5 B.S. 'Achievements' People Need to Stop Taking Seriously
Read any list of things that motivate employees to work harder and you'll find that recognition for a job well done regularly outranks money. If I had to guess, I'd say that's probably because the only people who bother to write lists like those are companies that want to pay you less than you deserve. Still, it's an interesting idea, and one that I'm guessing isn't completely without merit.
If you need proof, just consider the countless awards and honors that people spend their entire professional lives working toward, knowing full well that, ultimately, they're meaningless. These bullshit achievements are the topic of discussion on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
Getting a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an iconic symbol of entertainment history. Of course, like any other hall of fame, it's also a total sham. That said, unlike, say, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which picks inductees based on the votes of a shadowy group of industry professionals and their own personal agendas, the Hollywood Walk of Fame's only real requirement is that someone has to nominate the eventual recipient. That someone can be anyone from a record label to a production company. Oh, and they also have to pay $30,000. Other than that, anyone is eligible.
Like Pitbull, for example!
Jennifer Lopez already has one!
He's in the running to receive a star in 2015. This alone should speak to the absurd exercise in randomness that is the Hollywood Walk of Fame selection process, but it's the names of some of the people who've won before him that prove how worthless this prize really is.
Case in point: I apologize in advance for any uncontrolled rage this might spark inside you, but would you believe the Backstreet Boys have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Sure you would; they sold a shit-ton of records and had a huge impact on the direction of popular radio in their day. You know who doesn't have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
Do NOT say N'Sync!
That's right, N'Sync. That's like only giving Pepsi a star on the soda walk of fame. This imbalance alone is enough to completely destroy any facade of credibility the Hollywood Walk of Fame could ever hope to keep up.
Now, I understand if a Backstreet Boys/N'Sync showdown doesn't exactly resonate with the male side of the audience, in which case I'd invite you to try this one on for size -- Boyz II Men have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but both New Edition and New Kids on the Block do not.
It's like Donnie Wahlberg doesn't even exist to these people.
I accept that I may have gone further in the wrong direction there. Here's another -- Terry Bradshaw has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That might seem weird at first, but mention it to any football fan and they'll remind you that Terry Bradshaw has spent a lot of years in the studio and broadcast booth covering the NFL for Fox. This is a fantastic point that should always be countered with the following: "Yeah, but Howard Cosell doesn't."
If you're unfamiliar, Howard Cosell is easily one of the two or three most recognizable voices and faces in sports broadcasting history.
"Says here I'm supposed to say something racist."
He was the first voice of Monday Night Football. Every single person you know does a Howard Cosell impression, and it's dead on. He's that iconic in his field, and he doesn't have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Comparisons like these are abundant enough that they could occupy every bit of remaining word count in this column, and they are the most damning evidence that a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a completely meaningless honor.
There's another famous Hollywood award that does a slightly better job of hiding its true purpose ...
Winning a People's Choice Award
Ah, the People's Choice Awards. Those are the good ones, right? After all, just like the name implies, these are the awards that the people choose. What could go wrong? Well, that has gone wrong a lot in this country lately, for starters. Be it politics or picking American Idol winners (more on that later), voting hasn't exactly been America's strong suit. This is how sentences that begin with words like "People's Choice Award-winning film The Heat" happen.
Has "The" ever been a more important distinction in a movie title?
Shockingly, letting the general public loose on an Internet-based voting platform is actually the least problematic aspect of the People's Choice Awards. The bigger problem is advertisers. Well, one advertiser, actually. In this case, Proctor & Gamble. They actually own the People's Choice Awards, and have since 1982. What this means is that if you've watched any broadcast since then, every commercial that sold a product was selling a Proctor & Gamble product.
Like Always Infinity, for periods that last forever.
Sure, like any other nationally televised broadcast, a portion of the advertising must be reserved for network and local tomfoolery, but beyond that, the People's Choice Awards are basically a three-hour commercial for the P&G family of products.
Febreeze, because fuck laundry.
Even the one redeeming quality of the awards, the online voting, seems a lot less fan-friendly when you think of it in relation to a brand hoping to cash in on the general public's desire to tell us who has the best acting chops on Glee.
He does, apparently.
At least you can't embed an ad in a Gallup poll. That's how the votes were tallied prior to 9/11, an event that likely had absolutely nothing to do with the change. Nowadays, all of the voting is done online, which means Proctor & Gamble has one more revenue stream to exploit under the guise of "letting the voice of the people be heard."
Being Mentioned on a List of People Who Should Be on TV (Because of Your Twitter Account)
Earlier this year, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Craig Ferguson each ended their long tenures as late night talk show hosts, which, at least in theory, meant a lot of high-profile jobs that aren't usually open were suddenly available for the taking. Like any other question that requires an answer, the Internet had plenty to say about the matter.
Those suggestions primarily came in the form of list articles, most of which had one curious trait in common. With very few exceptions, these lists included seven or eight perfectly legitimate choices alongside a few names that, in all likelihood, you've never once seen on television. What did all of these lesser-known candidates have in common? Without fail, every single one of them had huge numbers of followers on Twitter.
The most trusted logo in televised comedy.
Sure, if you were to scan their feeds, you'd find some decent jokes, but if it seems like a huge leap from tweeting funny from the comfort of home to entertaining people on a nightly basis in their homes, that's because it is. Nothing about the ability to be funny 140 characters at a time implies that you're capable of entertaining millions of viewers with your undeniable charm and stage presence.
Pictured: The next Craig Ferguson.
Obviously, this is something the people compiling these lists understand perfectly well. What's happening here is a simple case of social media using social media against itself. If you're the writer behind one of these lists and you want more people than usual to be aware of the fact that you think Chelsea Handler would be most at home on CBS, a quick way to maximize page views is to have someone with a lot of followers tweet a link to your article. Naturally, the surest way to make sure that someone tweets that article is to just include them on the list.
It won't surprise you in the least to know that this is a ploy that works almost every time. Landing a job on a television show solely on the strength of your Twitter account is a dream that every social media dreams of, and it's not an impossible one.
Totally joking, it is!
Several lucky people have indeed landed television gigs after having a good run on Twitter, but those are usually writing jobs. As recently cancelled sitcom history has proven, even that's a risky proposition. Replacing David Letterman with someone whose only credit is that they tweet funny things is the kind of nonsense that would only happen in a terrible movie, most likely one written by someone with a really strong social media presence.
Nevertheless, it's a success story a lot of people are waiting to have written about them, and reading that some dipshit who updates the Entertainment Weekly blog agrees that it should be just makes it all seem that much closer to reality. Of course they'll retweet that article, because how else would Hollywood know how many scripts to order if they didn't?
Hey, speaking of bullshit television honors ...
Placing First on a Reality TV Talent Show
Remember when winning the top prize on a show like American Idol actually meant something? If so, then you probably watched the first season, which produced Kelly Clarkson, who's enjoyed relatively massive success ever since. Subsequent winners like Carrie Underwood and Ruben Studdard also enjoyed triumphs of their own. Hell, Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, and she came in third or some shit.
She's made a nice career for herself annoying the shit out of us in Weight Watchers commercials since then.
For a while there, it seemed like American Idol was achieving its stated goal, which was to find the best undiscovered talent in America. That said, holy shit, how long has it been since that show produced a name you'd recognize if I ran it by you today? Let's see! Caleb Johnson, Candice Glover, Phillip Phillips, Lee DeWyze -- are any of these names doing anything for you?
You're right, I did forget Taylor Hicks. Thanks for the reminder, asshole.
I suspect they're not, unless you're one of the millions of people who still watch American Idol knowing full well the only thing worth watching that ever happened on that show was Simon Cowell routinely calling out Paula Abdul for being hammered.
But the cup just says "Coca-Cola" on it!
When those two left, they took the fun with them, and everyone knows it. The winners in recent years lack the name recognition of those who came before them not because they're lesser artists, but because they're stars on a show no one gives a shit about anymore. It's probably a little more accurate to say that nobody gives a shit about that entire genre anymore. Yes, shows like American Idol and NBC's vastly superior The Voice still have viewers, but it's been a long time since they've been in the business of making viable pop stars.
Who are you people?
As useless as those two shows are in that respect, they do deserve credit for at least pretending that finding the best talent out there is still their goal. That's way more than can be said for NBC's recently revived Last Comic Standing. Even the name kind of implies that they aren't really looking for the funniest comics, just the ones most capable of surviving the show's mysterious set of requirements and stipulations and qualifications. Watching the judges select the comics who advance to the later rounds must be exactly what watching MTV select the next cast of The Real World would be like. Funny is the co-star of that operation, with diversity and wacky backstories in the lead roles.
Don't get me wrong, there are funny people who advance to the later rounds on that show -- they just don't win. Like Amy Schumer and Doug Benson, for example! You've heard of them, right? They were both finalists on Season 5 of LCS. They placed fourth and sixth, respectively. Now, do you remember who won? That's right, Jon Reep, the guy from those "That thing got a Hemi?" truck commercials.
Sorry, I mean this Jon Reep, not the guy you work with.
Shockingly, his most notable accomplishment since then, according to his own Wikipedia page, is a divorce that's currently pending in the state of California. Hilarious!
So far, there isn't much to indicate that this year's winner will be any less of a blip on the radar than Jon Reep (or Dat Phan). Unless Lachlan Patterson wins, of course.
He's a fantastic comic and if you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend giving him all of your votes, if that's a thing that Last Comic Standing allows you to do. I wouldn't know, I don't watch that shit.
Also, since we're on the subject of things I don't watch ...
Hosting the World Cup
Oh, hey, did you know the FIFA World Cup is happening right now? If not, lucky you. As for everyone else, we know. Goddammit, we know. Futbol is on and futbol is the best. That's what I've been told, anyway. Usually, the World Cup goes right back to being a very minor event in the United States pretty quickly because, for lack of a better way to put it, we're terrible at soccer.
Not this year, though! Shockingly, the United States has managed to sneak in a victory or two, added another non-loss on top of those, and, just like that, we're moving on to the next round. Now, holy shit, you guys, everyone in America loves soccer ... this week.
Talk to me about it again in August when the World Cup is over and watching American soccer requires a satellite dish the size of a small apartment and a channel package that includes NBC-Middle East, Fox Sports Estonia, and whatever other global networks people use to watch soccer. I have friends who still follow the American men's soccer team well after the World Cup ends, and they take multi-state road trips on a regular basis just to watch the U.S. get its ass handed to it by Costa Rica in a 3-0 blowout. They are soccer fans; you are not. Shut up already.
For real, stop it.
I'm not just here to bitch about soccer, though. I have a legitimate concern, and it's that this temporary interest in foreign futbol will lead to widespread interest in the United States hosting the World Cup at some point in the future. We've already missed out on 2018, but with a raging bribery scandal surrounding Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, I wouldn't be at all surprised if that decision gets overturned at some point.
Looks like they can afford a second bribe, though.
The United States came in second in whatever corrupt voting process is used to decide that kind of thing, so if Qatar does get their turn to host taken away, we're the next obvious choice. A good showing in the current World Cup would go a long way toward sealing that deal, and then we're screwed.
In every way imaginable, hosting the World Cup is a nightmare for whatever country is "lucky" enough to put in the winning bid. The various problems Brazil has faced are too numerous to list in their entirety, but they include everything from 200,000 people evicted to make room for the various structures hosting the cup requires to spending $900 million on extra police and defense capabilities. You know, in case all of those displaced citizens decide to get angry about it. If people in Brazil protest government actions like they celebrate a goal in a soccer match ...
... that could be a huge problem.
Things won't go any smoother when the World Cup inevitably makes its way to the United States, but rest assured, we'll celebrate like we've just won a goddamn world war when it happens.
Adam would like it a whole lot if you'd download the latest episode of his podcast and/or watch him tell jokes at Rooftop Comedy. Then come see him do that second thing in person the first and third Tuesday of every month at Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. Once you have all of that out of your system, follow him on Twitter and Facebook.