It was the year Christina Aguilera attacked Lady Gaga and Whoopi Goldberg stormed off The View. Conan O'Brien defied his boss and world leaders threatened to kill a psychic octopus. A guide to the bloodiest feuds of 2010.
PALIN vs. LAMESTREAM MEDIA
The Beef: Finally, a more formidable Palin enemy than the teenage son of an Alaska oxycontin dealer! The "lamestream media (LSM)" has been Sarah's Achilles' heel ever since the ol' Katie Couric interview fiasco. Now Palin says she wants to "clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism." (Presumably with impeccable sentence construction.) LSM journalist Joe McGinniss raised the stakes by moving in next door to Palin's Wasilla spread. Also: "Refudiate."
Verdict: With two bestselling books, a reality show, a kid with a reality show, and a lucrative talking head gig on the most-watched news network in America, Palin is the media. Double win; America loses.
AGUILERA vs. GAGA
The Beef: Aguilera's critically panned album Bionic was a massive Gaga rip-off, as was Xtina's new look and the music video for the album's (ironically named) first single, "Not Myself Tonight." Everyone started asking her about it, prompting Xtina to engage in passive-aggressive warfare: "Oh, the newcomer? I think she's really fun to look at," and "This person was just brought to my attention not too long ago. I'm not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don't know if it is a man or a woman."
Verdict: Gaga wins. Xtina issues an awkward non-apology. She abandons Bionic and slinks off to a black hole called Burlesque, which also fails miserably. Then she gets divorced and falls into a pit of boozy despair and naked pictures. Stunning demise.
MAYER vs. WOMANITY
The Beef: He called Jessica Simpson "sexual napalm," confessed to having a "David Duke dick," and broke Taylor Swift's teenage heart. Oh, and please talk dirty when he fucks you. The look on these ladies' faces say it all.
JOBS vs. PORN
The Beef: With complaints about sexually moralizing censorship dogging Apple's (revolutionary!) iPhone/iPod/iPad App store, Apple's CEO gets into a late-night email fight with Gawker's own Ryan Tate. Asked about the iPad's understanding of "freedom," Jobs says he offers the world "freedom from porn."
LOHAN vs. SOBRIETY
The Beef: At the tail end of her probation for a series of DUIs dating to 2007, Disney's fallen princess flies off the handle. She skips a court date to party with maybe-cocaine, gets an alcohol-monitoring anklet, poses naked with her alcohol-monitoring anklet, sets her alcohol-monitoring anklet off, lies about setting her alcohol-monitoring anklet off, goes to jail, gets out of jail, fails a drug test, goes partying, is sentenced to jail again, gets out of jail again, and is now in court-ordered rehab until January, where she might be assaulting employees, but seems to be sober. (For now.)
Verdict: Draw. Loser is Lindsay Lohan's bank account, because she hasn't had enough time to cash in on the notoriety.
ANGELINA vs. CHELSEA HANDLER
The Beef: Aniston friend and comedian Chelsea Handler stepped into the Angelina-Jen proxy war again with an on-stage rant against "cunt" "homewrecker" Angelina Jolie. She proceeded to give interviews and milk the the 15 minutes like it was a Holstein cow. Aniston distanced herself from Chelsea, and Angelina continued not to give a shit about any of them.
The Verdict: Angelina wins with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back. Chelsea accepts her punishment: A romantic relationship with 50 Cent.
CONAN vs. NBC
The Verdict: We're with Coco, even if his post-NBC career has been spotty.
FACEBOOK vs. GOOGLE
The Beef: The internet can only have one king, and at the beginning of 2010, Google made its crown insecurity clear when it started imitating Facebook—disastrously. The great Google Buzz bust revealed some of the search engine's greatest weaknesses. Then again, Facebook has had its share of negative press, too.
Verdict: Facebook wins. By mid-November, one in four web pages views by Americans was on Facebook. A movie about Facebook was one of the best of the year, and even the guy who coined "don't be evil" thinks Google lost.
PSYCHIC OCTOPUS vs. AXIS OF EVIL
The Beef: The psychic talents of undisputed World Cup winner Paul the Octopus—who accurately predicted World Cup outcomes—drew death threats from the fans of losing soccer teams, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Verdict: Paul may have died in October, but his memory lives on, victorious and invertebrate.
O'REILLY vs. THE VIEW
The Beef: Bill O'Reilly's opposition of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" so enraged Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg that they stormed off the set of The View when he said "Muslim killed us on 9/11." O'Reilly subsequently defended his right to piss off The View; The View defended its right to think O'Reilly is a dickhead; Barbara Walters is embarrassed; and Bill-o goes on and on and on about the dust-up, ad nauseum.
The Verdict: O'Reilly is a dickhead, and seals his fate with insufferable loquaciousness. The View wins.
PENN vs. WYCLEF
The Beef: Battle of the celebrity Haiti supporters. After former Fugee Wyclef Jean announced he was seriously running for president of Haiti, Penn cast aspersions: "I'm not accusing Wyclef Jean of being an opportunist, but…" his rant began. Wyclef responded, "Maybe he ain't see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine."
ARIANNA vs. TINA
The Beef: The long-simmering feud between America's foremost intimidating females with European accents—Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington and Daily Beast/Newsweek editor Tina Brown—came to a head when a rumor emerged that Tina's entire career was but an elaborate expression of her hatred for Arianna: "The raison d'être of The Daily Beast to try to catch Arianna," wrote The Guardian. Tina and Arianna responded by with a dual-bylined kiss-fest that ran on both websites.
WINTOUR vs. ROITFELD
The Beef: Speaking of Wintour, the American Vogue editrix has long been at odds with her French counterpart, the more popular Carine Roitfeld. This year, an eleventh-hour resignation from Roitfeld threw a wrench in the tense proceedings: Roitfeld would not be stealing Wintour's job, because Roitfeld was quitting Vogue entirely!
Verdict: Slow and steady wins the race. As rumors swirled that Roitfeld had been (gasp) fired, Anna Wintour sat in a crystal room at the top of the Conde Nast building, silently stroking her blonde bob with glee. To celebrate, she ordered an extra-rare filet mignon, cut from the body of a sacrificial intern, and ate it in with an extra-large serving of Diet A-1 Steak Sauce.
[Image of Jobs via AP; Mayer via Splash; Palin via AP; Paul via AP; Tina/Arianna via Getty; Lindsay via Getty] [Disclosure: I worked at the Daily Beast. Does that make me more or less likely to stab Tina Brown in the back though, hmm?]