The semi-finals are over and the results have been tabulated. Some categories were hard fought; Mark Steyn and Michael Walsh, for instance, were neck-and-neck throughout the voting in the Male Model division, with Steyn's "Blue Steel" barely edging out Walsh's "Le Tigre," while other contestants (Lileks, Yoo) were clear favorites, in that everybody hated them.
And now...Our Finalists:
In the Smug Shot division, Cal Thomas bested veteran blowhard Tony Blankely, while Jonah Goldberg, whose mother was unable to fix the results, came in a distant third.
Congratulations to Fred Dalton Thompson, who handily won the Sea Hag division (I've replaced Fred's NRO headshot with a more recent photo, just to keep our relationship fresh).
Mark Steyn, as we mentioned, pulled out a squeaker in the Aramis Man competition, and immediately parlayed his win into a lucrative endorsement contract. For the next year he'll be the spokesmodel for Galt Brand Invisible Water, the bottled water so pure it might not even exist! Thirsty? Go Galt!
James Lileks walked away with the award for "Creepy, Close-Talking Night Manager of a Rural Motel Who Thinks Like Norman Bates and Talks Like Percy Kilbride." Or did he ride
away? On a motorcycle
-- with streamers flying from the handles, and training wheels squeaking? Because this is how Jack Fowler of The Corner puts it:
No, that isn’t Brando. Close though. It’s James Lileks, one of America’s wittiest writers (and it turns out he’s darned witty when he talks, too)...You can find out more about this spectacular trip, and securely reserve your well-appointed, spacious, and affordable stateroom, at www.nrcruise.com.
He's not just witty. He's not just darn witty. He's affordably
Dr. Charmaine Yoest is a worthy and credible champion for abstinence-only education, because she speaks from experience. Once, during a particularly wild Halloween party in high school, she necked with a Dementor; one thing lead to another, and he sucked her soul out through her mouth, but that didn't stop Dr. Yoest from realizing her dream of working as a CPR demonstration doll in the Reagan White House.
I think commenter mellor
summed it up best: ugh, I think my eyeballs have a Yoest infection.
Roman Genn overwhelmed his competitors in the category "Confused Men with Prodigious Hair and Clip-On Ties Who Insisted That Their Prom Pictures Be Taken at The Old Dutch Bakery."
John Yoo was the undisputed winner in the "Not Even The Best Antiperspirant Can Stop Your Pores From Secreting Evil" division, beating out experienced felon Elliot Abrams. However, the judges have taken Doghouse Riley's recommendation and bestowed upon Abrams the coveted Jean Hersholt Inhumanitarian Award.
And finally, Ralph Reed absolutely slayed his competition in the "Dummy From The Dead of Night
" division. Ralph and his rictus thank you.
So there we have it -- eight Finalists, as chosen by you, our distinguished panel of judges. Now, to select which of these deserving contestants will be crowned Miss Wingnut 2011 and Belle of the NRO Beggin' Boat Ride, imagine that you are Rose from James Cameron's Titanic
, and each competitor is Jack, the Leonardo DiCaprio character, and decide -- based on their photo and resume -- which one you'd most like to let sink into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Feel free to explain your reasons, show your work, and designate Runners Up in the event your first choice is unable to fulfill his or her duties.
We'll count up all the votes, and announce the winner later this week. And on behalf of the Pageant, I'd just like to say: America thanks you, although frankly, the Holland America Line isn't all that thrilled with you.
First, like most of the above I miss the imaginary Golden Age of America, though unlike them it's not a fictional amalgam of Parson Weems, Ozzie and Harriet, and 19th century labor practices I pine for, but the very real, if artificially rosy, days of my own youth. Back then you couldn't have come up with this many identifiable wingnuts in toto, let alone after winnowing the likes of Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Jean Lopez, John Derbyshire, and Victor Davis Drusus Saigonius Hanson. Hell, in those days we had to scramble come up with more than three categories (Lyin' Red Baiter: Barry Goldwater vs. Dick Nixon; Angry Nun: Carl McIntire vs. Billy James Hargis; and Miss Anti-Fluoridation, which was the exclusive province of William Fuhbuckley after he threw all the other contestants out). Same thing every year, and, frankly, better times.
I guess I just wasn't meant for a time when wingnuts like Lileks and Genn would come up through a sort of farm system, like Texas' Miss America Corporation, and employ high-priced hair stylists and fashion consultants. It's like watching a bike race where everybody's coked to the gills on human growth hormone, except in this case it doesn't make anyone faster, or stronger, or, god knows, better looking, just tone deaf enough to continue.
So, Cal Thomas, the last surviving artifact of an optimistic time when we could say, "If we can just hold out until Cal Thomas dies of ugliness and impacted mucus this shit'll be over."
I'm of the same generation as Mr. Riley (befitting tradition, we were only called "the younger" until the first draft cards were burned, then the branding got ugly). This is an insipid bunch, but to be fair, the contest is limited to NRO cruise wingnuts, so some of the more hooey generis practitioners of the art aren't in the running.
Were the judging strictly by photo, Roman Genn's Transylvanian waiter affect would do it for me. But for strength of résumé, I have to yet again agree with Doghouse. Cal Thomas isn't nearly as pretty as some of the others, but even a turd like Ralph Reed couldn't match his wingnut mala fides.
Ditto for Cal Thomas.
If we're heading into ice berg territory, I'd only feel safe with Lileks strapped to the prow, his forehead of dumbitude crashing our way through to safety.
I gotta break from the crowd here. Cal Thomas has that practiced unctuous sleazyness that a lifetime of getting rich by justifying the worst excesses of the worst people of America, but John Yoo is my choice for Miss Wingnut 2011. Think about it. All of the other of this creepy horror show have made their living glorifying evil, but John Yoo lived it! Choosing anyone but Yoo is an insult to evil everywhere. Choosing anyone else would be live nominating a Rolling Stone reporter for a Grammy instead of the rock star that earned it. I only hope the prize can match the winner in sheer evil and antipathy to what used to be called Truth Justice and the American Way.
Being from Georgia I've gotta go with Little Ralphy Reed. Since we have open primaries here I will admit that I have actually voted for him in the Republican primary, hoping to toss a wrench into their gears. He's a walking, talking turd.
I have to admit (he said shamefully) that I am something of a Lileks apologist. He shares my fascination and love of the defunct and ephemeral, although I think he likes them for different reasons. So I can't really vote for him, although I wouldn't feel bad about having him be runner up.
I'm tempted to agree with 77South and vote for Yoo. The rest of the twerps here are, at the end of the day, just babblers and scribblers. Yoo is the only one to be an actual architect of malice. But I think that actually puts him out of the running for this contest, on the grounds that he's too big a fish. I'd gladly vote for him in the "Miss International Tribunal at the Hague" though.
So that leaves me to vote based on the most important criterion: "Who's picture makes me want to punch them in the mouth the hardest?"
And that's easy: Good Ol' Cal Thomas.
As an independent-minded thinker and...
Hahaha, just kidding. I'm going with the flow, and that is ignorant asshole Cal Thomas.
(I remember the days back when Pammalammadingdong was inextricably linked to the phrase "shrieking harpy". Good times!)
Oh, I like that story, Chris. If he's good enough for the Dutch, he's good enough for me.Cal Thomas it is.(Is that short for Callous Bastard?)
Rowan Glenn because no one should have a recent (I assume) picture with that haircut
I mean can we say Severus Snape who actually turned out to be a good guy, I'm not willing to give Rowan the benefit of the doubt
What sheep you mortals be!
I'm voting Lileks, for contrarianism's sake & for posing w/ arms folded.
I will admit that Ralph Reed really is the creepiest of all the images offered.
James Lileks, and let me tell you why:
My initial reaction was to vote for Cal, a stalwart member of the conservative diphthong-heads that pollute our political discourse. But then I also remembered John Yoo's résumé of evil, Yoest's involvement in that example legislation that just accidentally encouraged people to kill abortion providers, and little Ralphie Reed's stint in the Christian Coalition.
Yoo's crimes against humanity notwithstanding, I think the worst conservatives are the sneaky conservatives, which is why my vote goes to James Lileks. He's one of those semi-closeted celebrity conservatives like Michael J. Nelson, Scott Adams or Alton Brown, on one hand aware enough to know they would be loathed by most fellow humans if their political beliefs were to get significant press, yet egotistical enough to believe their popularity is in part due to their backwards worldview. Lileks sits on his webpage, poised like a Venus Flytrap baited with hipster humor and memories of the good old days, sure he will eventually convert lost liberals in dire need of his guidance.
But mainly it's because he looks like the creepy window-peeper gas station attendant character in every film noir from 1942 through 1949 inclusive.
I wrote this earlier in response to Brian Schlosser's comment about Lileks, but decided not to post it (but I did save it to file!), for fear this'd turn into a thread about Lileks. But it touches on some of the same things Stacia touches on, with a slightly different take, so it might be worthwhile to put it up after all:
Feel the same way Brian. Sadly, Lileks, who was up till then a normal enough fella, was one of the sad souls who went a little crazy in the aftermath of the WTC bombing. When he's not writing of politics, I still enjoy his columns. When he writes of politics, I avert my eyes, just like I do when I come across a man urinating on himself in the alley behind my apartment buiding, or when my nutty Aunt explains the efficacy of shark cartilage as a cancer cure.
I'm reminded that Lileks' fellow northmidwesterner Michael J Nelson, whose writing I also enjoy, broke some ideological hearts in an interview a few years back in which he revealed that he's a rock-ribbed conservative. Hey, he's conservative, not crazy, so big deal.
Chris, that Mike is a conservative is a fact I must constantly put out of my head. That one of the main geniuses behind the thing that has brought so much joy into my life is so opposed to things I hold dear... well, it's an express train to cognitive dissonance, with a stop at Circle Pines.
It is with no hyperbole that I say that MST3k has helped to save my life, pulling me out of several dangerously deep depressions. In fact, once, I was in the middle of composing an actual "farewell, cruel world" letter when a Mike riff flitted through my head, making me smile for the first time in weeks, and giving me that moment of clarity needed to pull back from the abyss.
So, I guess I can forgive him for being a dunderhead when it comes to politics.
Anyway, I now return you to the 2011 WoC Straw Pole Dance, already in progress...
Oh, also @Stacia
James Lileks and Alton Brown: Separated at birth??
I'm going to go with Yoo. That smarmy little war criminal is directly responsible for far too much evil.
As an aside, and much to my embarrassment, my father goes on the NRO cruises every time they have one. Hearing about the intellectual heft if the people on the ship always makes me giggle.
Why are you making us look at these people? I will concede that they are probably not the worst people to end up on a boat. Some of them may in fact be capable of actual kindnesses towards their fellow human beings, John Yoo might, for example, offer a choice of waterboarding *or* stress position on an indefinite detainee's birthday, and Ralph Reed may not actually use a hammer to beat to death swans born out of wedlock. Lileks, you might even imagine, could allow a runaway chained in the basement to keep her real name, even after several years.
And, okay, maybe I was hasty about demanding they each be fitted into a suitcase and left there so I could pick a winner, and despite my earlier comment it seems unfair to assume they'd start ranking the other passengers by likely degree of marbling before the buffet was out of shrimp cocktails (I think they'd probably wait until the Swedish meatballs were gone as well).
But still, I'd rather see pictures of cats.
Because I think this may turn out to be The Year Of The Hair, I'm going with Roman Glen. Or Rowan Glenn. What the hell IS his name, anyway??
YOU BASTARDS! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH CAL THOMAS'LIPS??!?!?
...oh, there they are. Carry on.
Waiot, are we voting for the most amusing retarded circus clown or the least offensive retarded circus clown.
Just like the Ames Straw Poll, I'm confused.
Whichever tickles your fancy, Dave. Or gag reflex.
I think the Hobbit toasting with an empty glass says everything you need to know about modern conservatism. At least old bastard conservatives would throw scotch in there.
So Steyn it is.
Although Yoo can still win the Worst Living American award, since I believe the other douchebag is Canadia's problem.
Marion in Savannah, as Ralph is a genteel throwback to the antebellum south, I think he's more characteristic of a rhetorically inclined, ambulatory bowel movement.
Overall, I have to go with John Yoo. I think Viet Dinh might have given him a run for his money, the cultural sensitivity of Michelle Malkin coupled with the discreet humanitarianism of Reinhard Heydrich. Still, as Molly Ivins was fond of saying, you gotta dance with them that brung you, so I'll go with Yoo.
James Lileks and Alton Brown: Separated at birth??
My mind, it is blown.
Ye gods, they're all pretty horrendous. I'm going to have to cast my vote for the bearded idiot with the empty glass, if only for the sake of Canadian solidarity.
... Also, I'm hoping that if Steyn wins it'll encourage him not to come back.
Since we're voting on Photo, and not Gag Response, I'm gonna hafta go with Steyn. Please, Canada, don't cry; we still love you.
Yoo is a strong contender, for reasons mentioned above, but to my mind the fact that he actually enabled Evil, as opposed to merely advocating it, puts him out of the running in a contest as good-natured as this one.
Ralph Reed for runner-up. Smarm, hypocrisy, publicly fucking over Native Americans; Miss Reed should be more than able to fufill her duties should the Winner get prison time/die of a Viagra-induced coronary.
I'd like to re-iterate my call for a Hair category next year. I know nothing of Genn's work, but anyone over the age of 20 willing to sport that 'Do in public should be recognized for what they are. ("Transylvanian waiter affect" haha, that killed me.)
Me for Yoo. After all, we're imagining whom we'd most like to see sinking into the freezing North Atlantic. Such an imagining is as close as we're ever going to get to seeing justice done on any of the Bushperps.
Thomas and Reed for 1st and 2nd runner-ups. I once or twice have had the displeasure of reading a Thomas column, and that photo points up what has always most deeply amazed me about the writings of him and his fellow bowties: that the concept of personal humility has apparently never, EVER crossed their minds.
As for Ralph, I owe him for the number of times I've been stupefied by the notion that anyone at all finds him appealing or credible. Being stupefied is sort of relaxing. I hope his second or third place tiara is full of nits.
I'm still amused at his poor attempt to resurrect Fonzie or something, maybe Rebel Without a Clue. Plus I'd really like to hear him cry and get seasick.
I'm thinking Lileks. Alas heydave took all my jokes about his pathetic, hardcore look. He so looks like a serial killer.
This is such an awesome lineup ... I just can't pick. They all seem to be completely insane.
What would Hitler do?
Gotta go with Cal. I've been following him for years (I mean literally following - you wouldn't believe some of the creepy shit...) He reminds me of my long hair grabbing prison guard dickhead great uncle. Only more wordy.
Having met Reed here in Georgia, I have to vote for him. When he entered the room, a cold wind blew through. When the MC introduced him, you could hear horses screaming in the distance. (H/T to "Young Frankenstein")
I spoke to him briefly; it was like speaking to a zombie - chills ran up and down my spine.
He is true evil, in it's basest form.
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