Pretty much ANY given US politician who has ever been disgraced by a scandal they were in. Namely due to when they these politicians get themselves in a scandal the media exploits how terrible it is every chance they get. (Doesn't help that some of them never really got all that well known in the media until they are in a scandal.)
A particularly bad example is the unfortunate case of Gary Condit, who was already an average Congressman. However in May 2001, Chandra Levy, a young intern who had worked in his office and with who he had been having an affair, disappeared. Condit proceeded to lie to police about the affair, and, when public opinion turned against him, gave an evasive interview with Connie Chung that made him look like he had everything to hide. Naturally, the media soon moved on to other issues following September 11th, but the damage to his reputation had been done. Condit lost the Democratic primary in March 2002, and spent the remainder of his Congressional career under a cloud of suspicion, especially when Levy's body was discovered in May 2002. Her real killer was only arrested in May 2009.
President Herbert Hoover is continually remembered as the president who caused the Wall Street Crash of 1929. No one remembers he was known as the "Great Humanitarian" during World War I for his aid overseas (in Belgium, his name even became a word meaning "to help"), and he saw the crash coming and tried to avert it, but is 'remembered' as someone who "did nothing", though even Franklin D. Roosevelt's own advisers said that "practically the entire New Deal was extrapolated" from Hoover's programs. Facts be damned, he's now so associated with disastrous economic policy that, for example, one of the more memorable lines of the 1992 election was Bill Clinton repeatedly referring to the incumbent President George Herbert Walker Bush (who he defeated) as "George Herbert Hoover Bush".
That said, his reaction to the Bonus Army pretty much sealed the fate of his legacy.
Howard Dean was a strong contender for the 2004 presidential nomination until he gave what was intended to be an enthusiastic whoop during a lively campaign rally, but which looked and sounded like a scream of pure lunacy. Political opponents and pundits swooped in and quickly blew it to the proportion that you might have thought he'd suddenly gone feral onstage. In spite of becoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee (2005-2009)—in which position he was arguably the architect of the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 and laid the groundwork for Barack Obama's successful 2008 presidential bid—in many minds he's still best known for the "Dean Scream."
Nikita Khrushchev is mostly remembered for hitting a table with a shoe. If not that, then for his attempts to get into Disneyland.
In Russia he is remembered for the shoe and for the obsession with growing corn.
He is also remembered for his role, along with JFK's, in precipitating the Cuban Missile Crisis which nearly destroyed humankind and for his "WE WILL BURY YOU!" speech (though a better translation is the less aggressive sounding "We will be there when you're buried".)
Another Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev is remembered for one thing: that (trademarked!) birthmark on his head.
In Russia, Gorbachev will never live down destroying the Soviet Union and subsequently, the Russian economy, even though he never intended to end the Soviet Union with his reforms, and the collapse of the economy was mostly the fault of Yeltsin, the free market, his cronies, and foreign speculators.
While in America, Gorbachev is barely remembered for ending the Soviet Union, and all the credit goes to Reagan. This is strange because it happened three years after he left office and Bush was president.
Incidentally, Osama bin Laden credited himself and the Mujahideen for ending the Soviet Union. No doubt he thought he could repeat the same success with the United States. Not only did it fail, he ended up dead.
Canadian political examples:
William Lyon Mackenzie King is remembered chiefly for holding séances, rather than his leadership during the Great Depression or World War Two.
That's because his leadership during them ranged from unexceptional to bad, depending on your political opinions. He did very little about the Depression compared to FDR, one of the main things he did do was create work camps where unemployed men were paid next-to-nothing, and he was a fervent supporter of appeasement.
And Pierre Trudeau, who is arguably the architect of modern Canada, is remembered mainly for flipping off a bunch of protesters.
The Canadian Liberal Party has yet to live down the Sponsorship Scandal, even though fairly few people know what it even was. It ruined the career of former PM Paul Martin, and the aftereffects of that defeat have more or less destroyed the party (it is now, for the first time since the founding of Canada, a third party).
Which is to say nothing of Brian Mulroney, who found himself in a similar scandal, the aftereffects of which actually DID end in the destruction of the party he led. It would take a decade and merging with the Canadian Alliance Party (and the above monumental Liberal screw-up) before the Progressive Conservatives were able to recover.
Ask most people what they know about John Ashcroft, and odds are they'll reply "he lost an election to a dead man". Which is a half-truth — Mel Carnahan did die two weeks before the election, but he was left on the ballot due to state laws, and Ashcroft rather respectfully stopped campaigning when he died. When it was announced Carnahan's wife Jean would serve her husband's term if he won, Ashcroft resumed campaigning and lost 49-51%, after which Jean Carnahan did indeed serve in her husband's place.
The thing most people inside the Beltway remember about Ashcroft’s tenure as U.S. Attorney General is the great statue coverup.
In spite of a lifetime in politics, Bill Clinton is almost completely remembered for his numerous sexual peccadilloes, to the point that he's often portrayed as a horn-dog swinger in various media. He's also remembered for a few of his "slick" soundbytes, such as claiming he "didn't inhale" and asking for the legal definition of "is." People who were children during Clinton's presidency, however, are most likely to remember that Bill Clinton plays the sax.
British contemporaries of Bill Clinton at Oxford University have recalled his fame for exotic chocolate cake with added herbs.
In spite of the ongoing Lewinsky scandal during his presidency, Clinton still enjoyed a very high approval rating at the end of his tenure (when Presidents commonly begin to suffer lower approval ratings).
It's a Truth in Television that ultimately, as Enoch Powell once famously said, all political careers end in failure - so, as often as not, the climactic failure of one variety or another is what the politician concerned gets remembered for. Of course, what Powell really said was, "All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure", but no-one remembers that as they're too busy remembering him for his Rivers of Blood speech instead.
Few people could tell you the MP who forced the NHS to start employing non whites, or made one of the greatest parliamentary speeches ever criticising the mistreatment of Mau Mau prisoners.
The fact that quotes from his "Rivers of Blood" speech are in popular usage among members of the British National Party doesn't help.
And if not that, it'll be his iconic photos: picking up his dogs by their ears or lifting his shirt to show off his appendix scar. At best, they'll think of the one where he's taking the oath of office to replace JFK, with blood-splattered Jacqueline standing by.
When thinking of William Howard Taft, what are people more likely to remember: His trustbusting activities? His military action against Nicaragua? His support of the 16th Amendment, the foundation of the US's modern tax code? Or that he's the only former President to also serve on the Supreme Court (as the Chief Justice no less)? Nope. None of that. People remember he was so fat he got stuck in the bathtub. Failing that, they will remember him as the last president with facial hair or as the President who first had electrical power added to the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The 1969 Chappaquiddick Incident, in which a car Edward "Ted" Kennedy was driving swerved into water, causing the car's sole passenger, campaign assistant Mary Jo Kopechne, to drown. Kennedy's swimming out of the sinking car (with Kopechne trapped inside), along with failing to report the incident, permanently stifled his presidential hopes and ruined his credibility as a politician. He did regain some of that later as a U.S. Senator, but his career was always sullied by this incident, as well as by his reputation as a playboy and drinker.
Chicago mayor and former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once mailed a dead fish to a pollster whose numbers he didn't like. Can anyone recall off the top of their heads anything else about the man?
Only that he has a reputation for extremely liberal (no pun intended) use of the word "fuck."
Vice President Joe Biden: "Working outside Rahm's office is like watching Sesame Street if every day was brought to you by the letter 'F'."
And that he got flak from Sarah Palin over calling people (other Democrats, at that!) "retards".
Bush Senior had a couple of others. One, which was unjustified yet stuck around was a picture of the President appearing to be fascinated by a simple grocery checkout scanner. In fact, the photo was taken at a demonstration of a new type of scanner, but this fact was not obvious in the photo, making it appear as though George Bush was completely out of touch with technology the average American interacted with on a daily basis. However, no such defense can be offered for the time during a debate with Governor Clinton and Ross Perot, when Bush was caught glancing at his wrist watch while his opponent was speaking.
Also (speaking of groceries), that time he declared that he didn't like broccoli, leading the broccoli lobby to send a truck full of the hated veggie as a gift to the White House.
And, of course, the ever infamous "Read my lips: No New Taxes!", which came back to bite him on the ass in the next election.
"Mission Accomplished". In a sense, he was right, as they had deposed Saddam Hussein three weeks previous to the speech; and additionally the banner wasn't placed by the administration, but rather by the crew of the Lincoln, which was returning to port after having (guess what) accomplished their mission (although that's kinda disputed). But fighting in Iraq continued for another seven years, mostly in the form of anti-insurgency, and it was definitely not the end of "major combat operations".
When first informed of the 9/11 attacks, Bush was reading a book to a kindergarten class, and instead of getting up to do something he stayed and kept reading for seven minutes. To his credit, in an interview conducted on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the children to whom Bush was reading said that they felt he did the right thing, since leaving in a hurry would have made them panic. Additionally, he had to do something while Secret Service confirmed it was safe for him to leave the building.
And finally there was Hurricane Katrina. A lot of it was felt to be mismanaged, but especially the visual of him having birthday cake with John McCain at the same time that New Orleans was catastrophically flooding was an especially harsh instance of this trope. Having said that, the choice to wait to visit Katrina was most likely a wise one in retrospect - presidents can't really do anything during their visit other than offer moral support, and preparing for their arrival often halts important relief activities. In fact, it was for this reason that Mayor Bloomberg asked Barack Obama not to visit NYC during the 2012 Hurricane Sandy. There's really no excuse for how badly relief effort were managed in general though, and much has been made over his appointing of Michael Brown as the head of FEMA, who was most well-known as being a horse judge prior to Katrina.
In perhaps a more amusing instance of this trope, there are any vast number of verbal gaffes Bush made, so many that they have their own term: "Bushisms." Some of most commonly remembered are the infamous "fool me once" flub, asking "is our children learning?," and of course "misunderestimate." To a lesser extent are the bizarre, exaggerated facial expressions he was prone to making during his term.
We also have the incident from near the end of his Presidency where an angry Iraqi threw a shoe at him (which is a grave insult in Muslim culture, as shoes and feet are seen as incredibly unclean). Despite the insult, Bush tends to get some praise for his quick dodge, as well as maintaining a good sense of humor about the whole thing.
Bush Jr. will also never live down the fact that he nearly choked to death on a pretzel.
Dan Quayle is remembered for misspelling the word "Potato" as "Potatoe" and denouncing Murphy Brown's single mother status. Nevermind the fact that his spelling of the word potato was based off the spelling card the teacher had given him.
And mangling the UNCF's "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" motto, declaring the Holocaust was the most obscene event in American history and a strange statement about how Mars had a human-habitable atmosphere based on severely outdated theories about the Martian "Canals". People got so used to him saying stupid things that when he tried to be legitimately clever with the now infamous "Great State of Chicago" remark, people took it as a gaffe and it is largely remembered as such.
Modern history (if not the general public) is starting to have a slightly better opinion of Chamberlain, namely that although he placated Germany, he may have done so because England was extremely not-ready to start fighting either, and needed more time to get ready (which they were). Had he called Hitler on taking over Czeckoslovakia, and shooting had started, things might have gone much worse.
Late Venezuelan President Luis Herrera Campins was an affable man who had the bad luck of being the president in office during the infamous devaluation of 1983. But that he lived with; what he didn't live down was the nickname political humorists (and even serious historians) gave to him, "Toronto", not after the Canadian city but after a round hazelnut chocolate bonbon of that name, which were passed like water whenever he had a public appearance to give him an image of "jolly fat man". Most of the parodies involved represent him as a Fat Bastard munching the afore-mentioned bonbons, despite Mr. Herrera never been shown eating them. The poor man spent the next 25+ years baffled by the meme, constantly answering journalists "I don't even like chocolate that much" when asked about the issue (and after his death he was revealed to have been allergic to cocoa products all along).
His successor, Jaime Lusinchi, was already a walking punchline for the widespread corruption during his rule, his drunkenness, and the antics of his mistress (and future ex-wife) Blanca "Gastos cubridos" Ibañez; but then, after he left office, he said to an overly inquisitive journalist "Tú a mi no me vas a joder" (roughly "You aren't going to fuck me"). On camera. In a live transmission. To a journalist of the most popular TV network' of the country, who quickly lent the clip to everybody who asked. Guess what is the most used clip and expression when speaking of the man?
The president who was Herrera Campins' predecessor and Lusinchi's sucessor, the late Carlos Andrés Pérez, could never live the fact that the infamous revolt "El Caracazo" happened on his first month of office during his second period in office, a revolt that was allgedly fueled by the economic measures he had to take as first thing once he got the chair (Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment here over how truthful this is). Even when he was involved on corruption scandals who finally cost him the chair, the Caracazo shadows went on make the perception of his acts even worse. The "Caracazo" itself hasn't been live down, and it's pointed as the reason Venezuela has the lowest gas prices despite the very high cost to the couyntry: because the revolt was attributed to a protest against increasing bus fares, which allegedly were caused on turn by an increase in gas prices, no one wants to adjust gas prices in fear that something worse can come.
Late president Hugo Chávez, the main reason of Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment everywhere, the man who went over The Tyson Zone several times for Venezuelan standards, and the things no one let pass were his mispronouncing the phrase "Soberano mismo" as "Soberano mesmo" when addressing his people, and the nickname he had to George W. Bush, "Mr. Danger".
And now Chavez's successor, Nicolás Maduro, has been enduring endless fire after telling (during electoral campaign nonetheless!) how he felt that a bird who landed near of him when visiting the church on Chavez hometown was Chavez reincarnated giving him his approval. Before that we had been seen as a unremarkable guy who only got there because of being a Professional Butt-Kisser; after that, as a idiot Cloud Cuckoolander with no grasp on reality.
Robert C. Byrd was the longest-serving U.S. Senator in American history, a two-time Senate Majority Leader, defeated Senator Edward Kennedy for the post of Senate Majority Whip, and chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee for 10 years. For the last twenty years or so of his career, his political opponents never let him (or anyone else) forget that, as a twentysomething in World War II-era West Virginia, he was a Kleagle (recruiter) and an Exalted Cyclops (local chapter head) in the Ku Klux Klan.
To armchair politicians, he'll never live down being "the Prince of Pork"...which, considering the man not only flagrantly redirected as many federal projects as possible to his state but also often put his name on them, which is a direct violation of federal law, that title is actually richly earned.
David Duke probably would have been elected Governor of Louisiana if not for the fact that he had been the leader of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.
Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, went swimming in the ocean one day and was never heard from again. Presumably he had some political policies or something, passed some laws maybe during his tenure as PM. We assume. Which party was Holt in, anyway?
Also from Australian politics: Bob Hawke is known only for drinking beer and publicly supporting people skipping work to watch a boat race, and Gough Whitlam is generally remembered not for free university educations or buying the painting Blue Poles, but for being sacked.
Probably not helped by the fact he was in actuality a GIANT crook.
Also not helped by earlier baseless allegations that he was personally profiting from a GOP slush fund while campaigning in the 1950s. Nixon was actually playing clean when he made the 'Checkers' speech concerning slush fund expenditures; in fact his speech prompted an investigation of Adlai Stevenson's slush fund which turned up some improprieties. Only later on did Nixon become the legendary crook and manipulator he's known as today (talk about a Face-Heel Turn!) So it's entirely possible that one can never live down even things of which one is not guilty.
The people of Grand Rapids, Michigan beg to differ about no one ever voting for him. Said people voted him into the House of Representatives.
The third thing he's remembered for is his slips in highly public incidents, never being able to live it down despite the fact that he was a star football player in his college days at University of Michigan.
Another thing that people from Ford's home-town of Grand Rapids, Michigan remember him for is that he tried to insist that the presidential band to use the University of Michigan fight-song instead of Hail to the Chief as his presidential fanfare. It didn't take.
While James A. Rhodes would be re-elected Governor of Ohio twice afterward, many people never forgave him for his decision to call the National Guard to Kent State University, which led to the 1970 shootings where four students were killed.
Alexander Haig was the first Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, but will likely be remembered mostly for one embarrassing comment when, in the confusion following the attempted assassination of President Reagan, Haig announced that he was "in charge"; stirring much confusion as to whether or not Haig had misinterpreted the Twenty Fifth Amendment to the Constitution or was making a general statement that he was the senior official in charge (as Vice President George HW Bush was unavailable due to being airborne over Texas at the moment).
Kim Campbell, despite being the first female Canadian prime minister as interim of the retired Brian Mulroney, will always be remembered as the one person who took the lead of the nine year ruling Conservative Party and brought them to utter ruin in the following elections. They only elected two candidates country wide, losing official party status. Kim Campbell herself did not even get elected in her own riding.
Vladimir Putin, in the period of anti-terror bluster mentioned "doing in [the terrorists] [among other places] in the toilets", using slang for "kill" which normally means "make wet". Whether he invented this little pearl himself or his PR team did, this became a meme: in Russia he, anti-terror tall speech and latrine jokes were inherently connected from that moment on. Politics who speak funny all the time become character memes, but at least don't have a specific one stuck on them.
Jimmy Carter, despite being able to fend off giant killer rabbits will only be remembered for being an abysmal failure as president. Except that wasn't even his fault. He didn't really cause any of the problems of his presidency, he just couldn't get a proper grip on the issues facing the nation at the time.
And he was a peanut farmer.
And there was the admission he made in an interview with Playboy that Carter "lusted in my heart" for women other than his wife. For Carter, well-known as a very religious man, this one turned out to be particularly embarrassing. And that was before he even got elected!
And there was his UFO sighting.note For the record, Carter does not believe what he saw in 1969 was an alien spacecraft; he's of the opinion that it was probably a top-secret military experiment. Carter remains the only US president ever to admit to filing a UFO report. The fact that he was a rural Southerner didn't help matters.
Palin will rightly never live down the gaffs she made on her family's reality show, nor huge contributions she made as John Mc Cain's running mate which arguably cost him the election (the argrument being that no one wanted Palin to get anywhere close to the launch button for the nukes, even as a vice-president for an old man).
Michelle Bachman believes that vaccinations caused a random woman's daughter to develop mental retardation.
Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis had two during the 1988 presidential campaign which effectively torpedoed his chances. First, he was asked at a debate if he would still be against the death penalty if his own family was murdered, and replied in a completely calm and straightforward fashion (he would later lament "Anyone who is against the death penalty gets asked that question a thousand times, and unfortunately, I answered it like it was the thousandth time I'd been asked"). Then he decided to take a ride in a tank during a photo op at an army base, complete with ridiculous looking headgear, resulting in a photo where he looked like Snoopy fighting the Red Baron.
Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich has had two in his career. Originally, after his term as Mayor, he was "the guy who bankrupted Cleveland." (What actually happened was, the bank that held Cleveland's debt tried to force him to sell the city's public electric system to a power company that was part-owner of the bank, and he wouldn't play ball.) Then he was "the guy who saw a UFO at Shirley MacLaine's house." Now he's the tiny hippie who married a British lady at least sixth levels of hotness about his own.
Thomas Jefferson is perhaps too eminent a figure to fall victim to this trope, but his apparent hypocrisy regarding slavery tends to dominate most historical discussions of him. How can a man who wrote that "all men are created equal" justify owning other human beings or hold the opinion that the African race was generally inferior? How can he justify his relationship and children with Sally Hemmings a woman who, while apparently reciprocating his affections (and stayed with him during foreign journeys that would have allowed for easy escape), was still economically beholden to him as owner, and only 14 when their relationship started? Jefferson's accomplishments are vast, but the gulf between his words and his actions on the subjects of slavery and race are something that have tremendous impact on his legacy.note Some Values Dissonance may be at work here: women generally were economically beholden to their husbands or fathers in that time period, and the age of consent has been documented as low as seven during the Colonial era (this was in Delaware, where the age of consent didn't increase from 7 to 16 until 1895; generally the age of consent in the 18th century ranged from 10-13 and didn't increase to 16 in most jurisdictions until 1920. Even today 18 as the age of consent is not universal.) Jefferson may never have freed her because being her owner was the only way he could legally protect her from those who may have objected to the relationship: a slave's owner could take legal action on behalf of the slave, whereas freemen (and women) had no guarantee of any standing in court.
George Washington is mostly well-respected enough to avoid this, but one historian, when interviewed on TV, said that visitors to the Smithsonian were more interested in seeing his (not actually) wooden teeth than any other artifact related to him. The (apocryphal) Cherry Tree thing is also good publicity, along with the Crossing The Delaware and Wintering At Valley Forge.
Aaron Burr is best-known for shooting and killing Alexander Hamilton, in spite of being a former Vice-President who was charged with treason for his alleged plan to secede from the union with a rebel army. No evidence was actually produced, so he was acquitted.
Walter Mondale campaigned hard for nuclear disarmament and the Equal Rights Amendment, and played a key role in uncovering a conspiracy within NASA that forced them to adopt stricter safety measures. Then in the 1984 presidential campaign, he announced that he would raise taxes as part of his effort to reduce the deficit, thinking the voters would appreciate the honesty. ("Let's be honest here, Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did.") They didn't, and he suffered one of the worst election defeats in US history and became known purely as the guy who said he was going to jack up taxes.
Andrew Jackson is a very complicated individual. He is a Bad Ass war-hero who beat people with his cane, and seemed to represent the rise of the common man to the presidency. However, his treatment of millions of Native Americans, which culminated in a downright genocidal eradication and relocation program, that he was both architect and enforcer of, has forever tainted his image. And justifiably so.
Christine O'Donnell is not a witch. But she doesn't want you to masturbate.
Obama got a few very quickly into his presidency. Most notable is his bowing to foreign dignitaries. The only one acceptable to many of his opponents was his awkward bow to the Japanese emperor (mainly because the bow in Japan functions the same as a handshake in the US, not as a gesture of submission like in the other places he did it). He's also gotten a lot of flack for quite a few golf outings and vacations during pivotal times, most notably being on vacation in Brazil when he committed forces to Libya. One blog has a running list of Obamateurisms to catalog all of these, although the author promises to stop when Obama is out of office, as opposed to the Bushisms.
There also some people who like to point out his full name as Barrack HUSSEIN Obama.
Barack Obama: I got my name, Barack, from my father [...] and I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for president.
Among certain conservatives, Obama will always be remembered as the man who wouldn't admit that the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi were linked to al-Qaeda. (More the fault of the staff he was employing at the time, but the President is easier to blame.)
Also, the numerous bugs of the Obamacare website. Not even a government shutdown could completely cover up that embarrassment.
The NSA spying scandal.note Notably, this program had been around since 2006, and had a surprising amount of bipartisan support in Congress itself
John Hancock, first governor of Massachusetts, second president of the Second Continental Congress, and president when the Declaration of Independence was signed - what image did his name instantly bring to your head? (The reason it was so large is that, him being the President at the time, it was actually a stamp.)
In Germany, JFK will always be remembered for that one phrase: "Ich bin ein Berliner" (and not because everyone understood it as "I am a jelly doughnut").note About this Urban Legend: while a certain type of jelly doughnut is indeed called 'Berliner' in parts of Germany, in Berlin itself they are always called 'Pfannkuchen' (pancakes), and the possibility to accidentally misunderstand the phrase is in any case zero.
French president and World War II hero Charles de Gaulle, known for his infamous "Vive le Québec libre!" (Long live free Quebec), which caused quite a stir between France and Canada and is still remembered today as one huge diplomatic faux-pas and an embarrassment for every Quebecois.
In Britain he is remembered as an Ungrateful Bastard who didn't let Britain join the EEC even after the British provided him with shelter and arms and "liberated his country for him". In fact, France's veto has colored British perceptions of both him and European integration ever since. The fact that De Gaulle actually said "we will stun [the British] with our ingratitude" hasn't helped this portrayal. One British foreign secretary (allegedly), when asked to give a quotation for his obituary, simply replied "turd".
Nicolas Sarkozy (French president from 2007 to 2012) will be always known as the president who yelled "Casse toi, pauv'con!" (Get lost, moron!) to a man who rejected him during an agricultural show. While being filmed.
That was only the icing on the cake, really. During the 2007 campaign, his adversaries had warned that he would be the President of the rich, due to him being close friend with a lot of celebrities and businessmen. So, what does he do right after having been elected? He dines in a fancy Parisian restaurant with his celebrity friends, and then goes on vacation on one of his rich friend's boat.
Then there was the time he posted a picture of himself at the Berlin Wall on Facebook claiming he was there when the Wall fell. French journalists quickly noticed his story didn't add up and came to the conclusion that the picture was taken at least a week later. Cue endless photoshopping.
Mitt Romney has yet to live down a lot of things, including:
Driving around for twelve hours with his miserable dog strapped to the roof of his car because he couldn't put the family vacation on hold.
Calling for Big Bird to be fired. Essentially, Romney blamed public broadcasting networks for the federal deficit, to much horror, as we all know that military contractors on public money alone have ballooned to many times the size of public TV corporations with less justification or accountability.
His "binders full of women" comment. While it had Unfortunate Implications, the context was worse: he was essentially admitting that he became Governor of Massachusetts without giving serious thought to hiring women until they publicly shamed him into doing it, then he wouldn't even go to the trouble of finding qualified women to hire himself (or at least having his team do it).
Admitting that he liked being able to fire people.note The context was a criticism of government-led operations, since you can fire a contractor or company for doing a bad job, but you can't fire the government
His claim, secretly recorded by a hostile waiter during a hard sell to possible campaign donors, that 47% of the voters would choose the Democrats automatically because they enable their victim complex; basically combining racism, sexism, ableism, classism, and homophobia in one awful anvil that could barely have been more obtuse, ahistorical, insensitive or offensive.
For added irony, the final percentage of votes he got during the election was... 47%, in a historic drubbing. And he thought he would win, and was shocked - he believed pollsters who thought that largely race- and neighborhood-based suppression of voters would work better than it did, or have a greater impact.
Repeatedly claiming that Chrysler would transfer Jeep production to China, even after being refuted by the CEO of Chrysler himself.
His flip-flopping on Romneycare/Obamacare.
In Britain he will be remembered as the standard for how BAD a guest can be. Not liking the problem in the lead up to the Olympics? Fair enough... Insulting our patriotism and saying we wouldn't turn out for the Games? Hello to being the focus of hate for the ENTIRE country and Boris Johnson getting a crowd of around 200,000 people to yell out that you're wrong and London is ready. Throw in mentioning a meeting with the head of MI6 (which could be seen as a security breach) and forget the Leader of the Opposition's name (Ed Miliband) amongst other gaffs and the British attitude to Romney can be summed up in The Daily Telegraph's phrase “Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive.”
The accusation that in his school years, Romney and his close friend Matthew Friedemann tackled and held down an effeminate blond-haired man named John Lauber so that Romney could keep cutting off Lauber's hair, allegedly because Romney thought Lauber was a homosexual. And to make this particular example worse, Romney didn't actually deny doing it: instead, he denied rememberingthis specific prank, because according to him he was less serious in his school and played lots of pranks, and he's sorry if he's hurt anyone, but he doesn't remember actually believing Lauber to be a homosexual. (To make it even worse, Friedemann did admit to the incident and expressed remorse for it.)
Despite his incredible legal career, most people know Clarence Thomas from the sexual harassment charges against him.
Good chances are Dominique Strauss-Khan will always be remembered as the random perv who sexually assaulted a maid in a hotel.
These have probably become more common with the advent of sites like YouTube and Twitter, where a single statement can quickly turn viral and turn into a meme:
Mark Sanford will probably never live down "hiking the Appalachian Trail" (his alibi for what he did when he went missing, when he was actually cheating on his wife) now that it's become an Unusual Euphemism for having an illicit affair.
Same for Jon Kyl after his spokespeople said his wildly inaccurate statistics on Planned Parenthood was "not intended to be a factual statement", thanks to Stephen Colbert proposing the #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement hashtag on Twitter.
Ted "The Internet is a Series of Tubes" Stevens.
Herman Cain is probably best known for either "I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie" or "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan".
Even after becoming Vice President, Joe Biden is probably best known for all the times he's put his foot in his mouth. Even Obama's poked fun at him for it.spoiler This particular quip invokes his then-recent adoption of his first dog, "Bo".
President Barack Obama: I've cut the tension by bringing a new friend to the White House. He's warm, he's cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic. You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble. But enough about Joe Biden.
Marco Rubio delivered the Republican Party's rebuttal speech to President Obama's "State of the Union" Address in February 2013, but people are more likely to remember that he awkwardly ducked off-camera for a sip of water after being visibly thirsty than for giving the speech itself. As Jon Stewart put it:
Jon Stewart: Lost in Marco Rubio's State of the Union rebuttal hydration disaster was the fact that the Florida senator actually gave a speech.
What is Pieter Stuyvesant, last governor of New Netherland, best known for? His friendship with the accomplished artist John Farret? His great courage? His diplomatic and administrative talent? Keeping the melting pot of his colony in peace? Introducing new words to the English language? Leaving his mark on New York City's geography? Holding off threats from the Swedes and Amerindians? Getting New Englanders to accept Dutch sovereignty? No, he's best remembered for having a wooden leg.
Most people know Newt Gingrich for his serial infidelity. Either that, or suggesting that poor children go to work to help their families (a case of Values Dissonance, since in previous centuries that's exactly what poor children had to do, though modern listeners generally found it in poor taste to recommend they do so now).
During Clinton's presidency, he had a very hard time dodging a statement where he mentioned in passing that he had to sit in the back of Air Force One. In addition to being the kind of thing an elementary-school kid whines on the school bus, it was also done with particularity poor timing and taste: the incident in question involved himself and Clinton flying to Israel in order to attend the recently assassinated Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin's funeral. Furthermore, he said this in the midst of the 1995 government shutdown over a budget dispute, which made him look like a whiny, tantrum-throwing Man Child who shut down the entire government because he was made to sit in the back of Air Force One.
Pretty safe to say Lamar Smith will forever be remembered as, "that son of a bitch that tried to destroy the internet" due to his major involvement with SOPA, PIPA, and recently, CISPA.
Jesse Jackson is probably still best remembered for referring to New York City as "Hymietown".
And to some people for fathering a kid out of wedlock with his mistress.
Unless you're from the province of Ilocos Norte or an avid supporter of Marcos, everyone in the Philippines would remember the 10th President, Ferdinand Marcos, as the one who declared Martial Law in the late 70's and being involved for massive corruption, political repression, and human rights violations during his administration....and his wife'scollection of thousands of pairs of shoes.
Filipino senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III will still be remember most especially by Filipino netizens for his plagiarism in his speech against the Reproductive Health Bill (which is already a law) and his insertion on provision on libel in the Anti-Cybercrime Law (which is equivalent to SOPA, PIPA and CISPA).
Todd Akin will likely always be remembered for saying, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" when attempting to justify his extreme anti-choice views on abortion. Though even most Republicans won't cosign his horrible statement or politics, he was actually giving voice to a belief spread by tax-deductible Christian fundamentalist organizations, sometimes even in pamphlets, and professed by multiple right-wing figures in less public venues. In other words, they actually 'victim-blame' all pregnant rape survivors.
Any political figure will have an embarrassing moment their detractors love to bring up. Arguably the aim of modern politics is to try to spin innocuous events into these for an opponent.
Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara would always be remember for his controversial statements on the WWII war crimes committed by Japan (such commenting that the Rape of Nanking is "fiction"), his condescending attitudes towards otakus, the anime and manga industry and foreigners and other things such as:
His comment on the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which is a "divine punishment" for what he considers to be Japan's greed and that the victims of this disaster are "pitiful"
His proposal to buy the Senkaku Islands further angered the Chinese and increased the tension between the Chinese and the Japanese governments.
Ishihara's comments were echoed by Toru Hashimoto, going so far as to say that the "comfort women" in WWII should feel proud of having aided Japan.
Also Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone will probably always remembered as the prime minister who said that Japan's success was due to having no minorities and claiming that US low test scores and low economic output was a result of ethnic minorities specifically blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans.
Oliver Cromwell has had his legacy irreparably tainted by his actions in Ireland.
Anthony Weiner will forever be remembered as "that guy who tweeted his junk".
Doubly so for the fact that of all the people on the planet who could have gained infamy for it, it was a guy whose last name is Weiner.
Rick Santorum is probably best known for his "Google Problem". This is in turn a calculated attempt to prevent him from living down comparing gay people to people who have sex with dogs in response to the United States Supreme Court saying that states are not actually allowed to throw gay people in prison for consensual sex with other adults.
Tucker Carlson, to conservative pundits, is a respected thinker. To everybody else, he's "that guy who got utterly destroyed by Jon Stewart, and he wasn't even on The Daily Show".
John Boehner and Ted Cruz (and by extension most of the current lineup of the GOP) will forever be known as "those motherfuckers who shut down the government and almost killed this country". It doesn't help that this caused the Republican Party to get their lowest approval ratings in history.
Tony Blair had one of the greatest opening runs of any Prime Minister of the UK in recent memory - amongst other things, he was instrumental in the ending of the seemingly endless war in Northern Ireland, he introduced a national minimum wage when it was legal to pay waitresses £1.50 an hour (roughly $2.50), made the Bank of England independant - contributing in no small part to a late-nineties housing bubble -, started a decade-long rebuilding program for schools and hospitals and did more for gay rights than any other PM in history. Not to mention, he and his party, Labour, also had the goodwill of a nation feeling disgruntled and bitter after nearly two decades of rule by their main rivals, the Conservative Party, seeing him as a breath of fresh air and a welcome change. Then the War on Terrorism happened, and now Blair will probably only be remembered for his full support of George W. Bush and the dragging of the UK into two deeply unpopular wars on (it turned out) false pretenses.
Unless he's remembered for being questioned during the Cash for Honours scandal, approving the cack-brained "naming" scheme that indirectly led to the suicide of David Kelly, shifting the Labour Party so far to the right they were hard to tell apart from their rivals...
Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, will probably be best remembered for first denying, and then after evidence piled up, admitting that he might have smoked some crack in one of his drunken stupors (his words). It's hard to say at this point how long this will stick to the city as a whole.
It's gotten to the point that the media shorthand for referring to him is "Toronto's crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford". Comparing his powers being strippednote Apparently, he can't actually be forced out of office - the most the city council could do is strip him of his executive powers to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait didn't help matters.
Entertainers in general are commonly associated with giving their children bizarre names after names like Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, and Moxie Crimefighter.
Joss Whedon's Firefly was set in a hybrid Chinese-American culture, yet none of the leads or speaking roles are ostensibly Asian. To this day, there is still Internet Backdraft around whether it's a simple accident due to being constantly Screwed by the Network, or an exhibition of a mentality that thinks of Asian culture as nothing more than window-dressing. For some of the worse detractors, they will claim that Joss "never" has any Asians in lead or speaking roles. Apparently Dollhouse doesn't count.
Firefly being canceled after a single season led people to believe that everything Joss touched was doomed to fail, and there were petitions to save Dollhouse before it even aired. Before Firefly, Joss had Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which ran 7 seasons, and was brought back after two series finales in season 3 and 5, and Angel, which ran five seasons. Despite its poor reviews and numbers, Dollhouse was allowed to return for a second season and a proper series finale. Yet people still act like Joss's series never make it past the first season.
Perhaps Whedon's reputation, as of 2012, has been avenged—using cold, hard box office cash.
Though he gets a lot of flak for other things he did during his involvement with Star Trek, Brannon Braga claimed in a Voyager DVD commentary that fans will never let him never live down the fact that he wrote the notorious episode "Threshold":
Braga: People are very unforgiving about that episode. I've written well over a hundred episodes of Star Trek, yet it seems to be the only episode anyone brings up, you know? "Brannon Braga, who wrote Threshold!"
Mark A. Hicks, professional Hollywood stuntman. How is he best remembered by the Internet public? As Chris Tucker's body double for the first two Rush Hour movies, netting several awards in the process? As the man who's done dangerous work in everything from Coyote Ugly to Serenity? Not likely. He is best known for flubbing a flip during an audition for a Nike ad. After which he got the part. Seriously.
Sally Field is one of America's most famous actresses, with a string of iconic roles (as well as two Oscars and three Emmys) under her belt. But what does the layperson remember her for? Gidget? The Flying Nun? Sybil? Norma Rae? Nora Walker? Even Robin Williams' ex in Mrs. Doubtfire? Nope - her 1985 Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech for Places in The Heart: BKA, "You like me! You really like me!" (P.S. How many people have actually seen Places in the Heart?)
Mel Gibson was once known as a hunky jokester, action star, and surprisingly successful film director. Then he made The Passion of the Christ and began airing his staunchly conservative Catholic beliefs. Then he got arrested for drunk driving while making racist and sexist comments. For years he was mocked by the media, until the joke got a little old. He had almost lived it down when he was recorded by his ex-girlfriend making misogynistic and racist remarks, re-igniting the flames and basically ensuring that he'll never be able to show his face in polite society again. And just when things couldn't get any worse, you've got his father's traditionalist (read: even more staunchly conservative) Catholic beliefs brought to light, including conspiracy theories and Antisemitic ramblings. He just doesn't seem to take a break, does he?
In April 2012 the son of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas taped Gibson spewing yet another profanity-laced rant. Some are calling said rant the final nail in the coffin of Gibson's career.
According to his biographer, Peter Lorre spent the majority of his film career trying to escape being typecast as a villain, and ultimately didn't succeed. Many of the roles he took specifically to counteract his first major role as a child-killer in M were either forgotten, downplayed by the studios, or made things even worse.
Things have gotten a little better for him, since these days most people first encounter him as children, watching him play Conseil in Disney's adaptation of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
And the numerousexpies in various old, (with Genie) and new cartoons have all cast him in a different light from his breakout role. His distinctive look and voice are pretty unmistakable.
Woody Allen: Director, actor, screenwriter, comedian, playwright, musician, writer... but what really comes to mind when he's mentioned today? Marrying the adopted daughter of his now ex-lover Mia Farrow, after serving as her father figure since she was seven (they married when she was 22 and he was 56). One of Farrow and Allen's biological children still hasn't forgiven him for this. On top of the relationship issue has been the rapidly declining quality of Allen's films, so the only thing many younger filmgoers know him for is the marriage to Soon Yi and not the era in which his films were landmark events.
The decline in quality is debatable, as Midnight in Paris got great reviews and won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Al Michaels has been one of the more respected sports commentators today, with a lengthy career at ABC Sports before being moved to NBC, where he remains today. He will forever be known as the guy that Disney (which owns ABC as well as ESPN) traded to NBC/Universal in exchange for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Orson Welles is considered to be one of the best filmmakers of all time. In popular culture, he's more well known for Citizen Kane and for his later life in which he was obese and did commercials about frozen peas.
Some best remember him for the infamous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds that caused people to panic when they mistook it for genuine news coverage of a Martian invasion.
Kevin Smith is one of the most influential filmmakers of The Nineties. However, he suffered from an incident where he claimed that an airline was discriminating against him because he was fat.
Sir Alec Guinness expressed great irritation that he only seemed to be remembered for that one role he didn't really like in the first place and he did because he needed the money, and once flipped out at a Loony Fan who wouldn't stop pestering him. He was bitter about this to the end of his life... and naturally, every obituary for him focused more on his role in Star Wars than anything else.
Speaking of Home Alone, a similar fate befell Macaulay Culkin and to most people today, he's nothing more than "the Home Alone kid". But if that wasn't enough, he could also be known as the guy Mila Kunis dumped.
His father, Kit Culkin, also never lived down being an overbearing stage dad, to the point that Macaulay couldn't get any acting jobs in his teens because directors didn't want to put up with Kit, and eventually estranged himself from the man.note Also an interesting note in that it ties back to Chris Columbus: for the above two Harry Potter films, he specifically interviewed the parents of the potential child actors and turned down any of them who seemed like they would have been as bad as Kit Culkin had been.
Kanye West may be a very talented rapper, but he became most known by non-fans as "that guy who said George Bush doesn't care about black people." Several years' worth of parodies, spoofs, and (to Kanye, at least) agreement with this comment by the general public likely led him to think he could pull a similar stunt and escape unscathed. Now he's known as the guy who's gonna let you finish, butJean Grey had the best Never Live It Down moment of all time. So at least he lived down the first one...
They're still cracking jokes about Michael Fish (British weather presenter, now semi-retired) from that one time over twenty years ago that he refused to accept the Great Storm of '87 was happening, even as it was happening.
According to some of her co-workers, at least one Deadwood bit player regularly gets recognized on the street as "Dolly the blow-job whore."
Speaking of the cast of Deadwood good luck finding any references to Jeffrey Jones on the internet that don't mention his getting in trouble for taking some inappropriate pictures of a fourteen year old boy.
Alexandra Paul is known as "the virgin Connie Swail" in the film version of Dragnet rather than her other roles in the Stephen King adaptation of Christine and as one of the main female lifeguards on Baywatch.
Michael Richards was Kramer, but beyond that he's only known for the Laugh Factory incident where he responded to heckling with a barrage of racist comments, including a nostalgic reference to lynching.
Never mind the multipleiconictelevision series he was a part of or his acclaimed stand-up comedy performances... the one aspect of Bill Cosby's career that's guaranteed to show up in any parody of the man is those Jell-O Pudding commercials he did. Of course, Bill probably doesn't mind this so much, since it means that Leonard Part 6 is being left alone.
Also, parodies of the actual Cosby Show seem to consist mostly of Bill running around, screaming his kids' names in funny ways while wearing a garish sweater.
Many Vietnam veterans have never forgiven Jane Fonda for supporting North Vietnam and being photographed sitting on a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun during her 1972 visit to Hanoi - she's been stuck with the "Hanoi Jane" label ever since that visit.
Ironically, the AA gun incident has obscured her comments that the POW's in the Hanoi Hilton were being well-treated, and then referring to liberated POW's as "hypocrites and liars" when they claimed to have been systematically tortured.
A newspaper writer wrote an article covering her 1961 concerts at Carnegie Hall, disparagingly noting how enthusiastic the gay section of the audience took to Judy's performance and how they identified with Garland's breakdowns and comebacks. It was also documented (though reports vary) at the time of her death that the gay community used Garland's death as a catalyst for empowerment to take up the Gay Rights Movement after the Stonewall uprising; the "rainbow" symbolism the gays adopted was allegedly a shoutout to Garland's Signature Song, "Over The Rainbow". Since then, a love for Judy Garland's music and movies has been taken, irreversibly, as Hollywood shorthand that one may be a "Friend Of Dorothy", fairly/accurately or not. Garland herself, though flattered by this, commented about the phenomenon in an interview by stating, "I sing to people".
Chloe Sevigny is still associated with her unsimulated fellatio scene from The Brown Bunny, to her annoyance. While she had no regrets or issues with doing it, her ire comes from the fact it's still brought up to this day; she left an interview with The View when one of the hosts made a crack about it.
Dan Didio and Joe Quesada, heads of DC Comics and Marvel Comics respectively, have very similar moments. Didio has the Coutdown to Final Crisis series and his claim that it was "52 done right," while Quesada has One More Day and him saying he did it because a married Spider-Man is equal to him growing old and dying. In Didio's case, he did make his statement before the backlash for Countdown began, and DC's writers/editors have admitted its failure by shoving it into Canon Discontinuity. But many DC fans still insist Didio's even worse than Quesada, even though Quesada refuses to retcon OMD and insists the millions angered by it simply "don't get Spider-Man."
Writer Adam Beechen did some major work on the animated Teen Titans series, as well as The Batman. Ask the average comic reader who he is, and the most likely response is "The guy who ruined Cass."
Writer Ken Penders has written a number of stories and created many many characters, especially for Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Nowadays, he's remembered as the guy who took them away because he wanted to make his own stories.
Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) is an animal-rights advocate and a passionate toy collector, and was one of the greatest children's stars of the eighties. But you never hear anyone talking about those when his name comes up. Instead, he's just the skanky dude who was Caught With His Pants Down by the police in a porn theater in Sarasota, Florida in 1991. It took the better part of a decade for Reubens and Pee-Wee to be respected again.
The Sarasota police themselves had to live the arrest down as it exposed how they were pursuing "morality crimes" while murders were up in the city (The chief admitted he only sent the officers to the theater so they weren't just sitting around the precinct watching TV).
James Hellwig was a professional wrestler who worked for WWE about 20 years ago. He was known as "The Ultimate Warrior", and was so adored by fans that he rivaled freaking Hulk Hogan in popularity! So it's too bad that he felt compelled to tarnish that legacy by uttering a homophobic remark at the University of Connecticut while making the rounds as a political speaker. At some point along the line, he apparently went completely insane.
There's not that much "went" involved. Most of the stuff said about his backstage behavior tends to indicate he was already nuts at his peak.
Anna Nicole Smith: Playboy Magazine's Miss May 1992. ("Yawn.") Playmate of the Year, 1993. ("Meh.") Official spokesmodel for Guess Jeans. ("Who?") Star of To The Limit and Skyscraper. ("Have no idea who you're talking about.") Married a man four times her age and fought her two stepsons for the right to his estate. ("Ah! Now I know who you mean!")
Neil LaBute was once an acclaimed director of indie comedies (such as In The Company Of Men, Nurse Betty and Your Friends & Neighbors) who had a major shot of hitting the big time. He also helped give Aaron Eckhart (Two-Face from The Dark Knight) his start in Hollywood. Then he did the remake of The Wicker Man, a film that pretty much ended his rise. Since then, he's mostly been a for-hire director in projects such as the Death at a Funeral remake.
LaBute purportedly makes crappy Hollywood films to finance his more more edgy works in theater, where he got his start... and where he has his own Never Live It Down, as he's most infamous for stories in which characters are gratuitously and viciously cruel to each other. (If you think "In the Company of Men" is harsh, check out "Fat Pig". It's not exactly the feel-good romance of the summer.)
Actually, his Never Live It Down in theater is "Bash", which is a trio of one-acts about Mormons killing their children for spiteful reasons and beating gay men to death. The LDS was outraged that he'd depict Mormons doing such horrible things and excommunicated him. Meanwhile, the theater community hit the roof because a lot of people thought LaBute was for vigilante murders of homosexuals. Both sides somehow managed to miss the references to Greek tragedies LaBute had signposted all over the place.
Larry King and Elizabeth Taylor. One's a legendary interviewer, the other's a legendary actress. But they're both connected in the public eye as the most egregious examples of "serial monogamy": Both have been married seven times (never to each other, by the way).
On a more positive note, many people now remember Elizabeth Taylor more for her AIDS activism than for her film career or her marriages.
Zsa Zsa Gabor. Various TV appearances and a glamourous image? Not too close. Slapping a policeman and nine marriages? Right on the money!
He also has yet to live down making a Smug Snake critic character who gets horribly killed, as well as casting himself as a writer so good his work will cause humanity to enter a golden age, in Lady in the Water. And mind you, this was after a grand total of one film the critics didn't like.
Or else they will point to her allegedly giving Paul and Linda Mc Cartney a gift of cannabis resin when they stopped over in New York on the way to a tour in Japan. Alarmed that John and Paul had seemingly patched up their differences and were considering recording together again, she then allegedly rang up her brother, a senior officer in Japanese airport customs, and tipped him off to really search their bags. The Mc Cartneys spent a few uncomfortable days in a Japanese prison cell and any hope of a Beatles reunion - and a diminishing of Yoko's influence over John - was scuppered. Allegedly.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews is the host of discussion show "Hardball", but falls into this trope for infamously stating that Barack Obama gave him a "thrill up his leg" during the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination primaries.
Bill O'Reilly will never live down the debate gaffe he made on air, in which when trying to argue that his guest couldn't explain God, he made the infamous quote "Tides go in, tides go out, you can't explain that." note Because you obviously can explain that. Making his statement seem like an argument against himself It's become memetic on the internet.
"WE'LL DO IT LIVE!"
Soupy Sales and "little green pictures of George Washington".
The only thing people seem to remember from Chris Rock's HBO special Bring the Pain is... yup you guessed it, Niggas vs. Black People.
Jonathan Ross has been a broadcaster on British television and radio for the past twenty years and has produced material ranging from film review shows to highly successful chat shows as well as providing the launch pad for the likes of Steve Coogan. He is also a tremendous comic-book fan and has interviewed legends such as Stan Lee. However, to the Daily Mail and a lot of other people (not all of whom are narrow-minded BBC-bashers), he will always be known as 'one of the idiots who left a rude message on Manuel's answerphone.'
James Franco and his performance at the 2011 Academy Awards. Whether it was he being high during the ceremony or him simply being uninterested (some reports claimed that he wanted out due to a busy schedule but ABC and AMPAS refused to release him), he was singled out for everything that went wrong during the ceremony and his appearance was potentially a Star-Derailing Role.
Kirk Cameron has yet to live down trying to disprove evolution using bananas and Insane Troll Logic.
To his co-workers Tory Belleci will always be "the guy who (rather unsuccessfully) tried to jump a bike over a little red wagon." In fact, the only reason he did it in the first place was because Kari and Scottie insisted that he was able to clear it after he tried a few bunny hops ("Let's egg him on until he hurts himself"), not expecting that he actually would hurt himself. To their credit, they've all been very good sports about the whole thing.
Cat Stevens' highly successful musical career has been completely overshadowed by his conversion to Islam, which included being quoted as supporting the fatwa against Salman Rushdie (he's said that the quote was taken out of context, but still refuses to actually condemn the fatwa).
Not to mention his enthusiastic endorsement of the 9/11 attacks. Way to ride that Peace Train, Cat!
After a long movie shoot for So Undercover in New Orleans, Miley Cyrus and her friends have a goofy late night on the town. Miley curiously picks up a mysterious bottle off the street, sniffs it and giggles, and someone else obviously films the event on their smartphone. It turns out to be a bong of salvia (a legal substance, not to be confused with cannabis sativa, and not likely one Miley knew about when she picked up the object), and the video gets in the hands of TMZ, who make a major scandal of it in the media. Cue stories of Miley being a drug addict, etc. during an already controversial period in her life, at least by her already vicious hatedom. The video becomes infamous on YouTube, even though she apologizes for it later. What such a substance was doing in the middle of a New Orleans street anyway is never discussed.
Probably because it's New Orleans. We're quite used to strange things in the middle of our streets.
Her appearance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, where she came out of a giant teddy bear in a skimpy bear outfit with pigtails and tongue sticking out, performed her recent single "We Can't Stop", then twerked suggestively behind singer Robin Thicke during his performance stripped down to nude-colored underwear. Miley claims she was looking to do something outrageous and lighthearted in the spirit of the awards show, get people talking and have fun, and felt that those who backlashed against her were "over thinking" about her performance.
The single Sienna Miller and the married father of four Balthazar Getty's very public, very shameless, and very sleazy affair. Said affair cost Getty his role on the series Brothers and Sisters. Sienna Miller's whining to press about how everyone is so meeeaaaan to poor little her when she was called out on her behaviour didn't exactly endear her to the masses either (Perez Hilton gave her the less-than-charming nickname of Sluttyienna) Miller then tried save her reputation by making herself over as the new queen of charity work, even going so far as to make a laughably obvious self-serving trip to Congo. It didn't work.
It doesn't help that at the time her affair with Getty got out, she was still trying to live down the eerily similar affair she had with Jude Law. He only managed to live it down after a string of high-profile film hits, including Sherlock Holmes.
Despite his lengthy career, Dick Van Dyke still can't get over his awful attempt at an English/Cockney accent in Mary Poppins, even though he also played Mr. Dawes, Sr. so convincingly that the audience doesn't know it's him till the end credits.
Tom Wilson would like you to know that he's still an active comedian and musician, and would like to put his role as Biff in Back to the Future behind him. To avoid answering the same questions about the movie, he's made a song and a small card about his experience.
What? The guy who played "Maniac" in the Wing Commander games was in Back to the Future?
Terrence "Baby Wipes" Howard earned his nickname after a Squicktastic interview in which he detailed the way he preferred women to clean themselves after using the bathroom.
Between Punk'd and Michael Kelso, Ashton Kutcher has had a hard time shaking off the image the public has of him as a loud, obnoxious idiot. An image that for a time, movie executives were more than happy to appeal to. Being called out by a girl he slept with in Vegas (and subsequently torpedoing his marriage to Demi Moore in the process) probably didn't win him favors either.
Barbara Walters asking Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be. This doesn't even really make sense. If you watch the actual interview, you'll see Hepburn was the one to bring up the idea that she was a tree, Walters followed it up by asking her what kind, and Hepburn answered without any apparent sign of annoyance (her answer was oak, by the way). Somehow, Walters ended up spending the next thirty years being mocked for asking such a silly question.
Well, that and the SNL spoof with "Baba Wawa", lampooning a case of Elmuh Fudd Syndwome Walters had early in her career.
Michael Machell's 2008 audition on Britain's got Talent was to play a Techno Version of Star Wars which was so unspeakably awful that Simon Cowell pressed all three judgement buzzers just to put a stop to the dreadful cacophony. And to make things worse, Amanda and Piers let Machell get into the semi-finals just to piss Cowell off by letting him play the cacophony again all the way from start to finish... while inside a tacky silver plastic saucer with flashing strobe lights. In the end, Michael Machell (with the help of Amanda and Piers) ended up crucifying himself in front of the whole world as a deluded, near-sighted, old prune that can't even play a musical instrument to save his life.
The trio known as Blue Velvet sang a minute-long cacophony of chaos that was so unbearable that not even the devil himself could bear to hear it for even a few seconds. The deal was sealed (translation: grave was dug) even deeper when they debunked the performance on their myspace page.
In a 1995 episode of Saturday Night Live, David Spade, as part of his "Hollywood Minute" segment in "Weekend Update", made a brutal Take That at former SNL star Eddie Murphy's (then-)lackluster career as he said "Look, kids, a falling star! Make a wish!". This made Murphy so mad that he called SNL's producers about it. To this day, Murphy still hasn't forgiven Spade.
Janet Jackson will only be remembered for her "wardrobe malfunction", an event at a Super Bowl where Justin Timberlake pulled a move on her on stage and he accidentally ripped her outfit's top off, exposing most of her breast to everyone on live national television. Now whenever a celebrity has their clothes come off or they trip on them, it's always called a wardrobe malfunction.
While Britney Spears' career has rebounded, chances are she will still be remembered by many for shaving her head for no apparent reason.
Lindsey Lohan, an actress, singer, and model, was at the top of her game until she started spiraling out of control with DUI, drug charges, theft of jewelry, and allegedly attacking a woman at a bar. Ask anyone on the street if they know who Lindsey Lohan is and they will likely tell you about her crimes rather than her career.
Jenny McCarthy will be forever remembered as the face of the anti-vaccination movement.
Almost twenty years later, people still give Jay Leno crap for the "dancing Itos" bit on The Tonight Show (when they aren't trashing him for his pedestrian humor or supposedly screwing Conan O'Brien out of a job).
Up until May 2011 Doug Hutchison was regarded as a respectable character actor. Then the 50-year-old actor married the ridiculously trampy 16-year-old no-talent airhead Courtney Stodden. Hutchison's agent dropped him, his family disowned him, and he hasn't had an acting role since. Nowadays Hutchison makes the news when his darling wife causes an uproar by dressing like a cheap hooker everywhere she goes and slumming on Vh1's Couple's Therapy.
This also applies to just about every country formerly part of or associated with the Axis Powers. Given how they can still inspire heated arguements and flame wars today, it's not exactly a good idea to bring the idea up too casually.
Within France, you have the descendants of Vendée, who simply won't forget the fact that their cause was lost in the French Revolution and their subsequent rebellion. Even the admiration and respect given them by Napoleon Bonaparte doesn't stop their rather persistent "defiance" to the Republic.
Those who claim France didn't put up a fight forget that during World War One France lost nearly 5% of its population doing exactly that.note France incurred 1.4 million military and civilian casualties during World War I, the second-highest of any Allied country and third-highest overall. Only Russia and Germany took heavier casualties, with much larger populations to absorb them, so proportionately their losses were smaller. France was still recovering when Germany came rolling over the border in 1940.
While we're at it, the French government's declaration that Chernobyl's radioactive cloud was somehow magically stopped at the French border still draws a lot of snark. Even though the sentence is a legend.
"Why close the airports? We all know the cloud will stop at the border as usual." — Public reaction to the 2010 Icelandic ash cloud approaching French airspace.
White South Africans and Apartheid.
And for anyone who thinks that's justified, remember that there were quite a few white South Africans who opposed apartheid. And wrote passionately against it.
Apartheid in general. It's been joked that you can sum up South Africa's fiction as "Here's why Apartheid sucked."
Henry VIII is sometimes thought of as an adultering pimp having executed all six of his wives - this happened to just two (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard). Two of the marriages Henry had annulled, another wife died in childbirth, and the last one outlived him. There's a handy mnemonic for this: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. Still, seeing as the average person kills zero spouses in their life time it's easy to see why it's become so notable.
To the man on the street, Napoleon Bonaparte is not recalled for being a Magnificent Bastard, a military genius, for rising from very little to become the most powerful man in the world before he was thirty-five, or for establishing the Napoleonic Code. To the public at large, he's simply that short guy. In reality, he wasn't even short. That idea was mostly spread by British propaganda, confusion with unit measurements, and the fact that he surrounded himself with huge bodyguards that would make most people look short in comparison.
What makes this even more ironic is that most people think Schrödinger proposed his famous thought experiment in order to highlight how wonderfully weird the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is. When, in fact, he proposed it in order to prove the Copenhagen interpretation wrong. That the cat is simultaneous alive and dead was meant to show how utterly insane the Copenhagen interpretation was, not to show deep physical insight.
Catherine The Great was an Enlightened Despot who reformed Russia, planned a coup to dethrone her husband, lead Russia into two successful wars against the Ottomans, and brought Russia into a more important role in European politics. What is she most famous for? The myth that she died while having sex with a stallion when it fell upon her. While she was known for her love life (notably with younger men), this myth is completely untrue since she died from a stroke. However, the myth manages to live on due to the fact its more exciting than what really happened, and is usually referenced in pop-cultural depictions of her.
Samuel Adams: A great patriot during The American Revolution, one of the Founding Fathers, was largely responsible for the Boston Tea Party. What's he remembered for? Beer. He wasn't even a brewer; he was technically a maltster.
Ethan Allen gets it even worse, though. Revolutionary War guerilla hero who, among other things, captured Fort Ticonderoga. If you mention his name today, most people will think only of the furniture company that was founded some 143 years after his death. Ethan Allen himself wasn't even a carpenter.
Similarly, Brazillian dancer and artist Deborah Colker has gotten this from Cirque fans over Theatre/OVO, which she directed and choreographed, claiming her lack of vision ruins not just the show but Cirque as a whole.
Paris Hilton, before sex tape: obscure party-hopping heiress. After sex tape: slut. There's also the famous "Wal-mart" quote. Paris later claimed she was joking at the time. And the Hardee's commercial. That's about it, really.
Cirque du Soleil fans will also never let her live down the time she and her sister Nikki ran up to someone in line for the premiere of The Beatles LOVE, and asked Jeff, the creator of the Cirque Tribune (the fan site), if the line was for "Circus Olay".
Robert Ballard has admitted in interviews that his tombstone will state that he discovered the wreck of the Titanic, even though he's more proud of some of his other discoveries.
Everyone who hears the name "Fredric Wertham" thinks only of Seduction of the Innocent, The Comics Code, and The Silver Age of Comic Books, while his work on racial segregation is largely forgotten. Also, Seduction of the Innocent wasn't in favour of censorship; it was just a call for some type of rating system, similar to how movies are rated. The comic book industry overreacted and created what amounted to a "rating system" where the only rating was PG. Though in all fairness, many of Wertham's criticisms of superhero comics were uninformed.
Lizzie Borden was actually acquitted of axing her father and stepmother to death. Of course, she wouldn't be famous at all if it weren't for the rhyme.
Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her father 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her mother 41.
It is doubtful whether William Archibald Spooner actually made most of the 'spoonerisms' attributed to him, nevertheless people believed he did even in his own lifetime much to his dismay. (He once told a crowd who asked him to make a speech "You don't want me to make a speech, you just want to hear one of those things!")
King Henry II of England. A great legislator and soldier-king who built an empire and gave it the rule of law, brought trial by jury to English Common Law (the basis of the legal systems of a hefty chunk of the planet, including America), built up the economy and brought an end to 20 years of brutal civil war, but you have onetroublesome archbishop brutally murdered in his own cathedral...
Niccolò Machiavelli was a strong supporter of republicanism and was even ambassador to France before the Medici regained power. But the only thing people remember about him is "The end justifies the means" and "It is better to be feared than to be loved," even though these lines were most probably written in a Stealth Parody.
Historically speaking, The Prince could aptly be subtitled "The game sucks and we all know it, but if one must play, this is how to win". What's more, the former line is actually a mistranslation; the original line actually cautioned against using the wrong means to achieve an end.
Richard Dawkins wrote some of the most popular and extensively-quoted books on evolutionary biology. These days, everybody knows him as the guy who wrote "The God Delusion" and is widely believed to be a frothing militant atheist who hates God, despite the fact that he does not advocate violence or force of any kind. He also gave us the term "meme".
Dawkins commonly makes the point that it is impossible to say with total certainty that there is no god (because outside of pure mathematics it's impossible to conclusively prove that anything doesn't exist). No matter how many times he says this, each restatement of the principle is quickly followed by journalists acting shocked at this softening of his views.
That article contains a hilarious excerpt:
The Times: Instead [of a shouting match], the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ardent atheist engaged in what can only be described as a perfectly civilised debate.
To Doctor Who fans, Richard Dawkins is known for two things: Being married to Lalla Ward (one of the series' stars and the ex-wife of Tom Baker) and an interview in the show's official magazine where someone mentioned the war:
Dawkins: Does it annoy religious people?
Interviewer: I expect it annoys some of them...
Dawkins: That's good.
Formerly known for being disabled and for being a synonym for uber-genius, Stephen Hawking is probably best known for his robot voice.
Cammie Dunaway, leader of marketing for Nintendo, was practically unheard of until E3 2008 where she made an appearance and got rather "excited" about the casual games they were showcasing while being bad at the games and making some instant meme phrases. This made her instantly hated by Nintendo fans since they saw her as the worst incarnation of a casual gamer and feared Nintendo would go further in this direction. She got better in E3 2009, but people still have not forgiven her. Luckily, she has left Nintendo.
NoA President Reggie Fils-Aime still seems to have a difficult time getting over the crowd reaction that occurred at their 2007 E3 press conference. If not entirely for the meme-tastic "My body is ready" quote, than for the laughter from the crowd as he tried out what was widely derided (at the time) as a kid's toy. At their 2012 E3 presentation, Fils-Aime specifically called out the people who laughed when he first debuted the system.
Peter Paul Rubens is a famous Baroque painter with many pieces of art of fully-clothed men and women. However, his name has become synonymous with full-figured women, whom he loved to use as nude models for his later works.
Despite being the 1991 United States Figure Skating Champion and carrying an underdog life story that might otherwise be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, Tonya Harding is most associated with the infamous attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan by her husband and another man - an action in whose planning she may not have had any part at all. Go ahead, try to think of one media portrayal of her (entertainment or otherwise) in the past decade and a half that doesn't have her as a bullying Jerkass, or a Dirty Coward, or a walking panoply of all the worst stereotypes of the Deep South (despite the fact that she was born in Oregon). The worst misrepresentations have her directly ordering the attack, Mafioso-style.
The fact that she admitted to helping cover up the incident, pled guilty in court to "conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers" (receiving three years probation, 500 hours of community service and a $160,000 fine), and was described as displaying "a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior" by the United States Figure Skating Association after an investigation all probably didn't help.
Henry Ford may have created the U.S. auto industry by applying mass production techniques to cars, but these days he's probably more likely to be remembered for his anti-semitism, or his hatred of cows.
Saint Peter. Despite everything else in his life, and despite being a saint and dying as a martyr, is mostly known for lacking faith and denying Jesus. (Unless you're Catholic; the first thing that pops into your head may be "Pope". But aside from the "keys of heaven" and the inverted cross, traditional iconography still links him with the cock that crowed at his denial.)
Saint Thomas. The only apostle of Jesus known to preach the word outside of the Roman empire (he headed for India). Only witness of the assumption of Mary into heaven. Purported author of the most controversial non-canon Gospels. Still best known for the whole "Doubting" thing.
Judas Iscariot. All the stuff he must have done as one of Jesus' disciples before his Face-Heel Turn (like preaching in pairs) is all but glossed over and people remember him best for his betrayal. The name Judas itself has never lived him down, becoming synonymous with traitor. In English Bible translations, the other Judas among the twelve apostles thus has his name rendered "Jude" while their names are identical in the Greek manuscripts.
Made all the worse by the fact that his actions were actually needed so as to fulfill what was God's plan. Patron Saints of Thankless Tasks, perhaps?
Though that is highly YMMV, mainly along the lines of "Jesus had to die, but Judas didn't have to be the one to get him killed."
Likewise, Liu Shan will always be remembered as the guy who destroyed Shu. Despite the fact that there were others who were responsible for Shu's downfall.
Actually those accomplishments are heavily exaggerated due to his somewhat iconic status with the Dynasty Warriors' series. Historically, he was not a particularly good leader, having lost the vast majority of his campaigns, including one where he was outsmarted by Lu Bu.
Milan Matulović, chess grandmaster since 1965 and one of the best Yugoslav players in the world in the 60s and 70s, once tried to take a poor move back using "j'adoube" (French for I adjust, in the sense of, "Hey, look, I'm not doing anything crazy, just adjusting this piece here, it wasn't on the center of the square.") and later won the match because the arbiter didn't see it then. He is now known as J'adoubovic.
Baseball player Fred Merkle is to this day known as "Bonehead" for an error that cost the New York Giants the 1908 pennant. While running to second base, Merkle saw the run that would win the game cross home, and headed to the dugout to celebrate, allowing the Cubs' second baseman Johnny Evers to nullify the run by forcing him out. What's not as well-known is that this was common practice at the time as the rule against it had never been enforced; it was just Merkle's bad luck that Evers was an expert on the official baseball rules.
Pat O'Brien covered the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, US Open tennis tournament, NCAA Men's basketball tournament, and Winter Olympics just to name a few for CBS during the 1980s and 1990s. He later transitioned himself into being an infotainment host for Access Hollywood and The Insider. Yet, these days, Pat O'Brien is probably more (in)famous for his creepily obscene drunken voice-mail messages.
As a young police captain in Toronto, William "Bill" Blair had a reputation for truly understanding community needs, building long-term friendships and making a difference in the city (through his work in drug enforcement, organized crime and major criminal investigations). In fact, his tenure as chief has been one of the most successful (he became the President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, was appointed an officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, and held some of the highest approval ratings for any Toronto police chief in many years). However, since the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests, he has been accused by the public of being a thug that detained more than 1,000 innocent civilians, mismanaged police resources and misrepresented the orders he was given by the Ontario government. Never mind that Black Bloc protestors from the U.S. had clearly decided to raise as much hell as they could in the city, never mind that officers underestimated the violence that would erupt (police cars were smashed and set on fire, stores were looted and officers were injured) and never mind that orders were muddled (both from the government to the chief and to the off-duty officers hired to police the summit). Blair admitted regret that he had misinterpreted government regulations at face value, but to some, he exemplifies everything wrong with police officers as a whole.
As of 2013, he may be better known for his association with mayor Rob Ford, and his perceived willingness to protect Ford from his scandals before further evidence came to light.
William Shockley was the inventor of the transistor, the foundation of the miniaturization of electronics and the subsequent computer revolution. Yet near the end of his life Shockley became a laughingstock and a pariah due to his dedication to what he considered his real life's work: eugenics.
Alan Turing is mostly remembered for being a homosexual scientist who killed himself with a poisoned apple. Of his actual scientific career, only Turing Test is somewhat common knowledge.
Nikola Tesla, sometimes called "the man who invented the modern world". Just about any modern appliance that uses electricity requires the use of a device that was invented by him, or is an adaptation of a Tesla design. What's he remembered the most for? "Inventing" the Death Ray, or other such fanciful weapons of mass destruction. In fact, modern interpretations of him tend to Flanderise into a Mad Scientist, despite the many, many legitimate contributions he made to the utilization of electricity.
His name is slowly becoming redeemed however with many articles and people on the internet arguing for his place among some of the greatest inventors of the time, comparable to (and some consider him far beyond) Thomas Edison.
People involved in high profile cases will always fall under this. The most well known person from this example is OJ Simpson, who had all charges against him for his wife's murder dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence. Even though the courts found Simpson not guilty, the rest of the country considers him guilty and won't let him forget it.
Similarly, Casey Anthony was accused of murdering her 3 year old daughter and was portrayed as a party mom that left her daughter at home. She was found not guilty and quickly went under the radar afterwards while serving her time in probation. Most of the nation sees Casey Anthony as guilty and she has even received death threats. The woman will never go a day without being reminded what happened to her daughter.
And now we can add George Zimmerman to the list.
In both the Anthony and Zimmerman cases, juror's have come forward and stated that they were certain of guilt, but poor performance by the prosecutors led to them feeling "forced" to acquit.
George Armstrong Custer is mostly remembered for his defeat at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Everyone though that Custer was a pompous inept commander, and few people acknowledged the fact that he was really a competent leader; Custer pulled a Big Damn Heroes move at the Battle of Gettysburg that ensured the Unions victory.
An urban myth states that Walt Disney was an anti-Semite. While not actually true, the myth lives on thanks to references in shows like Family Guy and Saturday Night Live. Of course, since the Walt Disney Company is such a massive target and easy to resent, this might say more about professional envy and cultural insecurities than anything else.
Naomi Campbell says she's tired of hearing about her phone-throwing incident from 2007.
Ghyslain Raza, who recorded himself swinging a broom around like a lightsaber (with special effects added in) will always be known as "the Star Wars kid", thanks to his friends posting the video online.
Thanks to Seinfeld, Al Yeganeh will forever be known as "the Soup Nazi".
Francis Galton, the father of statistics, will always be remembered for his work in eugenics.
Sylvia Plath was one of the leading poets of the 20th Century, but today she's best known for having stuck her head in the oven.
Rush Limbaugh will have a very hard time moving past calling Sandra Fluke a "slut".
There are a lot of things about Donald Trump nobody's likely to forget anytime soon:
The failure of Trump Shuttle.
Managing to bankrupt a casino.
Screaming "you're fired"!
A surreal feud with Rosie O'Donnell
Being the face of the birther movement.
His messy divorces
Trying to demolish a Scottish town to build a golf course.
And, of course, his bizarre hairdo.
There are a large number of people best known for disappearing mysteriously.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Prince Charles has yet to live down admitting he talks to plants in an interview.
Or his phone sex conversation with (the then) Camilla Parker-Bowles, wherein he expressed his wish to live in her underwear, or to become a tampon and live in her... yeah.
Defied by Alfred Nobel. He was the inventor of dynamite, but after a newspaper misreported that he passed way, he realized that he'd be forever remembered as a "merchant of death". To avoid this, he created the Nobel Prizes.
King George III is best known by the average non-Brit for one of two things: losing the American Revolution and/or going insane later in life. As such, he's all too often portrayed as a tyrant, a lunatic, or both.
One infamous incident had him mistaking a tree for Frederick The Great. This is by far the most famous example of his madness.
Dancer Isadora Duncan, in spite of an accomplished career, is probably best known for dying of a broken neck after her scarf got caught in one of the wheels of the car she was riding in.
Geraldo Rivera is still best remembered for the total letdown of Al Capone's vault.
It happened more recently than that. The Red Cross was doing the same thing in Vietnam as well.
While the Red Cross held meetings to debate what kind of relief and how much to send to victims of the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake, Sister Aimee Semple Mc Pherson of the Foursquare Church in Los Angeles was already organizing and supervising the dispatch of trucks loaded with food, water and supplies. As the Red Cross finally got its ass in gear, Sister was just sending off the second convoy from the church.
They also charged Wyoming farmers and ranchers for help during the tragic blizzard of 1940.
People helping at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks reported that the Red Cross showed up late and charged for blankets, coffee and other things that were being given away for free by various other relief agencies.
This is the reason there are, at times, laws in countries against stating the name of a person who is accused of committing a crime, or just convicted. Whether they are convicted or not, a condemning media can easily have them seen as a criminal regardless. This is more likely to apply to people who are legally children.
This can be exponentially worse with sex-related crimes, where even an accusation is something you might never be able to live down. And even if you're guilty only of something relatively minor, like public exposure, there's the sex offender registry to ensure you'll spend the rest of your life trying to convince new neighbors and bosses that you're not some kind of serial child rapist.
It gets worse when the said sex offender tries to get a job or move into a housing project, only to be turned away by employers who don't want a sexual predator working in their business and concerned parents not wanting the guy to be near their kids, even if he lives far away from a school. This forces the sex offenders to live in the streets homeless and may return to a life of crime. Even worse, because U.S. laws function by specifically prohibiting what you can not do, it means that while sex offenders are not allowed to live near schools, certain housing areas, and within some cities, towns, and subdivisions, which means that that can't be in those areas, it also means that they're forced to live in the outskirts or in surrounding rural areas where it's impossible to track or keep tabs on them because they've been pushed out of areas with police and surveillance as well as where there are people to watch them. While this is just plain sad with most people on the registries (who really aren't all that evil), it's absolutely terrifying when it comes to those who really are serial rapists and/or actual child predators, because now nobody knows where they are because they've been forced to avoid living in any kind of place where it would be feasible to keep tabs on them! To quote a Cracked article on the topic of misaimed laws...
So you take a guy who's committed a crime. Now you put him on a registry that may keep him from getting a job, or making friends, generally just totally isolating him for the rest of his life and giving him lots of free time. Do you think that makes him less likely to commit another crime?
A staple of basically every stand-up impressionist's act, except Pablo Francisco.
And in Pablo Francisco's case, what celebrities can Never Live Down is their own voices, which are used to hilarious effect simply because they are funny.
Regular comics don't have it easy either. Seinfeld is known for "What's up with that?", especially "What's the deal with airline food?"
Quite a few Real Life fighter pilots get their callsigns from one embarrassing / memorable act, even if it was only a one-time event, or taken out of context. (Contrary to many works of fanfic involving pilots, pilot callsigns are generally assigned, not self-selected.)
Example: There was apparently one young fighter pilot who wanted the callsign "Lightning," and tried to get everyone to call him that. His bug-eyed appearance and habit of bugging his seniors by telling them things they already knew about the aircraft got him named "Bug."
One pilot went by the callsign Mogas (pronounced Mo-Gas) because he once realised that he needed more gas.
Mongo. Big man, small peach imspediment.
Gash. Tall guy, failed to duck enough when walking under a sidewinder missile mounted on his parked aircraft. Admittedly, much cooler nickname than "Stitches" could have been.
NPR interviewed a pilot whose callsign was Poo. He refused to go into detail as to how he got it.
Honestly, too many callsign stories to list here, but many, many, many, can be found with a Google search.
A much-disliked pilot in the Fleet Air Arm insisted his hangar crew rename his plane after his girlfriend. He was not nice about and it and did not ask - he ordered. The irritated crew painted the name "Phyllis" on the nose of his plane as ordered. The pilot pronounced himself satisfied. After a discreet interval, the letters "SY-" were painted in front of the name. The pilot did not notice. Everyone else on the carrier did.
Marie Antoinette, for the (in)famous "Let them eat cake" line that she didn't even say. Although she got loads of worse associations in the century after the revolution, based on what the libel pamphlets claimed she did.
Gerald Ratner. He ran a company making very cheap jewellery. At one function, he said in his speech: "We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap." His company's stock dropped by £500 million and, in British business circles, such a gaffe is referred to as a "Ratner".
These days, the words "Catholic priest" have basically become synonymous with "paedophile" thanks to case after case worldwide of priests preying upon children — many of them covered up by church authorities and only now coming to light. If it weren't for the cover-ups, no doubt more people would notice that the vast majority of priests aren't child molesters, making for an Exaggerated case of the Streisand Effect.
For modern Christianity, The Crusades have become a major never live it down moment. To this day, it isn't uncommon for people to use this as an example of how dangerous Christian fanaticism can be, conveniently glossing over the fact that there hasn't been a crusade in centuries. Or that, in the context of the Middle Ages, the Crusades were actually launched in self-defense.
The same thing has happened with Muslims and 9/11.
Pretty much anyone who is well-known mainly via supermarket tabloids.
The Space Shuttle Challenger completed nine successful missions before it exploded. But there are not mentions of those. From all the stories about it, you'd think it was the maiden voyage.
The Space Shuttle Columbia gets this sometimes, too, especially among younger people and it flew successful missions for TWENTY YEARS before it was destroyed.
NASA itself suffers from this. The organization that managed to put man in orbit, man on the moon, recover from a potential disaster in the middle of space, nearly 130 space shuttle missions, with a grand total of 17 fatalities (3 operational accidents: Apollo 1 in 1967, Challenger in 1986, and Columbia in 2003) in 40 years, and the only time they get attention (lately anyway) and thus cries for them to be shut down, is when an accident occurs.
In Apollo 13, it's pointed out that very few viewers tuned in to the liftoff and none of the networks aired an in-flight broadcast, but after the accident, suddenly everyone's interested (and becomes a space expert as well).
Marilyn Lovell: I thought they didn't care about this mission. They didn't even run Jim's show.
Henry Hurt: Well, it's more dramatic now. Suddenly people are...
Marilyn Lovell: Landing on the moon wasn't dramatic enough for them. Why should NOT landing on it be?
Cleveland: Where rivers are flammable. The infamous Cuyahoga River fire was forty years ago. It wasn't the first, but it did get them to clean up their act.
Kansas is forever seen as being stuck in the early 20th century, thanks to stuff like The Wizard of Oz, which was written and/or made in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. That's like thinking that New York is still stuck in the late 1800's because you saw it in Gangs of New York.
Oddly enough, all of Great Britain is seen as this as well.
The literary journal Social Text published a paper by physicist Alan Sokal that was a parody of postmodern philosophy as a protest against "fashionable nonsense" in the humanities. When the hoax was revealed, many people saw it as discrediting postmodernism.
The US joining the two world wars years after they had started, creating many 'late to the game' jokes throughout the decades.
Winston Churchill: You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
If the hapless citizen being thus addressed is British, the obvious riposte is "If it weren't for us you'd be speaking Dutch".
Another thing bashers always bring up is the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Going by lower limits of the number of Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualties and the 9/11 casualties (according to the other wiki), more civilians died in the first 4 months of the bombings than would have died in 50 WTC attacks. Of course, apples and oranges, but it could segue into a discussion about whether embargoing Japan constituted a declaration of war and the validity of pre-emptive attacks (vis a vis Pearl Harbor, the Iraq war and the September 11th attacks) which would be a marked improvement over mud slinging.
The American South is never going to live down that whole slavery thing. It doesn't help that they fought a whole civil war to try and keep slavery, the end of slavery was followed by nearly a hundred years of Jim Crow laws, and even today there are southerns who proudly wave the Confederate flag. Still, there's no good reason to think that all those people spent every waking moment of their lives trying to devise new ways to screw over black people.
Call this Southern bias, but some history courses teach that Confederates seceded from the union not necessarily because they were hell bent and determined to keep slavery alive as an institution, but because northern states tried to force them to go along with abolition. Complicating matters was that the South's economy at the time was dependent on slave labor, and so any laws which did away with slavery would economically cripple the South (which is exactly what happened after the Civil War). Hell, even their best general, Robert E Lee, thought slavery "...as an institution is a moral and political evil." Oh Irony...
Any school shooting will invariably become a major one of these for that school.
Pop quiz: Name the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "Pulaski, Tennessee"... other than "Birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan" (A stigma the town has been fighting for decades).
On the other hand, filmmaker Spike Lee seems to lay the blame for this on Indianapolis, Indiana. While it's true that Indianapolis probably had more Klansmen per capita than any other major American city in the early 20th century, it is clear that Lee didn't check his facts - which is rather disappointing, because (for his movies, at least) he usually does.
Devotional self-crucifixion only occurs among a very minor community in the Philippines, mostly around the city of San Fernando, Pampanga. Foreigners who hear about this are understandably extremely weirded out and think that the practice is not only common in the Philippines, it's accepted and encouraged. It is not: the Catholic Church refuses to endorse them. Outside of those certain communities, most Filipinos find such self-crucifixions unnecessary and unhealthy too.
Despite the fact that Macs have been able to use multi-button USB mice for years and that Apple's mice have been capable of right-clicking for a while, a lot of Mac haters still love to deride the Mac as a computer that only has one mouse button.
And many Mac fans to this day call the Mac, "the computer that only needs one mouse button" though that descriptor arguably applies more to the System-7 era Macs.
The Daily Mail will never live down how it once supported Hitler's Nazis; some people argue that it still does.
Not to mention being the Trope Namer for "Political correctness gone mad!" and other sensationalist headlines.
The whole Hannah Bond fiasco (where they described "emo" as some kind of malevolent cultish religion) has also firmly painted it as a terrible newspaper for a lot of young readers.
The Daily Mail is well-known for saying that most things will cause cancer based on scientific reports of this nature. Unfortunately, many elderly tend to believe this.
At the moment (April '13) the Mail is going through quality nostalgia for the political leader it reverenced after the war as much as it adored Hitler and Mussolini before it. Its attitude to those who do not share the grief quite as much is that they are a bunch of lefty malcontents who should be hung by the heels.
Anyone who is caught cheating on their spouse can fall under this. Many people today seem to be taught to never forgive or forget, as they will constantly remind the person that they are a horrible person because they cheated, even if they've done all they can to make up for it. It also doesn't help that many talk shows and TV drama shows display this type of behavior.
It also doesn't help that many caught cheaters, along with many who simply don't subscribe to monogamy, will try to excuse their behaviors with the flimsiest of rationales: "It was just sex/a fling." "It didn't mean anything." "I'm a Man, I Can't Help It." Or the ever-popular "If I was getting what I needed at home..."
Given that in some countries adultery is a crime punishable by death (though in several of those countries a woman's testimony is not as reliable as a man's), a partner with a "zero tolerance" policy towards cheating is rather insignificant in comparison.
This is more or less the rule for all nicknames: commit one innocuously embarrassing act at the age of 8, and be nicknamed after it forever.
Scott Adams, in The Joy of Work, recommends not saying anything at all around witty people that they can use to make fun of you. He gives an example in which a speaker says they watched a movie last night, is called a "couch potato", and despite their best efforts is nicknamed "Spud".
4Kids Entertainment may be adamant about maintaining its policy of self-censorship, but compared to 6 years ago they have been more subtle about it, now largely relies on animation imported from countries other than Japan, and even placed subtitled episodes of some of their acquired anime on their Youtube channel. But none of this is going to change the minds of their many detractors until they see the company rot to the ground.
Not to mention that there are worse companies out there than 4Kids, especially when you consider that when it comes to dubs, the Americas usually get the royal treatment.
Anonymousreally likes to do this to anyone who even so much as makes one stupid decision on the internet, especially if said person responds to any one of them. Yet another good reason not to feed the trolls.
Actually, most browsers of image boards aren't like that. It's really just /b/. Even /v/ and /a/ wouldn't be caught dead referring to themselves as legion, "Anonymous" (as a group), or doing the above. In fact, within the other boards, /b/'s activities have become a Never Live It Down for the rest of the site.
Coca-Cola is still ridiculed over New Coke. This despite the fact that the original Coke was already losing ground to Pepsi at the time, and that New Coke used the same formula as Diet Coke which was also outselling the original. Or that they switched back less than three months later due to the backlash. Apparently the stupidest thing a company can do is go with what looks like a good idea by the research and then quickly correct their mistake when it doesn't work.
The one incident where the cafeterias of the US Congress and certain eating establishments in the US renamed French fries to "Freedom fries" and French toast to "Freedom toast". Because France didn't want to help them in the Iraq War. The world is NOT going to let America forget this.
This was not the first time this happened to the USA - many people still remember the infamous "Liberty cabbage" during WWII.
Adding another layer to this, the other Representative responsible for the change, Rep. Walter Jones, would later came out against the war in Iraq, calling his earlier support of it a mistake, making him one of a very few Republicans to repudiate the war. But he's still remembered for Freedom Fries more than anything else.
Lemmings. For the false assumption that they commit mass suicide, no less. What really happens is that some species of lemmings do mass migrations, and the migrating lemmings aren't smart enough to realize that some rivers and lakes are too wide to swim across, so they drown before before getting to the other side.
And Australians in general were left with the stigma of thinking a bereaved family member must have murdered the dead person themselves if they don't look sufficiently broken up.
Christian Science. Prior to 1990: A somewhat bizarre sect of Christianity that relies on the power of prayer for healing as opposed to medical treatment. After 1990: The church that killed Jim Henson. In actuality, Henson's upbringing in Christian Science was only one of a handful of reasons he put off treating the illness that claimed his life. Further, laypeople don't generally know that the church does, in fact, encourage medical intervention — although only as a last resort.
Prior to that, it was rumored to be the church that killed Jean Harlow.
Thanks to several fairly well publicized cases, Christian Science is becoming associated with parents who let their children die of conditions that are treatable, such as diabetes.
It doesn't help that only as a last resort is too late for many serious illnesses that require immediate attention and treatment.
When most people think of Mormonism, they immediately think of polygamy, despite the LDS Church banning the practice in 1890. And magic underwear.
Utah has trouble living it down as well
These days, BP is mostly remembered and hated for the oil spill. It doesn't help that they had all but disappeared off the map in the decade leading up to it.
Averted by Dow Chemicals, which acquired Union Carbide and found legal loopholes to make all of UC's obligations to clean up its horrendous chemical spill in Bhopal, India (a disaster 10-20 times worse than Chernobyl) simply disappear. Chernobyl is a Never Live It Down, but Bhopal is largely forgotten and Dow's image didn't suffer a bit.
This is probably because people in general have an irrational fear of radiation, such that nuclear disasters tend to be reacted to with a greater amount of panic than other types. Look at the press coverage of the Fukushima reactor disaster, which completely overshadowed the earthquake which set it off despite not a single person dying of anything radiation related; yet thousands died in the resulting tidal wave.
Fukushima is this to Chernobyl. Just when it looked like the world was finally going to get over its irrational fear of Nuclear power after Chernobyl, Fukushima gets hit with a double whammy earthquake, then tidal wave. Now you have people calling it the second Chernobyl, despite the fact only a fraction of the amount of radiation leaked. Fukushima is now rated on the same severity as Chernobyl; even though the area around it will be considered hazardous for decades to come due to the reactor materials buried around the site and sitting at the bottom of the nearby lake.
The Three Mile Island incident is still regarded as a terrible accident within America, going to far as to have it rated just 2 steps down from Chernobyl, even though no radiation leaked.
Considering that the rating, while being related to the damage done, is also influenced by the public's reaction, this is unsurprising. Then again, any incident involving a nuclear reactor is considered as a potentially extremely serious incident.
Sony having the PSN network hacked and the personal information of over 77 million users being compromised as a result. To make matters worse, they didn't inform their costumer base that their personal info was at risk until a week after it happened. With evidence surfacing on how poorly Sony handled sensitive info, no one will ever trust Sony with their personal data after this.
The M16 series has been the United States military's mainstay for half a century now. Thanks to both attempted sabotage and less-than-intelligent design decisions made before and during The Vietnam War where it was first fielded as a military weapon, it has a reputation that would suggest it can't even fire a full magazine without some form of problem rendering it unusable (especially when compared to the "leave it in a swamp for a month and it'll still fire" AK-47s it was fighting against at the time). Note that the guys in Army Ordnance recommended 117 improvements be made to the weapon before it was adopted. These changes included everything from chroming the bore, adding a gas piston, simplifying the bolt design, to changing the rifling twist rate. All of them were rejected with the response that if such things were needed, then Eugene Stoner would have put them there in the first place (ignoring that Stoner himself later did insist that these improvements were necessary). The M16 is as much a product of a political slapfight as it was experimental engineering.
And speaking of the AK-47, the AK series is probably never going to live down the fact that it is the most widely used assault rifle amongst terrorists, criminals and insurgents. Never mind that it is the basis of almost every assault rifle, SMG and marksman's firearm East of Germany and a few to the West, or that the AK-47 and its derivatives are used by just as many military and police agencies.
The AK-47 and its variants will also never live down the reputation for being inaccurate, with people seriously arguing that it's little better than an SMG. The AK-47 is hardly inaccurate for an assault rifle, which is meant to work at intermediate range (between 50 and 400 meters). But it's still a rifle, not an SMG or a shotgun, and it is sufficiently accurate when you know how to use it (i.e., aim down the sights, squeeze the trigger, apply basic shooting technique, adjust the sights, zero your sights, not spray it on full auto like an untrained idiot; anything one would do with any other rifle). Additionally, as far back as the redesigned AKM in the 50's, AK-series rifles have had accuracy comparable to most contemporary NATO assault rifles. Later models from the AK-74 onward have been known to surpass M16/M4 accuracy with alarming regularity. M4 military grade accuracy is only 5MoA. AK-74 military grade accuracy is about 3MoA. The misconception of M4 accuracy being extremely good comes from the extremely high performance demanded in the civilian AR-15 market. It doesn't help that many manufacturers of other rifles also play up the AK's reputation for inaccuracy to present their own designs as the better alternative to the cheaper Kalashnikovs and their various clones.
Yet another thing the AK-47 can't seem to live down is the accusation that it is merely the copy of the StG-44 because of a somewhat similar appearance, sometimes with the claim that the Soviets couldn't possibly have come up with such an innovative design of their own and had to have cribbed from "superior German engineering." This handily ignores the fact that the operating mechanisms of the rifles are completely different, with the AK clearly being the better design. As noted in the Rare Guns page, the Sturmgewehr 44 was pretty fragile for a combat weapon, becoming unable to fire just from relatively light jarring and impacts, and was maintenance intensive. Contrast with the AK's (in)famously low maintenance and reliable firing mechanism.
A lot of complaints about the AK's perceived unreliability come from the fact that Mikhail Kalashnikov never patented it. Which means anyone with a foundry can start making them. This has led to some questionable knock-offs, which contribute to this reputation. For instance, one cannot compare, say, a Soviet-issue AK with a scratch-built copy made in a jungle factory in Angola.
Despite the city of Pittsburgh getting rid of most of its steel industry, most people who have never been to Pittsburgh still remember it as the polluted Steel City.
The Jeffrey Dahmer murders, to where many locals will go out of their way to point out that Dahmer was born in Ohio and was not native to the city.
In Wisconsin, Milwaukee has a reputation as a Wretched Hive, to where many out-state residents are too scared to even come to Milwaukee for anything but Summerfest or Brewers games... both of which are physically isolated from the rest of the city. Nevermind that Milwaukee's violent crime rate is actually 1 in 100, meaning there's a 99 percent chance you WON'T become a victim of crime in Milwaukee.
Arguably, this can happen in the case of radical or hard-line nationalists and revolutionaries. Imagine Mexico still viewing America as an evil enemy to this day over the Alamo and losing the Mexican-American War, and you get the idea.
Animals will be stereotyped accordingly to one trait, or one mishap by a member of the species. This is especially noticeable in Dog breeds; just ask anyone with a Pit Bull type breed.
Rottweilers will never live down their portayal in The Omen - they are always thought of as savage death-machines. In fact, they are some of the calmest and most intelligent breeds around, more likely to ignore an outsider than attack them. When they do attack, it is usually because of neglect (their "hellhound" portrayal has, naturally, led to some of the worst sorts buying them as guard dogs, which compounds the problem) or aggression on the part of humans. The reason attacks are sometimes fatal is not because they are inherently savage, but because they are really really really strong. There is a saying among owners: There are few bad rottweilers, but many bad owners.
The Boy Scouts of America going all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for their right as a private organization to forbid homosexuals from becoming scout leaders, which may (for good reason) be either interpreted by the general public as them wanting to forbid all homosexuals or them thinking homosexuals are pedophiles. The jokes about "gay bashing merit badges" likely aren't going to stop any time soon. Their excuses for continuing the ban are not helping. Neither has removing the ban on gay scouts while preserving the ban on gay leaders in spite of their hopes.
Airlines who have major accidents can have this happen to them. Pan Am folded a few years after the Lockerbie bombing, and ValuJet changed their name to AirTran after Flight 592 crashed in the Everglades.
Ozzy Osbourne will always be remembered for biting the head off a live bat on-stage (he thought it was a prop, and there's debate as to whether or not the bat was already dead when it was handed to him.)
Better that than drunkenly peeing on the Alamo, which got him banned from Texas for nearly a decade.
There was also the time during a meeting with a record executive where it was planned to release two doves rather majestically. However, Ozzy instead choose to release one and bite the head off another. The record executive then did the rational thing and... signed him onto their record label.
Especially since people were saying they had it coming about the Kobe Earthquakes, too.
Some British responses to the Boston Marathon bombing involve noting that Boston is the home city of the controversial Irish-American "charity fundraiser" NORAID. While expressing genuine sympathy to the dead and injured, some commentators have suggested that the bombing of an Irish-American city which hosts an organisation which has allegedly laundered money to sponsor terrorism in Ireland and mainland Britain is an example of karma in action.
There were also people saying this kind of comment about almost every other kind of natural disaster - count how many people make comments of "Well your fault, you chose to live there" whenever a wildfire breaks out or a tornado blows away half the town.
Maybe not so much tornadoes, but building your house in a wildfire zone is rather inexcusable. The US Forest Service are smart people. They know all about forest fires and wildfires and will cheerfully tell you where there is a high risk of said forest and wildfires. If you build your house in one of said zones because of the pretty view, and a wildfire or forest fire occurs, like it does many a year, and then your house burns down, well, that's that. The same goes for flood and hurricane zones. You built your house on sand in a flood zone. Then a flood happens. This isn't in respect to people in developing nations who live in a mudslide zone but have no choice, this is more people who can build their house where ever they really please and do so in a bad area to build a house. However, it's worth keeping in mind that there can be freak accidents...
Assuming you trust that stories on The Daily WTF aren't made up, the conclusion of this story: Brad (probably not his real name) used to be known as the senior trader at Æxecor (probably also not its real name). Brad is now known as "the guy who bought an enormous pile of coal by accident".
The Canadian attitude towards Toronto is lukewarm at best. The stereotype is that Torontonians are self-centered, money-grubbing fussbudgets who panic at the mere mention of snow. Nowhere is this attitude more prevalent than Quebec, the Prairies and Northern Ontario. Imagine the reaction when, after a particularly nasty snowfall (about a metre; child's play for Quebec, the North or the Prairies) the mayor of Toronto called in the Armed Forces to assist. With snow. In Canada. You don't need to, actually. The reaction was laughter. Lots of it.
Studies have shown that Wikipedia is just as accurate and up-to-date as any print encyclopedia, it's one of the largest databases on the internet with in-depth information on thousands of subjects, and many of the more high-traffic pages are locked to prevent vandalism and false information from slipping in. But tales of obscure articles being vandalized and going unnoticed or false information not being detected, sometimes for months or even years, have rendered it untrustworthy and suspicious.
After a spate of crashes in The Seventies, the DC-10 got a reputation as an unsafe airliner, even years after some of its design flaws were fixed. Try mentioning the plane in an aviation forum some time.
Another plane that still generates a Broken Base is the F-104 Starfighter. The first reason was that it had developed a reputation as an unsafe and unreliable aircraft. Erich Hartmann, one of the first people to ever fly in a jet fighter and a commander in the West German Luftwaffe declared it unfit for Luftwaffe service. This was before the Starfighter was even introduced. The second was the Lockheed Bribery Scandals. It made it look like the Starfighter was so bad/dangerous to fly that you had to bribe some one to use it. Needless to say, there is still some argument as to if the Starfighter deserves that reputation or not.
From the way people talk about it, you'd think that nothing happened on any September 11th, ever, except for planes crashing into the World Trade Centre in 2001. Lampshaded in More Information Than You Require.
Say that to a Chilean, I dare you.
Two words: Augusto Pinochet.
Ask anyone what immediately comes to mind when they think about Chicago, Illinois. One of the biggest cities in the Midwest? Final stop for cowboys on long cattle drives? The Sears/Willis Tower? Nope. Most of the time, it will be one of four things: Bootlegging, Al Capone, The Mafia and corrupt politicians.
Los Angeles still has an unfortunate reputation as a haven for gang violence.
Due to its heavy reliance on regular expressions and its extreme flexibility, Perl got a reputation as a programming language designed to create unreadable programs.
Just about any police force involved in a major scandal will have that scandal tacked onto their reputation for years to come. The Rampart Scandal and Rodney King incidents for the LAPD, the police corruption and sodomy scandals of the NYPD, the mob-era corruption and the 1968 DNC riot for Chicago, the WTO riot for the Seatle PD, etc.
McDonald's 1984 Olympics promotion that resulted in twice the amount of Big Macs being given away than bought.
Hoover losing 50 million pounds in an air line ticket give-away with purchase of a vacuum.
Silo, in an effort to be 'hip' and 'with it', used to term bananas to mean dollars. This backfired. Hard.
Walkers Potato Chips had a contest where, if you could predict when and where it would rain, you get some money. This contest was held in England. In autumn. Where there's a 1 in 3 chance of it raining.
Global Radio (to a lesser extent), with their rebranding of stations to "Heart", a brand that seems to work, but is criticised elsewhere...
McDonalds is obviously not a healthy place to eat often, though the fast food chain has attempted to offer healthy alternatives. Despite this, opponents of the chain will always regard it as the place where everyone gets obese and how there were several lawsuits from people trying to sue because the food made them fat.
Super Size Me plays a large part in this. Everyone knows Spurlock ''puked up his McDonalds", not so many are aware that he was forcing himself to eat until it got to that point.
Or lawsuits because their coffee is too hot.
Which in itself is an example of this trope, coming up whenever someone mentions frivolous lawsuits. It's almost become an urban legend, though the actual case wasn't unreasonable. You can think a successful McDonald's PR campgain for this.
Anyone that goes on a game show and fails so horribly. You can bet that random strangers that run into those people will cheerfully remind them how bad they failed and even friends and family members can get in on the act if it was that bad (such as losing all the money they collected instead of checking out early to keep what they won). Thanks to the internet, these epic fails will remain for eternity for everyone to see.
Zhang Ya, a chinese resident from Liaoning province who complained about the inconvenience that the 2008 Sichuan earthquake caused her. By speaking out and finishing her 4-minute rant with the hopes that the survivors would die off, she was promptly treated like a heartless monster by the whole world.
The korean woman who owned a tiny dog that pooped on the subway and nonchalantly refused to clean up after it, despite being nicely asked (and even offered a means) to do so... became eternally known as "Dog Shit Girl".
When Alan Ralsky publicly exposed himself as the creator and "King of Online Spam", he was paid back in kind by several people who signed him up to every hardcopy mailing campaign that they could find.
Let's see how YOU like it.
Russia is still viewed as a country where everyone longs for the old days of the Soviet Union, and is full of Renegade Russians who sell cold war weapons in the black market. Anyone interesting may have been in the Soviet army or a former KGB agent.
The Waco Siege remains a dark mark on the FBI's reputation when the cult leader David Koresh and his Branch Davidians burned themselves and several other hostages to death.
How bad is it? There is a reason why they haven't involved themselves in anything dealing with Scientology.
Well, it may have done one good thing for the FBI. It overshadowed the complete clusterfuck that was the Ruby Ridge incident. At a more personal level, both incidents were this for Lon Horiuchi, the FBI HRT sniper who shot the round that killed Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge and participated in the Waco Siege, afterwards becoming a personal target of Timothy McVeigh, who considered targeting him or his family personally while planning the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Anything made in China is considered as low quality knock off items that are made from lead, and break down easily.
Any stereotype you may have about Africa, where some seem to think that African states are either primitive and tribal or ruled by a warlord, with people wielding machetes to hack peoples limbs off, or mutilating women's genitals. Yes, they may have some of the worst-off states in the world, but there are successful and growing ones too.
And then there's South Africa. Its had a hard time shaking its Apartheid past, a regime that has earned many comparisons to Nazi Germany. It also got known for being the go-to source for mercenaries, to the point where the character of a South African mercenary is almost a trope in and of itself. Its a reputation that South Africa has tried to curtail by banning its citizens from joining mercenary groups or PMC's, not that it stops them from trying.
Groups who are against Israel will always pull up the attack on the USS Liberty, but they will never mention the fact that Israel apologized for the incident, and already paid 17 million in reparation for the survivors.
A former deviantart user by the name of "cosmeon" told Lauren Faust (right on her very own front page!) that people had been doing R34 pictures of her ponysona. The ensuing fallout of online drama that occurred was effectively the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off: Everyone who saw the comment verbally ganged up on him and said all sorts of bad things such as calling him an absolute creep for mentioning such a thing out in the wide open. The final nail in the coffin was the creator putting his name on her block list, forcing him to deactivate his account out of overwhelming shame.
Bill Buckner had a successful career as a first baseman, but is mostly known for his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Never mind that Bob Stanley airballed a pitch that allowed the Mets to score the tying run and gave Mookie Wilson a confidence boost.
In 1989, the British tabloid The Sun ran a completely falsified article in which they accused Liverpool fans of attacking victims of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster. It was so offensive and disgusting that over two decades later, most newsagents in Liverpool still refuse to stock The Sun. They couldn't even give it away for free if they tried. People won't even use it as toilet paper.
The dinosaur Oviraptor. Its name means "Egg Thief" because the first fossil specimen was found right next to a clutch of eggs and thus scientists presumed it was stealing them for food. However, it was later found out that those eggs were its own, and it was likely trying to protect them. Despite this, its name has never changed, and it is generally portrayed as an egg robber in most dinosaur media. While it probably did eat eggs to an extent, said eggs were probably not its Trademark Favorite Food.
Similarly, Apatosaurus is never going to live down the whole "Brontosaurus" debacle. That happened when someone got confused, stuck a Camarasaurus head on an Apatosaurus body and called it "Brontosaurus". The non-existent dinosaur ended up becoming not just a popular dinosaur, but a by-word in the public lexicon for any sauropod dinosaur. note Incidentally, Firefox's spell checker does not recognize Apatosaurus as a word. The word it recommends you change it to? Brontosaurus. Our point has been made.
Chik-fil-A is simply not going to live down its COO denouncing gay marriage - or donating to anti- and ex-gay organizations, for that matter. Even the company ceasing its donations to said groups failed to stop the onslaught of "Chik-fil-A is homophobic" jokes, even before it was discovered that they lied about it.
Penn State is going to have a lot of trouble moving past the Sandusky scandal.
The town of Sandusky, Ohio will also have a hard time moving past it. Who wants to live in a town that shares a name with an infamous child molester?
Nigerians and 419 scams. Many webmail providers will even refuse to register users from Nigeria, assuming that they'll try to scam people.
Not even TV Tropes itself is safe from this kind of shaming. Due to once having such pages as Fetish Fuel and Troper Tales, the site is often seen as a haven for creeps and other unsavory people of very low moral fiber.
Karen Klein, an elderly senior who worked as a bus monitor, was physically and verbally tormented by 4 mid-school bullies over the course of 10 minutes. When the bullies posted the video of what they did to her on the internet, they ended up getting what they richly deserved for their horrendous barbarity: Several Death Threats, 50 hours of community service with senior citizens, mandatory attendance for a course against bullying, and a 1-year suspension from school. Needless to say, it will stain their reputation.
The Teamsters Union is best known for its corruption and ties to organized crime.
Ask anybody what they know about Latin America. Chances are, the answer will include the drug trade.
Colombia in particular got hit by this hard. Between the seemingly never-ending cocaine-funded FARC insurgency and playing host to drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar, Colombia has a reputation as an unsafe place exploding with drug-fueled violence. They have awesome coffee, though.
The American auto industry is still struggling to move past the legacy of its '70s Dork Age.
Ask any random layperson about the play Our American Cousin. If they know what it is at all, odds are they'll only know it as the play that was showing at Ford's Theater when Abraham Lincoln was killed.
For that matter, Ford's Theater itself. The way most people know it, you think it was constructed just to shoot Lincoln in it.
The Catholic Church has yet to live down a number of things:
When the Ford Motor Company was developing the Pinto, a few of the prototypes that were built actually had airbags and plastic fuel cells. These then-innovative and brand new safety features could've made the Pinto an engineering marvel that was very affordable and safe to drive. But Ford ultimately decided that it would be cheaper to settle the lawsuits of victims who were killed in the Pintonote note that that doesn't include "injured" - they had apparently assumed a 100% fatality rate in Pinto-related accidents instead of keeping those safety features and making it slightly more durable. This callous calculation led to the effective damnation of the Pinto as a fiery death trap by 95% of the American people.
Speaking of Ford, the Edsel was an epic failure that cost them $350 million dollars in lost investments. It seems as though everything about this particular brand of automobile was cursed with misfortune such as bad advertisement, bad design, bad quality, bad timing, bad pricing, strong competition, and bad company politics. Because of this, the name "Edsel" has become synonymous for any investment that backfires catastrophically.
In social psychology, this is known as the "devil effect", the inverse of the "halo effect," where one piece of negative information overshadows any positive traits a person has.
Burger King will probably never live down having one of the most disastrous marketing campaigns ever in the form of "Herb". To this day, business classes teach it as an example of what not to do.
Anarchists will never live down their early history of violence and assassinations, including the Haymarket bombing and the assassination of President William Mc Kinley. Many anarchists are in fact pacifists.
The Mc Donnel Douglas DC-10, once a symbol of luxury air travel, had a fallout that sentenced it to be remembered mostly as a cargo plane instead of a passenger plane.
Several design flaws contributed to the infamy of the DC-10 when it started rolling out in the 1970s which were 1. cargo doors that were very hard to close and latch properly 2. vents that were not sufficient enough to equalize cabin pressure in the event of an explosive decompression 3. the hydraulics and control cables were routed into the cabin floor 4. no locking mechanism on the leading-edge slats in case of failure and 5. no backups in case of complete hydraulic failure. These flaws contributed to most of the 1,261 occupant fatalities incurred since May 2013. And as a result, the DC-10 was discontinued in 1989 due to plummeting demand since very few people wanted to fly in them.
Opponents of laissez-faire capitalism will always bring up the brutal regime of Augosto Pinochet, who was influenced by the Chicago School of economics and was even praised by Milton Friedman.
If you've heard of the book The Pet Goat, odds are you only know it for one reason - it was the book George W. Bush was reading to a class of second-graders when 9/11 happened while holding it upside down.
General Pierre Cambronne defiantly said "Merde !" to the English asking him to surrender at Waterloo. To this day, that swear word is still known as "le mot de Cambronne".
Marshal Auguste Marmont was a close friend of Napoleon and a skilled artilleryman who betrayed the Emperor at a critical time in 1814. Since he was the Duke of Raguse, the verb "raguser" was invented as a synonym for betrayal. The Bourbons, whom he supported faithfully afterwards, did not forget this : as he was failing to suppress the 1830 July insurrections, the Duke of Angouleme asked him : "Will you betray us, as you betrayed him ?"
And of course, Marshal Grouchy was an incompetent fool who lost Waterloo. Nothing else (never mind that he wouldn't have been made a Marshal in the first place if he wasn't an excellent soldier).
Internet Explorer will forever be known as a shitty web browser that's bundled with every copy of a Windows OS while being full of security exploits, holes, and just being crap in features compared to other web browsers. While Internet Explorer has gotten a lot better, many web browsing enthusiasts still refuse to use it unless they have no choice.
Microsoft's Windows Vista launched with numerous driver issues, compatibility problems, and annoying "Do you want to run this program?" pop ups. Granted, Microsoft greatly improved on the Vista OS, but people (at the time) told everyone else to avoid Vista like the plague and to stick with or downgrade to Windows XP and some people still bad mouth Vista to this day.
History Repeats with Windows 8, which seems to have mirrored some of the problems Vista had on launch while creating new issues, such as removing the Start menu and changing how the desktop operates. Microsoft's stance on the OS, along with the Xbox One, has gotten the company branded as one that only cares about money and doesn't listen to their consumers, even though Microsoft have attempted to remedy some of the problems by releasing Windows 8.1. Windows 8 is so widely hated that many people see Vista as a better OS.
Saxony. A state in eastern Germany which has some wonderful scenery and beautiful towns, but is still derided throughout the German-speaking world for its odd and harsh-sounding dialect. Not to mention the usual East German stereotypes.