By Andrew Daniels
For every good guy in the world—there’s a giant douche bag to balance out Earth’s natural forces. (Here’s a fun exercise: Turn on MTV at any given moment and you’ll see what we mean.)
But sometimes, douche bags make it hard for us to completely hate them, especially when they’re so talented. We examined five of the world’s biggest douche bags who have recently made waves, and with the help of our art department, judged them on the talent/douche scale.
JOHN EDWARDS, Former U.S. senator and Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004
Douche moves: Cheating on your wife with a mistress is one thing, but Edwards wasn’t satisfied with plain-old adultery. Instead, he reportedly cheated on his wife Elizabeth while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, fathered a child with his mistress, and lied about the whole thing until finally coming clean last year. And just weeks after Elizabeth passed away in December, Edwards had the gall to propose to his mistress while on vacation, sources have reported. Not cool, man. Not cool.
Talent: Debatable. Edwards was a gifted lawyer in North Carolina prior to his Senate days, winning several high-profile malpractice and liability lawsuits. His track record as a politician was unremarkable, but no one can deny his masterful public speaking skills.
Douche level: 10
Talent level: 3
MICHAEL VICK, Quarterback/Ex-con, Philadelphia Eagles
Douche moves: In case you forgot, Vick spent almost two years in prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring. You can’t get much lower on the morally reprehensible scale, but just for fun, Vick also gave women herpes, and smoked a ton of pot. Vick would automatically be the biggest douche ever . . .
Talent level: . . . if he wasn’t such a damn good athlete. The quarterback enjoyed a career season with the Eagles in 2010, re-establishing himself as the most electrifying player in the NFL and making us all feel a little queasy for marveling at his incendiary speed and deep touchdown passes.
Douche level: 9
Talent level: 9
KANYE WEST, Rapper and producer
Douche moves: Interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs, calling George W. Bush a racist on national television, appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone dressed as Jesus, and punching members of the paparazzi. But is he really a D-bag—or just annoying?
Talent level: He’s a supremely gifted artist who has delivered at least three classic albums in the span of 6 years, and he capped off his most creative year ever by releasing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in November. As long as he keeps delivering classics, fans and critics will forgive him for pretty much anything.
Douche level: 5
Talent level: 8
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Douche moves: Big Ben allegedly assaulted two different girls on separate occasions, and missed a chunk of the 2010 season after getting suspended by the league for violating its personal conduct policy.
Talent level: Well, he is pretty good at hurling that ball around. Roethlisberger won his first Super Bowl with the Steelers at the ripe old age of 23, and did it again three years later, collecting a couple of pieces of hardware along the way. With the Steelers in the playoffs again this year, Big Ben could have three rings before his 30th birthday.
Douche level: 8
Talent level: 8
JESSE JAMES, Reality TV personality and CEO of West Coast Choppers, a custom-made motorcycle manufacturer
Douche moves: James cheated on Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, America’s freaking sweetheart, with a tattooed-up, white supremacist stripper named Michelle “Bombshell” McGee. He’s not just a douche bag—he’s a straight-up idiot.
Talent level: Nothing discernible, as far as we can tell. Playing with vehicles and driving them really fast doesn’t count.
Douche level: 6
Talent level: 0
The images used in the above graphic are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Michael Vick photo by Ed Yourdon. Jesse James photo by Pinguino. Kanye West photo by David Shankbone. Ben Roethlisberger photo by Joey Gannon. John Edwards photo is part of the public domain.