That huge sigh of relief you just heard came from almost everyone. We are all glad 2023 is ending. I hate to remind people that 2024 is just around the corner – complete with a presidential election.
So, let’s not give up on 2023 just yet. It’s been a year of special people – needy celebrities, a new king, dishonest and senile politicians (at the same time), and a bunch of famous people who clutter up our social media feeds more than some stupid TikTok challenge.
The year wasn’t all bad, but many of us would rather meme it than remember. After all, who doesn’t love a Nicolas Cage/Pedro Pascal meme? Or a “Barbie”/”Oppenheimer” street fight. Women discovered that, while they are watching endless specials about true crime, men are thinking about the Roman Empire. (There’s a 70% chance I’m thinking about the Romans right now, while you read this.)
One thing is certain, the year was annoying. The reason for it is that many of the people were annoying. (Ahem, certainly not moi. I’m talking about those other people.) Remember, if I included politicians, this list would be longer than a CVS receipt. Now on to our show. Here are the most-annoying people from 2023.
There is no individual more responsible for undermining American education than Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Back in April, the New York Times made a big deal about how former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called Weingarten “the most dangerous person in the world.”
That’s a bit of hyperbole. But has she harmed education and then lied about it? Sure. In October, she famously claimed, “We’ve always advocated for safe reopening of schools.” That was one of the many community notes her comments have earned on Twitter/X. In reality, she called reopening “reckless,” “callous” and “cruel.” Picky, picky.
Weingarten has a particular agenda against parents’ rights groups. Here’s her bashing one: “Moms For Liberty has always been an extremist front designed to divide parents from educators while censoring honest history, bullying LGBTQ+ kids, and sowing distrust in equitable public programs and community building initiatives.” In her latest, she claimed school choice “undermines democracy.”
She hates school choice and parents’ rights groups because her members are doing a lousy job of teaching and parents don’t want their kids indoctrinated. Thanks to Randi, every time you see a failing school, look for the union label.
While we are focusing on liberal activists, let’s discuss climate loon Greta Thunberg. Thunberg’s trademark is telling people who disagree with her, “How dare you!” Her focus on climate issues continues but in 2023 she shifted into high-gear leftism by siding against Israel in its war against Hamas terrorists.
This year, she started getting arrested at protests – a classic leftist move where she gets showered with attention and a slap on the wrist. The essence of liberal narcissism. She posted a group photo where she held a sign that said, “Stand With Gaza.” The Times of Israel reported she was “chanting ‘crush Zionism’” at a November pro-Palestinian rally in Sweden.
She even co-authored a piece for The Guardian headlined: “We won’t stop speaking out about Gaza’s suffering – there is no climate justice without human rights.” She’s like an intersectional puppet, mouthing the words her handlers tell her to say. I doubt even lefties take her seriously. Ten years from now, she’ll be Karen-ing her neighbors about their trash cans going out too early for pick-up.
For a short time, America could relax and breathe easy. The late-night airwaves weren’t polluted by bad jokes and leftist stupidity. Thanks to the Hollywood writers’ strike. Alas, all good things must come to an end. The gang of “Strike Force Five” is back on the air.
No, that’s not some lame “Pulp Fiction” reference. (That was “Fox Force Five,” but no relation to this website.) Instead, this was the gang of late-night, pseudo comedians Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver. They got so desperate at one point in the strike that they launched a podcast by the above name. The Strike Force protested with 12 whole episodes before their shows returned.
Now, they are back on the air. Whoopee.
Oliver’s latest has him bashing Elon Musk (so daring), calling him “the less f—able reimagining of Billy Zane’s character in ‘Titanic.’” “The Daily Show” mocked Christmas as “the queerest holiday of all.” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” called new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson “anti-gay, anti-choice, pro-conspiracy theory.” In other words, more unfunny leftist whining. Can’t someone else in Hollywood strike? Just for a few years.
When the presidents of three top institutions of higher learning testified in Washington, it was some of the most revealing video we’ve seen in years. Harvard President Claudine Gay, MIT President Sally Kornbluth and exiting University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill all made fools of themselves and reminded Americans that they are overpaying for college.
When pressed about antisemitism on their pricey campuses, all three dodged the question. While Magill already lost her job, the fact the other two have not is more important. They are walking, incoherently talking metaphors for the Marxist lunacy that dominates our higher education system.
Of course, the left closed ranks around them, especially Gay. Their side knows everybody saw behind the curtain just like in “The Wizard of Oz.” They just don’t care.
Instead of the glories of an advanced education worthy of our best institutions, we found out these presidents lead reeducation camps more insidious than the ones Mao oversaw during his Cultural Revolution. When leftists talk about camping, this is probably what they really mean.
There’s royalty and then there’s royal pains. Meghan Markle and her sidekick husband Prince Harry gained extra attention this year for annoying people on at least both sides of the pond. The coronation of King Charles III gave lots of media opportunities for two of the world’s most-annoying people.
They freaked out in February when they became the butt of several jokes in “South Park.” The episode was called, “The Worldwide Privacy Tour” and mocked our wannabe princess and her husband for demanding attention and pretending they didn’t want it. Markle was reportedly “upset and overwhelmed” and allegedly “refuses to watch it all.” (We’re supposed to believe Markle refuses to watch herself. I bet the mirrors in her house wear out from overuse.)
The year also featured Prince Harry’s book, “Spare,” where he complained about how horrible his life had been as a wealthy, important royal. And, Markle just made a TV appearance without saying a word (Your joke here ________.) – in a new ad for instant latte brand Clevr, which she also invests in. But then, when has the princess turned duchess ever turned away from a camera?
In one of the most-humorous moments of 2023, the head of podcast innovation and monetization at Spotify, Bill Simmons, labeled the couple as “f—ing grifters,” because of the company’s deal with them.
Every list of annoying people should have an evil billionaire, but there are so many, it’s hard to choose. I picked gas-guzzling hypocrite Bill Gates. Billionaire Bill is sure he knows how our world should be run – as long as none of the rules apply to him.
See, Bill flies private jets. You know, the kind that use up more CO2 than you or I do in a given year. But he thinks that’s OK, because he uses some sort of bogus carbon offset. Here’s his argument: “I’m comfortable with the idea that not only am I not part of the problem by paying for the offsets, but also through the billions that my Breakthrough Energy group is spending, that I am part of the solution.”
That’s billionaire speak for, get away, kid, you bother me. Besides, billionaire hypocrites aren’t unique. Just go to the airport at one of the big conferences at Davos. They’re filled with private jets owned by people who want to tell us to live differently. But what’s unique about Bill is he’s funding genuine mad science – the kind of stuff you see in some schlocky sci-fi movie. He wants to cool the earth by blocking the sun.
Nope, not kidding. He funds, in the words of Forbes, “sun-dimming technology that would potentially reflect sunlight out of Earth’s atmosphere, triggering a global cooling effect.” If Elon Musk wanted to do it, the press would want him arrested. But Bill, they like him. So mad science is OK, even when it’s only “potentially” helpful.
Any football fan knows I could just as easily have chosen the College Football Playoff Selection Committee but that’s a battle for another day. The NFL is in the middle of the playoff race with 16 weeks of gridiron combat in the books. And the top story isn’t the prospect of 38-year-old Joe Flacco taking a new team to the playoffs. And it’s not Rams rookie wide receiving sensation Puka Nacua. It’s the bad refereeing that is the talk of the sport – most notably during a game with the Kansas City Taylor Swifts (I mean Chiefs).
Sure, bad refereeing has been around as long as people ran around with a pigskin. There are calls that benefit the home team and even make-up calls when the refs screw up. Then there’s 2023.
Increasingly, games are marred by missed calls, excessive penalties for roughing the quarterback (which used to be known as tackling), and all-around nonsense that is even getting called out by the announcers. Fans want to watch football. If they wanted to see zebras, they’d go to the zoo.
Being fair, there are more cameras, more camera angles and a constantly changing rulebook that lets refs call penalties one week and not the next. But when players, announcers and fans all agree there’s something wrong, it’s time to look hard not just at the refereeing, but at the rules. Maybe then, something will be done. Until then, it’s the refereeing that blows. Not the whistle.