Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Vote Now! The 2018 Miserable Crank Awards: Day Two

Here are the candidates for day two of voting for the Miserable Crank Awards of 2018. Don't forget to vote on the Day One categories or the Day Three categories!

Mark Zuckerberg's Congressional Testimony
The 2016 election brought with it many scandals, and a lot of them involved Facebook, in a variety of ways--including the behavior of Cambridge Analytica. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put on his best Data face and offered his testimony, which did little to convince anyone that the social media giant intended to do anything about false information on its platform.

Starbucks' Racial Issues
Starbucks had not one but two unfortunate racial incidents in its stores this year, a keen embarrassment for the progressive-leaning coffee chain. First, a manager kicked out some African-American individuals because they weren't buying anything, contra to the company's policy of not doing that, and when they didn't leave had them arrested. They then tried to solve the problem by launching a "Race Together" campaign, a laughably tone-deaf attempt to start conversations about race and...coffee?

It seemed like a good idea on paper--customers pay a small monthly fee of ten dollars, and they get to see as many movies as they want. OK, maybe it wasn't a great idea on paper, and it certainly wasn't in practice. The innovating company found itself in financial issues over the summer, right when the blockbuster movies were coming out, and had to find additional funding to pay the bills--the huge bills customers were racking up by going to the movies too much. After fudging around with various gimmicks, like surge pricing and movie restrictions, they retooled their plan, but not before the customer base was decimated by their frantic and unstable services.

International House of Pancakes is known for one thing--well, two, if you count a place to find drunks eating sixteen pancakes with boysenberry syrup. As a rather blatant marketing gimmick, they changed their name to iHob--with a B--and let people guess what it stood for (apparently not botulism). Turns out it was burgers. Which is a perfect drunk food, so they know their market, but its weirdly insistent decisions regarding its marketing was more trouble than it was worth.

Toys R Us
The toy retail giant had been on the teetering edge of bankruptcy for a while now, thanks to a combination of mismanagement, online stores, and leveraged buyouts. It finally all just collapsed this year as the entire chain just folded. The iconic brand drilled into kids nationwide was no more. While the brand itself will be licensed out in various forms (including the mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe), the iconic brand drilled into kids' nostalgia nationwide was no more.

It's the gold-or-blue dress of 2018! A weird little recording made the rounds on the internet, where playing it back sounded like the word "Yanni" to some people and "Laurel" to others. Everyone got in on the act, with even major newspapers posting it and having everyone weigh in. As usual, some scientists came out and told us all why, but why do that when you can just argue with people?

Eating Tide Pods
Oh, you wacky millennials! When will you learn not to do stupid shit? Of course, I'm stretching the definition of "millennial" and "stupid shit," but it's hard to focus coarse judgement otherwise. A handful of popular YouTube personalities decided to take up the Tide Pod Challenge, which was nothing more than eating little packets of detergent. The Tide Corporation (or whatever) had to come out and release an actual announcement telling people that laundry soap was not intended to be edible. 

Just, no.

Middle-Aged White Women Calling The Cops On Black People Doing Normal Stuff
With many aspects of racial tension at an all-time high, it's not surprising that middle-aged white women decided they needed to do something. Given almost comically Dick-Tracy-villain level nicknames like BBQ Becky and Permit Patty, these triumphant women called the police after seeing black people...having a barbecue. Or selling bottles of water. The nerve!

Tik Tok
Sure, it seems like a fun little app where preteens can lip-sync along to their favorite songs, but it has the unfortunate benefit of being a popular thing of young people doing explicitly annoying things. And while it's the spiritual successor to the much-lamented Vine app, it also has the unfortunate reputation of having some weirdly adult content.

Parkland Shooting
Another year, another mass shooting. This time in the Florida high school in Parkland. This one seemed a little different than previous shootings--a few iconic students got more than the normal amount of headlines, and it seemed to be the breaking point for a lot of politicians previously on the fence.

Pennsylvania Priest Scandal
An investigation into the various Catholic Archdiocese in Pennsylvania led to the revelation that over the course of the past few decades, hundreds of priests assaulted thousands of children throughout the state.(This doesn't include those abuses uncovered in Philadelphia, which was the subject of an earlier investigation.) While a lot of the facts known aren't a surprise, the numbers alone shook a lot of people.

Border Issues
Take your pick--is it the family separation policy, that was eventually reversed after an agonizingly long delay and still hasn't been fully implemented? Is it teargassing women and children? Is it the caravan making its way up north? Is it the still-not-built wall?

California Wildfires
Another year, another...well, you get the idea. The Wildfires in California were particularly nasty this year, no doubt accelerated by the years of drought the state has suffered from. Even aside from the destruction of so many iconic areas in the Golden State, many people who weren't near the fires still suffered from the smoke pouring in from inland.

Murder of Saudi Arabian Journalist
A sloppy execution of a Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, that took place in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, reinforced a lot of what westerners think of the middle east--unwilling to acknowledge dissent, repression of the free press, and super, super bad at covering up murder.

[Voting is now closed.]

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