December 26, 2003


THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES: The 30 Most Shameful Events of 2003, in no particular order:
- Philanthropist Peter B. Lewis donates $8 million to the ACLU for "fighting anti-terrorism measures." As opposed to, say, fighting terrorism measures.
- Hoboken's Cadillac Bar has its liquor license suspended 30 days for a myriad of liquor control board violations; the first night it reopens in February, a man is killed in a bar fight. Then, in a fit of magical karma, the building above the bar collapses, shutting it permanently.
- PETA introduces a campaign called "Holocaust on your plate."
- New York Times reporter Jayson Blair is found to have plagiarized or fabricated countless articles, leading to the resignation of Executive Editor Howell Raines; Blair later receives a six-figure deal to write his memoirs, "Burning Down My Masters' House."
- Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy is shot and killed by teammate Carlton Dotson; two days after Dennehy's body is found, coach Dave Bliss is caught on tape encouraging other players to pin false drug charges on the dead man.
- "The Matrix" franchise releases not one boring, unimaginative and totally forgettable sequel, but rather two.
- The first known female Al-Qaeda operative, Aafia Siddiqui, is caught in Pakistan; she had earlier studied biology at several American universities, including Brandeis.
- More than 100 people are killed at a Rhode Island concert by the forgotten hair metal band Great White; indicating Great White's low industry profile, the incident goes completely unmentioned at the Grammy awards two weeks later.
- As pointed out by blogger Ken Layne, while millions of Americans gather to protest the Iraq war in mid-February, more Americans, that same weekend, go to see the marsupial comedy "Kangaroo Jack."
- Michael Jackson admits in a television interview that he regularly sleeps in the same bed with young boys; to no one’s surprise, he is once again arrested for children molestation a few months later.
- While the return to fashion of French-bashing is welcome, some take it too far, insisting french fries be called “Freedom Fries.”
- An aspiring rapper known as Big Lurch, allegedly acting on the orders of Suge Knight, kills and cannibalizes a woman in order to establish "streed cred."
- The New Jersey Nets reach the NBA finals, achieving a grand total of four home sellouts at Continental Arena throughout the regular season and playoffs.
- The website includes six different fake profiles for Kobe Bryant's accuser.
- Presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, despite nearly three decades in Congress, promises in a speech to use executive orders to overturn any Supreme Court decisions with which he disagrees.
- Seeking to piggyback on the success of Nike and LeBron James, Reebok signs young hoops phenom Mark Walker to an endorsement deal, even though Walker is only three years old.
- Red Sox manager Grady Little leaves Pedro Martinez in to pitch to five batters in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, costing the team the game and Little his job.
- In the recall campaign, 12,263 Californians vote for Gary Coleman to represent them as governor.
- John Madden appears in a commercial in which an NFL player looks to be paralyzed, but then makes a miraculous recovery when served on the field with food from Outback Steakhouse.
- After Bob Hope dies, an obituary is published in the New York Times by film critic Vincent Canby- who himself preceded Hope in death by more than three years.
- Sharon Stone stars in a commercial in which she's seen having had sex with the animated AOL logo.
- Brandeis Justice columnist Daniel Passner calls Cubs manager Dusty Baker by a racial slur, leading to a near-race riot and the resignation of six editors from the paper.
- Fox News Channel sues Al Franken- and tries to stop the publication of his book- because he misappropriated their catchphrase "fair and balanced."
- The website is forced to apologize for including Yom Kippur in a list of "reasons to party" for the fall.
- The Staten Island Ferry crashes into a dock, killing 11 people; because it happens 2 hours before a Yankees-Red Sox playoff game, nobody notices.
- The rapper C-Murder is convicted- of murder.
- Rush Limbaugh, during a short-lived stint as a commentator on ESPN, accuses Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb of being overrated by the media because he's black. Limbaugh is fired, later goes to rehab and is under investigation for violating federal drug laws; McNabb subsequently leads Philadelphia to nine consecutive victories.
- Rutgers student and Israel-hating Jew Abe Greenhouse is arrested after throwing a pie at Israeli politician Natan Sharansky; this follows a months-long drama in which a national pro-Palestinian organization withdraws their annual conference from Rutgers to protest the extremism of organizer Charlotte Kates.
- The Kermit the Frog character falls into the public domain, leading to such abominations as "Vomiting Kermit" on "Conan O'Brien" and Kermit calling Justin Timberlake a "douchebag" on "Saturday Night Live."
- And as the year ends, American pop culture is ruled by- Paris Hilton, the most undeserving person to ever hold the zeitgeist.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 26, 2003 08:37 PM
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