5 Huge News Stories Of 2015 (We Immediately Forgot)
The modern method of receiving news -- a digital fire hose of urine -- makes it nigh impossible to retain any real knowledge of everything that had us waving pitchforks or racing to create pithy memes and GIFs throughout any given year. Politics, tragedies, and scandals aside, here are the things that we really cared about in 2015 ... at least for a 24-hour news cycle.
MLB Goes Full NSA
In a scene straight out of War Games/Swordfish/whatever the hot new hacker movie all the young people are talking about is, the St. Louis Cardinals allegedly infiltrated a Houston Astros database ... except not like those movies at all. This was more a result of password ineptness than Def Con-caliber acumen. It turns out that, based on this example, the people in charge of major sports teams are about as tech savvy as your average grandmother.
Basically, it went like this: Jeff Luhnow was an executive with the Cardinals and had access to a program where they stored most of their top-secret baseball information. When he left that team to become the general manager of the Astros, he then got access to that team's similar database. Then someone at his old team thought, "What if he's using the same password that he did here?" Using the very advanced hacking technique of going to a website and typing in a password, the Cardinals suddenly had access to the Astros' "collective baseball knowledge."
No hacking needed for the Marlins' "knowledge."
Info stolen from the database was published online using a personal home computer, making it super simple for law enforcement to quickly find the source of the leak when the fuzz finally came calling.
But why do this in the first place? The Cardinals are one of the more successful teams of the last two decades, and this is the Houston Astros we're talking about here. We're assuming their "collective baseball knowledge" could be summed up in a tweet. According to the New York Times, it may have simply been an attempt to cause public embarrassment to Houston's GM. Instead of that happening, the Cardinals' front office is currently under investigation by both the FBI and the Justice Department, and charges are pending.
Ariana Grande: Doughnut Licker
In a move that combined the self-centeredness of classic Lohan with the full-blown social disconnect of LaBeouf, Ariana Grande was caught on camera licking doughnuts from a display case in a California doughnut shop. Doughnuts that she had no intention of buying. That's right, you could have celebrity spit inside you! Figure out a way to sell that on eBay.
And if surreptitiously coating food meant for the consumption of strangers with her germ-filled saliva wasn't stomach-churning enough, she topped off her bizarre act of defiance by stating, "I hate Americans; I hate America."
After TMZ published security footage from the bakery, Grande released a statement offering this explanation:
As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole. The fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world frustrates me. We need to do more to educate ourselves and our children about the dangers of overeating and the poison that we put into our bodies. We need to demand more from our food industry. However I should have known better in how I expressed myself; and with my new responsibility to others as a public figure I will strive to be better.
Did ... did she just blame us for the fact that she is a walking public health violation? Look, sweetie, don't call us fat. You were the one in the doughnut shop, unable to stop yourself from licking the ones in front of you while you waited for your own order.
The Other Starbucks Cup Controversy
Most people would say there's a time and place for serious dialogue; unlike most people, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks thought the perfect setting was while waiting in line for a cup of coffee. Starbucks' heart may have been in the right place, but they greatly overestimated the public's desire to discuss inflammatory issues and racially charged tragedies before drinking the one beverage that keeps them from killing people in the morning at the best of times.
In what seems like a gigantic corporate leap from normal things like directing employees to upsell you large fries at the register, a Starbucks internal memo instructed baristas to write "Race Together" on cups and then "engage customers in conversation." The memo also offered tips for launching the dialogue, including, "Our company feels responsible to do our part as the country faces ongoing racial tension." Which is a totally natural-sounding thing that humans say to each other.
The public's reaction to this cringe-inducing pseudo-activism was part-hilarious and part-incredulous.
Although Starbucks continued to insist the campaign was a success and had gone as planned, the negative backlash led Starbucks VP of Communications Corey duBrowa to temporarily delete his account. So maybe the plan that had gone so well had really been to find a way to keep him from stealing the other executives' funny tweets.
Hulk Hogan's Racist Tirade
It seems every year at least one beloved celebrity is outed as a closet racist. This year's winner of the ignoble "If You Must Think Those Things, Keep Them In Your Head, Dumbass" award is professional mouthpiece and celebrated pretend fighter Hulk Hogan.
While there's really no ideal place to spout racist sentiments, the Hulkster chose to use his views as a bizarre form of pillow talk. While secretly being filmed awkwardly boning the wife of Florida radio shock jock DJ Bubba the Love Sponge (... moving on) in 2008, Hogan expressed outrage over his daughter Brooke's relationship with a "black billionaire." Snippets of the least-desired sex tape of all time were leaked in 2012, eventually leading to a lawsuit. According to the full transcripts, which were made public this year, Hogan said this stupid shit (which we imagine he screamed directly at his erection):
"I mean, I don't have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f*cking n*ggers. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever."
"Hulkster's cool with some of the brothers, brother."
Like all good bigots, Hogan attempted to qualify his statements by applying some twisted logic to temper his racism:
"I mean, I'd rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I'd rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we're all a little racist. Fucking n*gger."
He also revealed that he dumped a boatload of money to fund his daughter's "singing" career, which is another legitimate reason to hate him.
"My daughter, Brooke, jumped sides on me. I spent $2 to $3 million on her music career; I've done everything like a jackass for her."
While many celebrities, including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, came to Hogan's defense, the reaction from the WWE was not as positive. First, they issued this statement:
WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers, and fans worldwide.
And then they immediately stopped selling Hogan merchandise, removed him from the Hall of Fame, and scrubbed all mention of him from the official website.
Hogan turned to People magazine to offer an apology, where he said in part:
"This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise."
Yeah, come on, guys. Who hasn't said some racist shit after having sex with a married woman 20 years younger than us? It doesn't define us; it's not who we are. Sometimes boners just make us say some really racist, hateful shit.
Robot Kills Man At VW Plant
We will eventually need to come to terms with the fact that someday in the future we'll live among actual sentient-type robots. And by "live among," we mean "obey." While that day may be far off, even now, from the ones driving our cars to those hitchhiking among us, robots in everyday life are becoming the norm. We're still working out the kinks of this new symbiotic relationship, and unfortunately we have already gotten a glimpse of how it can go terribly wrong. This summer, a recently installed automotive assembly line robot grabbed a 22-year-old contractor and crushed him to death against a metal plate.
While a few were quick to point out that death by robot is "relatively common" and not much to be concerned about, that didn't stop the rest of the Internet from salivating over the thought of an imminent robot uprising. To add to the frenzy, someone named Sarah O'Connor tweeted the news:
... sending Terminator fans and robot-apocalypse hopefuls to speculate that this could be the start of "IT." Because sometimes, the Internet can be a festering puddle of stupid.
Just as the robot-uprising memes were dying down, VW found themselves at the center of another technology-related scandal. It turned out that many of their vehicles sold in the U.S. were equipped with "defeat device" software that could detect when emissions tests were taking place and allowed changes in performance to rig results. That's right, the car you drive might be better at cheating on tests than your soft, inferior human brain.
After being called out by the EPA, Volkswagen admitted to cheating on emissions tests, which in turn opened up worldwide inquiries into the validity of their emission standards. I guess we could try to make a funny Minion meme out of that, but caring about the environment for longer than a day gets super boring. Plus, we'll probably eventually come up with some robot that eats up all the carbon monoxide. We just have to hope we can keep it on our side.
For more from Diana, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
This year wasn't the first time the media has cherry-picked news. Check out 6 Famous News Stories That Forgot To Tell You The Best Part and 5 Major News Stories That Forgot To Tell You The Best Part for more.
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