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Contest l Non-Fiction l Hall of Shame (Oct 2007)

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Old 10-01-2007, 06:55 AM
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Default Contest l Non-Fiction l Hall of Shame (Oct 2007)

Which person in history or modern times, in your opinion, deserves recognition in the Hall of Shame? This month tell us about the world's most infamous person and why they deserve such an honor....or dishonor. Please limit your nomination to 1000 words and submit no later than 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time on October 26th. For additional guidance on contest entry and how we judge, please go here.

Also, as entries are submitted, please refrain from responding to another member's nominee. This isn't a debate thread; the submissions are for our reading pleasure only. Thanks!

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Old 10-02-2007, 03:32 PM
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My nominee for the Hall of Shame is the first ancient farmer who grew more crops than he and his family could use and then surrendered the surplus to lazy bums calling themselves "leaders."

The unknown farmer was the initial step in the creation of the mess we call modern civilization. The leaders stored the crop surplus to feed workers who built the first cities and to feed the first armies about 8,000 years ago.

This led to a complex division of labor, class stratification, economic exploitation, overpopulation, urban slums and warfare -- tragic evils which persist to this very day.

Why did the farmer do it? What possessed him to give away crops he had labored long and hard to grow?

The short answer: he was conned.

The con men belonged to a retinue of advisers surrounding the leaders. They were members of the priestly class. They claimed their job was to interpret signs from the gods. They told the farmer the gods would grant him life everlasting if he relinquished the crop surplus. Or the gods would place a pox on his house to kill his wife and children if he didn't hand over the food.

Of course, it was all hogwash to benefit a lazy few who defined themselves as the first ruling class. Why grow your own food when you can get someone else to do it for free?

The dumb farmer swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker. He forgot the lessons of his ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers. They had gods, too, but they didn't need any priestly class to tell them what the gods were saying. Each man and woman could read the signs in nature.

Perhaps the original mistake was becoming a farmer in the first place, but that was forgivable. The life of nomadic hunter-gatherers was difficult. They were forced to wander from place to place, hoping they would run across game and wild plant food and starving if none could be found.

But at least they had equal access to all resources which they shared with each other. No one was "better" or deserved more than anyone else.

I can only guess as to why the farmer grew more crops than he and his family could eat. He became too efficient in agriculture or he got carried away planting seeds. It wasn't greed since he surrendered the surplus without a struggle.

Surplus production became the bane of the modern world. Capitalists and communists fought bloody wars to gain control of it. Employers used up employees like gears of a machine to maintain it. Employees sold themselves into economic slavery by buying more consumer goods and having more children than they could afford.

Henry David Thoreau had this advice to avoid the problems of surplus production: live simply, grow a small crop and eat it quickly before government men show up to take their cut.
"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Last edited by starrwriter; 10-03-2007 at 03:52 AM..
Old 10-16-2007, 10:21 AM
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Default The la la land elitists

My hall of shame nomination goes to two sets of people – the Hollywood elite who think that what they say about the environment, politics, and religion makes a rat’s ass of difference to people who live out in the real world. The others that belong in that same Plexiglas display case in the dank hall of shame are those people who give a rat’s ass what these spoiled, self-righteous, phonies have to say when they are not scripted on-screen.

I am a firm believer in free speech. These actors have every right to say what they think; express their opinions, support politicians, oppose politicians, and repeat every inane statement they have ever heard. I also support the right of free choice and I choose to think these imitation humans are simply ten pounds of bullshit in a five pound sack.

These people’s job is to make us think they are someone they are not. They are paid enormous amounts of money to make us believe them. They are professional liars. They don’t live a real life; they imitate people created by writers, directors, producers, and publicists. Some of these thespians appear intelligent and inspiring when given a script to recite before a camera. Unscripted, some are dumber than a bag of rocks.

They live in obscenely wasteful opulence and hypocritically bemoan the fate of the poverty stricken. What they spend in a single month on booze, parties, drugs, and limousines would feed entire villages for a year. Yet, they get behind a camera, shed their phony tear, and tell others that they must dig deep into their pockets to help the starving children. Those who already dig deep and do as much as they can to help the less fortunate are insulted by these pompous portrayers of piety. The amount of money most of the real people are able to send to Darfur wouldn’t pay the sales tax on a Beverly Hills bar tab.

That other shameful group of people are those who hang on these actors every word. They see these Hollywood attention whores living their lives of drunken-stupor, drug-addled, self-indulgent creatures worthy of only disgust as somehow being better than Joe and Mary Shmo’s life out in the real world.

These people allow their children to dress, talk, and emulate celebrities without weighing the good against the bad. They let the kids go for the glitz, the glamour, the superficial beauty, the part of the iceberg that appears above the water. They close their eyes to the submerged subterfuge that hides the true character of the silver-screen stars.

If these children grow up to abuse drugs, drive drunk, jump from marriage to marriage, abandon their own offspring, live only for themselves, and stand on a pedestal and scream, “Look at me. Look at me”, they are truly shocked but shouldn’t be. The kids are only doing what their heroes do.

Heroes are those who actually do heroic things. Those that pretend to be heroes can be respected for their acting skills, but they are not heroes simply because of that portrayal.

Shame goes to these actors who pretend to be something they aren’t when not speaking from a memorized script and shame to those people who don’t know the difference.
Old 10-17-2007, 03:38 AM
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Default A Ringing Endorsement (821 words)

A Ringing Endorsement

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen – and you, sir, in the back row (pauses for laughter) – to the first ever Hall of Shame Awards. I’ll be your host this evening as we reveal the name of the person most deserving of our contempt for their unnecessary contribution to society. I know you’re all anxious to know who this year’s winner is, so without further delay, we’ll get the festivities underway.

The nominees for the award are:

Miss Irna Phillips, who brought The Guiding Light to the NBC airwaves in January 1937. Not content with mere radio success, the programme transferred to the television network CBS in June of 1952, where it soon spawned a plethora of rubbish that saturated daytime programming before spreading to evening viewing hours as well. Without Miss Phillips, we might never have known such gems as The Hung and the Breastless, As the Stomach Churns, Dynasty, Dallas, Eastenders, Coronation Street, Neighbours and the lot. I thank you, Miss Phillips, from the bottom of my stomach. (pauses for applause)

Our second nominee is Simon Fuller who brought the world ‘girl power’, in 1994, in the shape of The Spice Girls: Posh, Baby, Scary, Ginger, Sporty, Sleazy, Dopey and all the rest. Who can remember the excitement that greeted their first single, Wannabe? Who can remember Wannabe? Does anyone care? And let’s not forget their award winning film, Spiceworld, which disgraced our cinemas in 1997. For those of you scratching your heads, Spiceworld was the deserving recipient of the Best Actress Award at the 1999 Golden Raspberries. Thank you, Simon Fuller, from the bottom of my shoes. (pauses for applause)

Up third, we have the DuPont chemist, Joseph C Shivers, winner in 1998 of the prestigious Olney Medal for Achievement in Textile Chemistry, who is responsible for the creation of spandex in 1959. Better known under its brand name, Lycra, this wonderful fabric began life as a replacement for rubber in ladies’ foundation garments, but was soon incorporated into other areas. In the 1960s it enhanced swimwear, pantyhose and other intimate apparel, as well as streamlining the French Olympic ski team. By the 1970s, cyclists had discovered its aerodynamic features and designers began incorporating elasticity into dancewear and stretch jeans. But Lycra really hit its stride in the 80s when it became the fabric of both pop royalty and fashion house couturiers. Now, thanks to Joseph Shivers, we can walk down any street, anywhere, and see mountains of blubber fashionably encased in Lycra. Thank you, Mr Shivers, from the bottom of my bottom. (pauses for applause)

And now, for the winner, could we dim the lights, please? (rustling of envelope being torn open) Would you please step forward, Dr. Martin Cooper, inventor of the first truly mobile cellphone. (pauses for standing ovation)

Although Bell Laboratories began working on the idea of cellular communication in 1947, and filed the first patent in December 1970, rivals Motorola were working on a similar project. Their patent was filed in October of 1973 but, more importantly, their lab created the first working cellular phone.

Whilst standing outside the Manhattan Hilton before a press conference, Dr Cooper made the first call – to rival, Dr Amos Edward Joel, of Bell Labs. His phone, the Dyna-Tac, weighed in at a hefty two pounds, but was the first truly portable mobile phone.

We’ve come a long way since those early models, which weren’t far off the size of a standard brick, but nothing would have been possible without the perseverance and ingenuity of this outstanding gentleman. I thank you, Dr Cooper, with all the loathing I can muster. (waits for applause to die down)

I cannot begin to describe for you all the pleasure I have gleaned over the years listening to my fellow citizens and their erudite conversations. How to express my excitement at the news that Herman’s boil had finally burst; my relief that a commuter I once had the joy of sharing a train carriage with, had left his nail clippers on the bedside table; or my disgust that the woman behind me in the supermarket queue was unable to get her full quota of the latest buy-one-get-one-free promotion on toilet rolls? But my all-time favourite conversations must be those engaged in by young people as they go about their daily business. Yeah, but…what?…no way!…you’re shittin’ me! Where would life be without these pithy observations.

So stand aside, Irna Phillips. Sit back down, Simon Fuller. This isn’t your year either, Dr Shivers. Our Hall of Shame winner is Dr Martin Cooper, who has enabled the Lycra-clad people of the modern world to chat to each other anywhere and everywhere about the current goings-on in their favourite soap operas and the continuing antics of celebrity wannabes on their mobile telephones. Ad nauseum.

Now let’s just hope all those nasty rumours that have been cropping up in the past few years are true. The future isn’t orange, it’s radioactive.

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Last edited by Q Wands; 10-18-2007 at 02:25 AM.. Reason: edit 1: spacing error, edit 2: missing word
Old 10-21-2007, 02:52 AM
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The Chinese alchemist who in the ninth century decided immortality would be worth searching for, specifically the elixir of immortality, known in the west as the elixir of life. Why did he do that? The results still affect us today for he did not conjure a successful elixir of life (that would be Nicolas Flamel in the fourteenth century with his philosopher’s stone) but he did discover gunpowder (black powder). Parts of the recipe had been known since sometime in the first century, but he went one step further and added them all together, with explosive effect (literally).

In the following two centuries firearms where developed, becoming mighty tools of war. In fact they have continued to be developed into ever more lethal weapons. In World War I there where an estimated 10 million military casualties and over twice as many wounded (civilian casualties and wounded were even higher) and in World War II over 22 million military casualties and over 40 million civilians (not counting the genocide committed by the German dictatorship and Japanese war crimes). I quote Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

“The Nazi Holocaust took the lives of 17.8 million civilians, 5.3 million Jews and 12.5 million non Jews. An additional 400,000 Jews perished in the hands of the Romanian and Hungarian Fascists. The victims of Japanese war crimes totaled 5.4 million civilians.”

Over the centuries many more have died at the hands of firearms and other applications of gunpowder. All of this because that unknown alchemist in ninth century china mixed saltpetre, sulfur and a few other substance (examples include mercury and charcoal) together. And those created a form of weapon technology that has slain countless billions and all for the search of life. Could he not have gone for a less deadly hobby?
What is wrong with water colours? He could have produced a masterpiece. What about sailing? Or masonry? But no he chose to search for the “Elixir of life”, and for that choice he is responsible, and all the deaths and misery it caused.

The only redeeming fact is that without him there would be no fireworks. But honestly are fireworks worth that many lives?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Old 10-26-2007, 02:36 PM
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My nomination for the hall of shame is Eve, the first sinner, without whom there wouldn’t be murder, or stealing, or hate.

One small piece of fruit, was it bittersweet in your mouth? As you took just one small bite had you any idea what that would do? What you would bring into the world that day.
You can blame the snake all you like, if it makes you feel better, but it wasn’t the snake who took the apple from the tree now, was it? It wasn’t he who first felt the shame of nakedness; it wasn’t he who first disobeyed.
He may have had a part in it, I’ll give you that, but he didn’t force you to, did he? He didn’t move your hand for you, did he? Or open your mouth so you could take a bite. No you did that your self.
God should have warned you, you say, well he did, he told you not to, he should have told you the consequences of your actions, why? Would you have understood? Would you have listened? Or would you have focussed on your gain, the knowledge you would get. Is the knowledge really that great? Or would ignorance have been better? I guess we will never know now, will we?

Eve, I thank you, without you we wouldn’t know the definition of war, of hate or of anger. Without you we wouldn’t be scared of terrorists, of gangs or of bullies. Without you we wouldn’t be scared of rape, of alcohol, or of drugs. Without you we wouldn’t know illness, or hunger or pain.
If you were still alive today Eve, would you be glad, would you like the way the world has turned out because of your choice. Yes, I know others have done wrong, but they wouldn’t know how to if you hadn’t chosen to disobey that one time.

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