Now that warmer weather has arrived, it's time for our annual spring cleaning of the people and things that were the most annoying during the past year. We're not attempting to silence anyone or discourage anybody's artistic expression, but there are a few people who might be wise to just back up a few steps. These are the folks and events that frazzled our nerves unnecessarily and generally made life more frustrating to fathom. Among the most puzzling aspects of American culture is our obsession with making morons famous and our insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip. Naturally, this combination places one celebrity couple in the nexus of ignorance and arrogance. They go by the collective name of Kimye.
Rapper Kanye West and butt model Kim Kardashian have a gala wedding ceremony planned for May 24th in Paris. Wedding guests will be required to sign confidentiality agreements and surrender their cell phones to security to ensure no footage will be leaked until the ceremony is shown on the E! network's Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Their daughter, North West, is to be the flower girl. This is in contrast to Kim's first televised wedding to pro basketballer Kris Humphries, presented as a two-part, four-hour reality special for the same network. That marriage lasted 72 days, but the divorce made for great ratings. Thankfully, Kanye is a bit more in line with the Kardashians' publicity machine. For instance, he now wants to be referred to as Yeezus and has admitted with typical modesty, "I am the number-one living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose; I am Jim Morrison; I am Jimi Hendrix." Once, when Dick Cavett asked Jimi Hendrix if he was the best guitar player in the world, Hendrix bowed his head and said, "Oh no. Let's just say I'm the best guitar player sitting in this chair." Guess who's getting a new postage stamp in his honor, and it ain't Yeezus.
Justin Bieber has had such a tough year getting acquainted with law enforcement, he's hardly had time to record any more of his hideous songs. First, his California mansion was raided by police after Bieber's neighbor complained the pop star threw eggs at his home, causing $20,000 in damages. That's one helluva lot of eggs. Then he appeared in a Canadian courtroom to testify about an alleged assault by one of his bodyguards on a photographer and reportedly went off on a few paparazzi himself. In February, one of Bieber's security guards and a driver were arrested for felony theft in Atlanta. For Justin's 19th birthday celebration, he and his entourage were kicked out of a London nightclub over a disagreement involving underage guests. Then came the arrest in Miami for drunken driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a license. To begin the new year, Bieber was deposed in a Dallas courtroom regarding an assault by one of his bodyguards. Dallas Morning News reporter Leonard Pitts reported on seeing the video: "It was not a pretty picture. Bieber comes across as a twerp so snotty and insolent, even Mother Teresa would want to smack him." If I hear that "Baby" song one more time, I'll smack him my own damn self.
Miley Cyrus is reported to have recorded "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," so fans of the Beatles should hunker down for the worst. Her controversial performance at last year's VMA awards was neither provocative nor sexy; it was just nasty. Her vulgarity bordered on child pornography, since Miley lacks the sex appeal of a grown-up. And her so-called twerking against the groinal region of Marvin Gaye tribute artist Robin Thicke was a joke. Miley lacks the posterior needed to properly twerk and should have offended all real women who possess this ability. A new slogan arose to protest the poseur: "Twerkers of the world, unite." And, please try to keep that revolting tongue to yourself.
Local Weather went berserk this winter with such never-before-heard terminology like "polar vortex," "thunder sleet," and "frozen fog." There has never been so much hysteria over so little since the invention of the green screen. Channels 3 and 5 went wall-to-wall weather so many times, with headlines like "Icestorm 2014" and "Snowmageddon," that you could have closed your eyes and imagined you were in Buffalo. And then nothing happened, except maybe a milk sellout at Kroger. The stations claim all this coverage is in the interest of public safety, but I think maybe it gives the meteorologists a chance to dazzle everyone with their new technologies. If you give them the toys, they will play with them. This past winter proved it.
Twitter once had the potential to be an invaluable tool in the dissemination of information. Now, it's become a graveyard for news accuracy and has been transformed into a platform for celebrity feuds, mindless gossip, and trash talk. The Twitter user with the most followers is Katy Perry with 50.2 million, as compared to 41.3 million for Barack Obama. Of the 500 million registered users, 750 tweets are shared per second, or 64.8 million per day. Every cynic, crank, and crackpot can spew their poison into the "twitterverse" under the guise of anonymity and never have to be accountable for their words. This is a world of rage and spite that I choose to avoid. When I want to read truly humorous tweets, I just check out Dave Cousar on Facebook.
There are many others in the running: Vlad "The Invader" Putin, Louie Gohmert, George Zimmerman, all the Bushes, Janis Fullilove, and the perennial national queen of venom, Sarah Palin, but you get the picture: All these folks need to back off a bit so another assortment of goons can step forward to aggravate us with meaningless, mindless, offensive behavior. I think it may be just about time for another Mel Gibson eruption, so I believe I'll dust my broom.
Randy Haspel writes the "Born-Again Hippies" blog, where a version of this column first appeared.