The Buffalo Beast‘s annual “Most Loathsome” list is damn near the highlight of my year. I won’t give it much of an introduction: I’ll let a few choice excerpts speak for themselves.
38. Carlos Mencia
Charges: A German-Honduran who pretends to be Mexican so he can engage in jovial slurs about “beaners” and “wetbacks.” Repeatedly says “what?” and “no, I’m serious!” during his stand up routines, as if his audience is blown away by his tiresome retreading of age-old ethnic and gender clichés and his bellowing one-note delivery. Imagines himself to be some kind of envelope-pushing genius despite the fact that his entire body of work is a series of variations on the hackneyed “white guys do this, black guys do this” routine that has launched a thousand careers in stand-up mediocrity. What’s that you say, Carlos? Asians can’t drive? Gee, we’ve never heard that before. A well-known joke thief, Mencia can’t even write his own shitty, hackneyed material.
Exhibit A: Actual name is Ned Holness.
Sentence: Deported to Mexico.
31. Cindy Sheehan
Charges: A massive failure as a parent, it literally took the death of a family member to elevate Sheehan’s political awareness to that of a self-righteous college freshman with pungent dreadlocks and a Che Guevara T-shirt. Might have actually made a difference if she had played to the image of a regular soccer mom and exercised a little message control. Runs with ‘Nam Vets, blurring the important distinction between forced conscription and volunteer suckers like her son Casey. In ’06, Sheehan really jumped the shark by protesting the vulgar American occupation of Iraq with an equally vulgar All-American “hunger strike,” performing the most insincere and brand-conscious act of nonviolent resistance ever recorded: Two harrowing months deprived of all nutrition—except Jamba Juice smoothies, protein shakes and the odd ice cream latte, just like Gandhi. That’s not a hunger strike; that’s a diet.
Exhibit A: “I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it.”
Sentence: Starved to death.
22. James Frey
Charges: It only makes sense that an infantile, semiliterate, cliché-humping fabulist would become a best-selling author in a country that only reads books to keep Oprah off its back. But Frey’s “memoirs,” which would be pamphlets if they weren’t padded with grating faux-poetic repetition, are stuffed with poorly worded fabrications as obvious, artless and awkwardly self-aggrandizing as an adolescent geek’s tales of his “girlfriend from Canada.” Every hackneyed detail is transparently designed to engender sympathy and admiration, and above all to convince us he’s not gay. Frey’s success is just another sign that people will believe anything, so long as it makes them feel good and doesn’t challenge them intellectually.
Exhibit A: “I take responsibility for who I am. That’s what I’ve always done. That’s who I am. I would be a liar if I didn’t.”
Sentence: Chopped into a million little pieces. Feet first.