Staff List: Biggest Mistake of the 21st Century

The Bureau Staff discusses the most egregious oversights since the Y2K hype.

We’ve never made a mistake. Or at least, we’ve never admitted to making a mistake. (The downtime we recently experienced was the fault of a jealous ex-lover scorned.) Still, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to identify the greatest errors of this century. As it turns out, there are a lot of them, and we didn’t even touch on the most obvious of topics.


I could put something like the 2000 election, but I’m not that bitter (but really, we’d be in great shape with Gore right now). Truly the most awful error concocted in these past eight years has been the Segway.

What an unwieldy nightmare. This is what we thought the future would look like? The hyperbolic buzz regarding the Segway only undermined our intelligence: I mean, look at that ugly bitch. And it costs more than $5,000. The company still isn’t profitable (only about 30,000 Segways have been sold), which is hilarious considering it took about $100 million to design and research. What they failed to see, apparently, is that their invention is nothing more than a glamorous Jazzy. The Segway is the height of new technology with zero practicality; sometimes it’s best to remember that the most successful products–say, the bicycle–are the simplest. We don’t need a gyroscopic stabilization system.

As an aside, the inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen, owns an island off Connecticut called “North Dumpling Island.” Kamen calls the island the “Kingdom of North Dumpling,” and refers to himself as “Lord Dumpling.” He has also invented a flag and national anthem. No, really.


For me, the biggest mistake of the 21st century is obvious: casting Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman. As Sue Storm in 20th Century Fox’s pair of colossal clusterfucks—a.k.a. the Fantastic Four flicks—Ms. Alba

Hearing Jessica Alba talk is miserable to endure; it’s mitigated only by the fact that looking at her provides a reciprocal experience. Some would even argue that the visual component even outweighs the ghastly negatives of her role in films (like her acting ability). So why would someone decide to make Jessica Alba fucking invisible? Audiences get all of the cons without the one, redeeming pro.

If I could pick a second biggest mistake of the 21st century, it would be the decision to greenlight a second Fantastic Four. Who saw that movie and decided that they wanted to see it again? WHO, GODDAMNIT, WHO?


Hockey is a fantastic sport. It takes everything good about soccer (crucial teamwork, fluid possession switching, intense scoring opportunities) subtracts some of the bullshit (fake injuries, eleven men per side, dull mid-field play) and amplifies the excitement (slick and fast playing surface, hard physical contact, fist fights). In fact, Pardon The Interruption‘s Tony Kornheiser called hockey “the most exciting in-arena experience.” So why don’t Americans give a shit about the NHL?

Part of it is surely our longstanding resentment of all things Canadian, but there’s another reason you never flip past a game on ESPN or see hockey on the front page of your newspaper. In 2004, the team owners decided that they wanted to put measures into place, preventing themselves from turning player salaries into a profitless arms race; they wanted a salary cap. The players didn’t. Rather than talk it over, each side proved how tough it was by suspending the ’04-’05 season, making no money, and giving America yet another excuse to ignore hockey. Beat writers were reassigned, television contracts were breached, and public interest waned. When the NHL returned in the fall of ’05, it was broadcast on the bumfuck Outdoor Life Network to less than a million viewers. Today, with the incredible young stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin lighting up the league, hockey can barely draw four million viewers for its Stanley Cup finals.

Maybe the NHL should take a page out of the Mixed Martial Arts playbook and push some lunatic pornographer onto the ice. CBS would definitely pick that up.


Easy: the relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina. Well, lack of relief is more like it.

I realize that it’s easy to point out President Bush-related mistakes (and we’re publishing an article and not a book), but I think this highlights the U.S. government’s ill-preparedness as a whole to deal with a disaster of this magnitude.

I don’t question our actual ability to save people. What Katrina did was point out how Americans of different classes and races are discriminated against–even in a life an death situation.

Why didn’t people just evacuate when they were told to instead of waiting around for their Social Security check? Because they had no where to go.

I hope we learned from this.


It’s clearly M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie, The Happening. I may just be bitter because it robbed me of two hours and ten dollars–but really? Plants conspiring to avenge human environmental recklessness? Mark Wahlberg (sans third nipple)? And a whole boatload of silly, Monty Python-style gore? Come on!

If I, too, could pick a second biggest mistake of the 21st century, it would be the new Weezer album. Really? Weezer conspiring to avenge critical disdain for Make Believe by creating another, slightly less shitty album? The worst album cover since Neil Young’s Trans? Come on!