The Chaz Awards are given annually to those people, places, events and ideas that motivated me sufficiently to start writing down stuff like this.

The Tartuffe Memorial Hypocrisy Beyond The Call Of Duty Award:
1st place (tie): To those members of Congress (more than half of them) who voted both for the Communications Decency Act (now mercifully defunct) and for posting the report of independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr on the Monica Lewinsky matter on the Internet, in screaming violation of said Act. If these people do not burn in hell, there is no God.

286th place: William Jefferson Clinton, for doing his damnedest to bring this about, and for coming up with increasingly irrelevant rationalizations along the way.

287th place: To People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, not so much for hijacking the trademark of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for one of their Web sites, drawing a lawsuit from the circus operator in the process, but for doing it after they had threatened action against Mike Doughney for setting up a site at that satirized PETA - under the name of People Eating Tasty Animals. The ethical treatment of humans is evidently beyond them.

Best new TV series:
ABC's updated Fantasy Island, which takes one of the lamest Seventies high-concept shows and gives it a sinister Nineties spin. The cast, headed by Malcolm McDowell as the mysterious Mr Roarke, is utterly perfect, and the guests' paths to enlightenment are excruciatingly painful - just like real life. It almost certainly won't be back next year, but it was fun while it lasted.
Best backhanded tribute to Douglas R. Hofstadter:
The Noble Clay pottery operation on the coast of Maine has a sign bearing the following URL:, which inspired a site (maintained by Keith Dawson's Technology Front) to collect similar bits of self-referential whimsy.

Related: Fans of Los Angeles radio station KROQ, which has no Web site, have put up a Web site at

Top-rated collector's item of 1998:
The bastard child of a Gremlin and Chatty Cathy, his/her/its name is Furby. I wonder what makes them tick?
Most elusive Christmas present:
While Saddam Hussein's head on a platter has a certain visceral appeal, I'm still holding out for peace on earth.
Most blatant reuse of stale content:
This year's Chaz Awards, for containing exactly the same paragraph under "Most elusive Christmas present" as last year's Chaz Awards.
Best career move:
Rep. Steve Largent (R-Okla.) attempted to oust Dick Armey (R-Texas) from the position of House Majority Leader, which gave the GOP, which mostly ignored Largent up to that point, an opportunity to see how pitifully lame he really is.
Strangest celebrity photo of 1998:
Monica Lewinsky's feature layout in Vanity Fair. I kept thinking "They cancelled Saved by the Bell too soon."
Most unexpected publishing non-innovation:
PC Computing's Floppy Awards, appearing in the January 1999 issue, on newsstands in December 1998, and which ranks as the second decent ripoff of Esquire's Dubious Achievement Awards. For the first, see last year's Chaz Awards.
Most-welcome sign of sanity on Usenet:
The visceral, dripping hatred that used to be focused on America Online users has now apparently been transferred en masse to WebTV users, and for now, at least, there are a lot fewer of them.

Posted 13 December 1998

Join us next year, same time, same URL (probably), for the next edition of the Chaz Awards.

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