Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Vote Now! The 2017 Miserable Crank Awards: Day Two

Here are the candidates for day two of voting for the Miserable Crank Awards of 2017. Don't forget to vote on the Day One categories or the Day Three categories!

United Airlines Beats Up A Doctor
Taking airplanes is already a dead-eyed, miserable experience. So you kind of half expect airlines to at least put in some effort to not be complete monsters. Well, imagine the surprise of one doctor, who was being booted off of the flight due to United's overbooking policies, explained that he had patients to see and should probably stay. The security forces disagreed in the form of beating him up and dragging him from the flight. Thankfully, the entire situation was recorded, so United Airlines was held accountable in the form of not being fined.

Equifax Leak
People trust big financial companies with their sensitive data--that's how most of the modern economy works. Of particular sensitivity are credit review companies, who have pretty much every little example of financial transaction we have, good or bad. Equifax took that trust and dumped all over it, leaking millions of people's very, very personal data out into the open; their immediate response was something a second-year Computer Science major may have pulled off.

Pepsi Solves All Social Issues Through Pepsi
There's nothing worse than a tone-deaf ad campaign, and Pepsi's attempt to capitalize on the social protests of 2017 backfired spectacularly. The ad, which basically boils down to Kendall Jenner handing out cans of Pepsi to both protestors and law enforcement officers, solving all the world's problems in the meantime, was seen as condescending at best and insulting at worst. Pepsi quickly pulled the ad.

It's the dawning of a new age, and age filled with fancy new startups that are designed to make our world a better and more convenient place. Enter Juicero, a high-profile startup that promised to make a state-of-the-art juice machine for the modern Millennial. Over a hundred million dollars and five years of planning later, the machine was introduced--where it was quickly found that the juicer required proprietary juice packets paid for by subscription, and at the end the juice was basically pre-made in the packets, so one could literally cut open the package and just drink the juice, making the machine itself superfluous. The company quickly shut down.

Retail Bankruptcy
2017 was the year that all the retail stores you love but haven't actually shopped at for ten years filed for bankruptcy. From Toys R Us, HH Gregg, and Payless ShoeSource to mall staples Rue21, Perfumania, and Vitamin World, things don't look good for brick-and-mortar retail. Most of these stores aren't quite dead yet, but at least some of them won't be graced at your local shopping complex in the near future. 

The President's preferred method of communication--besides prenuptial agreements-is Twitter, and every time he takes to the app people take notice. This was especially the case when Trump tweeted a very cryptic message shortly after midnight--" Despite the constant negative press covfefe." That's it. And began a flurry of speculation as to what "covfefe" was--or, more likely, what texting disaster occurred, and what sort of state the President was in that late to butt-tweet such a thing. To his credit, Trump ran with it.

Keurig Destruction
When TV pundit Sean Hannity started to advocate for Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, many thought he had taken things a bit too far--handwaving away the allegations of sexual assault on minors was something most people didn't like. And many sponsors felt the same way, as many of them pulled their support for the show. One company was Keurig, the maker of coffee machines, and thus started a trend of Hannity supporters throwing their coffee machines from their rooftops. Keurig, no doubt, was upset at all the new coffee machines they will have to sell to replace the broken ones that people we all know will eventually replace.

Dilly, Dilly
A catchphrase that took off after being featured in a beer commercial, it's become popular in sports communities due to IT DOESN'T MATTER YOU PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.

Szechuan Sauce
What do you get when you get a bunch of nerds angry? A PR disaster. (Or the prequels.) When popular cartoon Rick and Morty had a B plot involving a McDonald's sauce from decades ago, nerds went crazy about it, even buying up old unopened packets of fast food drippings for stupid prices. McDonalds then brought it back as a promotion, but they didn't make nearly enough, causing fans to shower their outrage in that way only millennials can--trying to shame Ronald McDonald. He's a grease clown who slings puck-shaped meat-type things. He can't be shamed.

Giraffe Birth
When it was announced that April the Giraffe was pregnant, someone at the Animal Adventure Park in New York decided it would be fun to put up a live stream. And thus started a sensation, as animal lovers flocked to the site to watch April stand around and be pregnant. And stand. And stand. Giraffes have a long gestation period, and it was seemingly months before anything happened, but eventually out popped a baby giraffe. And millions of people suddenly realized that giraffe births involve a lot of awkward hooves and giraffe fluids. Welcome to nature, kids!

It's been a banner year for hurricanes in North America. While we've had some outlier seasons in the past, this year the United States, Mexico, and even Canada were hit with a slew of major storms. There were six major storms, with Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Puerto Rico was hit particularly hard, with a lot of infrastructure completely destroyed.

Mass Shootings
It wouldn't be a year in America without a wave of mass shootings. Most notable was at a Las Vegas concert, where 59 people died, and a shooting at a church in rural Texas, where 27 people died. Reactions, of course, tended towards the horrified, but as always policies regarding gun use and security dominated a lot of the conversation afterwards for each one.

A gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis took an ugly turn--well, uglier--when marches and speeches that went on throughout the day were met with protests, and one individual countered this protest by ramming into a crowd with his vehicle. Not to be outdone, President Trump added fuel to the fire by blaming both sides, an alarmingly tone-deaf pronouncement that left most people disgusted with the entire ordeal.

Everyone You Know Is A Sex Criminal
Never meet your heroes, they say, but the current state of Hollywood and politics--and the business world in general--takes this to its logical extreme. Starting with Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, an entire litany of stars, former and current, have had sexual misconduct and rape charged against them. Some have admitted as much; some fought back; but most simply faded from public view for a while. In the end, the momentum appears to have let up not the least little bit, and more allegations are certain to come to light.

Manchester Concert Bombing
During an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom, a more-or-less lone terrorist threw a shrapnel-laden bomb into the crowd, killing 23 people (mostly young and even teenagers) and injuring over 500 more. The juxtaposition of a concert filled with young, enthusiastic people met with the raw, abject violence of terrorism shook a lot of people.

[Voting is now closed.]

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