9 Stories That Were Huge (And Immediately Forgotten) In 2016


In the year of divisiveness, even something as one-sided as the unfortunate death of a beloved zoo animal became a battle over parenting styles, and more. The drama began when a young boy somehow managed to enter the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The boy was scooped up by a 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla named Harambe. Fearing for the life of the child, zoo officials shot and killed Harambe. And then the madness began.

After the above video was posted, it seemed everyone had an opinion on who was at fault and what should be done about it. The boy’s mother was the target of harassment on the internet, and police considered possible criminal charges. Meanwhile, your Facebook friends revealed that they’re still coming to terms with how jokes work.

And then the memes started, and they just kept coming, seemingly birthing like those snakes. So much so that the zoo director publicly declared his annoyance with them, and pleaded with the public to stop. “We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe. Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us.” Surprisingly enough, posting non-sequiturs on a picture of a dead gorilla wasn’t helping anyone’s emotional state.

Even though most of the hype has died down, the Harambe Juggernaut continues to roll. Harambe was included in the presidential election, because of course he was, with the dead gorilla polling with 5 percent support in July 2016, tied with the Green Party candidate. There have been several songs written about Harambe, and a computer fighting game has just been released. Man, isn’t humor great?


Genetically blessed / scientifically modified Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers bolstered the adage “Beauty is only skin deep” when she posted a Snapchat image mocking a 70-year-old woman at her gym. It was an action accompanied by all of the empathy of orphanage arson.


The nude pic was snapped without the woman’s knowledge as she showered in a locker room. The image also includes Mathers covering her mouth in disgust/delight, with the commentary, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” You can find more human caring in most major avalanches. After the post went viral, Mathers set about to do some damage control with a classic non-apology apology.

Short Mathers-less version: “I’m new to Snapchat. I only wanted to a snark / share this illegally obtained photo in front of a few close friends. Therefore, it’s not my fault!” Thanks, Dani. It’s nice to know that your friends are terrible, too.

As egregious and mind-numbingly callous as all this was, even more disturbing was how the media covered the story.


Nope. Sorry. This was not the “crazy PC police are charging people with body-shaming” that headlines made it out to be. It’s a clear invasion of privacy. In legal terms, it’s “Dissemination of Private Images,” a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Mathers has pleaded not guilty to charges, mostly because she’s the kind of person who would take naked pictures of the elderly without their permission.


6 Insane Ways People Made Money Off Famous Crimes


O.J. Simpson’s “How I Killed My Wife” Book Was A Total Ripoff

Dan Mircobich/AFP/Getty Images

After being acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife and her friend, O.J. Simpson reevaluated his life and spent the rest of his days nurturing his motherless children and traveling the world solving mysteries. Kidding. He spent a decade fucking around before going to jail for other crimes. Oh, and he wrote a book bragging about how he totally got away with murder. In theory.

We’ve touched on O.J.’s If I Did It before, but we haven’t mentioned exactly how much of a scam it was, even for the five or so Juice fans still left in the world. The book contained long passages outlining how Nicole Brown’s wild single lady behavior would one day “be the death” of O.J., attempting to set up the heinous murders as some kind of justified self-defense. When it comes time to hold good to the book’s title, though, O.J. shows up at Nicole’s house and … conveniently blacks out, only to wake up standing next to her dead body, covered in blood.

And presumably with an Urkel-esque “Did I do that?” look on his face.

As tactlessly garish as the premise was, the book didn’t even attempt to deliver on its promise. No one could possibly get a single iota of enjoyment out of this shameless cash grab … except for the family of the other victim, Ron Goldman. They went to court and got 90 percent of the profits of the book. They also added their own commentary and redesigned the cover:

Beaufort Books
Now we want a book about how he also murdered the Naked Gun franchise.

This wasn’t the last time Simpson tried to profit from his “fame,” though. His old pal Donald Trump has admitted that he tried to get Simpson on Celebrity Apprentice, despite being confident that he was guilty, and he said he believed that O.J. “would have done it.” However, NBC immediately vetoed the hell out of the idea, so here’s hoping that O.J. at least lands a spot on his friend’s cabinet as consolation prize.


George Zimmerman Keeps Charging $100,000 For Everything He Craps Out

Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman is a dick. There, someone finally said it. You probably know about his gross sale of the gun he used to kill a teenage boy, but that’s just one item on a long list of disgusting attempts to get rich quick on the grave of a child. What’s worse is that they worked.

Again, we’re talking about a man who is famous solely for shooting a black kid to death, so of course this anal prolapse masquerading as a human being set up an autograph booth at a gun show. To be fair, it’s not clear whether Zimmerman was given money for his appearance or if they paid him in the attention his body needs as sustenance.

And a lifetime supply of Polar Pop (pictured here).

At one point, he attempted to sign up for a celebrity boxing match against DMX, which unfortunately fell through. So far, it sounds like Zimmerman’s money-grabbing attempts have been a failure, but that’s not the whole story. In 2015, he sold a painting “in honor” of a gun store owner who was facing backlash over having banned Muslims from his gun range. Zimmerman vowed to donate a portion of the $100,000 sale to the store for legal fees — you know, in the name of American values and freedom. As the cherry on this class act sundae, the painting bore a Confederate flag, because of course it did.

George Zimmerman
It’s possible he tried to paint a regular U.S. flag and it came out horribly disfigured.

This wasn’t Zimmerman’s first paint-splattered rodeo. He had previously sold another flag painting for $100,099 on eBay, and he’d tried to sell an unflattering painting of Special Prosecutor Angela Corey that was ripped directly from a press conference photo, putting Zimmerman in the same category as notorious art thieves like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. His price tag for it? Exactly $100,000.

AP, George Zimmerman
He got a D from his arts and crafts teacher, though.

And lest you forget, there was that gun. Once again, the gun sold for a little over $100,000. We’re not sure which possibility is more terrifying — that there are multiple people out there shelling out thousands of dollars a pop for teenage murder memorabilia, or that one person is obsessively paying the exact same amount for said souvenirs over and over again.


Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – A Gift from God

Wednesday Book Reviews: 

Life (Ed. Brockman) Egads, why do I keep reading these Edge.org books? I mean, they’re not bad, and occasionally they’re quite interesting. But, it’s basically TED Talks in book form? That is to say, it’s largely interesting people saying uninteresting things in interesting-sounding ways. The transcriptions of conversations between smart and weird people are sometimes fun, but mostly in a voyeuristic way. I suppose I do take a little pleasure in just hearing smart people talk, but I wouldn’t mind a little more effort put into construction.

Vulcan (Levenson) A great little history of the idea of the supposed planet Vulcan, whose purported existence was obliterated by general relativity’s better explanation of gravity. As a guide to how pathological science can work, even on smart people, it is very interesting.

The Cartoon History of the Universe (book 3) (Gonick) Another enjoyable Gonick history in cartoon form. It has the same flaws as the others, of sometimes relying (I think knowingly) on questionable source material. I also have to say that these books get less enjoyable over time, through no fault of the author. As the world complexifies, there are simply too many stories with too many details for it to have the same smooth and easy-to-follow narrative structure. And, I will confess, with names in languages I don’t know (e.g. Chinese or Latin) I find it very hard to keep up with stories. This is especially hard in a book like this where you don’t have a single narrative, but rather countless snippets from different time periods. Still, a fun read, and the art is quite beautiful.

Shadows of the Workhouse (Worth) Well, you know I have a guilty pleasure for women’s memoirs from the early 20th and late 19th century. Having enjoyed Worth’s previous book, I felt I should indulge in a second. Like James Herriot’s books, Worth seems to have thrown the best stuff into the first book, having had no knowledge that a second one would be desired. That’s not to say it’s a bad book, but it’s nowhere near as fun as the first. The stories have less to do with medical practice and more to do with the author’s views on the old British workhouse system. That’s certainly interesting ground, but as the author leaves her element, the little nuances that make the stories great tend to go away. Still, if you liked the first, you should read the second. Especially because the third (and final) volume is something of a return to form.