Every year about this time, lists recapping the year’s best whatever start to surface, and we’re telling you right now they’re all bogus, save ours.
Over the next few weeks, Playboy.com’s Picks 2012 will provide you with the year in review, from movies to music to viral trends, political and celebrity scandals and even ideas. We’re showcasing the year’s best across the board and on tap this week: Celebrity, sports and political scandals.
The David Petraeus Affair
High-powered political figures having extramarital affairs is nothing new. In fact, it’s old. As old as time. We can go back to the salad days of the Holy Roman Empire and trot out a whole slew of serial philanderers who were a lot less discriminating and discreet about their sexual flings, pretty much propositioning anything within arm’s reach with two legs (or four) and a pulse. What makes the Petraeus affair particularly intriguing is the elaborate web by which it was revealed, the people it entangled, the timing when it came about and, of course, the alarming lack of discretion on the part of the DIRECTOR OF THE CIA (!), the one man in America you’d figure could cover up something like this.
If we’ve got this right, some social butterfly in Miami (who had been exchanging thousands of inappropriate emails with General John Allen in what we’ll assume was [probably not] an unrelated sexual aside) employed an FBI agent who had once sent her shirtless photos (putting the weird sexual asides tally at two) to investigate David Petraeus, who I guess had some busy hands under a table at a social function with said social butterfly (make that three). Shirtless FBI agent uncovers a series of less-than-well-hidden illicit emails exchanged between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell, prompting Shirtless FBI agent (hopefully now wearing a shirt) to tell House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, so House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can fly off the handle like only a Republican House Majority Leader can, but not before President Barack Obama is elected to a second term.
The result: The upper echelons of the American military establishment come crashing down, rumors from Republicans start to fly about Obama’s transparency on the matter (ON EVERY MATTER!!) and Shirtless FBI agent is forced to put a shirt on to testify (something he really hates fucking doing). All over Broadwell, who, I guess, is…you know…okay for a 40-year-old married lady with two kids.
The Immaculate Reception
It took close to six weeks of absolutely awful football for the owners and the NFL to come to the conclusion that they may in fact need referees to continue playing their game in good conscience. And had it not been for the above event, it may never have happened at all.
Golden Tate’s catch (or not catch or interception or whatever) sparked such a riot across social media sites, and forced close to 200 million dollars in bets to be negated, that the NFL had no choice but to, you know, pay people relatively reasonable sums of money to do their jobs. The $18 million the referees “shamelessly stole” from the poor NFL owners represents about 0.2 percent of the revenue the NFL made last year. But it made millions of fans question whether the NFL is actually concerned about their consumer base. That, compounded with the recent rash of lockouts that have spread across three of the four major sports and the ever-increasing costs associated with even attending a game, has millions more wondering whether major league sports are even worth the trouble; why should we care when it’s clear the leagues’ corporate owners only see us as walking, talking dollar signs?
Every Sentence Ever Uttered by a Republican in 2012
Honestly, pick one: “Binders Full of Women,” “Big Bird,” “Empty Chairs,” “47 percent.” Between all the talk about building 100-foot walls around the state of Arizona and the Pro-Death cheering that erupted from the far-right when Ron Paul was asked whether he’d let a fatally wounded but hopelessly uninsured man die in a hospital, it was hard to decipher whether the Republican party has said anything intelligible at all over the course of the last calendar year.
The fact of the matter is, the American Right has gone around the bend and the American electorate punished them for doing so. As far as scandals go, this one doesn’t necessarily fit the bill, but its effects are far-reaching and long-term for America at large, who thankfully don’t have to return to the polls for another four years; if they had to any sooner they’d find themselves living in a one-party oligarchy, the other “party” being so far-flung and unhinged that it would be hard to justify voting for a bunch of mutant lawmakers to live in the White House.
Listen, guys: no one wins seven consecutive Tour de Frances without cheating. The very concept of the Tour de France doesn’t allow for dynasties. It’s like a hundred thousand stages long and you pretty much have to clean up at every one to win it. One person might do that once in his life, but to do it seven times in a row is ridiculous. It’s the stuff of fairy tales or poor plot-driven sports films from the ’70s. It’s just something that doesn’t happen.
Lance Armstrong deserves every bit of what he got (the jerk abandoned his wife after she supported him through years of chemotherapy), but the fallout surrounding this scandal is troubling for two reasons. One, it raises questions about the entire sport of cycling; if Armstrong was cheating, what about the 20 or so other guys who finished the Tour de France not so far behind him? Were they all cheating? Why should we be bothered to respect a sport like that?
The second is more worrisome: what becomes of Livestrong, an organization that does exceptional work and through no fault of its own is forever sullied by association.