Golden Gobblers 2011: The biggest birdbrains in tech

Who are the tech turkeys of the year? Cringely has the answers -- and they're more fowl than you can imagine

Thanksgiving Day approaches, and in Cringeville that generally means two things: a) eating until I pass into a tryptophan-induced coma, and b) handing out my annual Golden Gobbler awards for the biggest turkeys in tech.

The Gobblers are given to individuals who've done the most over the preceding 11 months to resemble these flighty creatures. Last year's winners included Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, Gawker publisher Nick Denton, and the National Pork Board. This year we have an equally worthy flock of T-birds ready to get stuffed. Here they are.

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Tim Armstrong. So you decided it was a good idea to let Michael Arrington run an investment fund while continuing to oversee an alleged journalism site covering investment funds -- but declared it an ethical conflict for any other journalist collecting an AOL paycheck. That made a ton of sense. Then you got overruled by your own employee, freshly crowned AOL news queen Arianna Huffington. A steady exodus of TechCrunchers followed, not that anyone's likely to notice. What are the rules now?

Hey Tim: For a while there, we managed to forget how truly ridiculous AOL is. Thanks for the reminder.

Julian Assange. Like a flower that wilts outside the spotlight, Mr. WikiLeaks couldn't stand to not be the center of attention for more than five minutes. So last August, the Albino Aussie released all 250,000 U.S. State Department cables in unredacted form, endangering the lives of countless confidential sources. It remains the biggest leak in U.S. history, but it's microscopic compared to Assange's ego.

Is it time for your memoir yet? May we suggest a title: "All About Me, As Told to Me, With a Foreword by Me."

Anthony Weiner. For reasons that defy understanding, the former representative from the great state of New York thought it perfectly reasonable to send shots of his all-beef Hebrew National to various women via Twitter last May, thus giving new meaning to the term "Congressional member."

Alexandra Wallace. In March, the former UCLA undergrad decided to express her true feelings about how Asian students act in the school library. Unfortunately, she did it on YouTube. It went viral almost immediately and became an online firestorm. A few days later, she apologized for the racist rant and announced she was leaving the university after receiving death threats.

The trouble with venting on YouTube? Thirty minutes later, you're hungry to rant about something else.

Harold Camping. Despite the Family Radio evangelist's best efforts, the rapture did not occur on May 21, and the saved did not ascend into heaven sans all their earthly accoutrement. God also missed His (Her?) revised deadline of Oct. 21. But Camping's Armageddon meme spread across the Net, resulting in dozens of "rapture bomb" photos and scores of snarky Twitter confessions. At least it wasn't all for naught.

Do they serve turkey in heaven? Eventually we may get to find out -- just not all at once.

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