Athletes and entertainers don't always have the easiest time of it in the press. That's probably because of sites like this one and jerks like me. See, it's my job to make fun of the things that people want made fun of. But guess what, that doesn't mean I necessarily agree. I'll make a joke about anything if the situation calls for it. But sometimes, believe it or not, I'm only joking. That's as true for "awful" celebrities as it is for anyone or anything else.
Here are five celebrities who get way more hate than they deserve.
Why All the Hate?
Fall Out Boy is routinely held up as an example of the very worst that music in the 2000s had to offer. We've made such a habit of mocking them here at Cracked that the band's lead singer, Patrick Stump, even mentioned us in a blog post about how everyone thinks he sucks. Hey, way to make us feel bad, asshole.
Why They Don't Deserve It
The seething rage that seems to accompany any discussion about Fall Out Boy is in no way related to their music; anyone who claims otherwise is lying to you or themselves. Understand, I'm not saying FOB is the greatest band of their generation, but musically, they aren't that bad. Patrick Stump can write a decent song, he's got a great voice, that Pete Wentz dipshit jumps around the stage all acrobatic-like, which is kind of fun to watch ... it all adds up to something in between "good" and "at least not as terrible as you claim." What they definitely are not is the worst band of their or any other decade.
Your title is safe, Nickelback.
So what made people so passionate in their hatred of this particular band above so many others? I think it was a few things. For starters, once you've reached a certain level of popularity, some segment of the population is going to turn on you. Whatever rock band happens to be dominating the radio at that moment is going to be singled out as the reason why current music sucks. For a few years there, Fall Out Boy was that band for one massively easy to mock demographic -- teens. More specifically, "emo" teens.
Remember emo? It was the subgenre of human we all hated before hipsters claimed that mayorship sometime around 2009. The movement was dominated by sullen teens with dramatic bangs who spouted poetry about wounds that won't heal on their Myspace pages. They were the most ridiculed group of people on the Internet for a good number of years, and because their bass player also had dramatic bangs, Fall Out Boy were appointed their official spokesmen.
Look, deep down, nobody truly hates this song ...
I don't think the human psyche is constructed in a way that allows us to. That shit is catchy as all get out. But what we're more than capable of hating is that which we don't understand, and damn if any of us will ever understand this sad little fella ...
Basically, Fall Out Boy was collateral damage in the Internet's war against emo (Pete Wentz's tabloid-friendly marriage to Ashlee Simpson didn't help, either). You don't have to forgive them for providing the soundtrack to your kid sister's cutting phase, but it's at least time to admit that they were an OK band.
Why All the Hate?
For the first part of his career, LeBron James was beloved basketball royalty. All hard work and results with none of the arrogant, cocky, rape-the-help style swagger that Kobe Bryant so often displayed. But everything changed when LeBron James became a free agent. For months there was speculation surrounding where the highly valued free agent would end up. And then, with one televised (not to mention ill-advised) press conference, nearly all of the good will LeBron James had built up within the basketball community vanished. Not only did he ditch the team he had helped build into a contender (the Cleveland Cavaliers), but he did it in the most embarrassing and audacious way imaginable.
With an angry billboard?
In no time at all, fans were literally burning LeBron James jerseys in the streets. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted an open letter (written in comic sans font) to fans on the NBA website. Overnight, LeBron James had become the most hated man in basketball.
Why He Doesn't Deserve It
Yes, "The Decision" was a terrible way to let the city of Cleveland know that they were about to go back to being completely unimportant in the big scheme of anything, but what did you want LeBron James to do? If he'd just held a regular press conference, rest assured, every network in the land would have interrupted your regularly scheduled programming to bring it to you live. Would you have loved that?
Should he have announced it on Twitter like some kind of Silicon Valley nerdlinger? Would that have been viewed as hip, or would he have been chastised for treating the moment too lightly?
Even if he had just signed his deal with no fanfare and without talking to the press, he would have been vilified for shutting the media out of the story. But still, handling the business in silence is probably what he should have done.
But he didn't do that. He held a press conference on ESPN and charged them $1 million for the privilege of airing it (money he donated to charity, for the record). So what does that mean?
Well, it means that any accusations that LeBron James is not very good at breaking bad news are completely warranted. What it does not mean, though, is that LeBron James is some kind of disloyal traitor. That's what the dialogue surrounding the free agency saga eventually progressed to, though. Somehow, by doing what so many athletes before and since have done, which is to leave their team and sign with a new one, King James was now Benedict Arnold.
But was he really? What did LeBron James owe the Cleveland Cavaliers? He was drafted to play for that team, signed a contract to that effect and then fulfilled that contract. At that point, he was free to sign wherever he so desired. You wouldn't believe that if you were reading the aforementioned Dan Gilbert letter, though.
Comic sans: For those times when whatever default font your computer uses will suffice.
If that master class in rich white guy entitlement is to be believed, LeBron James owed Cleveland something. Or, more likely, he owed Dan Gilbert something. Never mind the fact that LeBron made that franchise relevant again just by being there. None of that was enough -- LeBron James belonged to Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Of course, everyone knows that's not the case; LeBron isn't owned by anyone. So why do people act like he is? Teams cut and trade veteran players all the time, and for the most part, fans view it as nothing more than business. Why does that only go one way? Why is LeBron James expected to be loyal to Cleveland but, for example, the Edmonton Oilers never became the most hated franchise in sports for trading Wayne Gretzky? Where is the outrage when a beloved player gets cut for being a few years too old and a step too slow?
None of that happens, because we expect team owners to make sometimes ruthless decisions based on the needs of their business. It's unusual to see the shoe on the other foot, but that's really all that's going on here. LeBron James is a business, too, and he made a decision that he felt was in line with the needs of that business. Who fucking cares?
Why All the Hate?
"Hey, remember when people played instruments and wrote their own songs?" Those are the words of practically every music fan you know who happens to be over the age of 30. It was the same thing people said about Britney Spears (who kind of deserved it) and Madonna (who just stole everything, so the argument doesn't matter) back in their respective days. It just so happens that the current target of that age-old music complaint is Lady Gaga.
It's not a lot different from what Fall Out Boy went through. People need a villain to blame for "all that pop music bullshit on the radio." Lady Gaga is the lucky winner.
Why She Doesn't Deserve It
Sure, Lady Gaga does some wacky stuff (like wearing a dress made of a bunch of Kermit the Frogs, for example), and her music isn't exactly what anyone would call deep, but to write her off as the talentless byproduct of a record industry ploy to churn out pop hits is beyond unfair. For one thing, she does in fact play an instrument sometimes. Here she is playing a song called "Edge of Glory" on The Howard Stern Show. Normally, it's the kind of thing you can dance to, but here, it's just Lady Gaga and a piano that I absolutely cannot believe has not a single piece of meat draped over it:
When was the last time you saw Britney Spears pull a stunt like that? You'd be hard-pressed to get her to sing anything live at all. And remember a few years back when Madonna was learning to play guitar? If not, you can see her stumble her way through an acoustic performance beginning at approximately the 2:20 mark of this video:
You've never seen Lady Gaga have that kind of struggle, though. Her music doesn't call for too much guitar shreddery, but she clearly knows her way around a piano. And a quick scan of the credits on any of her albums will reveal that she at least participates in the songwriting process.
She's by no means as groundbreaking or innovative as she and her rabid fanbase would have you believe, but lumping her in with the usual group of pop music talent vacuums is unfair.