Boy howdy, has it been a banner year for shitty men! You might not recall just how severe a year it’s been, since under Trump every year lasts approximately one millennium. Don’t worry — I’m here to help! This is the 2018 retrospective everybody needs in order to gather their thoughts and get ready to keep resisting in the coming year: a ranked list of the 10 worst American men of 2018. In the interest of space, I left out murderers, foreign leaders, and murdering foreign leaders, preferring to focus on other vile manifestations of male privilege that threaten to be forgotten and, in some cases, even forgiven.
Never forget how awful white men were in 2018. Hold out hope that cultural changes and a robust resistance can make them, on the whole, just a little less awful in 2019. Here’s the list to help you meditate on that goal.
10. Kevin Spacey
Spacey would have a higher position on a list that came out in 2017, but this year he did plenty to keep himself out of our good graces. I’m not even talking about the hat. I’m talking about a creepy video he released in which he reprises his role as Frank Underwood from House of Cards, proving he really has no respect for consent, considering he sought none from the character’s creators. He used the character as a smokescreen to claim that audiences “want [him] back” and distract from the credibility of the accusations against him. A universally negative reaction to this misstep confirms that the only person who misses Spacey’s time in the limelight is Spacey himself.
2019 prediction: Spacey will get weirder and more defensive. He will embarrass himself to Charlie Sheen levels. He will never work again. That’s why he’s so low on the list — he may actually end up suffering for what he’s done.
9. Rob Porter
In February, Porter resigned from his position as White House Staff Secretary in the wake of allegations of physical abuse from his two ex-wives. Porter, along with both his victims, is Mormon–but he says that, should he marry a third time, he would not marry another Mormon woman. Go ahead, Porter. Try to marry a woman who hasn’t been raised in a church that protects abusers and believes them over their victims. See how that goes.
2019 prediction: unfortunately, he’ll be fine.
8. Louis CK
The comedian has earned a special place on this list due to the saga of his tone-deaf and self-serving “comeback” attempt. He has been appearing unannounced at the Comedy Cellar (a New York Times podcast interview with club owner Noam Dworman makes Dworman a dishonorable mention in this) to float new material, to a violently mixed response. Uncomfortable as we are with the return of an abuser to public life, many long-time fans of C.K. missed his liberal comedy and were excited to see his new work. No need to guess which camp I fell into, but regardless, both were disappointed when the new set was leaked. With jokes targeting gender-queer people and the brave teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting, Louis C.K. has shown us he is mean, petty, and willing to embrace the alt-right if it means he can find a place to land.
2019 prediction: repudiation from liberal former fans will be counteracted by rabid defense from a new alt-right fanbase. Louis C.K. will start making money again.
7. Jordan Peterson
Like many others on this list, Peterson has been one of the worst men in public life for several years running. This year is special, though, because it is the year Peterson released his bestselling self-help book, 12 Rules for Life. Having worked in a bookstore for the better part of 2018, I can tell you from personal experience that the book was impossible to keep on the shelves, so popular was it among young white men between the ages of 20 and 40. At first glance the book appears to be a pop-intellectual self-help book focused on an existential approach to living that centers on a problematic but ultimately forgivable vision of individual exceptionalism. But below the surface of this supposed philosophy is a half-hidden fascist manifesto, glorifying the white supremacist view of a monolithic “Western culture” and positing firm biological differences between men and women. Rule 5 is “Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.” Yikes. The excellent Contrapoints video on Peterson delves more deeply into the dangers of his slippery rhetoric, as well as mitigating the horrors of fascism with humor and excellent lighting.
2019 prediction: Peterson will continue to influence the hearts and minds of young white men, remaining one of the most dangerous fascist propagandists currently working.
6. Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity has been one of the top 10 worst men every year of my life, but this year he deserves special mention because he has the President’s ear. Hannity is the nation’s top cable news host, and it is well known that his channel, Fox News, is the only news source Trump watches or trusts. This is what has moved Hannity’s determination to spew dangerous, hateful lies from the category of “irresponsible” to the category of “criminal, nye treasonous.” While the persecution of journalists is something I, unlike Hannity, would never advocate for, his position as one of the nation’s most influential people and an unofficial adviser to Trump makes him more complicit than the average journalist could ever be. We can never have too many reminders to stay vigilant in resisting his lies.
2019 prediction: he’ll be fine.
5. Les Moonves
Lots of men faced sexual assault and harassment allegations this year, but Moonves is a special case. Not only is he accused of harassing and assaulting women himself, but it has also come out that he used his position as CEO of CBS to protect other abusive men and punish women for speaking out against them. His reign made CBS a frightening and oppressive workplace for women, and not only when he himself was in the room. This earns him a special place in Hell, perhaps wandering the fields of asphodel handcuffed to Harvey Weinstein. But thus far, the worst punishment he has received is a decision from CBS’ board to deny him his $240 million severance package, at least until the allegations have been fully investigated. The poor dear! What’s a man with a massive public platform and only $800 million in net worth to do?
2019 prediction: he’ll get at least part of that suspended severance package, mark my words.
4. Larry Nassar
Hear that rattling sound? It’s Hippocrates rolling in his grave. It may be tough to remember all the way back to January, since that was several centuries ago in Trump years, but to refresh your memory, Nassar is a former doctor who supposedly looked after the health of young female athletes. Except that it turns out he was doing the opposite–he sexually abused over 150 of them. This year, Nassar was given a prison sentence that will bear out the rest of his life. Hopefully, this rare slice of justice will boost the healing process for the traumatized girls he left in his wake.
2019 prediction: he will face social isolation — sex criminals don’t make friends in prison — that forces him to reside in a hell of his own conscience. He’ll never pet a dog again. He doesn’t deserve dogs.
3. Brett Kavanaugh
I did question whether Kavanaugh belonged on this list, since he’s less a man than a nightmarish manifestation of white male privilege wrapped up in the most cartoonish Yale-student stereotypes. When psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came out with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in college, bringing scores of women with similar complaints in her wake, we briefly hoped that there would be…not justice, but at least reprieve. Nobody hoped he would lose his then-current job on the U.S. Court of Appeals–we’ve learned better than to expect satisfaction of that sort–but we did hope he would at least not get the promotion he was up for. Unfortunately, Republicans decided that thwarted ambition was too high a price to pay for the serial abuse of women, and pitched a fit to get Kavanaugh confirmed as the next United States Supreme Court justice. These cynical theatrics make Senator Lindsey Graham a dishonorable mention on this list.
2019 prediction: Kavanaugh will be an important swing vote in decimating Roe v. Wade and rolling back on gay marriage, and possibly strip other civil rights in ways we have yet to predict. P.J. and Squee will remain silent.
2. Jeff Sessions
This man put children in cages and then appealed to his God to justify it. He’s doing his antebellum ancestors proud. That Sessions was ever able to gain a position of power from which to commit these atrocities is a rebuke to every single American citizen.
2019 prediction: if a God exists, it will strike Sessions down with a bolt of lightning. However, since God doesn’t exist, I predict that Jeff Sessions will be fine.
I’m just…tired. Are you tired? Because I am.
2019 prediction: Impeachment? Hopefully? Yeah, probably not. We wouldn’t want Pence, anyway.
I may be exhausted, friends, but do as I say, not as I do. Stay strong. I wish you a progressive new year.