Top 10 ‘Get Off My Lawn’ moments of outrage in 2015

Trump, tabloids, Gaybo’s grimace and questions of race and gender all make the list

Ghastly, ghastly last year is over. Let's cheer ourselves up by saying goodbye to 10 moments of high baloney from the previous 12 months. It's the first annual GET OFF MY LAWN! awards.

10: The Famine sitcom

Twelve months ago, in this paper, Hugh Travers, a smart comedy writer, explained that he was planning a sitcom set during the Famine. We soon found ourselves cast back into the grim old days as the (largely expatriate) "down with this sort of thing" mob worked itself into a fury over something that didn't yet exist. Most domestic commentators urged Hugh to proceed, but we've heard no more about it. Welcome back to 1978!

9: Rachel Dolezal's flexible race

The former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Spokane chapter kicked off a flotilla of opinion pieces when it was revealed that, despite "identifying as black", she had no African-American blood to speak of. Most everybody was certain that Dolezal had done a bad thing, but there was great disagreement as to the precise nature of her crime. The speculation about identity bled unhelpfully into the story of…

8: Caitlyn Jenner's apotheosis

It should, of course, cheer us that former athlete Caitlyn Jenner is now comfortable with her gender. But the concomitant furore was exhausting.


We were all expected to swoon at Annie Lebowitz's characteristically sexless portrait on the cover of Vanity Fair. As an episode of South Park pointed out, Jenner's great "heroism" is now a liberal humanist shibboleth. Worst of all, the tedious Kardashians, to whom Jenner is related by marriage, received another surge of undeserved attention.

7: Gay Byrne makes a face at Stephen Fry

Was there ever a better example of a story about nothing? The inestimable Mr Byrne (to whom we wish a full recovery following his recent heart attack) is a master at the theatrical grimace. Never has he used that gift more flamboyantly than when – like a father confronting a "ruined" daughter in a Victorian melodrama – he raised his nose at Stephen Fry's mild assertions of atheism.

6: Cecil the lion dies

Walter Palmer, the American dentist who shot Cecil, could hardly have seemed more like a spoilt, privileged white dude if indentured servants had carried him about in a sedan chair. Mind you, it was undeniably true that the story only got attention because the lion had BEEN GIVEN a name. At least one dentist became upset that the media were ridiculing his profession.

5: The Apple watch

"Think different," Apple famously asked us (beginning, one assumes, by blurring the distinction between adjectives and adverbs). The top-end Apple Watch costs €17,000. It needs to be charged every 19 hours. It is largely useless without an iPhone and does little that that device can't do. It does have one purpose, I suppose. Anyone wearing the thing is reliably identified as an easy mark.

4: The Sun 'bans' page three

The tabloid can still play the rest of the media like a cheap guitar. On January 16th the news leaked that the Sun's UK edition would no longer carry photographs of topless women. Before the triumphalist editorials in the Guardian had time to dry, the paper unveiled one more Page Three girl. Then they stopped again. That's now you keep your enemy on edge.

3: Donald Trump

At time of writing, it's hard to tell if we should still be treating Trump as a joke. The foghorn-voiced Orangutan would, if nominated, be among the most implausible presidential candidates for a major party in US history. Yet he just won't go away. So deep are we in Bizarroworld that Ted Cruz – an ideologue of unshakably barmy conviction – is beginning to seem like the sane alternative. I click my ruby slippers. There's no place like home!

2: Star Wars island

"Now all the fans from Star Wars, they will call it ' Star Wars Island'," Sculptor Imogen Stuart said fearfully of the former Skellig Michael when being appointed Grand High Jedi of Aosdána. We are happy to oblige. It seems as if some form wasn't filled in when LucasFilm applied to shoot on Star Wars Island, but cultural snobbery was the driving force behind the increasingly unconvincing objections. After all, nobody much minded when Sir Kenneth Clark shot Civilisation there.

1: Piggate

Like many relentless consumers of political news, I divide 2015 into BPG and APG. Once one heard the suggestion, propagated in Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott's Call Me Dave, that David Cameron had, as part of a student ritual, placed Percy in the pork, the sky turned a prettier colour and the air smelt newly of lavender. It's almost certainly not true, you say? It's unfair even to bring it up? Get off my lawn!