Too Epic to Fail

May 16, 2012

Are you rooting for someone to fail?

Admit it, you are.

That’s not very nice of you.

But we all do it.  We like to think that we all like stories of success.  But just as often, we enjoy a good story of failure.  The internet thrives on fails.  And maybe other people epic fails of themselves makes us feel a bit better about ourselves.  We root for failure when we feel people deserve it.

And the bigger you get, the more fans and customers and money you have, the more people want to see you go down in flames.  Success becomes your own worst PR.

I’ve been watching Celebrity Apprentice the last couple of months, and if you’re anything like me, you finally got your wish last Sunday when the insufferably egotistical, former sorority queen, long-overdue-to-fail-because-she’s-so-untalented-she-had-to-pose-for-Playboy-to-launch-her-music-career Aubrey O’Day was fired.   Best episode ever.

Stick around and succeed long enough, and people will begin to hate you, no matter what.

So, here’s my list of the top epic failures that everyone is rooting for…if only their legions of fans would get out of the way.

WalMart is a part of the "axis of evil"

Mc-Wal-Bank

Everyone hates corporations.

That’s nothing new.  People have hated big business since Rockefeller and Morgan.  We think the banks are stealing our money.  We think WalMart is killing our towns.  And McDonald’s is wrecking our bodies.

No one admits to eating McDonald’s.  The way people talk, they should be out of business by now.  But guess what?  McDonald’s just sold a billion hamburgers in the time it took you to read this sentence.

That’s not really true.  But the fact that everyone talks about their hate for McDonald’s (and every other big business) and yet those businesses are still big, means someone is not pulling their increased, fast-food weight.

Joel Osteen

You can’t tell me that Christians don’t want other Christians to have a public meltdown and be ruined.  When you preach in a 40,000 seat stadium, have a smile that gleams with the luminosity of a minor celestial body, and your face is legally trademarked, you’re going to have a lot of people hating.

Even if you aren’t rooting against Osteen, there’s lots of others.  Maybe you were even a little bit satisfied to see the opulent, excessive, crap-peddling Crystal Cathedral go up in smoke.

The Government

Politics is a game where you are working toward the failure of someone else.  So in a way, everyone wants some politician to fail.  There have been times I have wanted every President, Congressman and School Board member to fail.  Judging by opinion polls, most people think the government is already failing.

But there are plenty of people who make a lot of money predicting the absolute and total failure of the government.  You know who they are.  I can think of one who is constantly predicting the “end” or the “abyss.”  I don’t know what he thinks is at the bottom of the abyss.  But his advertisers think he’s right.  Most of them are selling survival kits and gold bars.

They’d look pretty dumb if the government actually turned itself around.  It makes me wonder if there aren’t quite a lot of people actually hoping we go over the proverbial precipice.

Facebook

Just ahead of Facebook’s initial public stock offering, (which will be worth billions), a survey showed a curious public opinion.  Only 43% of respondents felt that Facebook had long-term viability and would still be a useful, valuable company many years from now.

Hmmm…I wonder if that 43% misheard the question as, “Do you hope Facebook will be a viable company with long-term value?”  It’s one thing to make a prediction on a multi-billion dollar company’s demise.  It’s another to hope for their demise.

It’s all about Mark Zuckerberg.  He’s 28.  He’s worth billions.  And everyone saw what a smug, conniving jerk he is on The Social Network.  Whether that’s really what he’s like makes no difference.  I’d be willing to bet that 43% of people are hoping for a stock crash, or a meteor, or something to humiliate the guy.

Hey, if we want to see Facebook’s stock fall, let’s do a “no-Facebook” day, since it was so effective when we tried not buying gas for a day.

What do you think?  When people get big enough, do people just always want to see them go down in flames?  Who else deserves to be on the list – the failures people most want to see (if only we’d stop giving them money)?

16 responses to Too Epic to Fail

  1. Joel Osteen is a Christian? When did that happen? Did he start preaching the gospel all of a sudden also?? Oops I guess I am against him :).

  2. I think you almost got it… Americans LOVE love to see the giants fall and they love to root for the underdog. It’s our favorite sport. Can you remember Jeremy Lin? no, me either. Btw, are you thinking of getting in on the fb ipo on Friday?

  3. This is going to be horribly stereotypical of me, but the only person I can think of to add is Rush Limbaugh.

    A few years back when he had that illegal prescription drug thing going on I was pretty sure that was going to be it for him but, nope, nothing happened. Liberals seem to be the only people that even remember it.

    I did have a little chuckle when I found out via Facebook that this guy I went to high school with that used to be Rush’s biggest fan (he carried a copy of “The Way Things Ought to Be” around with him on a daily basis) is now running for state senate–as a Democrat.

    But, you’re right–it’s not very nice of me. Turning off the radio uses up a lot less energy than keeping score.

  4. Of course as a basketball fan there is no one else I would love to see fail than the Lakers and the Miami heat, the team of arrogant jerks led by Kobe Bryant and Lebron James

  5. This gave me a very much needed smile this morning.

    “have a smile that gleams with the luminosity of a minor celestial body”

  6. I definitely like the underdogs, though it might be the result of living in Chicago for most of my life and having all of our sports teams be underdogs.

    The people I want to see fail are the arrogant and the bully. To me, most of the people in news industry, both liberal and conservative, fall in to this category and encourage their viewers to take the same attitude. An excellent example is the woman who might have allowed her daughter to spend some time in the tanning booth. The woman made a bad decision and probably learned her lesson in seeing her daughter suffer through sun burn. The media and so many comments I saw on social media acted as if the woman had been caught giving meth to her daughter and, by implication, that they have never made such a stupid mistake. It was cyber bullying and bullying by the news media on a national scale. I have to confess that I was initially on the bandwagon, until God reminded me of the time I didn’t make my kids put on sunscreen because it was a cloudy day. They suffered painful sunburns, as did I and we learned our lesson, thankfully without any media scrutiny.

  7. Matt — You’re right, I have been wanting, waiting for someone to fail. He writes with the grace of a bounding deer and I’ve been jealous of him for years.

    But gosh, you just keep writing great stuff!

  8. I like the giants, and I like the small guys. No small guy wants to stay small, and no big guy wants to get smaller.

    I shop at Walmart and McDonalds. I also shop at small private businesses in my community. I have a favorite jewelry store that is a small family business. I go to a sporting goods store in town. We have all the big chains too.

    I love capitalism.

  9. I really like McDonald’s breakfasts, so I don’t want them to fail.

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  11. I am sure you could put almost anyone on that list. Haters love to hate and everyone has them.