The 5 Biggest Assholes Who Ever Turned Out to Be Right
The phrase "even a broken clock is right twice a day" had to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, some of the biggest douchebags among us have at times had the annoying habit of finding themselves completely vindicated when history proved their ravings accurate.
Some of them are still douchebags though.
Jose Canseco has led the classic American life: immigrant kid finds he has an amazing talent for baseball, works hard, rises to incredible fame and fortune, and then becomes a raging douche.
This image rates at a critical omega douche factor 11.
Leaving aside his personal life of beating Hooters waitresses, getting his ass kicked in Mixed Martial Arts and getting busted trying to smuggle fertility drugs from Mexico, Canseco is the kind of guy who lets you spend the whole day with him for $3,000, because a day with a washed-up MLBer is totally worth as much as a used car.
Ironically, this is the same car Canseco drives.
In short, the guy had everything and pissed it all away, except for the ego; that he seems to have kept.
How He Was Right:
In February 2005, because he needed to pay rent, Canseco put out a book called Juiced in which he divulged that all those home runs and amazing feats he accomplished were made possible by a generous grant from the Steroid Corporation.
Yes, Canseco wrote an entire book about how he was cheating the entire time he was wowing crowds, and he tried to play it off as a great thing because Jose Canseco approves of steroids, and Jose Canseco is always right.
Along the way, he happened to mention that he apparently holds the record for the 400-yard-dash, that Madonna was, like, totally into him, and also that steroids were so popular 85 percent of the pros were using them. In fact, they were used by people like Mark McGwire! And Jason Giambi! And Rafael Palmeiro!
Also, the sky is blue!
Of course, all of these guys, unlike Canseco, were actually still relevant to baseball and, more importantly, maintained that they were drug-free. Canseco's book was obviously just the egotistical ranting of a washed-up, desperate...
Oh, wait, no. By August, Palmeiro had been suspended for steroid abuse. As we all know, Jason Giambi offered a colossally insincere apology for steroid use in 2005, and, once he'd gotten all his money, actually admitted to taking drugs in the ass. Even McGwire finally admitted the obvious this year.
So maybe the MLB should have listened to Canseco after all
Yeah, OK, maybe not.
It never pays to argue with well-established facts, not in the long term anyway. Sure, saying that, for instance, AIDS isn't caused by HIV may get you lots of attention at first, but eventually everyone just starts to mock you behind your back.
"More like Douche-berg."
But that didn't stop Peter Duesberg, a professor at UC Berkeley from insisting that very thing. His theory was that AIDS victims weren't infected with a virus at all, but that those damn homos and hippies just keep doing drugs, and AIDS is just the natural result of drug use.
So HIV, you see, is just a harmless virus that somehow manages to show up in every single person who has ever gotten AIDS. According to Duesberg, HIV is just the innocent OJ Simpson, and those recreational drugs are the Real Killers that we'll see a slam-dunk conviction of, any day now.
How He Was Right:
Needless to say, telling people who are dying slowly that it's their own damn fault for doing drugs doesn't make you very popular, and Duesberg is about as respected an authority on HIV as, say, Lady Gaga is on the subject of animal husbandry.
Does "animal husbandry" mean "dressing like a fucking idiot"?
Of course, some of you not familiar with the faculty of UC Berkeley might be wondering why such a loon still draws a paycheck from them, and the short answer is because he may have the cure for cancer.
Duesberg spotted a gene that helps cause cancer way back in 1970, and has been studying for the relationship between chromosome damage and cancer ever since.
And it's not just because both look cool up close.
Sadly, after he basically offended the entire world, nobody was even reading his work, which actually turned out to be sane and potentially world-changing. Even Scientific American had to begrudgingly admit that, while an asshole, he might actually be onto something with cancer.
At least until he decides it's caused by Hispanics.
An influential but unconventional Swiss astronomer, Fritz Zwicky is considered one of science's most fascinating personalities. He was also labeled a bit of a "curmudgeon," which is 1940s speak for, well, you know.
To give you an idea of how charming Fritz Zwicky was, when he was working at Aerojet, a bunch of customers from the military, including two admirals, showed up for an appointment to check on his progress. Zwicky met them at the gate demanding that they leave because they weren't scientists and were therefore absolutely unqualified to look at the stuff they were, um, buying. Outside of work, his solution to winning arguments was to try and punch people, which was mostly found adorable because he was a little old man who could be pummeled easily.
Aww. He thinks he's people.
It became less adorable when he said things like "I myself can think of a dozen ways to annihilate all living beings in one hour," and his scientific partner was afraid Zwicky was out to kill him. This guy was Milton from Office Space, except he could build nukes.
This really is his picture.
How He Was Right:
Needless to say, the whole "total lack of people skills" thing made him so popular and beloved he got the nickname "Crazy Fritz." So it was easy to ignore Zwicky while he was off doing crazy things like inventing most of modern astronomy.
The term "supernova"? He invented it.
He also developed the theory that allows us to know how old the universe is. Dark matter? He was among the first to theorize about it. Gravitational lensing, i.e. using stars to look at other stars? He laid out the theory 40 years before it was actually proved correct.
Zwicky was so ahead of his time, and so annoying, that it was basically routine in the 70s to say "Yeah, Fritz Zwicky thought of this 40 years ago but nobody took him seriously because he was a crazy douche."
A strategy that Glenn Beck hopes to emulate.
We're just kind of glad this guy decided to study stars instead of munitions design; he'd probably have built a planet-cracker by now.
Harry Markopolos is a financial investigator who pretty much, by his own admission, combines the worst of a math nerd with the worst of a frat boy.
Like "The Situation" with glasses.
He liked to tell off-color jokes, and one day started ranting about some fund manager who he claimed was running the biggest scam in history. He said he was having to check his car for bombs every morning because the guy was tied to the Russian mob. He slept with a loaded gun every night, and seemed hugely overdue for some kind of mental health intervention.
Or he could do what we do and get a bed that can make a getaway.
He screamed his accusations to anyone who would listen, for nine straight years. He was soundly ignored.
How He Was Right:
The poor fund manager this crazy man was accusing was one Bernie Madoff, creator of the largest Ponzi scheme ever.
Not to be confused with Anson Williams's Potsie scheme.
Markopolos has since written a book, and titled it No One Would Listen. And he's right. No one DID listen. It all started a decade ago when Markopolos was asked by his bosses to figure out how Madoff was making such great returns. He did the math and figured out it was absolutely impossible.
Unsurprisingly, his bosses didn't want to hear that. He ratted Madoff out to the SEC multiple times and apparently managed to insult half the commission in the process by telling them they sucked at their jobs. While he was busy offending people, Madoff's scheme swelled to a $65 billion fraud.
To put that amount in its raddest terms: That's worth as much as 65 B2 bombers.
Forget financial regulation: let's create classes giving accountants people skills. If we had, the country might have saved about $43 billion, and Markopolos wouldn't have had to rub our faces in it.
Kind of a Deepak Chopra for the 70s, Werner Erhard is most notable for inventing "EST," or "Erhard Seminars Training," a type of new-agey "The Secret" for disco-era liberals who had yet to discover power crystals or hybrid cars.
Feeling self-actualized yet?
EST was all about tearing down your soul and rebuilding it: i.e. giving somebody money to humiliate you. Erhard came up with it while driving one day when he had an "epiphany" wherein he "realized" that he "knew everything and knew nothing and didn't know what he didn't know." And if that doesn't make any sense to you, then you're just not enlightened enough and should probably write a few more checks to the EST foundation. If this sounds like a cult, well...
Erhard basically ripped people off by promising them an ability to see the world "as it really was," not mentioning the fact that his patented and expensive self-actualization seminar could just as easily be achieved with a plate of pot brownies and a late-night Halo campaign with some philosophy majors.
Did we mention Erhard used to be a used-car salesman named Jack Rosenberg? Or that his slimy cult leader routine proved to be the not-so-subtle inspiration for GI Joe nemesis Cobra Commander?
And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
How He Was Right:
Among his other asshole behaviors, Werner Erhard kept insisting that another cult, pretty much just like his, was out to kill him. But that was ridiculous. After all, it's not like a cult would have some kind of secret intelligence unit or anything! Especially not one called--let's look it up here--"Scientology."
Nobody believed Erhard. But, as you can probably guess, indeed Scientology had listed Erhard as a "suppressive person" and then basically declared a "Scientologic fatwah" on him.
That's like a regular fatwah, but with Tom Cruise.
The full extent of operations wouldn't be revealed until six years after Erhard was prattling about Scientology trying to kill him, when the world learned of Operation Snow White, which was L. Ron's little attempt to improve his reputation by stealing and destroying nasty files the government had on him.
If you really want to get the thetans out of your head, you'll deal with this Erhard guy for me.
Yep, the Scientologists were after Erhard, not because they hated his beliefs or anything, but because he was making money off of brainwashing people using some of their techniques, and they hated having the competition.
Scientology spammed the poor bastard with so many private detectives that they had five file cabinets full of documents about him. So, even crazy cult leaders can be right sometimes. Wait... does this mean when Scientologists complain that other people are conspiring against them, we should take their word for it?
No. No it doesn't.
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For people who were just straight assholes, check out 5 Famous Inventors (Who Stole Their Big Idea). And find out what science has to say about all these people in 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science.
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