THERE ARE SOMETHING like 320 million human beings living in the United States, the vast majority of whom are, for wont of a better word, good (but not too good, and not all of the time, to paraphrase Orwell).
Sometimes you read about these Good Americans in the paper, or the link to Uplifter one of your unicorn-obsessed friends from high school posted to Facebook. Most of the time they toil in quiet anonymity, picking up the next round, arranging surprise birthday parties, jumping stalled cars, educating our children, giving away their worldly possessions, and otherwise behaving in a manner unbecoming of a d-bag. But there are even Good Americans in positions of power. Bernie Sanders is a Good American. So too Stephen Colbert. LeBron James is a Good American, as is Margaret Cho, Tina Fey, Frances McDormand, Robert Reich, Randall “Tex” Cobb, and Cornel West. Plus Elizabeth Warren, Bill Murray, Michele Obama, Tom Waits and Ernie Johnson. Not to mention Sam Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Willie Nelson, Edward Snowden, Ian Mackaye, Jim Brown, and Evil Knievel.
Make no mistake—the Good Americans far outnumber the bad. Something like 99 out of 100 Americans are, if not outright Good, at least not actively wretched. But for the next three weeks, we’re going to ignore these Good Americans, and focus instead on the One Percenters: the dregs of the barrel of Boon’s Strawberry Farm that is America. The poltroons, the gasbags, the sadists, the assholes, the fuckheads, the epitomes of avarice and cruelty and privilege, the Kardashians. Every weekday starting Monday, for the next three weeks, we will nominate one candidate for The Worst Person in America.
A caveat: our list of Worst Americans is by no means comprehensive. We have limited ourselves to Americans whose hearts still beat in their chests (and also Dick Cheney). Thus All-Time Worst Americans like Andrew Jackson, James Henry Hammond, Thomas Edison, and Roger B. Taney were not considered. Also, we only included actual Americans, so foreign pieces of shit like Tony Blair and Kim Jong-Ugh and Rupert Murdoch and Dominique Strauss-Kahn and everyone from ISIS and Marine Le Pen don’t count (even if they hold U.S. passports).
And there are, alas, plenty of Worst Americans we couldn’t get to. Like, Ann Coulter is vile. So is Bill Kristol and Bill Cosby and John Edwards and every single member of Enron’s upper management without exception. Not to mention Chris Christie, Jeff Bezos, Alan Greenspan, the Brothers Koch, Jeff Koons, Judith Regan, Roger Goodell, Guy Fieri, Nancy Grace, Santorum, Chuck Norris, Anthony Wiener, Kissinger, Tyler Perry, the Walton heirs, Arianna Huffington, not-Arianna Huffington, Michael Moore, everyone at Buzzfeed, almost everyone at Jezebel, Roger Ailes, Ted Nugent, or the Millionaire Matchmaker chick. We didn’t nominate a single serial killer/mass murderer, not Charles Manson or Dylann Roof. No hard-to-root-for athletes like Hope Solo and Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. None of the surviving Phelpseses. Nor could we justify an entire essay on the New Jersey State DMV, although in all fairness we tried.
But there are fifteen craptastic Americans we did include. And we invite you to tune in (Surf in? Do people still say “surf” when talking about the Internet?) every day starting Monday, as we call out a Worst American. We can think of no more patriotically appropriate way to celebrate the Fourth of July, or, as the hippie teacher puts it in Dazed and Confused, the day a bunch of rich, white, male slave-owners decided that they didn’t want to pay their taxes.
We won’t spoil the surprise by revealing who’s up first, but he’s yet again declared his candidacy for president, he has a TV show for some reason, and his last name rhymes with “dump.”
Thanks, as always, for reading.