These are not, always, actual awards; but merely ironic, weird and funny awards.
The Bald Archy.
The Bald Archy is an Australian art prize, a parody of the Archibald Prize, an important portraiture award. It usually includes cartoons or humorous works making fun of Australian celebrities. It is judged by Maude, a cockatoo. It began in 1994 at the Coolac Festival of Fun, in the tiny town of Coolac near Gundagai, New South Wales but is now a popular event presented in Sydney, Melbourne and other locations.
The Bent Spoon Award.
The Bent Spoon Award is an award given by Australian Skeptics, “presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle”. The name of the award is a reference to the spoon bending of Uri Geller. Although awarded yearly since 1982, only one copy of the trophy exists, as “anyone wishing to acquire the trophy must remove it from our keeping by paranormal means” and no winner has yet overcome this obstacle.
The winner should either be an Australian or have carried out their activities in Australia.
- 2010: the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) for its draft science curriculum.
- 2008: Dr Kerryn Phelps, who used to be the President of the Australian Medical Association but now sells quackery and woowoo
- 2006: The pharmacists of Australia, who manage to forget their scientific training long enough to sell quackery and snake oil (such as Homoeopathy and ear candles) in places where consumers should expect to get real medical supplies and advice.
- 2001: The Lutec “Free Energy Generator”
- 2000: Jasmuheen who claims one can live without food and water.
Big Brother Awards.
The Big Brother Awards recognize “the government and private sector organizations … which have done the most to threaten personal privacy”. They are named after the George Orwell character Big Brother from the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The Big Brothers are:
- Public sector category: Ministry of Internal affairs.
- Business category: Google.
The Carbuncle Cup is an architecture prize, given annually by the magazine Building Design to “the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months”. The award was based on an idea created by the Scottish architecture magazine Prospect, which has run the Carbuncle Awards since 2000. It is intended to be a humorous response to the prestigious Stirling Prize, given by the Royal Institute of British Architects to “the architects of the building which has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.” The name of the award is derived from a comment by Prince Charles, an outspoken critic of modern architecture, who in 1984 described Richard Rogers’ proposed extension of London’s National Gallery as a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”. The award was launched in 2006, with the first winner being Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth by Chapman Taylor. A shortlist is announced by Building Design each year, based on nominations from the public, and usually timed to coincide with the Stirling prize shortlist. Public voting via the magazine’s website was used to select past winners, giving the award a sense of democratic involvement. Since 2009 a small group of critics has selected the final winners.
The Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek honor, created by Wendy Northcutt to recognize individuals who contribute to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of the gene pool, through putting themselves (unnecessarily) in life-threatening situations. A book series is paralleled by a website, “www.DarwinAwards.com” (stylised as “www.đar̆winĀwar̆ḍs.ćōm”), whose “Rules” section explains:
In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.
Accidental self-sterilization also qualifies; however, the site notes: “Of necessity, the award is usually bestowed posthumously.” But the candidate is disqualified if “innocent bystanders”, who might have contributed positively to the gene pool, are killed in the process.
The Darwin Awards books state that an attempt is made to disallow known urban legends from the awards, but some older “winners” have been ‘grandfathered’ to keep their awards. The Darwin Awards site does try to verify all submitted stories, but many similar sites, and the vast number of circulating “Darwin awards” emails, are largely fictional.
- When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.
- The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.
- A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.
- After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.
The Doublespeak Award
The Doublespeak Award is an “ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered.” It has been issued by the National Council of Teachers of English since 1974.
2009 – Glenn Beck
2008 – The term “Aspirational goal”.
2007 – Alberto Gonzales
2006 – George W. Bush
2005 – Philip A. Cooney
2004 – George W. Bush Administration
2003 – George W. Bush
The Ernie Awards are an Australian award for comments deemed misogynist.
It is named after former Australian Workers Union secretary Ernie Ecob, who was known for his misogynist remarks. One of his best-known remarks was “Women aren’t welcome in the shearing sheds. They’re only after the sex,” which is why there is a sheep on top of the Gold Ernie. The inaugural awards night was in celebration of him resigning from the Labor Council of New South Wales.
A dinner is held for 400 women each year and the winner is determined by the person who receives the most booing when their sexist statement or action is read out.
A variety of categories have featured, such as the Gold Ernie, the Warney (for sport, named after Shane Warne), the Media Ernie, the Political Ernie, the Judicial Ernie, the Anon (for boys behaving better, formerly called the Gareth after Gareth Evans), the Elaine (for females making comments unhelpful to the sisterhood, named after Elaine Nile) and the Clinton (for repeat offenders). The categories of offenders have changed over the years, according to Meredith Burgmann.
A collection of comments have been compiled in “One Thousand Terrible Things Australian Men Have Said About Women” by Meredith Burgmann and Yvette Andrews.
- 1993: Joe de Bruyn, National Secretary, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, “All childcare subsidies should be removed and reallocated to women who stayed home to mind their children.”
- 1994: Terry Griffiths, former New South Wales Liberal minister: (in response to allegations of sexually harassing his staff) “I honestly believe that my personal behavior was in a family mode. They’re like my own kids. I’m a toucher…I have a habit of touching people in that regard. I’m old fashioned.”
- 1995: Justice John Gallop, Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court: (upon imposing a bond upon a man convicted of raping a 12-year old girl), “Our jails would be full if we locked up everyone who did this.”
Golden Snowball Award
The Golden Snowball Award is an annual award presented to the Upstate New York city that receives the most snowfall in a season. The original award was the result of a friendly competition of National Weather Service offices in Upstate. After the Rochester and Syracuse offices closed in the mid-1990s, the competition died out.
The award was revived during the 2002-2003 snowfall season, in which Syracuse won. It has won every year since then as well. The prize is accompanied by a ceremonial $100 check to one of that city’s school’s hat and mitten drive.
Ig Nobel Prize
The Ig Nobel Prizes are an American parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to “first make people laugh, and then make them think”. Organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater, and they are followed by a set of public lectures by the winners at MIT.
- Biology: Daryll Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that certain kinds of beetle mate with certain kinds of Australian beer bottle.
- Chemistry: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.
- Literature: John Perry of Stanford University for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which states: “To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important.”
- Mathematics: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of Korea (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde of Uganda (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who originally predicted the world would end on September 6, 1994, and later predicted that the world will end on May 21, 2011, which preceded his final prediction on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.
- Medicine: Mirjam Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop, and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder, Robert Feldman, Robert Pietrzak, David Darby and Paul Maruff for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things – but worse decisions about other kinds of things – when they have a strong urge to urinate.
- Peace: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running over them with a tank.
- Psychology: Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, Norway, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.
- Physics: Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru and Herman Kingma for trying to determine why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don’t, in their paper “Dizziness in discus throwers is related to motion sickness generated while spinning”.
- Physiology: Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl and Ludwig Huber for their study “No evidence of contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise Geochelone carbonaria”.
- Public safety: John Senders of the University of Toronto, Canada, for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him.
Most Phallic Building contest
The World’s Most Phallic Building contest was a contest held in 2003 by Cabinet magazine to find the building which most resembled a human phallus. The contest originated when writer Jonathan Ames drew the ire of Slate readers by claiming, in a diary that was later published in his book I Love You More Than You Know, that the Williamsburg Bank Building in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, was the world’s most phallic. This led Cabinet magazine to initiate a search of its own to find which building was truly the “world’s most phallic”. Cities and readers subsequently poured in their views and staked their claims to the magazine’s editors.
The Pigasus Award is the name of an annual tongue-in-cheek honor recognized by noted skeptic James Randi. The awards seek to expose parapsychological, paranormal or psychic frauds that Randi has noted over the previous year.
Category 1 – Scientist
1996 — Scientist/physicist Ed May, who headed the CIA “remote viewing” project.
Category 2 – Funding
2006 — Templeton Foundation for spending US$2.4 million and ten years research on a study researching the effectiveness of prayer.
Category 3 – Media
2009 — The Oprah Winfrey Show
Category 4 – Performer
1979 — Philip Jordan, who was hired by Tioga County, New York, Public Defender R. L. Miller to assist in choosing jurors by their “auras”.
Category 5 – Refusal to face reality
2009 — Scientologists
Salt Lick Award
The Salt Lick Award is an award given to Canadian manufacturers of foods that demonstrate high sodium levels. The name refers to salt licks.
- 2009 – Canadian pizza producers
The Stella Awards are awards given to people who file outrageous and frivolous lawsuits, named after Stella Liebeck who, in 1992, ordered a cup of McDonald’s coffee at a drive thru, took off the lid and put it in between her knees while sitting in the passenger seat of her grandson’s car. The 180 to 190 °F (82 to 88 °C) coffee spilled from the cup, causing third degree burns. The lawsuits are documented by Colorado writer Randy Cassingham. Cassingham documents the awards on a website and in a 2005 book, both known as The True Stella Awards.
- Roy L. Pearson Jr. The 57-year-old Administrative Law Judge from Washington DC claims that a dry cleaner lost a pair of his pants, so he sued the mom-and-pop business for $65,462,500. That’s right: more than $65 million for one pair of pants. Representing himself, Judge Pearson cried in court over the loss of his pants, whining that there certainly isn’t a more compelling case in the District archives. But the Superior Court judge wasn’t moved: he called the case “vexatious litigation”, scolded Judge Pearson for his “bad faith”, and awarded damages to the dry cleaners. But Pearson didn’t take no for an answer: he’s appealing the decision. And he has plenty of time on his hands, since he was dismissed from his job. Last we heard, Pearson’s appeal is still pending.
World Stupidity Awards
The World Stupidity Awards is an award ceremony that recognizes achievement in ignorance and stupidity during the past year.
- Stupidest Woman of the Year: Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, ‘Brangelina’, The Runaway Bride, Paula Abdul.