant TV screens for the bargain-basement price of $200. After paying the $200 – - plus God knows what it cost to park in the same area code as the stadium that day – - those sheep masquerading as Super Bowl fans had the privilege of buying beers for $12 to enhance their game experience. Anyone paying $200 for an SRO ticket outside the Super Bowl stadium, Meathead.
Bryant Gumbel is the host of Real Sports on HBO. In the tense moments of the NBA/NBPA negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, Gumbel chose to call David Stern a modern version of a plantation overseer. On the off-chance that Messr. Gumbel missed part of his American History course, let me walk through that analogy for him:
Plantation overseers used whips and other means of physical abuse to enforce the socio-economic system of slavery in the US prior to 1860.
David Stern oversees a basketball league where players make millions of dollars and periodically become “free agents” meaning they can go and work wherever they choose.
The NBA is not slavery. Not even close.
Doesn’t the existence of “free” agency immediately negate the concept of slavery?
Bryant Gumbel, Meathead.
Mike Leake is a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. In 2009, he signed a contract with the Reds as he got out of college, which included a bonus of $1.8 M; since then, he has been making approximately $500K per year. He is not impoverished. In April, police in Cincy arrested Leake for shoplifting T-shirts from a department store there; the shirts had a retail value of $60.00. Mike Leake, Meathead.
Dwight Gooden received probation from a court this year based on a traffic incident. How can that be part of the Meathead of the Year competition? Well, allow me to review the bidding:
Gooden was high on cocaine while he was driving and hit another vehicle.
In the back seat of his car was his 5-year old son, while he was driving high on cocaine.
The 5-year old son was not wearing a seat belt in the back of the car while Gooden was driving high on cocaine.
Dwight Gooden, Meathead.
During the NFL Exhibition Season, there were two incidents of extreme violence at Candlestick Park during a Niners’ game. One fan was shot in the parking lot; another was beaten down in a men’s room. Needless to say, these actions do not project the kind of image that the Niners or the NFL seeks to project. Therefore, it was a bit shocking to see that the Niners came up with this ad campaign just before the regular season started – - a couple of weeks after these incidents. A full-page ad in the SF Chronicle urged the Niners’ female fans to get with the rowdiness.
“GIRL TALK NOW INCLUDES TRADE RUMORS, PLAY CALLING, AND TAUNTING TECHNIQUES.”
I do not know what genius in the Niners’ marketing department came up with that pitch; but given the timing and the capitalized reference to “taunting techniques”, I would have to say he/she has to be about as tone-deaf as they come. Is there adult supervision in that marketing department? Niners’ marketing genius, Meathead.
The final sports world entrants in this contest are the producers and directors back in the trucks at live sporting events. These folks insist on seeking out and showing the most idiotic fans among the thousands in the seats. Ignoring for a moment that showing fans at games is not why the network paid big money for television rights, these producers and directors consistently show us the shirtless fans with painted bodies and the obviously heavily lubricated fans. Moreover, they arrange for those goofs to get a cue that they are on camera so they can act up. Here is a rule of thumb the folks in the truck should use as they manage and select their crowd shots:
Look at the folks on camera before you switch that shot to the one on the air. Ask yourself if the people in the camera shot are ones you would invite to your home for dinner.
If not, move on and find another shot. If you do not want them in your home, why the Hell do you think I might want them in mine?
Sports program producers and directors, Meatheads.
The world of politics provided a few nominees this year. I suspect that there will be a cornucopia of contestants from that segment of society next year; but for this year, we will have to settle for a few “dishonorable mentions” only.
Michelle Bachman represented the Tea Party in giving its response to the State of the Union message earlier this year. She referred then – - and has continued to refer – - to the actions and the intentions of the Founding Fathers. I am certainly not a great historian, but too many of her invocations of the Founding Fathers are flights of fancy at the very least. In fact, what she most reminds me of is another political chapter of American History – - albeit not one nearly so revered by modern politicians. She harkens back to the days of the Know Nothing Party – - a movement in late 1800s that feared the country would be overrun by immigrants and would be dominated by a religion other than Protestant Christian sects. Michelle Bachman, Meathead.
Donald Trump produced his birth certificate to prove to everyone that he was born in the USA as he pondered a run for the presidency. In doing so, he called into question the birthplace of President Obama and somehow thought that issue plus “the brand” associated with Donald Trump might be enough to get him the Republican nomination. Frankly, I have heard enough about the birth certificates of presidential candidates over the past 5 years or so but I would pose this question for former presidential hopeful, Donald Trump:
Can you produce a birth certificate for the small mammal whose pelt sits atop your head?
Donald Trump, Meathead.
Glenn Beck is not exactly a politician, but he resides in the world of politics. Earlier this year, Beck said that the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan “could be a message from God”. It was only a year ago that Pat Robertson said the same thing about the Haitian earthquake. Look folks, anything and everything could be a message from God. Try as I might, I simply cannot understand even the precepts that underlie String Theory. Maybe that is a message from God; maybe it just means I am not smart enough to get it. Now, since God sent no future messages – - as interpreted by Messr. Beck – - maybe the most cogent message here is that God does not pay attention to Glenn Beck either. Glenn Beck, Meathead.
Needing no explanation, allow me to declare, Anthony Weiner, Meathead.
The world of entertainment provided a couple of contenders this year. Ryan Dunn formerly of Jackass – - what an omen that turns out to be – - died in a car accident. The car he was driving hit a tree at somewhere between 132 and 140 mph and his blood alcohol level was .196 – - about 2.5 times the legal limit. According to a passenger in the car who survived, Dunn flipped his car 8 times in the same spot on the road 15 years before the fatal accident. Ryan Dunn, Meathead.
Florence Henderson was the mother in the old Brady Bunch TV shows. Earlier this year, Ms. Henderson thought it was important that the world know that she caught a case of the crabs from a one-night stand with former NY City Mayor, John Lindsay. Two points here:
John Lindsay has been dead for more than 10 years so he would not be available for comment/verification here.
Why is a 77-year old woman saying anything at all about her “hoo-hah”?
Florence Henderson, Meathead.
Sandy Vietze was on the US Ski Team – - actually, on the developmental squad meaning that the USOC housed and fed him as he learned to ski. Not a bad gig… Vietze found his way off the developmental squad in an unusual way earlier this year. On a commercial airplane flight, he “took a whiz” on an 11-year old girl. That is bad enough, but consider these other factors surrounding this matter:
Vietze was charged in Federal court with indecent exposure. [Aside: Where are the charges for “terminal stupidity” and or “entitlement above and beyond the level of reason”?]
Vietze claimed the incident arose from his consumption of 8 drinks before the flight took off. [Aside: Vietze is 18 years old; where are the charges for underage drinking?]
Sandy Vietze, Meathead.
Sandy Vietze’s behavior seemed to be contagious for a moment. Only about 2 weeks after his “moment of relief on an aircraft”, French actor, Gerard Depardieu reprised that role. According to People Magazine, Depardieu “drained the snake” – - so to speak – - on a commercial aircraft in front of other passengers because he was told by the crew to stay in his seat until after takeoff. After he hosed down the floor, the flight was delayed about 2 hours while a cleaning crew came aboard to make things right. Gerard Depardieu, Meathead.
To present the basis for John W. Phillips’ inclusion in this competition, allow me simply to quote two paragraphs from a report in the Detroit News from Feb 8, 2011:
“A Massachusetts man remains jailed today on charges he allegedly came to the city three times last year to have sex with a 13-year-old Detroit girl he wed in an online video game.
“John W. Phillips, 54, of Fitchburg, Mass., is charged with 11 felonies including sexual assault, using a computer to communicate with another person to commit a crime, accosting a child for immoral purposes and child sexually abusive activity. The maximum sentences for the charges range from four to 20 years in prison.”
John W. Phillips, Meathead.
John Michael Bailey taught a course in human sexuality – - or some such thing – - at Northwestern University. At the end of one of the course lectures, he provided a live demonstration to those students who stayed after class using a woman and a sex toy as his instructional aid. It is far too easy to say this was the climax of his teaching experience at Northwestern since he lost that position soon after this story broke. It is also easy to see how he came to be part of this compendium of boneheadedness. John Michael Bailey, Meathead.
And now, we have come to the point where I will identify the runner-up in this year’s competition for the Meathead of the Year. Astute readers will have wondered by this point how PETA could possibly be absent from the list. Not to worry, they have been absent because they are the runners-up this year. [Aside: I confess that I enjoy linking PETA and its members to an award that is the MEAThead of the Year…] During 2011, PETA suggested/demanded – - well, they actually said it aloud – - that the town of Turkey, Texas needed to change its name out of respect for turkeys. Really. I cannot wait until some of these activist goofballs decide to go to Istanbul and stage some kind of protest about the name of that country. I wonder how long those folks might survive in a Turkish prison. PETA, Meatheads.
Notwithstanding the monumental examples of stupidity described above, the Meathead of the Year award puts them all to shame. The good folks who are members of the Westboro Baptist Church – - you know, the ones who go to protest at the funerals of soldiers who are killed in action overseas – - took their Constitutionally protected rights to new levels of abhorrence. In the incident where Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords was shot, a 9-year old girl was killed in the random gunfire that happened that day. She was a bystander; she had nothing to do with Giffords or the shooter. The Westboro Baptist Church announced that they were going to protest at the funeral of the 9-year old girl because:
She was raised as a Catholic – - and – -
She celebrated Christmas.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, Meatheads Of The Year!
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………