Throughout the course of an average day, you're probably faced with 10 to 20 different things that make you say, "Man, if I knew who came up with that idea, I'd punch them clean in the face." But where do you place that absolutely understandable rage? You place it on these people. With your fist, if possible.
Mitch Bainwol is the current CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Christ, do we even need to finish this entry? You've probably heard all you need to hear.
The following scenario is brought to you by Mitch Bainwol:
After receiving an email from that unofficial Miley Cyrus fanclub message board that you're way too old to be signed up for, you find out that her new album has leaked to the Internet a month early. You can barely sit still as you joyfully count the seconds away to torrent download completion and pure unadulterated teen-pop magic. A few days later, you get another email that goes something like this:
Dear Anonymous Internet User,
Please give us $3,000 for that Miley Cyrus album you downloaded or we will end your shit.
Prior to 2003, the RIAA was still not winning any popularity awards among the American public. However their hate crimes against music and teenagers had been limited to dismantling Internet file-sharing services and creating copy-protected CDs that nobody could use. Then in 2003, the board of directors decided to fuck Public Relations all together and summoned Mitch Bainwol from the deepest pits of Litigation Hell.
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh M'tch B'nwol R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!"
Bainwol (equipped with his legions of lawyer minions) set to work in ravaging the bank accounts of their own customers who were, in many cases, downloading a couple of tracks from an album to see if they wanted to buy it. His victims of choice include any student with a college fund, any parent with a school kid and any house with a computer. Usually, defendants pay a settlement fee (that ranges anywhere from $3,000-$12,000) but in the instances where the cases went to court... let's just say Christmas came early at the Bainwol household. In the case against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the RIAA was awarded $80,000 per song, or $1.92 million after she was found guilty of sharing the most embarrassing 24 song playlist imaginable with countless Internet users.
Moments before a SWAT team busted in.
Of course if Bainwol had stopped there, he probably wouldn't have made this list. But, feeling that the RIAA coffers weren't filled quite enough with gold and tears, his lawyers later claimed that you are violating copyright law if you rip a CD you own to your own computer.
They claim this to be because the user is transferring the music into a medium "not of the artist's choosing." By that logic, even singing in the shower could be considered a felony as you are using an unauthorized medium of atmospheric vibrations.
John Langley is an American television director. Among his credits are documentaries like American Vice: The Doping of a Nation, Who Murdered J.F.K. and Terrorism: Target U.S.A. Oh, he's also the creator of the FOX television mainstay Cops, which lit the fuse on the Reality Television turd bomb.
During the infamous Writers Guild Strike of 1988, television networks suddenly found themselves at a loss for badly-thought out teleplays. Without the writers to tell them exactly when to bring coma patients back to life, soap operas suffered immensely. The season finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation was composed almost entirely of footage from previous episodes. To this day, just the thought of that debacle sends fanboys into nerdtastic convulsions.
Above: Seething nerd rage
Meanwhile, inspired by the natural eloquence of the stoners he filmed being locked up on his documentary American Vice, Langley approached FOX with the idea for an unscripted reality show where the cameras just follow a bunch of cops around and watch them arrest people and chase them through alleys. Realizing he had just pitched a show where they would not have to pay writers or actors, the network jumped at the proposal and Cops, America's first reality TV show, was born.
With the creation of Cops, Langley earned himself a whole new title: "The Father of Reality TV." Yeah, MTV took the format to dastardly new heights with The Real World, but the fact remains, when it comes to shit you could sit on your front porch and see (depending on your neighborhood) being passed off as good television, Cops did it first.
We promise, we don't put the lyrics down h- BAD BOYS BAD BOYS WHATCHA GONNA DO!
And now, you get to spend your Tuesday nights watching obese people cry about how their mommies never loved them and dudes with washboard abs trying to pick a future ex-wife from a bevy of fake breasted skanks, all thanks to one guy who figured out that you don't need to spend a bunch of money on creative people because, after all, the viewers will watch anything.
Ronald A. Katz is an innovator in the field of automated call center technology. That sentence alone should be hint enough that he's worthy of a shot to the grill, but we'll go on. His inventions are varied, ranging from moderately useful (toll free numbers, computer telephone integration units) to mostly ineffective (voice recognition systems).
"Since we can't legally show you a photo of Katz,
we've had an artist create this rough depiction of how he might look today."
But he also invented something else, something so nefarious that, if he happened to be in the room while you were using it, you'd very likely throttle his windpipe without so much as a second thought about the possible consequences.
Do these words sound familiar to you?
"Hello, you've reached the Asshole Company That Doesn't Give a Shit About You customer helpline. For assistance in paying bills, press one; to receive product information, press two; if you have a problem with our product, press three; if none of these options apply, press four and your call will be disconnected leaving you to aimlessly wander around our website in a desperate last ditch effort to resolve your issue..."
By the looks of the blood rushing to your ears, we're guessing you've already been acquainted with automated customer service representatives. When it comes to those lifeless, automated agents of uselessness and frustration, Katz is their god. During his years spent transforming your life into an automated Hell on Earth, Katz has obtained more than 50 U.S. patents. With an estimated 150 companies having purchased licenses to use his patience eroding creations, Ronald Katz is estimated to be the wealthiest patent holder ever. Meanwhile, the check you're trying to write for a 12 pack of Steel Reserve won't go through because Katz's other invention, Telecredit, verified that your account just happens to be $206.38 in the hole. Just one more reason to let one fly on this dude's dome.
In the field of advertising, Alvin Eicoff is a legend. In fact, he's so much of a legend that he was elected to the Direct Marketing Association (yes, that really exists). Hell, it was his idea to use toll free phone numbers for television orders. Without this dude, that Snuggie you bought would have included long distance charges. Why would you possibly want to punch this guy in the face?
Along with the 800-number thing, Alvin Eicoff also came up with Direct Response Television. What's that, we just pretended you asked? Think "Billy Mays."
Yes, Direct Response Television is that heinous method of product pitching that centers around beating the same message into the bleary eyed customer's subconscious until the only words remaining in their vocabulary are "call now." The products are mostly useless, they pressurize you with time bound offers and the actors pretend to wet themselves with excitement over an orange peeler.
And you fall for that shit because, yeah, now that they mention it some 75 times in 30 seconds, maybe they're right. You do need a carrot juicer! And while you're on the horn, you might as well pick up an Awesome Auger and a pair of scissors that will cut through a penny. That deal only lasts for 10 minutes!
If not for Alvin Eicoff, Mr. T would have never gotten to spread the good news about the FlavorWave.
Every time Billy Mays worked himself into a cocaine fueled lather and screamed at you about the miracle of Magic Putty, he was doing Alvin Eicoff's dirty work. Eicoff later compounded this already dastardly deed by demanding that every ad must end with the words "or your money back." If it hadn't taken you 78 days to get around to using that Showtime Rotisserie that came with the 30 day money back guarantee, you'd maybe be able to thank him for that. But it did, so you can't. Also, he's totally dead. That's what you get for not acting now!