Asshole of the Year

Mark Zuckerberg, Mitch McConnell and Fake Christians named Donald Trump Assholes of the Year for 2018

2018-Trump-Asshole-of-the-Year-Award

We have a tie. Sort of. And we took a long, winding road to reach the destination.

The competition for the coveted Donald Trump Asshole of the Year award was fierce this year. Way, way too fierce for the good of the Republic.

Donald J Trump Asshole of the Year AwardSo, this process was as fascinating as it was depressing. Read on.

The staff nominated and discussed a number of prominent jerkoffs over the past few days, and we thought it might be illuminating to pull aside the curtain and reveal a bit of the “deliberative process.” Instead of simply rendering a final decision, sharing the entire conversation makes clear how we think and what goes into making a decision around here.

Thing is, the process didn’t lead us to a clear consensus. In the end, we decided we don’t answer to artificial formalities and as such are “honoring” multiple nominees.

Over 60 million of them, in fact.

_____

wintersmith

It’s about time for us to bestow the 2018 Donald Trump Memorial Asshole of the Year Award.

The floor is open for nominations. I’ll start with Mitch McConnell.

Dr Denny 

I’ll second that, even if I think Sean Hannity merits at least a buttplug …

Michael Smith 

I’ll third McConnell. Though I guess I’ll also nominate Ryan Zinke. Maybe I’m naive, but I’d like to think that we at least have a chance to eventually undo the damage that McConnell is doing, but when it comes to the land that’s being sold off and destroyed, we’ll never get that back.

Ars Skeptica 

I’ll throw Schumer’s name into the mix. It’s one thing for the asshole team to be assholes. That’s their job. When your own team (or at least the gaggle of crooks that wants to be our team) goes full asshole, it’s a different burn altogether.

Lex

There are so many choices. What about a lifetime achievement award for Newt Gingrich, who’s managed to reappear. In some ways he started this: the whole political landscape that has us here, at the summit of stupidity.

Sure, Nixon ran the southern strategy and Reagan blew dog whistles for the Randians and Birchers in tow. But Newt … Newt brought the underlying dysfunction of the American body politic out like a boil. Newt turned the Republican Party to – and into – what it is to day. He made sure the GOP majority in the house was just there to fuck shit up. He was the policy face of the fully operational right wing propaganda machine. He made impeachment just another tool of politics.

He’s not solely responsible, but a whole lot of this can be laid at his feet. There wouldn’t be Paul Ryans and Mark Meadows without Newt. Trump is the logical conclusion of what Newt began. Maybe the only conclusion. And look, he’s right here: grinning. He proved that the government is broken by breaking it.

Michael

These are … uh … fine candidates, and a good idea for the lifetime achievement award. I can’t remember, were we able to get Preparation H to sponsor these awards?

Dan Ryan 

Thing is, there’s not one person to blame for how fucked our country is right now. It took a village to raise this idiot.

So I nominate the Pro-Trump GOP Voter, those fine Americans who keep assholes like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan in power, who vote for dead pimps in Nevada and Steve King in Iowa, who consistently vote against their own self interest when it comes to things like Obamacare, who want Trump’s border wall and, as you’ve seen in viral YouTube vids, no equal rights for niggers, wetbacks, or fags.

Basically, all those beleaguered, oppressed Christian white people who keep pissing in the sandbox we’re all trying to play in.

wintersmith

Another Asshole of the Year idea: fake Christians. Evangelicals for Trump.

Dan

I like it. We should tear Evangelicals down. They’re Americans in name only. They don’t want anyone to be happy, free, or equal.

Denny

How about Trump’s immigration factotum, Stephen Miller?

Michael

My only problem with fake Christians and evangelicals is that it’s a large, invisible mass of people. Might as well refer to them as the basket of deplorables. +1 for Stephen Miller. Mitch McConnell is destroying the country but Stephen Miller’s policies are actually killing children.

Dan

Plus there’s the fake hair thing.

Gavin Chait

How about Mark Zuckerberg? I mean, the story writes itself …

Lex

Winner.

wintersmith

Okay, let’s vote. What says everyone? The nominees are:

  • Hannity
  • McConnell
  • Zinke
  • Schumer
  • Newt (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Deplorables
  • Fake Christians
  • Zuck
  • Miller

(If we had a comedy category I’d nominate Giuliani.)

Wufnik

McConnell–he’s done a lot more damage than anyone else on this list, except maybe Newt. But everyone knows who Newt is–McConnell is more remote. Actually, I’m late to this, but was Paul Ryan in the running here? Talk about the damage done–the guy is unparalleled.

Dan

Deplorables and Fake Christians are basically the same people, and I vote for both as a merged Asshole of the Year.

Cyndi Goetcheus Sarfan

GOP Leadership/Fake Christians – all the same creature (head and body). That would be my vote. Or just the GOP that shits out fake Christian policies that the deplorables all fall for.

Denny

I vote Zuck.

Kristen Wheeler

I agree. As a progressive Christian, the GOP/Fake Christians/Evangelicals all make me want to puke.

Michael Smith

I vote McConnell.

Lex

I’m feeling Zuck. I agree with all the others, but they’ve been assholes for years. This year we got shown the man behind the curtain with Zuck. A lot of us knew or felt he was an asshole, but this year we all found out exactly how much of an asshole he really is, and it looks like we’re not done yet.

Too late, since Zuck already has almost everyone’s data and his platform has insinuated itself in the host organism to such a degree that even knowing all that we know, people are sticking with Facebook. That’s not judgement on anyone who is for whatever their reason but a statement on the level of assholery Zuck has bestowed upon us.

He’s the poster boy for “information wants to be free” so he can monetize it and make echo chambers for drunk uncles, fake news, propaganda and conspiracy theories. Maybe the internet would be that anyhow, but Zuck built the means for it to concentrate.

Now we find out it wasn’t a noble experiment gone wrong but rather his general plan all along. He was actually seeding the bullshit conspiracy theories and even creating them. A year ago he was clearly exploring running for office, touring the country with family and photographer, meeting regular Americans for PR moments on the farm and shit. He was about to go for it.

He might have made a viable run too, since he controls how everybody talks to each other and knows everything about everyone already. That’s all gone now, but only because the last year managed to show him to be such a colossal asshole.

Michael

The AOTY takes on additional punch if you go with Zuck and then point to MeWe as an alternative. It’s no longer enough to drag the assholes out into the town square and shame them. We need some blood.

wintersmith

Really good point. As I wrote in my post the other day there is an alternative. MeWe is better in every meaningful way right now. It’s just a case of getting a few billion people migrated…

Cat White

McConnell is the gift that will keep on giving. I don’t think he has peaked yet.

wintersmith

I think I’m hearing a case for all kinds of assholes, but Zuck seems to be the favorite. If so, he’s more than a worthy choice. I’d be hard pressed to say that McConnell, Ryan and the rest together have conspired to make the world a worse place than he has all on his own.

Dan

If the consensus is Zuckerfuck, who am I to argue? But bestowing this honor upon him feels to me like giving the gold medal to the guy who should’ve gotten the bronze. He’s an unlikable lightweight doing damage control, an errand boy sent by grocery clerks, a boy doing a man’s job badly.

wintersmith

I understand why Dan says this. Zuck seems like such a babyfaced pipsqueak – sort of a less punchable Shkreli – and watching him trying to manage the fires he’s created is almost comical.

But the guy did invent Facebook. He remains in charge of it. As a result he’s probably one of the most powerful humans who ever lived. And without him I can’t imagine Trump is president. As much as anyone, the monster he created has tapped into the absolute worst of the American soul and hauled it out into the light.

His response is a transparent bullshit PR game while his minions labor behind the scenes to “improve” things. He isn’t working to fix it, he’s working to make it more efficient, more effective, and less obvious.

Mike

There’s the post right there, everything after “I understand why Dan says this”… cut & paste 🙂

Cat

Sam (wintersmith),

On the occasion of our first meeting (1997?) I was giving a paper on extremism on the internet. I predicted that one impact would be that individual conspiracy theorists would realize they weren’t alone and form communities of believers and reinforce each other’s views. Yeah, that happened. Zuckerberg will also keep on giving.

But let’s be clear: FB made what was already happening much easier. Zuckerberg weaponized communication and monetized the data. The next step up (down?) Is Weibo.

Lex

Interesting. I agree. My gut tells me that Facebook doesn’t so much make it easier as more acceptable. It’s one thing to hang out on the board at InfoWars, the daily stormer or subreddits but it’s another when it seeps into family and friends.

I know two people well that are anti-vaxxers, neither of which are of the usual suspects. While the Internet is awash in nuttery, I suspect that both got their start because someone they knew said it on Facebook.

Jim Booth

On a global level, no one has done more to damage human relations than Zuckerberg – and that has emerged this year. He wins 2018 in the worst possible way. AOTY without a doubt.

Mike

when it’s posted, i’ll share the link on FB

/giggle

wintersmith

You won’t be the only one.  🙂

Gavin

Here’s the Reg’s take:

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

No one likes a lying asshole

wintersmith

In his defense, being a lying asshole hasn’t hurt Trump. Yet.

Dan

Yeah, I was going to say sure, no one likes a lying asshole but sometimes they’ll elect him president of the United States.

Zuckerfuck is a high school boy who fucked up the family Volvo station wagon by backing it into a telephone pole after a few beers at a party but tries to bullshit his dad into believing it’s because someone backed into the Volvo in a movie theater parking lot.

Lisa Wright

McConnell. what that shitbag has done with the judiciary is going to be felt far into the future.

Gavin

I still nominate Zuck … all the other names are specific to the US. They’re, effectively, ‘your’ problem. Zuck is everyone’s problem. And that ‘awe-shucks’ look of his is misleading. His is the rampant face of technocratic male privilege the world over. From Uber to AirBnB to Google. These are companies based exclusively on fucking us all over, and profiting from it.

Facebook has been intimately involved in Brexit, Trump, and genocides in places as diverse as Myanmar and Syria.

Zuck has cosmic fucktons to answer for…

Dan

Gavin’s convinced me.

Michael

With all due respect, Mitch McConnell is not just an American problem. When we Americans get aggressively stupid, we become a global problem. I could try and make the same argument by suggesting that Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky problem. After all, it’s those slack-jawed hillbillies who sent Rand Paul to Washington along with Mitch.

Full disclosure: I lived in Kentucky for a few years as a child. My experience at various babysitters’ houses wasn’t too different from the film Gummo. My parents’ decision to move to Colorado was partly the result of my younger brother, Brett, starting to pronounce his name with two syllables (“Bray-ette”).

Brian Angliss

As much as I like Evangelicals & deplorables, my votes is for Newt because we probably wouldn’t have got to a place where Zuck could have screwed us over this bad without Newt setting the stage (and McConnell taking it).

Maybe we should do an AotY memorial award for Ronald Reagan, given how much of today’s situation started with him taking office.

I have no issues with Zuck and don’t think we all need to be in agreement on this one. Zuk is certainly worthy on his own as well.

Denny

Gavin’s argument persuades me — Zuck is everyone’s problem. (We ought to list the contenders, though, whomever we choose.)

wintersmith

Okay, it wounds like we have a general consensus. We also have some other candidates we believe in strongly, but I suspect that’s going to be true always.

So, how to proceed? Shall we treat this as a Converse?

Denny

I’ve always liked Converses. They show the well-considered emergence of opinion, of preference. Too many decisions that occur in private, public, corporate and government life appear as fait accompli. What we do is a good model of transparency.

Ed. Note: I was compiling the “final” post, but something kept bothering me. A lot.

wintersmith

As I’m compiling the Converse I find myself wondering if we need a dissenting post. Or a rebuttal or something.

I can’t help noticing as I edit and review that while we reached a consensus, that consensus was driven by those of us who tend to be the loudest and most dominating in conversations. And that this contingent has one thing in common – a Y chromosome.

Not to make this a strictly gender thing, because it wasn’t, but when I look at how some of our female colleagues here voted, it wasn’t Zuck. It was Mitch and the Deplorables. I suspect that means something important, and I’d like to hear more about what.

I worry about this a good bit. The Pub shouldn’t be a place where consensus is about the guys who talk most.

Thoughts?

Dan

My initial push was for deplorables and fake Christians, who I stated I think are the same people. So please use my comments on those assholes and Zuckerberg as you see fit. Gavin’s argument that Facebook’s, uh, deplorable conduct is a global problem is what pushed my vote away from Trump scum, the GOP, and assholes for Jesus and towards Chuckleberg.

But what keeps me awake at night, fuels my chronic depression, makes me seethe with anger, resentment, and a growing disdain for my own country and personal status as an American, is the state the U.S. is in because people voted for Trump, and keep supporting him, and have enabled and emboldened him and the GOP to threaten and derail my country’s necessary evolution towards a truly egalitarian, free, and just society.

When I was a kid and then a teenager in the ‘70s, I didn’t imagine the future would give us flying cars and hotels on the moon. Things like that weren’t my fondest wishes and dreams. I imagined a world without war, with a truly democratic America free of racism and poverty being the shining example to every nation, a true and continuous melting pot of the best and most beautiful of all the world’s cultures. The template for how the whole world should be.

Okay, and flying cars, but the other shit came first. But not only are we nowhere near there yet, we’re moving backward, regressing, getting worse.

And the people who put Trump where he is today are the reason. So from my point of view when I talk about how much I hate how fucked up the U.S. is, and hate the people who have made it this way, I am talking about a global problem.

Ars Skeptica

I think you’ve got that whole angle covered by the very fact that it’s a Converse.

Person A nominate one ahole or another.
Person B doubles down, huzzah!
Person C contends, “but, but…”

For a winner to float to the top, and keep floating after all the flushes, [something] trumps [that other quality]. Depth, breadth, extent, severity, scope, longevity, primacy, and more are considered and weighed.

Is it that we need a dissenting piece, or more nuance in those various weighings? Are there things that were left unsaid? I can agree all day about Zuck and my personal beef remains with the fauxvangelicals because I think that’s the radical take that gets at the roots. But I can see how a Reagan/Newt/McConnell ticket to stardom applies. What are sheep without wolves to wear their skins? And they aren’t “local” problems, per se, not when their “ideas” (hardly worthy of the word) and deeds have keenly felt ramifications the world over for decades.

But I’ve got that whole Y thing happening, so I’m not sure the observation counts, as such. That Reagan – McConnell bullshit express through fauxvangelical whistle stops has an outsized effect on our XX Scrogues.

Cyndi

I am here … so my deal is that I am totally consumed on a daily basis with all things deplorables (as in fighting and organizing and trying to stay in the know to the extent possible). I lead a large activist group that has been so focused on elections and gerrymandering and now the ridiculous situation here with the Harris-McCready race and not much else (other than my work) is on my radar. So all the Zuck/FB stuff is not of great importance to me and I have nothing at all to even add to the conversation on that subject.

Everything about this administration seems to somehow touch the lives of average American citizens and it is so incredibly sinister and depressing. And it is having an enormous ripple effect globally on so many levels. And it is tearing families apart, families like mine who have a brainwashed Fox-addicted parent in the mix. I agree with everything Dan wrote. I am so disillusioned with this nation I once felt so proud to part of, having grown up on military bases all over the world. I am beyond angry. Almost everyone I know is depressed and angry. So to me there are no bigger assholes on the planet than this new vile version of the GOP with Trump as the puppet. He is no better than any cruel dictator who could not care less about humanitarian issues or the fate of our planet.

Throw in rage about misogyny, xenophobia, white supremacy … it is just an unimaginable nightmare. I have little rage left over for anyone other than the deplorables/fauxvangelicals.

Michael

Now we’re getting back to the Newt Gingrich lifetime achievement award. And maybe it’s worth tossing out the names of some Fox pundits like Fucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and the vacuous, nameless chodes on Fox & Friends. Really, Trump would have long since been impeached by now were it not for Fox News keeping Trump’s approval rating steady around 40%.

Lisa

I’ve tried to figure out how to get this all out but it gets all jumbled up in the writing because I get so goddamn pissed off. It’s still a mess, but what it boils down to is this:

When I was a junior in college, the provision in the ACA that allows children to stay on their parents plan didn’t exist, and I was tossed from my father’s insurance. Because I was born with heart problems, any kind of lapse of insurance could make it impossible for me to get insured for any reasonable rate in the future. This meant that when school was not in session, I had to enroll in Medicaid, which led to fun experiences ranging from a classmate’s mother calling me a leech and telling me that she would be ashamed if I was her child, to enduring the crew of evangelical assholes that camp outside the local planned parenthood with giant posters of mangled fetuses and call any woman going near the door a whore that is bound for hell, just to get basic medical care.

This and so much more is just going to get worse under the current evangelical shitshow and Republican ratfuckers that are helming the ship at the moment as they lead a full on assault on rolling back whatever basic rights minorities scrapped and fought for. Discrimination laws have been flipped to protect the perpetrators, protections like Title 9 are being rolled back to protect assailants. Abortion laws are getting more and more restrictive, which will eventually lead to overturning Roe v. Wade unnecessary. The fucking bullshit Goodlatte was able to pull last week in shutting down a bill that would be a step towards addressing the horrific violence perpetrated against native women in this country is unfathomable. The further restrictions added to the Global Gag rule, and the redirecting of some of that money to religious organizations masquerading as medical, ones harms women and children in developing countries.

We’ve got open white supremacists in the Republican party that are winning seats in government, we have a perjurer and probable rapist on the Supreme Court, and we’re hanging an awful lot of hope on an octogenarian not dying and allowing the Republicans to seat an additional judge, killing any sense of just law (if that was ever even possible) for a generation. Not to mention all the judges McConnell has rammed through lower courts all the way to the top.

I get that Zukerberg is a smarmy piece of shit, but I’m fucking tired and could honestly give a rat’s ass. He can just get at the end of a long line of racists, misogynists, grifters and “Christians” that are working so hard at making this country, and by extension large parts of the globe, into a terrifying place for anyone not white, male and straight.

Kristen

Mitch and the rest of the GOP aren’t solely an American problem. The wars that they back, the trade deals that they cut ultimately impact other countries. The other issue with them is that an overwhelming chunk of their work has negative impacts on pretty much anyone who isn’t a straight, white, male. Mitch and his cronies are terrified of letting anyone else have power or equity as they see America become more ethnically diverse. Their constituents are just like them, scared of letting all those minorities getting any power because they might treat the GOP like they’ve been treated.

Lucky me, I’m spending New Year’s in the heart of Trump country with my in-laws. They the watchers of Fox News, who would rather die than vote for anyone that isn’t a Republican. So I am probably a bit more disillusioned than normal.

Not that Zuck isn’t completely deserving as well for basically screwing the world.

Cat

Our nominees are all intertwined, thanks to traditional media and social media. They rely on simultaneously distracting us and concentrating our views. None of them care about the truth, because truth is not necessary for their survival. Their supporters love them for their steadfast dishonesty. These guys are all dependable: we can count on them to lie in ways that benefit each other and preserve their power. Ironically, Zuck is probably the outlier in this band–because he’s not a reliable conservative. Maybe that makes him the true AotY, because he doesn’t get how much he’s being used.

Mitch will be nominated again next year and every year until he retires or dies.

Denny

Perhaps this means men and women in this small sample differ in their perception of risk. If so, that’s a point worth exploring.

Lex

There is a synergy here. The deplorables and fauxvengelicals have been with us for a long time. The John Birch society has been pushing conspiracy theories for decades. Remember the “Moral Majority”?

Social media has given the deplorables an outsized voice compared to their actual percentage of the population and it’s clear that Facebook is a huge driver of this because it’s easy to share links and rants etc. It also creates an automatic echo chamber where you surround yourself with people who think like you so you assume that everyone does.

So maybe the deplorable/faux Christians get the nod with an assist from Zuck?

I’d add to this that the Trump effect is wholly Internet based and while his hardcore support came on Reddit and more obscure platforms, it infected the wider world via Facebook. But I don’t see this as an argument for Zuck but that assist synergy. Zuck isn’t an asshole in the same evil way as the deplorables; he’s an opportunistic asshole for the sake of getting rich. So he’s a-ok with letting the more dangerous assholes bury their shit in his sandbox. Once that happens he makes money and that’s all that matters to him.

wintersmith

Folks, I’m calling this one a tie. Thanks for one of the best conversations we’ve had in the 11-year history of S&R.

_____

About the Artist

S&R has been honored in recent years to periodically feature the work of Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist Paul Szep, and we were gratified when he agreed to provide us with the art around which our Donald J Trump Asshole of the Year Award trophy is constructed. We can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to either the namesake or the recipient.

Paul Szep bio

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