10. The presidential mom jeans.
9. Adam Lambert’s American Music Award performance was, in and of itself, not an epic fail. Yes, it was tragically bad, with male-on-male sexy time and doofy outfits and crappy singing. The epic fail in this overtly sexualized messy mess of hairspray and gel was the fact that the guy doing all of this is named Adam Lambert. Really? Really Adam Lambert? I refuse to believe that the gay world allowed this. In the gay world you can be anything you want; you can wear leather pants and eyeliner and black nail polish. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that gay folks shouldn’t have to be burdened by the stereotypical stuff (a la George Michael). But if you come out on stage and work the props, the people and yourself up into a big pansexual frenzy, then you’ve set yourself up for a little constructive critiquing: If you’re going to go out like Madonna, then be Madonna. Give yourself one of those cool one-word names, like “Leblasia.” Adam Lambert sounds so pedestrian—like a plumber or a sandwich artist at Subway. When someone named Adam Lambert says things like, "I'm about to turn up the heat,” it makes me think that ole Adam is going to throw another log in the fire. We get it Adam Lambert: You’re gay. Now go ahead and be all the way gay. (And while you’re at it, get some better music.)
8. Now, I have heard many stories about Michael Jordan’s alleged schmuckery: How, in 1999, he filmed PSAs promoting organ donation—and then the Chicago Tribune discovered that he’d refused to register as a donor himself. Or when he decided he wouldn’t endorse the Democrat running against self-proclaimed “redneck” Jesse Helms “because Republicans buy sneakers, too.” I’m clear that Michael Jordan, the player, was easily the greatest to ever lace them up, and that Michael Jordan, the man, can be an epic ass. But his Hall of Fame speech wasn’t one of those times. Through tears, he talked about how he wanted to be better than everyone. He praised his sister for pushing him to succeed. He called out Chicago Bulls’ ex-owner Jerry Krause for trying to steal his shine claiming that the organization won championships. Players win championships, he said: “I don’t remember the organization playing in Utah with the flu.” In the speech that I saw, Jordan came off as a man conflicted about his success and uncomfortable with public speaking. I also saw a man who was comfortable embracing his greatness. I can’t hate him for that. The epic fail here is with the media folks who took his jokes out of context and painted his speech as a vindictive plea delivered by a fallen star. They failed to recognize the complexities of his acceptance speech. Whenever a black sports superstar like Jordan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is confident about their level of greatness, the mainstream (read: mainly white) media seems to have a problem with that.
7. Jon Gosselin, of Jon and Kate Plus 8, is what I like to call the “roasted epic fail.” That is the best thing about fake reality TV: We get to watch you crumble in slow motion. In a year, he went from a sad sack on a couch, an almost sympathetic figure, to a cheating louse with bad hair plugs and bacne. Right before our eyes, he slowly evolved from doting dad to this early-mid-life-crisis-having, Ed Hardy tight T-shirt wearing, dating-while-married guy who says things like, “I can chill in my apartment in New York”… while his eight kids are only a few hours away. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the blogosphere is rife with rumors that there might be a … wait for it … sex tape.
6. Clearly, Kanye West’s tight leather shirt cut off the oxygen to his brain the night of the MTV Video Music Awards. Mix that with him fisting a fifth of Hennessy and his obvious man crush on Jigga, and you have the hot mess that walked on stage to rudely interrupt angel-faced Taylor Swift. Kanye strikes me as the guy in junior high that would steal a box of condoms from 7-11 to show all his buddies how he went in the store and stole something, just to be accepted. He is so insecure that he was willing to jump onstage and interrupt heaven’s own little blonde teardrop and all her “gosh darns” and “dag on its.” I don’t in any way condone Kanye’s behavior. But had he barged in on Letoya Luckett no one would have cared. Because of that, part of me didn’t want to add him to the list. But when the president calls you a “jackass,” you’ve got to know that you have epically failed.
5. Joe Budden’s entire 2009 has been an epic fatality. First a beef with Jersey rapper, Ransom, got the friend of Budden’s brother donkey smacked on camera. Then he and Saigon got to into a rap battle where Sai dropped that Joe Budden’s girlfriend was once Fabolous’ girlfriend. Budden released a vlog declaring that he was OK with his girlfriend’s past. Then Budden hopped out there, boasting that he was lyrically better than Method Man, which got the entire Wu-Tang Clan buzzing. Inspectah Deck got onstage at one of Budden’s shows and told the crowd, “F—- Joe Budden.” Then, on the Rock the Bells tour, Raekwon walked into Budden’s dressing room armed with video cameras, to straighten things out. One of Raekwon’s goons socked Budden in what he calls his “side-eye” for his reckless talk. (Raekwon is holding the videotape in case Budden acts out again.) Then after publicly defending his girlfriend’s honor, Budden and his lady break up. She posts Twitpics of herself cuddled up with 50 Cent. Budden consoled himself by dating another Fabolous rebound, MySpace model, Somaya Reece. Meanwhile, he’s trying to avert another beatdown by issuing formal apologies to Philly rappers Beanie Siegel and Mike Knox before one of them taps him in the side-eye.
4. When Joe Wilson yelled “you lie” during the president’s health care speech, he should have been escorted out. During the election, Obama had to temper his temper because he couldn’t afford to be labeled the angry black guy. Had he yelled out “You Lie!” during the debates, it would’ve been game over. I so wanted Obama to shut the South Carolina congressman down and say, “Come down here and say that to my face, Joe Wilson!” Yes, I know, Obama can’t do that. And that is what I love about Obama: He doesn’t have to. He’s the president.
3. Let’s face it: The balloon boy’s father is nuts. First, he makes a big-ass balloon in his backyard (Slightly crazy.) Then he calls the police and news stations saying that his son just went up in said big-ass balloon. (Crazier.) Then we discover that the missing boy in the balloon was really hiding in the roof of his garage. (Really crazy.) And that balloon boy’s dad conjured up the whole story in order to get a reality TV show. (Really, really crazy.) So I have this to say to balloon boy’s dad: Your epic fail, my dear friend, was not all the craziness that lead you into annals of ridiculousness. It’s not having the foresight to coach your boy not to spill the beans (both literally and figuratively) on live TV. As a crazy father, you should have made sure you had all your crazy bases covered. He needs to go to jail where he can make balloons for all the prisoners. This whole mess even pissed Hitler off.
2. We were sick of Chrihanna before the whole sordid fiasco went down. After pleading guilty to beating Rhianna, Chris goes on Larry King, trying his best to look like Poindexter rocking a Garanimals outfit in that sky blue sweater vest and matching bow tie. This entire tragedy pushed Chrihanna to the forefront of the domestic violence issue—when all we really want is for that young man to krump dance his way out of our collective consciousness.
1. A joke: Man paid to run fast walks into a nightclub with a gun in his waistband. While walking to the V.I.P. lounge to get at the ladies and make it rain on the hoes, his gun slips down from his waist. Fast Man goes to grab it, and he shoots himself in the leg. The nightclub is so loud that his teammate, who is standing right next to him, doesn’t even hear the shot.
Fast Man to Teammate: I shot myself.
Fast Man: I shot myself.
Teammate: Get the %$#@&# out of here!
(Teammate looks down and sees white Converse red with blood.)
Wait—here’s the punch line: Almost a year after shooting himself in the thigh, Fast Man is sentenced to two years in prison!
Damn, Plaxico Burress. Damn.
Stephen Crockett is a regular contributor to The Root.