The 4 Most Depressing Lists on the Internet

We do a lot of lists here in the Houston Press blogs because they're easy and the Internet likes lists. I like lists, too. It's fun to gather up the strangest Nintendo controllers and the funniest novels and things like that. You feel like you're curating a mini-museum of pop culture online.

But just as there are museums in the world that cruelly mock all the faith in a loving God you may have accrued in your lifetime, so are there lists that simply make you want to French kiss a gun barrel. In the course of my research as a journalist here, these are the four that required most of a bottle of vodka to get to sleep after seeing.

The Women in Refrigerators List

Gail Simone is one of the best comic book writers out and about in the world today, and as you've probably guessed by her name, she's a lady. She's responsible for some of the best moments in Birds of Prey, Deadpool and the brilliance that is the current run of Batgirl. In 1999, Simone recognized a pretty sad tendency of wives and girlfriends in comic books ending up killed, raped, mutilated and otherwise hurt simply as a way to empower the rage of the hunky male superhero they were attached to.

The result is the Women in Refrigerators List, so named because Green Lantern Kyle Raynor came home one day to find his girlfriend Alex DeWitt murdered by Major Force and stuffed in their ice box during a story arc in 1994. The updated list is despairingly long. Even non-significant others usually find themselves broken at the hands of writers.

Take Betty Banner, the girlfriend and wife of the Hulk, for example. Her entry reads: abused, changed into a harpy, multiple miscarriages, dead. Well, what do you expect when you have a human wife to the mighty Hulk? Okay, let's talk about Black Canary, arguably the finest hand-to-hand combatant in the DC universe, with a sonic scream to boot. She was tortured, had her vocal cords mutilated and they made her sterile just for extra fun. Even the massively overpowered Starfire ends up chained raped, and sold into sexual slavery.

So if you were like me and thought it was a bad idea to get Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair, then go peruse the list for a while and you'll feel like a jerk.

Jerry Skolasinski's IMDB

I have a column I too rarely get to use over on Rocks Off looking at bizarre, funny or otherwise interesting CraigsList adds in the musician section. There just aren't enough people starting reason-filled bands or willing to talk to me about why on Earth the world needs a Creed tribute band. Such gems are few and far between, unfortunately.

One of the people that made me stop checking CraigsList every day was a man named Jerry Skolasinski. Skolasinski posts constantly about offering to help your band find air play by selling you the use of his songs. Here's an example...

If you have a band with buzz happening I might be able to help your band. I have helped 7 bands get played on the radio because the bands recorded one of MY songs on THEIR CD that the radio played. This is Jerry Skolasinski, I have had my music played all over the world. (Google my name) I am a BMI published songwriter, not a performing artist. Go to jerryskol.com and see if there is a RADIO FRIENDLY song of mine your band can record with YOUR SOUND.

Googling Skolasinski brings you to his IMDB page where he is indeed listed as a composer. He has two credits. His song "She's Bad" was included on the soundtrack of the 1990 comedy Ski School, a film about partying hard and boobs and I guess skiing. At least he's in good company alongside Tom Morello's pre-Rage Against the Machine vehicle Lock Up, which has two songs in the film. Skolasinski's only other credit is a 1977 film called The Demon Lover featuring Gunnar Hansen.

The mixture of this résumé and his endless enthusiasm in CraigsList is hard to look at sometimes. I mean, he's doing better than me as a musician. My band's only film music credit is doing b-roll backing on the special features for David Arquette's flop the Tripper. However, I don't go around trying to sell MP3s at $15 a pop with that gig.

Project Steve

Scientists by definition have little to no time for bullshit. That's more or less what makes them scientists and not astrologers and alchemists. They deal in a world of hard facts, big numbers and a lifetime of work that has absolutely zero guarantee of paying off. In short, science is a superhero.

So when you do something that makes them take time out of that busy schedule to unleash purely petty vengeance, then you need to step back to re-evaluate your life choices. For instance, if you should put together a list of scientists that say evolution isn't real, you'd better be sure your list includes actual scientists, accurately portrays their beliefs and doesn't just make up names that sound smart. In other words, don't be the Discovery Institute.

The National Center for Science Education had had enough of this, and with what we can only assume was a Morricone soundtrack playing in the background the whole time, they launched Project Steve. PS has but two rules for membership. One, you have to firmly believe that creationism is a load of hooey. Two, you must be named Steve, Stefan, Stephanie or any other derivative of the name.

The bizarre, arbitrary second rule is meant as a parody of the ridiculousness of the pro-creationist lists, and shows just how easy it is to put together a prestigious catalog of Nobel-prize winners that completely refute the "theory" of creationism. Also, unlike most of the pro-creationists list you find, Project Steve actually lists what degrees the listees have and their current positions. According to the Steve-o-meter, more than a thousand Steves have collectively stood up to tell nutjobs to quit making shit up about science...because they basically had to.

I'm really sorry about this last one...

Category: Pornographic film actors who committed suicide

A commenter once called me a wiki savant, and that's very true. I am a manic cross-referencer who plows through wiki sites like a shark looking for things to bring you. Ninety percent of modern research is knowing how to really get into the minds of search engines in order to track the information you want to know.

Wikipedia has helpful categories that can narrow down what you're looking for, but when I found this one, I just stopped and looked at pictures of kittens for an hour until the sadness went away. Yes, there is a section dedicated to porn stars that have offed themselves, ten women and three men. It is one of the saddest things you'll ever see.

Look, we've all watched Boogie Nights, and there's no reasonably intelligent person who would think that the porn industry was glamorous. Still, you'd get the impression that being paid to have sex would at least still be somewhat better than a dead-end job. They even have an awards show, for crying out loud.

But yeah, sometimes it gets too much. There's Alex Jordan, who hanged herself in 1995 while her husband was in Colorado setting up a ski shop that would hopefully get her out of porn. She addressed her suicide note to her pet bird. This was a year after Savannah ended her life with a gunshot to the head. She had recently been in a bad car wreck that had injured her and lacerated her face. Police believed she killed herself over fear the accident had cost her her lucrative career.

There's more...the likable pianist and UK gay porn star Kent North, who overdosed on crystal meth and left behind his partner, Warren Lord... Megan Leigh, who fell into a deep depression over her family's rejection of her lesbian relationship and took so many valiums she would never wake up...Pauline Chan, who was driven out of a 24th floor window by postpartum depression. Jesus, who needs a drink?

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