TIME named the Ebola fighters its "Person of the Year," the Golden Globe nominees have been announced, and the requisite year-end lists are being churned out as you read this. 2014 is rapidly drawing to a close, and it's time to dole out awards to the exceptional. Conversely, what about the people who dominated the headlines because of their hackneyed views and horrible behavior ranging from irritating to downright laughable? CNN anchor Don Lemon towered over all others in that regard. Thanks to his perpetual and severe case of verbal diarrhea, Lemon has earned this year's crown of thorns.
In May, KPIX 5 devoted a segment to "Hood Disease," an illness that causes children living in the inner-city to be inflicted with aggressive PTSD-type symptoms. Lemon actually took the time to address it, even though "Hood Disease" isn't a real thing. In typical Lemon fashion, he loaded his analysis with imagery straight out of Menace ll Society. "We all know about the so-called 'hood,' with the stray bullets, the crossfire, the gangs, the dealers, the pushers, the street life and on and on," he gushed. "Now, living in the hood is dangerous for mental health and well-being so much so that doctors have come up with a name for it: 'hood disease.' The Centers for Disease Control says it mostly affects young people, who on a daily basis, face stress, and trauma in their own neighborhoods akin to a war zone." Dr. Lemon’s proposed (and "obvious") cure: "Get out of the hood." This fundamentally idiotic solution patronizes the very group it claims to help.
But that's not all. Justin Bieber waved goodbye to his teenage years in 2014, graduating to a new level of insufferable. Two videos of him using the word "nigger" in his early teens surfaced, and, sensing the opportunity to ascend his soapbox, Lemon assigned blame to blacks. "Clearly Justin Bieber, a young man who, by the way, has immersed himself in black, hip-hop culture should not be saying the n-word," he said in June. "So the question is, if you want people like Justin Bieber to stop using it and to stop making excuses for using it, shouldn’t you do the same?" In Lemon’s eyes, Bieber has become the pale stepchild of black America acquired through our relationship with Usher. Therefore, it’s the community’s responsibility to raise him. Apparently, this means Bieber's biological parents and fame aren’t why he’s begun his 20s as a douchebag.
Lemon loves to wag a condescending finger at the black community, using his platform to publicly chide African-Americans in absurd fashion. What's worse is that his "respectability politics" regarding what black people need to do to better themselves have resulted in uninformed whites either saying to themselves, "See, one of them is even saying it," or hanging on to every word because the talking black head on the television is the only black person they know. Or both. Even if there’s truth in Lemon’s words, his method of communication validates the beliefs of those who insist Eric Garner and Michael Brown caused their own deaths.
CNN placed Lemon on Token Black Guy duty this past summer, sending him to Ferguson, Mo., to cover the protests that followed Michael Brown’s death. In August, he found himself engaged in a debate with liberal pundit Van Jones and conservative radio host Ben Ferguson about automatic weapons. Lemon, with supreme confidence, confused a semi-automatic weapon with an automatic weapon. When Ferguson called out his ignorance, Lemon dismissed it as "semantics." With a slip of the tongue, he became a laughingstock to liberals and conservatives alike.
Last month, Lemon returned to Ferguson after a St. Louis County grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Brown. As he described the scene outside of the local police station, Lemon reported hearing gunfire, witnessing people mounting cars, and smelling marijuana. "Obviously, there is the smell of marijuana in the air as well," he said, discretion be damned. First off, why would that be obvious to viewers? Second, and most importantly, it implies that protesters, who have been largely characterized as reckless since August, would naturally fire up that loud while destroying the town in which they reside.
Lemon’s response? "I was just talking, there were a million things going on and everyone’s hanging on one word," he explained. Welcome to TV, Don.
Then again, what do you expect from someone whose advice on how to avoid being (allegedly) raped by Bill Cosby is to simply gnaw on his dick. As he so eloquently put it, "There are ways not to perform oral sex" under force.
Don Lemon's remarkable ability to operate with his foot in his mouth defies understanding. Moreover, he’s the one black guy that every bigoted CNN viewer allows into their home. What he isn’t, however, is black America’s voice, hence Desus and The Kid Mero’s hysterical assertion that he has to Skype into all conversations taking place within the black community. But moments like him proposing that maybe, just maybe, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared into a black hole elicited simultaneous "What the fuck?" responses from everyone. Pretty representative of a year in which Don Lemon couldn't help but give us reasons to stare at him sideways.
If he's upset with this crown, he has no one to blame but himself. He earned it. Talib Kweli would likely agree.
Julian Kimble just calls it as he sees it. Follow him on Twitter here.