Six Awards You Probably Don't Want to Win

Obviously we've all heard of the Academy Awards, the Grammys, the Emmys – all of the big players during awards season. But have you heard of the Golden Snowball? There are all kinds of awards out there for just about any accomplishment imaginable. Maybe the Neatorama Awards aren't too far behind! I can see it now: Most Prolific Blogger, Reader Who Comments the Most, Strangest Post... Alex? Get your tux ready!

Until then, satisfy your strange award curiosity by checking out the ones here.

The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year

AKA the Diagram Prize, this guy is awarded every year to the book with the strangest title. The contest has been running since 1978, when it was first created by the British magazine Bookseller. Librarians, publishers and booksellers are invited to send entries in, but the final winner is selected by the general public. Here's a sampling of the winners: The Joy of Chickens, The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling, Highlights in the History of Concrete, Living With Crazy Buttocks, Bombproof your Horse (yes, horse) and 2007's winner, If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.

The Ernie Awards

An Australian Award, the Ernies are "awarded" to individuals and companies who make sexist remarks or do something sexist. 400 women attend a dinner each year and the remark that receives the loudest booing from the audience is deemed the winner. Past winners include these gems:
• 1996: Magistrate Ron Gething, Magistrates Court of Western Australia: (upon finding a man not guilty of stalking a woman for seven years), "I don't think he was intimidating her, he was just being persistent. He was like a little puppy dog wagging its tail."
• 2005: Sheikh Feiz Mohammad, Islamic cleric: "A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world...strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
• 2003: Stellar Call Centre: for docking the pay of a pregnant woman for taking too many toilet breaks
• 1995: Martin Ferguson, then president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, for calling women unionists campaigning for paid maternity leave "hairy legged femocrats"

The Foot In Mouth Award

This is given, appropriately, to a public figure who has said something completely baffling. It's awarded every year by the British Plain English Campaign. Winners:
• "I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe and somebody said I was a snake, I'd think 'No, actually I am a giraffe.'" –Richard Gere
• "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta." –Naomi Campbell
• "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know." – Donald Rumsfeld
• "When it comes to words I have a uniqueness that I find almost impossible in terms of art - and it's my words that actually make my art quite unique." – Artist Tracey Emin

The Lowsman Trophy

As a parody of the Heisman Trophy, the Lowsman is given every year to the last player picked in the NFL draft. It looks pretty similar to the Heisman, except the statue on the trophy is fumbling the ball. The "winner" of this trophy is called "Mr. Irrelevant." The latest Mr. Irrelevant is David Vobora, the 252nd pick of the 2008 draft. The St. Louis Rams chose him.

The Ig Nobel Prize

You know how you sometimes read those headlines about scientific studies that say things you already know? Like, "Scientific study shows that people like sugar." This prize is for those studies. Well, it's actually intended for studies that "first make people laugh, then make them think." 2007 winners:
• Aviation: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, for discovering that hamsters recover from jetlag more quickly when given Viagra.
• Biology: Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk, for taking a census of all the mites and other life forms that live in people's beds.
• Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto for extracting vanilla flavor from cow dung.
• Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, for patenting a device to catch bank robbers by ensnaring them in a net.
• Linguistics: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, for determining that rats sometimes can't distinguish between recordings of Japanese and Dutch played backward.
• Literature: Glenda Browne, for her study of the word "the".
• Medicine: Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, for investigating the side-effects of swallowing swords.
• Nutrition: Brian Wansink, for investigating people's appetite for mindless eating by secretly feeding them a self-refilling bowl of soup.
• Peace: The Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for suggesting the research and development of a "gay bomb," which would cause enemy troops to become sexually attracted to each other.
• Physics: L. Mahadevan and Enrique Cerda Villablanca for their theoretical study of how sheets become wrinkled.

The Lyttle Lytton Contest

I hadn't heard of the Bullwer-Lytton contest until I took Jason Plautz's quiz on Mental Floss. Quick recap, in case you don't know either: Edward George Bullwer-Lytton is the dude who gave us the classic opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night." His namesake prize is given to the author with the worst opening to his or her novel published that year. The Lyttle Lytton contest is pretty much the same, but is limited to sentences that are about 25 words or less. Some of my favorite winners:
• "Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword."
• "It clawed its way out of Katie, bit through the cord and started clearing."
• "John, surfing, said to his mother, surfing beside him, 'How do you like surfing?'"
• "Turning, I mentally digested all of what you, the reader, are about to find out heartbreakingly."

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The Bulwer-Lytton contest isn't "given to the author with the worst opening to his or her novel published that year", and it isn't an award you don't want to win. The prize is for a bad opening to a hypothetical novel. None of them come from actual novels; people write clumsy sentences deliberately to submit to the Bulwer-Lytton and Little Lytton contests.
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Mike Tyson should have got a FIM award for saying "it's a Mayan tattoo from New Zealand", David Tua for "I'll have an O for Awesome" (on Wheel of Fortune), and Jono Gibbs for "nobody in Rugby should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein".
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