Troubled Production: Events


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    Conventions 
  • Dashcon, a fan-run Tumblr convention, became an infamous epic failure overnight. Among the many reasons:
    • The initial name of the event was TumblCon, which they were forced to change when Tumblr itself forbade them from using the name of the company. The fact that no one apparently considered this ahead of time was a sign of things to come.
    • From the beginning the event was plagued by poor organization. Anyone and everyone was invited to form a committee for a fandom, no questions asked or experience needed. This combined with little communications from the moderators and event managers lead to several committees being dissolved and heavy competition between the others for representation (with SuperWhoLock having an extreme bias with the admins). Committees were asked to submit the names of people they wanted as guests, and most of those submitted were far too ambitious for a first year con to even attempt. These posts go into more detail in regards to the various problems that plagued the pre-event management.
    • Extremely poor organization during the convention itself: GingerHaze was forced to moderate her own panel when her intended moderator didn't show up and hotel mints were offered as rewards for events being held. Security was also poor, with a member of 4chan's /pol/ board being able to walk in without identification and film the event with impunity.
    • Projections for the number of people attending turned out to be extremely off the mark: the managers expected over 5000 people to be attending, with the actual amount being estimated between 500 and 1500 at best. A majority of those attending also turned out to be teenagers between the age of 13 and 16, which combined with the aforementioned poor security has lead to rumours of underaged people being allowed to attend adult panels (including one on BDSM).
    • Steam Powered Giraffe was touted as a musical guest until the first day of the con with them continuing to sell tickets for it even though the group itself had announced that they had cancelled on their website months ago.
    • Welcome to Night Vale took time out of their tour only to find out that they were not going to be paid or have their travel expenses reimbursed, and responded by saying Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. Attendees were forced to wait in a conference hall for over an hour before being told, with their compensation being one extra hour in a (pathetically small) ball pit. Those who purchased tickets for the cancelled event were also told they would not be refunded as the rules were changed during the con to prevent this. Within hours the image of the ball pit in an empty hall became infamous for symbolizing the complete catastrophe that was the entire convention, and ball pits by themselves have since become a punchline that even other cons have referenced.
    • Panelists GingerHaze and The Baker Street Babes were forced to pay for their hotel bills, which Dashcon was supposed to cover. The latter being ignored by the management staff when they tried to contact them initially. While they were both reimbursed eventually it took several days to sort out, and GingerHaze was unable to pay for more than one night and wound up having to sleep on the Ikea couch of one of the WTNV writers who took pity on her. The only panelist who didn't report any problems was Doug Jones, who apparently received payment without issue and went on record as having greatly enjoyed his event, thereby making him the luckiest man alive.
    • Mark Oshiro, of Mark Does Stuff fame, also was in the event as both panelist and moderator, and after the clusterfuck finished he wrote a post in his blog where, while he claimed that he didn't realize how bad the thing was while it was running, it was because he was constantly running panels (so he didn't see the drama and the clusterfuck evolve), and also was the only invitee accostumed to pay for his own expenses, this con not being the exception (so he didn't got involved into the payment drama pointed above).
    • The con had to raise $17,000 in two hours to keep their reservation at the hotel (which the hotel has since denied ever happened) and while managed to raise it, it took days for them to offer an explanation for where exactly it went (the official explanation is it was to cover parts of the bill that they claimed had not been immediately obvious to them, which just raises further questions) and in the meantime the internet rumor mill speculated on everything from it being pocketed by unscrupulous staff members to wondering if they'd simply lost it. And while they did eventually offer to refund the donated money to those who asked they gave only a small time window to submit claims, and many who donated wouldn't be able to prove they had even done it since much of the money was collected on the floor in the form of cash with hardly any receipts or documentation. In a video of the "donation drive" one mother can be heard yelling "This is extortion!" and it's hard not to agree with her.
    • To top it off, the fact that the con played movies and TV episodes without express consent from the copyright holders, as well as the fact that the con turned out to be a registered LLP only in Ohio, not Illinois where it was actually held, means that large parts of the con were illegal and will likely result in legal action against them.
    • And not to mention this con was hosted a week after the much more anticipated Anime Midwest also held in Chicagoland.
    • Proving they learned nothing the organizers then attempted a prime example of trying to Polish The Turd by rebranding it Emoti-Con - and somehow racked up another $120,000 in debt and ultimately cancelled that con before it could even get off the ground. See here for the whole sordid saga.
  • Before there was Dashcon, there was Tentmoot. It was supposed to be part of a year long series of events sponsored by a popular Tolkien fan group called Bit of Earth that would perform community service projects and culminate in, supposedly, the largest Tolkien con ever held. Like Dashcon, it fell apart due to poor management. Unlike Dashcon, it inspired a tell all book and an honest criminal investigation. This article goes into a lot more details, but highlights include:
    • The fan community was really lead by a man named Jordan Wood and his girlfriend Abby Stone. Wood was known for telling wild stories (like how he was being chased by the IRA) and most commented on his feminine appearance. He claimed he had a disease that prevented testosterone from being absorbed into his body properly. (This became important later.)
    • The enthusiasm of the community started out strong. Bit of Earth (BOE) held a community service project that saw fans planting a children's reading garden in front of a literacy center. The event even managed to attract Sean (Samwise) Astin, who was very enthusiastic about seeing fans perform community service. Bit of Earth also claimed to raise money for a literacy program through screenings of the then brand new LOTR films. After these successes, Wood stated there would be more events, including a summer music festival and the aforementioned Tentmoot.
    • Friends from the community, including Jeanine Renne, were impressed by the garden project. They moved in with Wood and Stone to help plan the events. Soon after, their home was foreclosed on.
    • The summer music festival also collapsed. No bands were reportedly booked and Elijah Wood, the supposed celebrity guest, didn't show up. Also, the organizers donated money to help the festival go on (one donated $800 from their college fund) but the check to the park still bounced.
    • Somehow, the other two events still went ahead. Wood dispatched someone to Los Angeles to film greetings from LOTR for the film festival. Wood assured everyone that he had arranged meetings with LOTR actors, but no one had heard of any such arrangement.
    • Also, Wood and the planners moved to L.A. in the fall (even though the convention was still scheduled for December in Portland). Wood claimed that he was from the area, but had trouble finding living arrangement or even navigating the city.
    • Tentmoot lined up several actors from LOTR, including Jed Brophy. (This was at a time when the films were still being released, so some of the actors were understandably not available.) Supposedly, BOE had an arrangement with Air New Zealand to fly everyone over. At the last minute, Wood contacted Renne and claimed the arrangements had fallen through. Renne paid for the tickets, but after realizing there was no documentation of the arrangement, she cancelled the tickets. It was too late for Brophy, who had already checked in to his flight in New Zealand. There was also no hotel arrangements for the actors, so Brophy ended up sleeping on Wood's apartment floor.
    • The convention center was also screwed. Wood had talked down their prices and didn't even pay a deposit. He did so partially by promising that 1500 people would show up. With days to go before the convention, only 21 passes had been sold.
    • A few days before Tentmoot was scheduled to start, Wood attempted suicide. This, combined with the low pass sales, ended the convention before it started.
    • And... it doesn't end there. While still trying to get the airline tickets worked out, Renne contacted the Oregon DOJ to investigate. The DOJ found out that most of BOE's charity activities were a fraud. There was no record of any large donations to the literacy program they were supposedly supporting. They weren't even incorporated and the money that had been raised at other events had vanished.
    • And it STILL doesn't end there. As the planning of the convention was happening, a man named Michael Player showed up at the Salem police headquarters. He had received a suicide note from his daughter Amy, who claimed that the love of her life, Abby Stone, had run off with a man named Jordan. The police found a picture of Michael's daughter. When they showed it around to others, they all identified the person as... Jordan Wood.
    • In the end, Jordan admitted she was in fact Amy and that the whole thing was a sham so she could try to build a new identity. In the end, police told her never to come to Oregon again or face arrest. She eventually was caught (while waiting in line to see Return of the King in Portland), but the DA declined to press charges. Sadly, Amy was later involved in a triple homicide that claimed the life of one of her friends. She survived, but used the incident as an excuse to solicit donations to travel to New Zealand.
  • Brony Conventions get this a lot.
    • Las Pegasus, held in Las Vegas in February 2013, was beset by difficulty. Announced in Q3 2012, it was met by cries of oversaturation of Brony conventions in the US. It also announced three special guests, highly ambitious for a first con. Soon it was apparent the con was plagued by financial difficulty after overshooting their costs, resulting in the #LasPegAssist fund after the con.
      • Other problems included long lines, no direction given to artists or vendors on where to set up, absenteeism from staff members, sponsors getting "junior suites" instead of executive suites, the introduction of "Unicon Bits" (fake money being given in exchange for real money, which upset con merchants), misspellings of names on official placards, promises to ticket holders of a free buffet that never eventuated and Tara Strong being served eggplant at a VIP dinner (which she is allergic to). On top of this, the turnout was far lower than expected; only 400-1000 people showed up as opposed to the expected 4000. Tara Strong has since openly regretted appearing at Las Pegasus - she missed her son's karate tournament and is loath to appear at another con in the future.
    • Around six months after Las Pegasus, a convention in Australia, called Bronycon Sydney, was announced with Andrew Francis as a special guest. Many Bronies felt that one convention (the long-established Ponycon AU) was enough and a second convention would oversaturate the market. Their website, which had just gone live, also featured a Flickr stream showing pictures of Ponified underwear.
      • After a few weeks, the convention changed its name to Sydneigh after discussion of checking trademarks arose on several forums. During this time the executive team announced a Pozible campaign to get Michelle Creber and her band to play at a nighttime concert, however the target was not reached and the event was cancelled. Though the executive team were open about their low ticket sales and financial hardship, they announced Ashleigh Ball some months later.
      • A month before the convention, PR confirmed the convention was still going to take place, despite doubts from many con-goers as they announced the cancellation of Andrew Francis to keep the convention financially solvent - after this, many people from interstate and neighbouring New Zealand booked flights, accommodation and paid $65 for a weekend pass to the convention. However, three weeks after the announcement, their PR manager stepped down due to Creative Differences and the convention was cancelled due to "unexpected costs", and ruled out full refunds (which is illegal under Australian Consumer Law), instead promising only 70% of refunds with the rest going into liquidation costs.
      • The venue, Australian Technology Park, was also revealed to be not fully booked or paid by the company for the weekend of September 27th and 28th 2014, the weekend the convention was due to be held. Morale got so bad that a group of Bronies independent from the Sydneigh team planned an emergency convention to house ticketholders, panelists, Ashleigh Ball (who had been fully booked and paid for flights and an appearance at the convention for autographs and photos), and vendors (who had paid upwards of $200 for a table).

    Political Campaigns 
To avoid making this folder excessively long, a prefatory note. In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, it was common for either or both major parties to reach their convention without having a nominee. Few candidates actively campaigned for the nomination, while state primary elections were more for show (as delegates could be bought or "traded" at convention time). Open conventions were actually the norm, and the emergence of "dark horse" compromise candidates not uncommon. By the 1950s, this faded with the increasing prominence of primary elections, which gave the ordinary voters a more direct say in nominating candidates.

That said, as the following examples show, the modern party system certainly hasn't ended tumultuous campaigns or mismanaged candidacies.

  • The fight for the 1964 Republican nomination was the GOP's most serious interparty fight since Theodore Roosevelt bolted the party in 1912. It was so bad, indeed, that many pundits predicted the Party's demise. In comparison, the general election (in which Lyndon Johnson won reelection in a landslide) was positively anticlimactic.
    • Essentially, the race pitted Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, leader of the GOP's emerging conservative base, against the Republican establishment, still moderate-to-liberal on most issues. Problem is that the establishment had no viable candidate to oppose Goldwater. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller was Goldwater's early rival, but Rockefeller's remarriage to a much younger divorcee sabotaged his chances. (Specifically, Happy Rockefeller gave birth right before the crucial California primary, spotlighting the controversy and tipping that state into Goldwater's column.) Henry Cabot Lodge, Ambassador to South Vietnam, won several early primaries through a write-in campaign; Lodge never left Vietnam and didn't openly declare his candidacy, so his campaign fizzled out. George Romney, Governor of Michigan, refused entreaties to run. Richard Nixon hovered around the campaign's fringes, hoping for a draft movement that never materialized.
    • Dwight Eisenhower (who distrusted Goldwater) repeatedly encouraged William Scranton, the popular Governor of Pennsylvania, to run. Scranton initially refused, but reconsidered after Goldwater essentially sewed up the nomination by winning California. Scranton planned to announce his candidacy on CBS's Face the Nation, only for Eisenhower to undercut him days before by announcing he would oppose any "Stop Goldwater" movement. After Eisenhower's about-face, Scranton's interview was a disaster, saying he'd be open to a draft but not declaring an open candidacy. Scranton, previously lauded as the "Republican Kennedy," became derided as the "Harrisburg Hamlet" and "Gutless Bill."
    • All this was prelude to the July convention in San Francisco. A last effort to boost Rockefeller or Scranton over Goldwater faltered, but not before generating bad blood on both sides. This inevitably spilled onto the convention floor. Rockefeller introduced a plank repudiating extremism, only for Goldwater partisans to boo him for minutes on end. Scranton released a public letter labeling Goldwater a dangerous extremist. Goldwater responded with a defiant acceptance speech, declaring "Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice! Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" Then he named equally conservative William Miller as his running mate. That upwards of 40,000 Civil Rights protestors picketed the convention drew little attention compared to the drama in the Cow Palace. The convention was so disastrous that Johnson's campaign cut an ad consisting entirely of quotes by Rockefeller, Romney and Scranton.
    • Goldwater's defeat by Johnson was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Through speeches and attack ads Johnson painted Goldwater an extremist, not helped by the candidate's controversial stances on civil rights and nuclear weapons, and propensity for off-the-cuff remarks. Many prominent Republicans refused to endorse Goldwater or campaign on his behalf (Nixon being a conspicuous exception). Goldwater's campaign did, however, lay the groundwork for the conservative takeover of the GOP. Among its other achievements, it hastened Republican penetration into the South and made Ronald Reagan a national political figure through an effective campaign speech.
  • If 1964 was disastrous for the Republicans, the 1968 election nearly destroyed the Democratic Party.
    • Lyndon Johnson's reelection chances were shaky from the start. His Great Society's perceived overreach alienated many Americans, while racial violence in Watts, Newark and Detroit eroded support for his civil rights initiatives. The decisive issue, however, was the Vietnam War. Liberal Democrats grew increasingly disillusioned with Johnson's handling of the conflict. Then Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy challenged Johnson in the New Hampshire primary, placing a close second. Hoping to avoid shattering the party, Johnson announced he would not run for reelection.
    • Unfortunately for Democrats, Johnson's announcement had the opposite effect. Vice President Hubert Humphrey emerged as the front runner, acting essentially as Johnson's proxy: socially liberal but committed to the Vietnam War. McCarthy's campaign flamed out, and New York Senator Robert Kennedy became champion of antiwar liberals. Kennedy won several primaries and gained ground on Humphrey, before his assassination in June 1968. And Alabama Governor George Wallace, notorious for his defense of segregation, formed an American Independent Party of disaffected conservative Democrats.
    • Then came the Chicago convention. The convention itself was banal; Humphrey won handily, despite a last-ditch effort by antiwar Democrats to boost George McGovern. Observers were more interested in goings-on outside. Thousands of antiwar protestors camped out in Chicago, and Mayor Richard Daley responded with a police crackdown. In the subsequent "police riot," hundreds of protestors were injured or arrested. Television cameras captured the violence, which become one of The Sixties' most iconic events.
    • Even after the convention, Humphrey's ongoing support of Vietnam crippled his campaign; anti-war protesters heckled him at every speech and campaign stop. And many blue-collar Democrats supported Wallace's campaign, with its emphasis on states' rights, limited government, and opposition to integration. Humphrey's disastrous campaign contrasted with Richard Nixon's: Nixon won the nomination after only token opposition from Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan, presided over a unified convention, and promised to end the war and abolish the military draft. These promises drove many disaffected liberals to endorse Nixon, while Nixon's tough "law and order" stance on social issues endeared him to conservatives.
    • Finally, in October President Johnson ordered a bombing halt in Vietnam, and serious peace talks resumed in Paris. These events, along with Nixon's vagueness on how he'd end the war and Wallace's campaign imploding, inspired many liberals to belatedly endorse Humphrey. The race became too close to call... until North Vietnam broke off negotiations a week before the election. Many believe that Nixon sabotaged the negotiations by promising North Vietnam better terms if he were elected president; this however remains in dispute. Either way, the effect was the same: the Democratic Party was left deeply divided, and the only surprise on Election Day was just how razor-thin Nixon's victory over Humphrey actually was.
  • Those divisions in the Democratic Party burst wide open with George McGovern's 1972 candidacy, one of the most legendarily cocked-up in American history. Coming at the height of the popularity of the "New Left" within the Democratic Party, it stands as a warning of what happens to American political parties when they allow their most radical members to take control of the proceedings.
    • Even more than 1968, the primaries were long, drawn-out, and painful. While McGovern soon emerged the frontrunner, he faced challenges from liberals (John Lindsay), moderates (Hubert Humphrey, Edward Muskie), and conservatives (Scoop Jackson, George Wallace) alike. Richard Nixon's CREEP organization happily sewed discord among the Democrats, through anonymous calls and poison pen letters, phony campaign rallies, and slanderous media stories. For one notorious example, Muskie's campaign was sabotaged by the "Canuck Letter", claiming that Muskie publicly slandered French-Canadians (a sizable minority in the primary state of New Hampshire).
    • However, while Nixon's dirty tricks certainly exacerbated existing discord between the Democrats, they certainly didn't create it. McGovern and Humphrey's rivalry in particular developed into a bitter personal feud, and while McGovern emerged victorious, he did so without his party's wholehearted backing. Furthermore, George Meany, the head of the reliably Democratic AFL-CIO union, refused to endorse McGovern, calling him "an apologist for the communist world" and deepening the rift between the New Left and the Democrats' old working-class base. Without the support of the unions, one of the Democrats' key constituencies, McGovern stood little chance in the general election.
    • After 1968, McGovern had chaired a commission to reform the nomination process. One thing he wanted was to have the Democratic primaries award delegates proportionally, rather than winner-take-all. Some states had done this on their own; others had not. One that didn't was California, with the most delegates of all, which at the time held its primary last. McGovern, who had won primaries and conventions with grass-roots support, often over the establishment favorites like Edmund Muskie, won that one, technically locking up the nomination. But the party establishment, still smarting over the fact that he had won, often not only refused to endorse him but in some cases filed lawsuits to prevent his delegates from being seated. Some of them argued that he should have released his California delegates proportionally to other candidates, as he himself had advocated. The suits dominated the news until the convention, a huge (and expensive) distraction he didn't need.
    • And then there was the convention itself. While there was no civil unrest outside the building in Miami Beach as there had been in Chicago four years prior, the Democrats might have wished there was. McGovern's campaign had been propelled by young, left-wing activists, the same hippies and students who had formed the defining image of the 1968 Chicago convention, while advocates for gay rights, a very new and radical cause at the time, were getting some air and ink. This complicated matters for large sections of the Democratic base, particularly the blue-collar — and often devoutly Catholic — labor activists that formed a good chunk of the party's Northern (especially Midwestern) support, as well as what was left of the party's white Southern wing. An unnamed Democrat (revealed, ironically enough years later, to have been none other than Thomas Eagleton, McGovern's eventual running mate) gave the Republicans a better attack line than any they could have come up with themselves when he fretted to Rowland Evans and Robert Novak — who promptly used the quote — that the Democrats were in danger of becoming the party of "acid, amnesty, and abortion."
    • Furthermore, the aftermath of the lawsuits over the primaries resulted in a drawn-out nomination vote. McGovern didn't even begin delivering his all-important acceptance speech until well after midnight Eastern time. It's no surprise that the amount of potential drama at both parties' conventions has been consciously and predictably reduced to near zero since this one.
    • Even after the convention, McGovern's woes weren't over. Remember Thomas Eagleton, McGovern's initial running mate? Well, he turned out to be suffering from clinical depression, and was on Thorazine and had once received electroshock therapy for it. Compounding matters was the fact that McGovern initially hesitated to drop Eagleton from the ticket, as his own daughter Teresa suffered from depression and he was afraid that dropping Eagleton due to his psychiatric problems could possibly drive Teresa to suicide. The fact that Eagleton had not been properly vetted, as well as the McGovern campaign's slow reaction to the news when it did come out, caused outrage.
    • All of this contributed heavily to McGovern losing a 23-point landslide to Richard Nixon, rivaled in the postwar era only by Lyndon Johnson's crushing victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964. The Democrats were cast into the political wilderness for two decades, with their only President between 1972 and 1992 being Jimmy Carter — a moderate Southerner who rode into office chiefly on the backlash against the GOP from Watergate, and still only served one term. It wasn't until 1992 when Bill Clinton successfully rehabilitated the Democratic brand after McGovern's disaster of a campaign.
  • Walter Mondale's 1984 Presidential campaign against the popular incumbent Ronald Reagan was treated as a lost cause by just about everybody in the Democratic Party, Mondale included. And it showed.
    • For starters, the primary race between Mondale and Colorado Senator Gary Hart was one of the closest in recent history. While Mondale was an old-school New Dealer from Minnesota running on a liberal platform, Hart was an early example of the centrist "New Democrats" that would take power under Bill Clinton eight years later. Hart fought a fierce primary campaign that criticized Mondale as adhering to the failed, outdated policies that had produced the malaise of The '70s, and he won several key primaries, including New Hampshire, Ohio, California, and many Western states. Mondale responded by attacking Hart's "New Ideas" platform as being poorly-explained and not standing for much in particular; his use of the fast-food chain Wendy's' advertising slogan "where's the beef?" to criticize Hart's policies during a debate became a Memetic Mutation. While Mondale ultimately won, the 1984 Democratic primary was the last to go all the way to a brokered convention, indicating that many Democrats were not enthusiastic about Mondale.
    • For the general election, Mondale didn't even try to run an effective campaign, sensing early on that he stood no chance against Reagan and that 1984 would be, at best, a "rebuilding year" for the Democrats. To this end, he made no effort to "balance" the ticket with a running mate who played to his strengths and shored up his weaknesses, instead hoping to make a splash by choosing a woman or a minority as his running mate and winning over female and minority voters for future elections. He ultimately chose Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York; she was not only female, but also the daughter of Italian immigrants who could play well to "ethnic" voters.
    • Mondale's choice of Ferraro as his running mate backfired. It did little to excite women, many of whom saw Mondale's selection of Ferraro as tokenism rather than choosing the best candidate for the job. Moreover, when Ferraro's husband was attacked for alleged links to The Mafia, Ferraro responded by releasing her tax returns. While doing so solved that problem, it only created a new one: it revealed that Ferraro had a maid and a few million dollars tied up in real estate, greatly undermining her "working-class immigrant's daughter" image.
    • Mondale lost a landslide comparable to McGovern in 1972 or Goldwater in '64, winning only Washington, DC and his home state of Minnesota (and the latter by less than four thousand votes). The old New Dealer wing of the Democratic Party was discredited and demoralized by Mondale's defeat, leading to move of the national party to the center in the late '80s. While Gary Hart's ambitions would be derailed by a sex scandal, Bill Clinton would successfully run on a similar platform in 1992.
  • In 1992, Texas billionaire Ross Perot ran for US President on an independent ticket with a platform of centrist, "tell it like it is" populism focusing on the national debt and economic protectionism, and was seen as the first third-party/independent candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 to have a serious shot at winning the whole thing. For a time in June, he even had a commanding lead in the polls, with 39% of Americans planning to vote for him. What happened next, though...
    • Around July, stories started leaking that Perot was something of a Control Freak when it came to micromanaging his campaign, including forcing volunteers to sign loyalty oaths. His campaign managers were growing increasingly disillusioned with the fact that Perot's "radical centrism" seemed to be an excuse for him to avoid taking serious stances on major issues. One of his two campaign managers, Hamilton Jordan, threatened to quit as Perot's poll numbers began sinking.
    • What really sank Perot, however, was his indulgence in conspiracy theories. Perot fired his advertising specialist, Hal Riney, on suspicion that he was secretly collaborating with George H.W. Bush and the CIA to undermine his campaign; this led his other campaign manager, Ed Rollins, to quit. Not long afterwards, Perot suspended his campaign, saying that Republican operatives were planning on releasing compromising photos of his daughter and disrupting her wedding. Many of Perot's supporters felt betrayed by his withdrawal, and while he did ultimately re-enter the race on October 1, his campaign never recovered. Between this and the reveal that he had carried out a private investigation of the Bush family in The '80s, a new image of Perot as paranoid had emerged.
    • Despite a very strong showing at the debates that allowed him to make a partial comeback, Perot ultimately finished with just 19% of the popular vote, having won no states. (His greatest successes were in New England, the industrial Midwest, and the states west of the Mississippi, and he was largely a non-entity in much of the South.)
  • Ross Perot wasn't the only candidate with a chaotic campaign in 1992. In fact, the mistakes made by incumbent President George H.W. Bush were part of the reason why Perot was so initially successful in the first place.
    • Bush was damaged early with the focus in the election shifting from national security (a strength, but one that would not come up much with the end of the Cold War and the success of The Gulf War) to the economy (in the middle of a severe recession). Then, footage emerged of Bush getting sick and vomiting on the Japanese Prime Minister in early 1992, right at the beginning of having to fend off a primary challenge from conservative insurgent Pat Buchanan (a TV pundit and former speechwriter under Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan), who mainly attacked Bush for agreeing to a 1990 budget deal that led to Bush breaking his "Read my lips, no new taxes" pledge at the 1988 Republican National Convention. There was also a more ominous run by Louisiana State Representative, one-time Ku Klux Klan leader, and outspoken white supremacist David Duke, though his campaign was much less effective.
    • Bush then embarrassed himself with an incident where, during a speech prior to the New Hampshire primary, Bush (possibly reading a cue card by mistake) uttered the phrase "Message: I care". While Bush won the New Hampshire primary, Buchanan managed to get over 37% of the vote. While Buchanan's support stabilized at 30% in the remaining primaries, Bush was revealed as wounded and unpopular with Republicans, thus allowing for much of the base that would have supported him moving to Perot's campaign.
    • No sooner did Buchanan fade from the limelight then Vice-President Dan Quayle make headlines for all the wrong reasons. First was a late May speech in which Quayle's main focus on the importance of fathers (particularly in minority communities) ended up getting lost in a media furor over the use of a reference to the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown, whose title character had given birth out of wedlock during the season finale. Quayle then added fuel to the mockery with an incident in which he encouraged a young student named William Figueroa to add an "e" to the word "potato". The gaffe ended up adding insult to injury and resulted in rumors swirling that Quayle would be replaced.
    • As if those weren't problem enough for Team Bush's 1992 effort, internal strife on the campaign team led by pollster Bob Teeter would force the President to put longtime friend and Secretary of State James Baker in charge of the campaign, a move Baker made very reluctantly from his dream job.
    • The Republican Convention in Houston began with hopes of emphasizing the "family values" approach Quayle had attempted to communicate in what became known as the "Murphy Brown speech". As is often the case, a defeated rival candidate was allowed to speak on condition that they endorse the nominee. However, Buchanan delivered his "culture war" speech that led to much criticism and ended up overshadowing speeches by former President Reagan (scheduled later that night in what turned out to be his last address at a Republican National Convention prior to announcing his diagnosis of Alzheimer's), President Bush, and Vice-President Quayle (who recovered from the Murphy Brown and potato disasters with a speech considered to be his best).
    • The final nail in the coffin came in the second Presidential debate with the Democratic nominee, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and a newly re-entered Ross Perot, when Bush was seen looking at his watch at one point. Bush ended up not only losing to Clinton, but finishing with the lowest major-party percentage of the vote (37.4%) since Alfred Landon lost the 1936 election to incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt (finishing with 36.5% of the vote), and the lowest for an incumbent President since William Howard Taft finished in third place in 1912 with 23.2% of the vote.
  • The 1992 election was far from the end of Perot's foray into politics. In 1995, he founded the Reform Party, an organization designed to promote the ideals he had campaigned on and form a credible challenger to the Democrats and Republicans that would bring new ideas into politics. The Reform Party reached its height in 1998 when Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota on the ticket of that state's Reform Party affiliate, the Independence Party of Minnesota.
    • However, by 2000 several clear factions had emerged in the Reform Party, the main ones being the "old guard" of Perot loyalists, a libertarian wing led by Ventura (which counted Donald Trump among its supporters), a leftist wing led by Lenora Fulani, and a paleoconservative wing led by Pat Buchanan. Buchanan won the party's nomination for President that year, but onoy after a series of nasty public disputes that saw Ventura, his supporters, and other anti-Buchanan factions leave the party in disgust. It took a court decision to confirm Buchanan as the nominee after some disgruntled delegates walked out of the convention and nominated John Hagelin right across the street.
    • Needless to say, Buchanan and the Reform Party were too distracted by infighting to run a serious campaign, and emerged from the election with only 0.4% of the vote. The Reform Party spent the following few years tearing itself apart into splinter groups, and by 2004 it had less than $50 in the bank.
  • The 2008 McCain/Palin campaign was a veritable Dysfunction Junction.
    • John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for President, was a war hero known for being a "maverick" willing to go against the party's right wing. His once-moribund campaign had, against all odds, staged a comeback and won the Republican primary against candidates like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, and Rudy Giuliani, yet while his moderate reputation won over many independents, it also meant that the party base didn't trust him. Furthermore, the Democratic Party's nomination of Barack Obama, who was young, hip, mixed-race, and in tune with social media and youth culture, caused the Republicans and McCain to feel that he needed a similarly energetic running mate, as he was commonly seen as the embodiment of the "old white guy" stereotype that the Republican Party was trying to shed.
    • Enter Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska. Young enough to be McCain's daughter, she was also a born-again Christian family woman with a staunchly conservative record as Governor. On paper, she was an excellent running mate. She could appeal to Obama's young crowd and win back the Republican Party's conservative Christian base, while potentially winning over women voters disillusioned by the failure of Hillary Rodham Clinton (arguably the closest that America has come to a female President) in the Democratic primaries. Before McCain's team had properly vetted her, the McCain/Palin ticket was a reality.
    • As it turns out, the selection of Palin as a running mate may have been, together with the economic meltdown (see below), one of the deciding factors that broke the Republicans' 2008 campaign. Palin quickly embarrassed herself in a series of interviews with Katie Couric. Alongside infamously hemming and hawing and stumbling over what was seen as relatively simple questions (such as what newspapers and magazines she read to keep up on current events,) they also saw her displaying a spectacularly poor grasp of foreign policy; Tina Fey's "I can see Russia from my house!" quote on Saturday Night Live note  became the defining image of Palin, significantly tarnishing a campaign that had been built upon McCain's foreign policy credentials and decades of political experience. Furthermore, investigation of her leadership in Alaska revealed cronyism, corruption, and a Soap Opera-esque family life that was often connected to the first two, badly damaging her image as a Mrs. Smith come to clean up Washington.
    • Further compounding the growing disaster for McCain was the onset of the Great Recession barely a month and a half before the election. This took the focus of national attention away from The War on Terror, national security, and foreign policy, which were McCain's strengths, and towards the economy, whose poor performance the Republicans (who had been in power for eight years under President George W. Bush) were being blamed for. This wouldn't have been so bad had McCain's reaction not been to temporarily suspend his campaign to head to Congress and negotiate the bailout, creating the perception that he wasn't serious about trying to win the Presidency.
    • In the end, Obama won a commanding 7-point victory over the dysfunctional McCain/Palin campaign, winning every swing state except Missouri and even claiming seemingly solid "red" states like Indiana and North Carolina.
  • The 2012 U.S. Republican Party convention very much resembled a troubled movie shoot:
    • Stuart Stevens, the Romney campaign's chief strategist, described as giving off a "Hollywood" air (and he does come across like a movie producer), decided weeks before the convention to get a top writer, Peter Wehner, for the candidate's acceptance speech, the most critical part of the convention. Only problem: he didn't let Wehner spend any time with Romney, so the writer couldn't get a feel for how Romney talks. He pressed ahead anyway, and wrote a draft with good lines he was happy with. Not one word was used.
    • So Stevens turned to two veterans of the Bush administration, with eight days to go. By this time, the draft is usually finished and the candidate is rehearsing it, making this the equivalent of asking for a completely new draft of a screenplay from new writers two weeks before shooting starts. They were only working on Paul Ryan's acceptance speech at the time, but managed to finish one for Romney by working almost around the clock. Only one paragraph was used in a speech that ultimately was said to have been "cobbled together" by Stevens and Romney himself.
    • The pre-production writing problems were matched by actual production problems (so to speak). First, Hurricane Isaac forced a delay in the start of the convention. Then, an event where a speech by Romney to a veterans' group in Indianapolis was to be broadcast live in the convention hall was scratched... but since this speech was where Romney paid tribute to military veterans and the troops currently serving in Afghanistan, nobody had written that tribute into Romney's acceptance speech. Nobody caught this oversight before Romney gave the acceptance speech, leading to no end of flak for Romney for not mentioning the troops in his most important speech.
    • A few weeks earlier, Clint Eastwood had met Romney at a fundraiser in Idaho and asked if he could give an endorsement speech at the convention. Of course, said the candidate. Why not have a star cameo? But Eastwood refused to do a scripted speech. The resulting Big Lipped Alligator Moment of Eastwood talking to an empty chair that represented Barack Obama has become as defining an image of Tampa 2012 as those protesters flipping the bird at the camera and being beaten by the police are of Chicago 1968, to the point where some have questioned whether Eastwood was trolling the GOP.
    • Worse, Romney had badly bottled a visit to the UK just prior, forgetting the name of British Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband (and just referring to him as "Mr Leader", with its unfortunate Banana Republic overtones) and suggesting that London wasn't ready to host the upcoming Olympics, which earned him a public rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron himself.
      "Well, it's harder to host the games in an Alpha plus world city than it is to host them in the middle of nowhere."
    • Then late in the campaign, a video was leaked of Romney at a fundraiser, in which he said that 47% of voters would be voting for Obama because they relied on the government to provide for them, so he wouldn't even bother with trying to sway them. The outrage at the comment, especially with the implication that Romney would not care about all the people he wanted to govern, helped contribute to his defeat.
    • Then there was also his disastrous 'Jeep in China' ad, which he claimed that because of the government bailout, Jeep would close down the US factories and move them to China, leaving thousands of Americans unemployed. Not only was that untrue (in fact they were planning to expand one of their factories), the parent company, Chrysler, had refuted that claim two days before they ran the ad. And even them refuting it a second time didn't stop him running the ad again.
    • And to put a cherry on top of it: both Obama's and Romney's campaigns had designed a computer program and web application respectively to aid their volunteers in getting out the vote on election day. Obama's Project Narwhal worked fine. Romney's ORCA? Poorly designed, not beta tested, had volunteers that had never been briefed on how to use it (to the point that they were looking for it in app stores because people kept referring to ORCA as an app), kept crashing, and at one point was taken down by Comcast because they mistook a surge of traffic to the program for a denial of service attack.
    • A strong performance in the first debate salvaged Romney's sinking poll numbers, even allowing him to catch up to Obama at one point, but still, Obama's four-point victory on Election Day surprised precisely nobody except the most partisan pollsters. (Karl Rove, for instance, famously had a total meltdown upon learning that Obama had won Ohio, and with it, the election. Even his fellow conservatives on Fox News were baffled by his dogged denial of the events.)
  • As a general rule, in the US third-parties in general have a not-undeserved reputation of being Dysfunction Junctions filled with radical politics, personality-driven campaigns, and regular infighting related to both.

    Olympic Games 
The modern Olympic Games are one of the largest sporting events in the world, with cities competing to host them in order to take advantage of the glamour and tourism revenue that they attract. However, once awarded, the cities usually have to foot the bill themselves. Sometimes they go off swimmingly; others... not so much.

  • St. Louis, 1904. Cracked referred to it as "the Craziest Event Ever Held", and it's hard to argue.
    • The fact that the Games were held in the center of the US rather than in western Europe or even on the East Coast, in a time before cheap air travel, meant that most European countries could only send a few athletes, if any. The result was a clean sweep by US athletes; 526 of the 651 people competing were doing so under the US flag, and more than half the events had only Americans in them.
    • Furthermore, the Games were originally scheduled to be held in Chicago, but a combination of campaigning by President Theodore Roosevelt and the fact that Chicago was woefully unprepared to host the Games forced the IOC to move the event to St. Louis, which was prepared...
    • ... to host the World's Fair that same Summer. The organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition were strongly opposed to having to compete with the Olympics, to the point of threatening to create their own athletic competition.
    • The opening ceremony was a very low-key affair, with only the US team and a few foreign athletes in attendance. Instead of only a week, it took nearly five months to run all 94 events.
  • London, 1908. They were originally scheduled to be held in Rome, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 drained Italy's Olympic fund as they were forced to spend that money on relief efforts and reconstruction in Naples instead. Despite having to be organized on little notice, the newly-rescheduled London games went off with barely a hitch, save for when Ralph Rose, the American flag bearer, refused to dip the American flag to King Edward VII during the opening ceremony; his teammate Martin Sheridan is apocryphally quoted as saying "this flag dips to no earthly king" (a quote that was actually first attributed to him in The Fifties). Most of the US team, Sheridan included, was composed of Irish Americans who eagerly supported Rose's move, leading to acrimony with the British judges.
  • The 1916, 1940, and 1944 Olympics are notable for being the only Olympic Games to ever be canceled. The first was because of World War I, while the latter two were as a result of World War II.
  • Munich, 1972. The kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian gunmen was one of the grislier events on this list, and would be dramatized in the film Munich. The disaster forced the West German government to seriously re-examine its anti-terrorism procedures, especially after the botched rescue attempt that saw the athletes get killed.
  • Denver... wait, make that Innsbruck, 1976. With a slick presentation that lowballed costs and literally airbrushed out brown spots from photos of the Rockies, the Mile-High City beat out Sion, Switzerland, Tampere, Finland, and Vancouver, Canada for the XII Winter Olympics in 1970. However, as the estimated cost for the games tripled and concerns about environmental and civic disruption increased, public discontent mushroomed. An anti-Olympics movement within the Colorado state legislature itself emerged, and on November 7, 1972, 59% of state voters rejected a crucial bond issue to finance the Games with public funds. Eight days later, Denver was forced to withdraw from its hosting duties. The IOC offered the job to Whistler (just outside of Vancouver), but they declined. Salt Lake City then offered to host, but pulled out (further enraging the IOC) in 1973 when they were told by the US government they would get no federal funding.note  As a last resort, Innsbruck (the site of the 1964 Winter Olympics) stepped in and put together a successful (albeit not terribly fancy) Games with the infrastructure from their previous effort.
  • Montreal, 1976. The Summer Games left Montreal so badly in debt that the financing for the Olympic Stadium wasn't paid off in full until 30 years later, and the province of Quebec insisted that the city pay off its own debts. The financial situation was so bad all around that the future of the Olympic Games was in serious doubt. On top of that, most sovereign African countries boycotted the Games because the IOC would not suspend New Zealand following its rugby team's tour of South Africa (which was banned by the IOC at the time).
  • The 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles games were marred by the tit-for-tat withdrawals of the US and Soviet delegations respectively. The United States pulled its team from Moscow 1980 over the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, while the Soviet Union pulled its team from Los Angeles 1984 in response; many of their respective allies did the same. The perceived politicization of the Olympics was responsible for the creation of the Goodwill Games by Ted Turner in 1986.
    • The 1980 withdrawal also had ramifications at NBC, which (in the midst of their Fred Silverman-induced doldrums) had pretty much bet the farm on Olympic programming that year...and found itself broadcasting an event that Americans, without the home team to root for, couldn't care less about. The network only did a grudging Clip Show to keep the diehards who couldn't care less about politics happy, but they still took a huge loss.
  • Seoul, 1988. While the Games themselves went off without a hitch from a non-political standpoint, they went horribly wrong for the ruling dictatorship of South Korea. President Chun Doo-hwan intended for the Games to act as a showcase of South Korea's booming industrial economy, legitimize his authoritarian regime, and stave off growing pro-democratic pressure. Instead, the job of hosting the Olympics tied the government's hands when it came to putting down protesters, as it found out when a mass uprising swept the country in June 1987. Rather than crack down hard (and make South Korea look like a Banana Republic just as the eyes of the world were focused on it), Chun gave in and oversaw constitutional reforms that established democracy and human rights protections and granted amnesty to political prisoners. South Korea's first democratically-elected President officially opened the Games less than a year after taking office.
    • And of course, as was the case with every Olympiad in The '80s, Cold War politics became an issue. The IOC fought hard to avoid a repeat of the boycotts of 1980 and 1984 - difficult given that, as mentioned, South Korea at the time was a dictatorship with a pretty bad human rights record. Furthermore, there was the issue of North Korea. They came up with their own plan for the Games, which was eagerly supported by Fidel Castro; it called for a joint organizing committee, two separate opening and closing ceremonies in Pyongyang and Seoul, and for the events to be roughly evenly divided between North and South Korea. When the plan was rejected, North Korea and Cuba attempted to lead another boycott of the Games, but this time, only Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Albania, the Seychelles, and Madagascar followed them.
  • Atlanta, 1996. Like Munich, the Atlanta Games were also the site of a terrorist attack, this one a bombing by a Right Wing Militia Fanatic named Eric Rudolph that killed two people and injured over a hundred more. Aside from the bombing, the Games were also criticized by European Olympic officials as being overly commercialized and garish, with an overcrowded Olympic Village and poor-quality food and transportation; notably, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch declined to refer to the Atlanta Games as "the best Olympics ever", as was his usual tradition, instead calling them "most exceptional".
    • However, the Atlanta Games were successful in one very important respect — they turned a healthy profit, precisely because of those TV and sponsorship deals, and the infrastructure built to support them led to a revitalization of Atlanta's downtown. (Most, if not all, of that infrastructure is still in use to this day.) Today, despite the aforementioned criticism, the 1996 Summer Olympics, together with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, are often held up as examples of how to organize the Olympics without going overbudget and crippling the host city with debt.
  • Salt Lake City, 2002. The event were marred from the start by a scandal that broke in 1998, in which representatives for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee were accused of bribing the International Olympic Committee to award them the Games, including paying for the private schooling of one IOC member's child. While all parties were acquitted, this wasn't the only problem facing the SLOC, which was short some $379 million and needed to desperately make up the difference in order to have the money to build the required facilities. Future Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (then a venture capitalist) made his name here by turning the Games around in record time after being brought in to head the SLOC; aside from a judging controversy, no events marred the Games themselves.
  • Athens, 2004. Construction was severely behind schedule, with key facilities like the tram system and the Olympic Stadium itself only being finished less than two months before the start of the Games. The design for the Aquatics Center had to be greatly scaled back in order to finish it on time.
  • Beijing, 2008. The Chinese government went out of its way to prevent a troubled production, issuing new etiquette guidelines for Beijing police, foiling a terrorist plot by Uighur separatists, and undertaking a massive anti-pollution campaign to ensure that the city's famously smoggy skies would be clear for the Games (several athletes had chosen to train overseas for this reason, only showing up in Beijing when they actually had to perform). However, controversies still popped up. The opening ceremony was marred by the revelation that the singer they had perform "Ode to the Motherland" had been lip-synching, there were questions surrounding the age of some of the Chinese gymnasts, and despite the government's best efforts, there were still pollution problems, with some athletes pulling out of events due to poor air quality . This was on top of calls for boycotts of the Games due to China's human rights issues.
  • Vancouver, 2010. Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a training run, raising concerns over the safety of the luge course. Also, since an El Niño event was going on, the Games often found themselves chronically short of snow due to the abnormally warm weather; snow had to be trucked in from higher in the mountains.
  • London, 2012. The Games themselves were an overall success and actually turned a small profit, but the run-up was marred by scandal as the IOC was given free rein to turn the city into their personal fiefdom: Special traffic lanes for Olympic athletes, ridiculously aggressive trademark enforcement and the apparent suspension of local anti-competitive behaviour laws did not endear the Olympics to many sectors of the press, the zenith - or nadir - of the absurdity coming when McDonald's were given an exclusive monopoly license to sell chips anywhere within Olympic venues. It was also about this time that serious public attention was focused on the steadily escalating cost of the Games and the questionable long-term benefits.
    • These games also suffered a scandal when the company contracted to provide security, G4, ended up having for too little staff to necessary for such an event. As a result the army needed to be drafted in at short notice.
  • Sochi, 2014. Intended by Vladimir Putin as a showcase of Russian prosperity, Sochi instead came to be seen as a debacle well before the events kicked off.
    • The Games were marred by corruption scandals from top to bottom, to the point where it would be easier to list the instances where such accusations weren't happening. Sochi 2014 cost more than $50 billion, more than every other Winter Olympic Games put together, and it was said that at least a third of that money was lost due to corruption.
    • The Games began just as Russia became embroiled in controversy over a harsh new anti-LGBT law purporting to crack down on promoting "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors. While no countries outright boycotted the Games, there was passive-aggressive opposition from many quarters - the German Olympic team wore rainbow-colored uniforms, the US sent a delegation of three openly gay athletes (in place of Barack Obama, who declined to attend; although the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony is not considered a "must-visit" for most major politicians), and Google put up an Olympic-themed Doodle that doubled as a statement of support for LGBT rights. On top of this, there were also protests by Circassian nationalists demanding a state apology from the Russian government over the ethnic cleansing of Circassians that had gone on in the region 150 years prior.
    • Fear of terrorism ran high, especially following a number of high-profile bombings in Russia by terrorists from the region in the months before the Games.
    • There were complaints over the safety of the slopestyle course, with Shaun White and others refusing to ride it after one snowboarder was seriously injured on it during practice. Last-minute changes had to be made to it.
    • Key facilities were still unfinished on the eve of the opening ceremony. "#SochiFail" became a popular Twitter hashtag among people attending the Olympics and photographing the conditions at the hotels, which often included broken light fixtures, blinds, and door locks; communal toilets; Spartan furnishings in hotel rooms; and tap water that was unsafe to drink.
    • There are also the jaw-dropping reports that people were actually getting stuck in places. American bobsledder Johnny Quinn found himself stuck first in a bathroom, forcing him to break apart the door to escape, only to get stuck in an elevator two days later.
    • In the end, what little international goodwill Russia elicited from the Games evaporated when, just one week after the closing ceremony, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine. Indeed, the Games were so bad that some commentators even suggested that the invasion was done, at least in part, to try and salvage Russian pride after the humiliating debacle that was Sochi.
  • Rio de Janeiro, 2016. While some of the infrastructure was ready by the time Rio was a venue for The World Cup two years prior, buildings getting overpriced and/or behind schedule are starting to get tragically common. Brazil getting hit by an economic recession and a drought in Rio's region is not helping matters either. The IOC even held meetings with Madrid authorities in case the Spanish capital needed to take over.
  • Proving that you don't even have to win hosting the games to have one of these, the attempt by Boston to host the 2024 games was full of problems. Between the half-formed and outright stupid proposals (such building an athlete's village in Southie, and even a cursory knowledge of the neighborhood's history tells you why that's a bad idea) they were also dealing with terrible timing, as this was all unfolding while memory of the worst winter on record, which saw the already aging transportation system grind to a screeching halt, was still fresh in everyone's minds. Add to that a history of city officials pitching grandiose projects like The Big Dig that go horrifically over budget and time (see below under "Other") and there was skepticism and outright scorn towards Boston 2024 from the start. And while no one would admit so out loud, after the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013, no one wanted to tempt fate that boldly after what happened in Atlanta in 1996. The bid was eventually dropped completely in an announcement by City Mayor Marty Walsh after the IOC rushed him to sign an agreement, and while he dropped it ostensibly because the IOC wasn't able to guarantee insurance for the taxpayer dollars that would inevitably go into it, it's pretty much universally believed he really did so because he realized he did not have and never was going to have the support he needed from the general public.

    Space Programs 
  • Alexei Leonov is famous as the first human to ever perform a spacewalk, which occurred during the Voskhod 2 mission in March 1965. As Cracked has noted, it's probably a miracle that Leonov made it back to Earth alive as the mission pretty much devolved into a disaster once the spacewalk was finished.
    • Leonov was temporarily unable to enter the Voskhod module when his spacesuit inflated from being in the vacuum of space, forcing Leonov to let out some of his oxygen while suffering from heatstroke and the bends. By the time he made it back into the module, he was literally up to his knees in sweat inside his spacesuit.
    • The Voskhod module itself was a logistical nightmare. It held three occupants for this mission, even though it was based on an earlier spacecraft design which called for only one. This deprived the cosmonauts of any means of escape in emergency situations, and forced them to crane their heads at 90 degree angles just to read their instruments.
    • As could be expected from such a feat in engineering, the module's automatic landing system failed on re-entry. And thanks to the myriad design flaws, one of Leonov's crewmates, Pavel Belyayev, had to lay down across the module's three seats to reach the navigation panel while a third cosmonaut held him in place.
    • While he tried to land the thing manually, Belyayev asked Leonov to check their altitude. That move cost them time and landing accuracy, forcing them to land 800 miles off-course in a heavily forested part of the Ural Mountains where no rescue helicopters could land. The crew spent two days cutting firewood and fending off wolves before they were rescued.
  • Also mentioned in that same Cracked article is the early Soyuz program, the USSR's answer to Apollo. The space race was reaching its climax by 1967, and the Soviets cut a lot of corners to ensure that they put their man on the Moon first. Unfortunately, unlike Voskhod 2, this did not end with the cosmonaut coming home alive.
    • Like the Voskhod spacecraft, the Soyuz 1 capsule was designed as a Rube Goldbergian death trap. (For example, unlike Apollo, traveling from the orbiter to the landing craft required a spacewalk.) When cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin was called in to inspect the capsule, he found 203 structural deficiencies and recommended that the program be postponed. He was rebuffed by the Soviet higher-ups.
    • To add a huge Tear Jerker element to this, Gargarin discovered that his close friend Vladimir Komarov was expected to man the flight, with Gargarin ordered to be his potential replacement. Neither man wanted to back out and force the other to go on what they agreed was a suicide mission, but in the end (despite Gargarin showing up at the launch pad pleading to take Komarov's place) Komarov was sent up in Soyuz 1.
    • Almost immediately, things went From Bad to Worse. Once Soyuz 1 reached orbit, its solar panel failed and Komarov's systems went with it. Then the orientation detectors froze, further crippling the craft. Then the automatic stabilization system died with the manual system only partly working. After thirteen orbits around Earth, the mission was aborted and Komarov was ordered back home.
    • Then things took a turn for the Nightmare Fuel when the Soyuz 1's parachute failed to deploy on re-entry, causing the capsule to crash to the ground and kill Komarov in the process. U.S. scientists happened to be listening in to Komarov's final communications with Soviet mission control and heard him raging at the people who put him in that clusterfuck of a spacecraft.

    Other 
  • The entirety of the Millennium Dome project seemed like this, from its constantly-delayed boondoggle of a construction, to the lack of planning about what exactly it was meant for, to underwhelming attendance figures, to confusion as to what exactly to do with the thing after the millennium celebration had concluded. It's quite difficult to improve on Andrew Rawnsley's description of the Dome as "a magnificent shell enclosing a vacuum of banality" and "a vacuous temple to political vanity" that embodied the worst features of its age: "the vapid glorification of marketing over content, fashion over creation, ephemera over achievement".
  • Super Bowl XLV, the championship game of the 2010-11 NFL season. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to use the game to showcase his team's brand-new, $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium (now known as AT&T Stadium, and also "known" as Jerry World or Death Star), and to break the Super Bowl attendance record. However, the week in the run-up to the game was a comedy of errors.
    • On January 28, Cowboys Stadium was put on lockdown due to a suspicious package... which turned out to be a piece of debris.
    • A few days before the game, a freak snow storm blanketed the area resulting in closure of local airports and several roads as well as brief power outages throughout the region. note 
    • The Friday before the game, six people were injured by ice falling from the roof. As a result, on game day four of the 10 gates were closed, making it very difficult for fans to enter the stadium.
    • To help the chances of breaking the attendance record, Jones ordered the installation of 15,000 temporary seats. However, partly because of ice and snow storms in the area around the stadium, 1,250 of those seats weren't finished on game day. 850 of the fans who were to be in those seats were able to get seats elsewhere, but the other 400 were forced to go to a bar inside the stadium and watch the game on TV. They were refunded triple their ticket prices, but that still didn't take into account hotel, airfare, and other such expenses. Several fans ended up suing the NFL (the case was settled out of court).
    • At the end of the day, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. And the total attendance was 103,219, only 766 short of the record.
  • The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was such a clusterfrak that it was amazing the government of Dilma Rousseff won re-election despite the backlash against its handling of the games.
    • Massive protests occurred in the year before the World Cup, largely out of the perception that public funds going to the games were being misused, wasted on corruption, and could be better used elsewhere. Brazilian footballer Romário referred to the Cup as the "biggest theft in history", claiming that its real cost was as much as US$46 billion and alleging massive corruption on the part of both FIFA and the Brazilian government. It was for this reason that no speeches were given at the opening ceremony, as is customary.
    • Not only were key facilities like hotels and even stadia still unfinished at the start of the games, but the removal of (mostly indigenous) people from their homes to build such facilities was another point of contention.
    • In 2003, Brazil had prohibited alcohol sales at stadiums in response to a number of alcohol-related deaths during football matches. It repealed this law, under heavy pressure from FIFA, with what became known as the "Budweiser Bill" after one of the World Cup's main sponsors.
    • The scariest part? This might happen all over again: Brazil is due to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Already, stadiums and infrastructure are falling behind schedule.
  • The revival of the Formula One United States Grand Prix was briefly endangered by a contract dispute between Bernie Ecclestone and the backers of Circuit of the Americas, a purpose-built road course in Austin, Texas, which nearly led to the abandonment of the track. However, the parties were able to come to terms, and the race ultimately went off on schedule at the end of the 2012 season.
    • The same can't be said of F1's planned US street race, the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey, which slipped into Development Hell amidst vicious contract disputes after missing the schedule for three straight years due to lack of funds for construction.
    • Then there's the 2015 German Grand Prix. Normally, the race is alternated between two venues, the Nürburgring and Hockenheim, with the Nürburgring scheduled to host in 2015, but the Nürburgring had for many years now suffered financial difficulties when hosting this race, and after failing to reach a new agreement with Ecclestone, dropped itself from the calendar. Hockenheim then bowed out, saying that the last-minute dropping left them no time to promote the race, leaving Formula One without the German Grand Prix for the first time in over 50 years. Especially sad because three of the drivers are German, and the defending constructor's champion Mercedes is German (and tried to save the German GP using their own money).
    • The Indian Grand Prix was troubled from the start: yet another country with a lack of motorsport culture (at the time the race was first proposed there were only two raceways), and after elections changed the government policy, neither track was interested in hosting. So a new one had to be built. The site changed at least once, farmers protested because their land had been taken away, and the workers constructing the track were treated poorly. Once it opened it was received pretty well, but it only went on for three years before tax issues forced the FIA to cancel the race (specifically, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to classify the event as "entertainment" rather than "sport", entitling them to a portion of the teams' revenue as tax). Ecclestone hopes to put it back on the calendar once the tax issues are resolved, but so far...no dice.
    • The Korean Grand Prix was no picnic either: construction on the track went so slowly that it didn't get approval to hold races until 13 days before the inaugural race, there was a severe lack of accommodations for all the personnel needed, (to the point that many of them had to stay in love motels), the location was prone to heavy rainfall, and the time they chose to start the race left them with little room for delays (which of course happened because of the aforementioned rain). As a result, many of the races ended at dusk and lighting was inadequate. Combine that with how unpopular it was with the drivers and the high costs to run the race, it was dropped for 2014, and failed to come back for 2015, although like India it hopes to be ready for 2016.
    • All these, however, pale to the events of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix, which ended up cancelled altogether after protests sprung up in Bahrain. Even when those protests forced the cancellation of another race, the FIA and Ecclestone insisted the race would go on, and protesters alleged that the Crown Prince only agreed to negotiate with them so that the race-his pet project-would go on. Eventually, the race was cancelled note , but they tried to reschedule it for later in the year. Human rights protesters complained about how the FIA were quick to schedule it despite continuing protests, while the teams' association pointed out that races could not be rescheduled without their unanimous approval, per the FIA rules, and found the new date logistically impossible, forcing them to drop the race entirely for that year. It's since come back, but not without its hiccups: every year there are protests, and one year a team flat-out refused to come to a practice session because they had been hit by a firebomb.
  • The Big Dig is the most famous construction project in Boston's history for all the wrong reasons. It was simple enough on paper: Reroute Rte 93 under the central part of the city into an underground tunnel and tear down the notoriously ugly elevated roadway that cut the historic North End off from the rest of the city, and then use the nearly opened space to create a park and new entertainment venues and attractions. Initially planned to be completed in 1998, it wasn't until 2007 that it was formally finished and only after, according to The Other Wiki, "escalating costs, scheduling overruns, leaks, design flaws, charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal arrests, and one death" (with the death being the result of a ceiling panel collapsing on a car and killing a passenger) and an estimated cost of $14.6 billion, an overrun of 190% of the initial calculation of $6.0 billionnote . And even today the tunnels are plagued with problems that require nearly constant repair, such as an estimated 25,000 light fixtures that will eventually have to be replaced to the tune of $54 million. The entire clusterfuck has made Bostonians wary of any big projects since then, and may have had a hand in dooming the Boston 2024 Olympic bid (see above).

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