All around there are monsters, decidedly awful people willing to sacrifice basic human rights for their own personal greed. In times of great struggle (say, a pandemic) these figures are both ubiquitous and impossible to ignore; just try to escape Trump’s daily briefings, now spewed across every broadcast network.
Villains of all varieties are an important vessel for pent-up aggression. And the staff of Jezebel is feeling pretty damn resentful right now, so we’re channeling our anger into a wide array of colorful, drama-filled villains. (As a nonspecific and also very obvious scapegoat, White Karen has been omitted from the list.) Here are some high-stakes and low-stakes villains that we encourage you to release your anger upon, purge style.
The two most important things to know about Senator Kelly Loeffler is that she sold millions in stock after a grim coronavirus briefing and that she looks like a caricature of a villainous wealthy woman from a movie, like if you crossed Cruella de Vil with Elizabeth Holmes and made her a cheerleading coach. A Georgia Republican—though let the record reflect that she’s from Illinois—she was appointed to her seat after Johnny Isakson resigned; her husband is the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. However, the funniest thing to know about Loeffler is definitely that she once hopped aboard her private jet for an 18-minute flight to Macon, Georgia, in order to host a meet-and-greet at iconic local hotdog establishment Nu-Way Weiners. Nu-Way is a source of local pride because it was founded the same year as Nathan’s Famous, making it one of America’s oldest continually operating hotdog stands, but it is definitely not somewhere that receives a lot of private jet traffic. The wildest part is that the original (very cool) location burned in 2015 and they still haven’t rebuilt, so Loeffler was literally just in some storefront over by where I went to elementary school. For the full effect, watch this video. Please, somebody take Loeffler to one of those barbecue joints with sawdust on the floor next, just to see the look on her face. I’m begging you. – Kelly Faircloth
A good low-stakes villain to me is one whose presence is both threatening and comical, a pitiful figure who represents all the things wrong with the world. Chet Haze, whose claim to fame is his extremely clumsy patois and being Tom Hanks’s son, is the type of low-stakes embarrassment that leads me to laugh, frown, and be upset all at once. He is a gross national product of nepotism, a strange, villainous embodiment of whiteness. He is a Z-list celebrity in every sense because he is compelled to say things like, “Yeah, it’s true. My parents got coronavirus.” — Clover Hope
I can’t say why, exactly, this one has stuck with me over the last few weeks but a good villain is one with the capacity to fill a person with blinding, petty rage. Therefore, I submit for consideration the residents of Darien, an affluent suburb on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast,” who in late March were among the lucky few to access a drive-through covid-19 testing site. What did they do with this luxury? They complained, on social media, that the testing site was too close to some of their homes, forcing the town to relocate a rare piece of public health infrastructure. Also, in general, fuck that state. — Molly Osberg
Video chat services like Zoom are immensely helpful for practical matters like homeschooling and business meetings, but Zoom meetings are easily hacked. Furthermore, people are now making backgrounds for Zoom chats, which effectively screams “I am living in a pile of garbage bags and would like you not to see my true self.” Video chats are supposed to be a temporary solution to the fact that human beings are not allowed to be within six feet of each other, so I advocate for keeping it as real as humanly possible during this time. If a video chat makes you feel like you need to flex in any way, shape or form, then guess what, you’ve made an enemy for life! It’s rude to those who enjoy group chats, in general, to cast group chats as an enemy, but I’d like us all to remember that video chats are a piss-poor replacement for real-life conversations and that complacency doesn’t necessarily mean acceptance. —Megan Reynolds
The sourdough starter is perhaps more of a trickster figure than a true villain, as it occasionally yields valuable recompense in bread form but, much more often, brings heartache, feelings of extreme inadequacy, and a huge fucking mess. — Emily Alford
It’s been infuriating to watch this OANN “journalist and political caricaturist” asslick her way through Trump’s coronavirus briefings with “questions” that not only demean the people in the room asking actual questions, but demean the intelligence of Americans who do not watch the conspiratorial/dangerous network that presumably pays her, which is the vast majority of us. But it’s also fascinating (and typical) to see the ways she seems to have grifted her way there, through cynical self-reinvention (starting with changing her name to Chanel Rion from, hilariously, Chanel Ryan), a lineage of defrauding accusations (her father) and a “psychic” grandmother, as well as an engagement to Bob “Courtland” Sykes, the virulent misogynist who lost his 2018 Missouri Senate bid in the primaries. This Daily Mail report/trawl through the bowels of the internet compiles most of it, including pettily noting that Rion did not attend Harvard but Harvard Extension School, and that “until becoming a correspondent for the conservative network last May, she had no obvious source of income, despite a social media profile filled with designer dresses and vacations in upscale hotels.” It is clear that Rion made it into the press briefings by being the worst kind of person the Trumps adore and identify with, but at the very least we can take some satisfaction in spite of her pathetic knee-bending by acknowledging she is fake as fuck. — Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
As a low-stakes villain, Ellen De Generes is perfect. She scares people on her television show and delights in doing so and also might be kind of an asshole in real life. These two factors alone make her villainous enough, but I’d like everyone to turn their attention to her first show shot from her palatial home, during which she compared her time under quarantine to prison. Ellen… read the room!— Megan Reynolds
I was once told by an ex that he had to stop reading my Twitter account because it made him like me less. At the time, he was just being rude, but now I see the prescience of his remark. Everyone’s social media has become littered with doom and gloom, or boring personal revelations meant to one-up one another. Allow me to be your ex: stop tweeting, you’re making everyone like you less. Or don’t, and let the mild resentment continue ad infinitum. — Maria Sherman
At first, the idea of exes trying to get in contact during the pandemic was just a funny joke. Something that maybe happened to a handful of people with very interesting exes. But now everyone’s fucking ex is sending an email, sliding into a DM, shooting their shot. If you’re an ex, stop this shit; it is embarrassing to yourself and brings shame upon your house. If you’re the receiver of an ex’s attention, block them and be done with it and spare everyone the pontification of a relationship you weren’t even thinking about until five minutes ago. —Shannon Melero
I guess this isn’t low stakes, since it’s a matter of life and death these days. I was buying groceries at the “health food” bodega around the corner a few weeks ago, and the person in line behind me was so close that as I dismounted from the register, I brushed up against whatever she was holding to buy. That’s too close. She giggled and said, “Sorry.” I told her, “You’re standing way too close.” She told me to relax. In a pandemic? Not a chance. I was irritated but what am I going to do? Life is bad enough without launching a major-scale argument with a stranger. I wanted to tell her I’ll relax when she starts reading the news and we can meet somewhere in the middle, but instead I just walked out of the store muttering about people who stand too close. — Rich Juzwiak
My personal war with Nicholas Sparks is not new; it is a conflict that simmers perpetually on the back burner, occasionally rattling the pot lid when I wander through the book section at Target. He continues to push his products through his book-to-blockbuster pipeline; I continue rolling my eyes at each installment of White People Love Tragically Near a Vacation Destination. But there’s one thing I know, surely as the sun will rise tomorrow: He absolutely must be working on a treacly coronavirus novel, and he must be stopped. – Kelly Faircloth