To be honest, we’re not interested in real villains. That is, we’re scared of them. There may be people on the internet with an interest in condemning war-lords (and more power to them), but we’d rather take pot-shots at folks who have never darkened the Hague’s door. So, here’s our list of the gadflies of the year, the people and thing we feel we have to (lightly) condemn. We don’t like them, you don’t like them, and we’d all be better off if they retired, post haste, to the Yukon.
He has the hi-cal roundness of a Big Mac and the political zeal of Frank Underwood. Christie spent 2014 embroiled in Bridgegate, the year’s most sensational act of political vengeance, but still found time to veto a New Jersey animal rights bill that enjoyed huge bipartisan support (it was a favor to the governor of Iowa, who Christie has been courting in the lead up to a probably presidential campaign). We question Christie’s sense of responsibility to his peers: if he can’t take a stand for porcine health and safety, for whom will he fight?
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Clap along if this song has made you question if the pursuit of happiness is still a good idea. Clap along if another of your co-worker’s lip-sync videos will send you to an early grave. Clap along if this song turned you from a starry-eyed optimist into a grumbling curmudgeon who spits at the feet of newlywed couples and knocks lollipops out of the hands of laughing children. Stand down, Pharrell. Stand down.
While Americans will never truly understand Brazil’s obsession with “football” (we prefer Handegg), even Yanks can sympathize with a spoiled run for an international prize. Juan Zuniga, a forward for the Colombian team, made an aggressive block on Brazil’s captain and star, Neymar, kneeing him in the back, breaking a vertebra and taking him out of the World Cup. While Brazil won that match, they were ultimately foiled by Germany. You can bet Zuniga isn’t planning on vacationing in Rio any time soon.
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The Kilauea Volcano
Not even denizens of America’s most paradisiacal state are relaxing right now. Specifically, residents of Pahoa, on Hawaii’s Big Island, are being menaced by lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano, which is flowing in and around their town. While it’s only oozing at 10 yards-per-hour, in our minds, any number of yards per hour is too fast for a giant floe of molten rock. Paradise needs to stop paving itself.
Rameses, Rameses. Why would you ever enslave a people who now enjoy such an overrepresentation in film and media? It's no surprise that you do not come off well in Exodus: Gods and Kings. Your hat is worse that Pharrell's.
This is a tricky one, because - let's be clear - we like Fukunaga. He's a top-notch guy with the face of a thinking-woman's Ryan Gosling and the chops to masterfully direct both a film adaptation of Jane Eyre and True Detective. And, really, when he rocked the bun, a full three days before Jared Leto, it looked awesome. But the thing is, the Cary Fukunaga bun only works if you're Cary Fukunaga. Now we're overrun with a herd of sensitive, kombucha-filled, long-boarding dudes with ballet buns who are not Cary Fukunaga. Not a good situation.
Every town has one: a bratty rich kid with an awesome car and a bad attitude. Add 26 million Instagram followers, a posse of yes-men and Usher’s personal cell number and voila, you have The Biebs. He took his brand of douchebaggery to new heights this year with sleeve tattoos, a platinum dye-job, and an arrest in Miami for street-racing his custom Ferrari. Our fingers are crossed for JB to have a huge personal revelation, convert to Buddhism and move to Tibet.
People Who Use Selfie Sticks
If your arm isn’t long enough to take a good selfie, interpret that fact as a sign from God that the world doesn’t need a shot of you dolled up for Saturday night, or doing the sorority squat in Grand Central at rush hour. The selfie-stick turns the humans who use them into narcissistic cyborgs whose only superhuman function is improved social media upkeep.
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The San Francisco Giants
While Brooklyn and its gentrifying craft-brewers still gets its fare share of derision, San Francisco, and its emerging identity as Silicon Valley’s urban playground, is getting just as much flack. And their home team? A kind of Yankees of the West, a glossy juggernaut with a host of bandwagon-fans eager to associate with some success. They’re champions from a land of sushi, gentrification and more Google employee transport busses than cars. The best part of the NFL season thus far: Watching Harbaugh's face as his boys lost to Oakland.
Photos by 20th Century Fox