Last year at this time, I (and everybody else, I would imagine) did a “biggest winners of the year” post. This year, in lieu of a “best of the year” post, I am going to do a “worst of the year” post, because let’s face it, there were more losers than winners this year. So here are the five biggest losers of 2007. Feel free to add your own thoughts.
1. TV WATCHERS: TV writers went on strike. Which really sucks. Mostly it sucks because my two favorite TV shows – “Lost” and “Heroes” were directly affected. The writer’s strike forced producers of Heroes to scrap plans for a “Heroes: Origins” miniseries that was to play in the hiatus between the first part of the season and the second part of the season,. and “Lost” which took a 19 year break in order to have the entire series run one episode after another with no repeats or interruptions, now has only 8 episodes in the can and will have an interrupted season, anyway. Oh – and Lost will no longer be on Wednesday nights – it will move to Thursday. Which is good for me, since I routinely watch American Idol, too, and I got tired of having to Tivo one or the other.
We probably won’t feel the full effect of the writer’s strike until the first couple of months of 2008, but believe me, once we get “All Reality Programming, All The Time”, I have a feeling the American public may just take matters into their own hands and stage some sort of Televised Marathon for the writers guild, and get them back to work. If you want to see how god awful TV can be without scripted shows, take a look at VH1 and their “celeb-reality” lineup. Face it people, do you *want* a lineup consisting of nothing but Flava Flav, Brett Michaels, Scott Baio and one of those Brady kids looking to hook up with their one true love?
2. COURT TV WATCHERS: As a subset of “A” above, there’s a special place and special mention needed for the loyal and true viewers of Court TV – who will now see the network “reinvent themselves” to become “Tru TV”. (“Not reality – Actuality” is their new tagline. I call it “Un Fucking Believable – Actually.”) And along with the demise of half the court watching schedule of the day, only to make room for the fucking horror that is Starr Jones and a bunch of “tru life” dramas, we now learn that the illustrious site CourtTVnews.com is also biting the dust. A note attached to the site says that “court watching can now be done on CNN.com.” Yeah, sure it can.
Whoever made this idiotic choice – to “fix” the venerable and heretofore unbroken Court TV deserves a special place in hell. Hopefully by the time OJ and Phil Spector: Season 2 begins, the network will have seen such a huge drop in ratings that they will be back to being Court TV – Classic, the news site will be back up and the live court schedule will be back to 9 – 6 EST. But until then, I will watch my court live and on the web through KTLA.COM – until they decide to revamp and start running “True Life” car chases and some fucked up show called “Beach Patrol” and reruns of Cops all day.
3. JUSTICE: Speaking of Court TV – one of the biggest losers this year in America was “justice” and the victims and survivors of horrendous crimes. Not only did Phil Spector and his horny little wife hump for the cameras in their driveway after Phil was acquitted, proving that although money may be able to buy you a defense, it sure as fuck can’t buy you class, or compassion for the dead woman’s family, but Natalee Holloway’s mother learned that the authorities had officially declared themselves outwitted by the three teenagers who killed her daughter, and they were closing the case on Natalee’s disappearance. And justice didn’t always come even in the form of a conviction, as we saw Warren Jeffs, although probably right where he belongs – in a jail cell – prosecuted for the wrong crime and convicted not because he was guilty of the crime he was charged with, but convicted for being the leader of a weird and disturbing cult. Right outcome, but wrong means of getting there. Is justice served? Certainly not for Lana Clarkson’s family, or Natalee Holloway’s family, or the people of Utah who had overzealous prosecutor’s deeming that the ends justified the means.
But the biggest victim of unseen justice this year has to be poor little Madeleine McCann. While on vacation in Portugal the little girl went missing when her idiotic parents decided to go out for the night with friends. Not that there’s anything wrong with going out for a night when you are on vacation, but these people had kids – and being doctors and all, well, they just didn’t have the money for a babysitter, so they left their three kids – with a combined age of like 6 – alone in an unlocked hotel room. Bottom line: the McCanns are either directly responsible for Maddy’s death (accident or otherwise), as Portuguese authorities believe, or they are complicit in her disappearance by their irresponsibility in leaving her and her siblings alone. The world has finally caught on, which is why they only have about four supporters left. Let’s hope that in 2008 there is finally justice for Maddy.
4. ROLE MODELS: It’s tough to be a role model anymore. Well, it’s tough to be a role model when you have no fucking morals or ethics worth modeling. But some of America’s greatest role models this year found themselves with a lot of explaining to do – and a lot of apologizing. First we found out that Barry Bonds, despite breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record, really had a kind of edge on old Hank. You know, since Bonds was all juiced up and shit on steroids. And it wasn’t just baseball that was taking the hits this year – football, too, had it’s share of scandals, what with Michael Vick, the talented NFL quarterback, deciding that the money he could bet on his dogs fighting to the death was a lot more attractive than the millions of dollars the NFL wanted to give him. Maybe EBay is right – perhaps it *is* better when you win it.
Then we had the whole Britney debacle all year, eventually ending up with her losing her kids to Fed-Ex – and who could have predicted that a judge would rule *he* was the better parent? Not to be outdone, her little sister Jamie Lynn, a role model for ‘tween girls everywhere, announced that she was pregnant with her own future custody case. In an ironic twist to the story, the Spears’ girls mother, Lynn Spears, announced that she was shelving the “How to Parent Successfully” book she was just about to publish, tacitly admitting that she didn’t know fuck all about parenting successfully. Something most people could have told her along about the time Britney was shaving her head or flashing the other things she shaved.
5. DOWNLOADERS: Last year the RIAA finally got one of it’s “file sharing” cases into court. Their legal campaign against illegal downloaders has been going strong for almost 5 years, but as of now, the vast majority of the cases have been settled out of court. There have been a couple of defendants who have scored victories in the system during mediation or arbitration, but up until the end of 2007, no cases had actually made it as far as a courtroom.
Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas turned out to be a major victory for the RIAA. Jammie Thomas only had one single user computer hooked up to her single modem. She wasn’t a large conglomerate nor did she actually run or manage a peer to peer network. The court ruled that the mere *presence* of MP3’s in a shared folder on her computer constituted infringement, and that the RIAA did not have to prove that actual distribution took place. It took the court less than 4 hours to rule that Thomas was guilty of willful copyright infringement, due to the presence of 24 songs in her shared folder, and when all was said and done, the single mother from Massachusetts found herself owing the record company over $222,000, – that’s $9,250 for each song.