#dick2010: Past Winners and the Lifetime Achievement Award
We will announce the winner of the dick of the year (#dick2010) awards later today. But we thought we’d remind you of some previous winners, and tell you about the winner of our lifetime achievement award.
– 1999: Joschka Fischer
– 2000: Katherine Harris
– 2001: Richard Littlejohn
– 2002: Mandy Telford
– 2003: Tony Blair
– 2004: John Kerry
– 2005: Bob Geldof
– 2006: Stephen Harper (heros of the year were also awarded this year, to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and Evo Morales)
– 2007: Tony Blair
– 2008: Fred Goodwin
– 2009: Barack Obama
Lifetime achievement award:
– To say Frank Furedi is to say the man who was totally RCP, Spiked Online! and a chungwit. He’s done it all. He calls himself “Frank Richards” to disguise his true identity (or just because he’s odd). He’s claimed that anthropogenic climate change is unimportant. His arguments are little more than a bubble of oxygen and the result is that he’s a trenchant buffoon.
He didn’t do anything more dickish this year than he has consistently over the years. However, he does appear on the Today program about twice a week: he is the person they ring when they want a dick to come and defend a ludicrous position. As the leading light of the loony right wing (former?) Marxist group the Revolutionary Communist Party he was involved in an organisation that held a wide range of bizarre positions.
Let’s look at some of the highlights:
– AIDS was nothing more than a moral panic designed to increase hatred of gay people;
– Sanctions against Apartheid South Africa were wrong;
– Their Magazine LM (previously Living Marxism) notoriously carried an article about how ITN has given a false impression that Bosnian Muslims were being held in a Serbian concentration camp at Trnopolje. In a libel action LM had damages of around £1m awarded against it, and were bankrupted.
Their bizarre and contrarian positions have earned them a place in the heart of all journalists of low intellect. Quite simply they trade on controversy. If you want someone to debate against a progressive position Furedi, Claire Fox or Mick Hume will be on hand with a range of opinions designed to promote the interests of reactionary capitalism. And for his own actions and those of his cadres, Furedi deserves this year’s lifetime achievement award from Dick of the Year.
Thanks for replying.
I agree with many of the points you’re making about Obama, especially with regard to investment and stimulus (but it’s important to get the facts right — it was 58 in the senate, not 60, and I’m not sure that the “huge mandate” point is as straightforward as you’re saying since many Democrats disagree with him on important policies). And I think he could be shaping the debate more than he is. I also think that *some* (not all) of the criticisms made of his presidency are grounded in misreadings of the US political landscape. Maybe he could and should be fighting harder, but it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that racism shapes the way he can fight certain policy battles, in much the way that Ishmael Reed suggested in the NYTimes:
However, I’m curious as to why Obama is the only point you’re focusing on, as Obama was only *one* of the examples I used in my post.
To be exact, there were 58 democrats, but 60 members of the senate caucused with the democrats. I understand there were/are significant obstacles in front of Obama making progress on many of the issues I’d have liked/like him to work on. My problem is more that he hasn’t tried or has only half-heartedly tried. For a better example of what I mean see this video of Cenk Uygur and Glenn Greenwald on Dylan Ratigan’s show – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ggzNu6sUIk , who definitely understand the US political landscape.
I picked up on Obama as that was the only one for whom you questioned why they were there not why they weren’t there. For the record I agree with Peter than Clinton suffers from many of the same problems as Obama and would also be a good nominee, if we’d gone back to 1992, he might well have picked up an award. As Adam said, Bush and Mugabe don’t get awards as, though they were much worse than some winners, that wasn’t unexpected. Many they should have won but it’s not a competition for who’s most evil but who’s most annoying. I don’t want to get into a debate about Chavez but suffice to say while far from perfect he annoyed me less than other people.
I do echo Ali and Adam’s points here, but would say that I’d give Bill Clinton an award for exactly the same reasons as we’ve given it to Obama. And it would be, perhaps, even more richly deserved.
I suggested Obama, and without wanting to write full article describing why I linked to that post. It doesn’t completely cover my reasons but I’m certainly not relying on prejudices. I’m deeply unhappy about a number of policies he’s passed (and failed to pass), I wrote about a few of them at the start of last year. Health care was not a success to my mind, the stimulus was poorly constructed, there was far too much tax cutting and far too little investment, finance hasn’t been properly reformed, too much pressure was put on progressives and too little on the right of the Democrats. Obama had a huge mandate, a super majority in the senate and a large majority in the house; he could have moved politics in the US but he failed. For that he’s a dick.
Adam: Thanks for responding.
However, I think maybe I wasn’t clear. There’s no particular problem with giving dick awards to people who are annoying/angering rather than evil.
My point was slightly different however. It wasn’t that the awards should be given to the most evil people necessarily, but rather than we should be careful not to rely on prejudices when deciding who is the most annoying.
IP – thanks for the comment – first, as you say, this is just a bit of fun. Clearly if you are going to award the prize to the person who has genuinely done the worst thing that year, then very few of those listed would have won – on those grounds, Laurent Gbagbo surely secures a prize this year. Bush is not listed as having ever won, or any of his regime (other than, I suppose, Katherine Harris) – and clearly they were much, much worse than Obama.
Or look at this year’s winner – Nick Clegg. People didn’t vote for him because he was the most evil person in the world this year. They did so because they were angry with him, which is a different thing.
So the prize isn’t for the most evil person in any given year. It is just for someone who has notably been annoying. I will almost certainly go and campaign for Obama’s re-election in 2012. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a bit of a dick…
Adam: I know it’s all a bit of fun, but John Cooper’s point is a serious one. To say that, for example Obama wins a dick award for his failure to lead is to show staggering double standards — the linked article criticises his cabinet and his policies, but if we look a little closer we might note both the healthcare reform and DADT, both things that previous US presidents never managed, and while we might have wished they had happened sooner or happened more gutsily, neither Bush nor Clinton are on the list.
For all that this is a bit of fun, we should be wary of not falling back on stereotypes and prejudices, especially on a blog that’s about progressive politics. A number of US-based progressive political commentators have pointed out the racial double standards in criticisms of Obama; in other words, we can say that he hasn’t lived up to his hopey-changeyness without being White-centric or using racial double-standards.
And there are some folks I would have thought were way more dickish that the folks on this list. Where’s Robert Mugabe and George Bush? Where’s Hugo Chavez, who has been trying to change the Venezuelan constitution, and has been criticised for being undemocratic and trying to control the Venezuelan media, but US and European-based “progressives” cheer him on?
Well, John, put it this way – Edward the Second won in 1314.
How was it decided in previous years? Would be fascinated to read why certain people there have got it. Others are more obvious/