The Annoyance Scale

There was a segment on MSNBC yesterday morning about Bethenny Frankel.  She is a self-help guru. She is a “celebrity natural food chef.” She is a Real Housewife of New York. And she is really fucking annoying.

But how annoying is she, really? Incredibly annoying? She’s certainly no Paris Hilton. Moderately annoying?  Heidi Montag and Justin Bieber fill that role every day.  What we need people, is a scale. We need a shorthand. We should be able to say: “He’s Larry King annoying” and have others understand what we mean. So here are a few modest suggestions, starting with the least-annoying annoying person:

10. Bethenny Frankel – for the reasons set forth above: she’s really annoying, but she is  a mere fly on the turd that is the seriously annoying celebrity. One more thing – she named her daughter Bryn Casey Hoppy. Seriously.

9. Pope Benedict XVI – the mere sight of this little fucker on TV is annoying. He could sell off half the Vatican’s assets and solve world hunger, but fuck that, he needs another pair of custom shoes. From Dickipedia: “Although his main job responsibilities [as cardinal] were defending and reaffirming Catholic doctrine on topics such as birth control (no), homosexuality (no way), and inter-religious dialogue (sorry, pal), he also found the time to ruin thousands of young lives by applying “confidentiality of internal Church investigations” to accusations made against alter boy-raping priests across the globe. In other words, one dick was covering up for other dicks who couldn’t keep their dicks in their pants.”

8. Carlos Mencia – he is a comedian who is not funny. He had his own Comedy Central show for four seasons.  He is known among his comic brethren for stealing entire routines and performing them without attribution – Joe Rogan and other comedians famously took him to task onstage. He is a dick, but given that you don’t see him that much anymore he rates only an 8 on this scale.

7. Ben SteinNixon apologist, evolution denier, shameless shill, conservative pundit, former White House speechwriter, former professor at wingnut factory Pepperdine Law, writer, lawyer – what’s not to like? Who in Hollywood made the decision to put him on TV? What sentient being thought that people would buy anything, anything based on his endorsement? He is an annoyance and an embarrassment to not only our nation, but to our species.

6. Elisabeth Hasselbeck – it’s one thing to be ignorant, like the Tea Party, and another to be willfully ignorant, like … the Tea Party. But it’s another thing entirely to bring the stupid every time you’re on TV. Yet Elisabeth does it – from Jezebel: “Indeed, Hasselbeck has argued on-air that adulterers can’t be good parents, that the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion, and that, ‘especially in a time of war’ (one of her favorite phrases), torture is necessary. She has brushed off U.S. casualties of the Iraq war as “unfortunate,” while noting the U.S. has an all-volunteer Army …. She has used the nonexistent word ‘desperacy’ more than once.”

5. Spencer Pratt/Heidi Montag – even individually they deserve places on this list. Bigger, more annoying famewhores might not exist on this planet, and, of course, we can blame reality television (fucking MTV) for giving these two douches a platform. They are married, but split up early on as a publicity stunt. He changed his name to “King Spencer Pratt.” She claims to be addicted to plastic surgery and wants to reverse some of the stupid shit she’s done to herself. He drives a monster truck and is too stupid to put mudflaps on it. She tried a recording career, with horrible results. Admit it – you hate yourself for even knowing who they are.

4. Silvio Berlusconi – he fucks underage women, allegedly. He appoints hot women to government positions because they’re … hot and will follow his instructions. He owns practically every Italian media outlet and uses them to maintain his hold on power. He maintains membership in a “renegade neo-fascist Masonic lodge.” He described President Obama as “tanned.” The “bunga bunga” trial that starts this week is for fucking then-underage Moroccan stripper Ruby the Heart Stealer and getting her sprung from jail after an arrest. But even without this latest scandal this guy is seriously embarrassing – from The Guardian: “Prosecutors lifted the lid on a harem of women who were handed flats, cars and envelopes of cash in return for showing up at Berlusconi’s parties dressed as police officers, nurses, football players and Father Christmas. It is alleged that the women would strip off to win a chance of spending a night alone with Berlusconi.” And you’ll admit: Silvio is no slouch – he manages to annoy people on other continents.

3. Tom Friedman – is possibly the worst pundit masquerading as a liberal out there. He famously supported the Iraq War, sounding like a schoolyard bully when he said we needed to tell some Middle Eastern country to “suck on this” – didn’t matter which country. Most of his ideas about the world are simple and simply wrong. Somehow, he managed to win 3 Pulitzer Prizes, and that pretty much tells you about the utility of that award. His New York Times column is at once facile and ridiculous. For instance: he confessed that he supported the Central American Free Trade Agreement merely because it had the words ‘free trade’ in the title. Serious scholarship indeed.

2. Rudolph Giuliani – a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, he was running around New York City trying to shut down art exhibits he didn’t like. But now he’s a national problem – making millions off the fact that he happened to be mayor of NYC when the planes hit the towers, running for national office, saying incredibly stupid (and demonstrably false) shit on TV, consorting with criminals.  Even his voice is annoying. His wife is annoying. His kids hate him. The overall package would propel him to the top spot if our next entrant didn’t exist. But, sadly for Rudy, she does.

1. Gwyneth Paltrow – sure, like you didn’t see that coming. She can’t act. She can’t sing. Yet, somehow, this daughter of a C-list actress is famous, this despite starring in what is mostly a string of barely watchable movies. Inexplicably, she won an Oscar for ruining Shakespeare in Love. In 2001 she posed nude, then claimed Bazaar magazine tricked her. She is married to a member of the band Coldplay (who have committed their own crimes against humanity). In fact, not only is she famous, she thinks she’s important enough to tell you how to live your life. Her blog, GOOP, is an exercise in self love. From

    Although an American, many think she is British. Even, reporters wrongly identified her as the English actress that was engaged to Brad Pitt.
    She was voted Movieline’s ‘Most Stuck-up’ actress (1998).
    She has a shoulder tattoo.
    She gave her boyfriend, Ben Affleck, a $21,000 watch for his birthday.
    She smokes.
    She claimed she was ‘tricked’ into posing nude for Bazaar Magazine (2001).
    She follows a strict macrobiotic diet, which prohibits alcohol, yet she appeared in Martini & Rossi liquor ads outside the United States (2002).
    She gave her daughter a fruity name, Apple (May 14, 2004).
    Named her son Moses (April 9, 2006).

    So Gwyneth Paltrow is the most annoying person on the planet. Have any nominations of your own? Put ’em in the comments.

    One more thing – Joe Lieberman is not on the list because he’s leaving office, otherwise he’d be in the top 5. He’s an asshole without peer.


    What? No Ed Schultz?

    Perhaps that’s an example of Situational Annoyance: The ten listed Paragons of Humanity are folks I don’t stumble across in the course of a day. (Except there’s a new Ben Stein commercial out there, but I just erupt into giggles at the thought of how he pays the rent.)

    But Ed, well, if I don’t have my booger hook on the remote’s bang switch, even a second of him ruins the good mood I’m enjoying after Rachel.

    @nojo: Ed is probably in the top 20, but he can be completely charming, then switch to annoying. I am, however, wondering why I overlooked the Kardashians.

    @blogenfreude: For some reason, MSNBC chose not to use “charming” in his latest self-aggrandizing promos.

    Which reminds me of another example of Situational Annoyance: Conventional Wisdom Sensei Lawrence O’Donnell. It’s a daily challenge to hit the remote at just the right moment to catch Rachel without catching her colleagues.

    I liked “Shakespeare In Love.”

    It’s like the Top Ten list of Reasons I Don’t Have a TV.

    @nojo: I actually stopped listening to the Rachel podcast because I heard nothing I disagreed with. It’s pure logic, like she’s a Vulcan. She’s TOO good.

    @blogenfreude: I don’t know that I would disagree with anything Ed says. But, unlike Rachel, Ed panders, and that annoys the shit out of me. Especially when I agree with it.

    Of all these, the only one that’s really dangerous is Friedman because there are a lot of so-called “important” people that take him seriously. Why? I don’t know why.

    I guess if you’re Italian, Mr Bunga Bunga would be an issue, too.

    @ManchuCandidate: Maybe I’ll do the most dangerous next week, but this merely deals with the most annoying among us. Amazing that such luminaries as Kenny G, Michael Bolton, Cher, Steven Tyler, Daniel Brown, Ben Quayle … didn’t make the list, but I don’t have the time now.

    Poor Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s just an actress. And she’s a hell of a lot better than Julie Christie. A hell of a lot. I don’t see anyone bitching about her and she can’t do anything though she is good looking, I’ll grant you that. Paltrow’s english accent is impeccable. And since she lives in London I think she’s allowed to go native. It’s nice she gave her boyfriend extravagant gifts. She made a lot of money. She’s been a star since she was a teenager. It’s very very difficult not to finally work it out that the reason everyone fawns all over you is not because they get paid to do it but because you’re wonderful. Plus her mother was an important classical actress in her day. Blythe Danner was a genuine theatre star. We don’t have those any more. Just TVers on hiatus.

    I can’t watch R Maddow because of the funny voices and entertainment she does. Badly. Top of my list would be the anti-gay industry led by Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher et al. Now there are so many of them living off it we’re never going to be able to get rid of them.

    We just saw I Love You, Philip Morris. Kind of McBlah. Ewan McGregor is pretty terrific but the film has no real idea what it’s about.

    What? No Megan McCain? Now she is seriously annoying. Far more annoying than Gwyneth Paltrow. The McCain twit is harder to avoid than Paltrow.

    Also, too, I find it inexplicable that Palin didn’t make the cut, or the entire Republican caucus in the US Senate.

    @Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: And since she lives in London I think she’s allowed to go native.

    Terry Gilliam has lived in London four decades — and is still most famous for his work with a London comedy troupe — and it hasn’t afflicted him.

    @Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: I saw Blythe Danner in The Seagull with Frank Langella–PBS made that possible for kids in rural SC–and it had a huge impact on me. I’ve never forgotten it. Also in a Tennessee Williams, Summer and Smoke, I think. I’ve always admired her.

    Ben Stein is so fucking guilty of being Ben Stein, the only sentence imaginable is to hammer his teeth out, cut off his arms and leave him in the elephant cage at the zoo to blow the restless pachyderms.

    Go see Insidious, people. If you like a good scare…

    @Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: If I want a scare I go look at the dog shit in the garden.

    @Mistress Cynica: She was great looking and very stylish. Imagine PBS actually producing something. It was a different world, Irena.

    @nojo: Some do, some don’t. I spent a long time trying to talk yanqui but finally gave it up as you simply cannot say perfectly everyday phrases like “Darling, pass the Branston Pickle, will you? There’s a love,” without sounding affected in some way.

    Ben Stein, on the other hand, is repulsive and creepy. And not in the good way.

    Gwenith Paltrow is nowhere near as annoying as Anne Hathaway.

    @Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: Rumor has it Anne was quite the slut and nose candy enthusiast in college. This mitigates the annoyance factor for me.

    HRH Princess Paltrow of the GOOP would never….

    Nancy Grace, Nancy Grace, Nancy Grace (Ill keep typing until she annoys you too.) My wife watches both Bethany and Nancy. I hate them both. I am glad baseball has started. Go Phillies and the Orioles too.

    tj/How to Make Fucking Coffee in the Fucking Desert, Canadian Army Style: “Step Fucking One – adopt the firing position and make sure there’s no fucking insurgents around. Nothing fucks up good coffee like fuckin’ insurgents.”

    My only issue with this whole article is that you limit yourself to 10, Bloggie. There are hundreds and hundreds of deserving, head-poundingly annoying people out there. (And far more we don’t know about because they haven’t risen to national prominence.)


    LOL – now I want to go drive-thru at Starbucks and ask for a grande latte with NO FUCKING INSURGENTS! :)

    David Fucking Brooks.

    Also, about Bethenny. She doesn’t eat, so everyone on her show who does eat or has anything to do with food she stares at like she’s going to eat THEM. It’s really funny once you notice it.

    @Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: Blue Gal is not new, silly. She’s pretty kick ass and on our blogroll.

    @JNOV is like, FUCK!: oH, never mind then. Don’t mind me, I’m probably high right now.

    @Blue Gal: I’ve never seen her show, but I did see the first (only?) season of those Manhattan asshats. The ones with the Franch kids drove me to distraction.

    Bethennnnny has Bachmann eyes. I’m sure she’s tasted human flesh. And if she turns sideways and sticks out her tongue, she looks like a zipper. ADD: Okay, a zipper with boobs.

    @Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: You’re just happy she’s not a snowflake. It’s always an honor when Blue Gal pops in.

    @DElurker: Dude. I am so sorry we never connected before I came to hell.

    @Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: BlueGal (friend o’ Bloggie’s) also occasionally fills in for the C&L blog roundup, where she’s been known to throw us a bone.

    I know this is just a scale to measure others by but I highly recommend you turn it up to eleven so there is a level for Sarah Palin.

    okra winfrey needs to be the top one or two. judy riuliani, #2, ha, ha, great spot. ok, move okra to #1. porno moustache #3, good. #8 and #10, don’t know ’em. i’ll give you one of ’em if you put barry in the other spot. take your pick.

    @Stupid Git: Oh, The Gits!

    @woodman: Okra? Oprah is annoying as shit, but Okra? Whatever do you mean?

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