My favorite new-year pastime, the Buffalo Beast‘s annual “Most Loathsome” list, is now up. It’s a little more brief (and tame) this year, but still a funny read.
42. Arianna Huffington
Charges: HuffPo’s health coverage is like a horny chimp with a switch blade: dumb and dangerous. Arrianna’s “Wellness Editor” holds a “PhD” in homeopathy, the fake science of diluting medicine in water to increase its healing power—the higher the dilution, the more potent. In fact, she and other homeopathic quacks sell “medicine,” which is indistinguishable from Evian. Last summer, Arianna’s “internet newspaper” advised people to protect themselves from swine flu with a deep-cleansing enema. Seriously. Every woo-age celebrity with a vaccination conspiracy or snake oil remedy and a laptop is given column space at HuffPo. It hurts to read Dan Akroyd speculate about the existence of ghosts; it’s agonizing to read Deepak Chopra’s shoddy metaphysics, and it may actually kill to publish Bill Maher’s Luddite rants. Apparently, the only thing Huffington won’t let her writers do is get paid.
Exhibit A: “When it comes to health and wellness issues, our goal is to provide a diverse forum for a reasoned discussion of issues of interest and importance to our readers.”
Sentence: AIDS, one of Magic Johnson’s pills, Lake Michigan and a crazy straw.
27. Barack Obama
Charges: At the end of his first year as president, Obama’s major accomplishment is still having been elected in the first place. Since then, it’s all been Reaganesque speechifying, Clintonesque triangulation, and Bushian spin. His cabinet is packed with the deregulation-mad bankers who created our recession and then “fixed” it by heaving palettes of cash at their former employers. His penchant for bipartisanship, once a quaint campaign pretense, has become an agenda-hobbling obsession. He buzzed still-edgy New Yorkers with a few airplanes to snap a $300,000 promo pic any kid could’ve photoshopped in five minutes. Obama campaigned for a “robust public option” and importing cheaper drugs, closing Gitmo, ending no-bid contracts and backroom deals with corporate lobbyists—and he was going to do it on CSPAN. But he’s done none of those things, and his policies on extraordinary rendition, illegal wiretapping and state secrets are pure Bush. Socialist? We should be so lucky.
Exhibit A: “The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.”
Sentence: A second term of crazed right-wing abuse.
1. Glenn Beck
Charges: As the Sybil of cable punditry and graduate of the prestigious University of I Don’t Remember, Beck’s bipolar professor routine is hands down the funniest thing on TV. When he gets out the chalkboard and starts drawing trees and playing misspelled word association games with a comically grave demeanor, Beck makes Stephen Colbert look like a piker. The fact that millions of Americans think he knows what he’s talking about, however, is not funny at all. If this simpering boob, blubbering the same old reds-under-the-bed melodrama from the ’50s with a sophomoric Da Vinci Code twist, is the face of the people’s rebellion, sign us up for the empire.
Exhibit A: “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture— I’m not saying that he doesn’t like white people.”
Sentence: Drowned in crocodile tears; eaten by crocodile.