Some aspects of modernity make me quite happy. Today, we will not be talking about any of those things…
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for stuff…hence, the namesake “Thanksgiving,” I suppose. That said, there are quite a bit of things I encounter in my day-to-day life that I am not thankful for. In fact, these things, I feel downright unthankful for, because they’re awful and cause me a personal amount of suffering, which fluctuates in intensity from mild irk to carotid-artery-bulging outrage.
Here are a few of the things I'm talking about; forty-one of them to be precise, if we're sticklers for accuracy in reporting and all...
Music -- I know that’s an awfully broad thing for a person to say that they hate, but that’s more or less how I feel about the concept of music as a whole. Of course, I periodically listen to music, and there are quite a few acts that I really like, but compared to other art forms, there’s no denying that music is, intrinsically, annoying. For starters, it’s loud, and omnipresent; you can’t chow down at an Asian buffet without having Huey Lewis and the News songs blaring at you, and goddamn it, sometimes I just want to eat five pounds of shrimp in quietude. Similarly, music fans seem to take their love of whatever kind of music they like to extremes that are WAY more irrational than the fanaticism of, oh say, nonfiction literature or Sega Genesis aficionados. They’re ALWAYS playing their favorite music, as if life itself would come to a sudden halt if they didn’t hear that song on their iPod one more time and at that very instant. They come to more or less worship the artists they like, and at concerts, they act like one of those Southern Methodists that like to writhe around in the floor after the pastor slaps unholy spirits out of them in front of the pulpit. The worst part about it, I suppose, is that “music people” act so weirded out about others NOT having the exact same instant-gratification needs they do -- they ALWAYS have to have the radio on in their car, they ALWAYS have to have their headphones on while they do stuff and on top of it all, they seem to be the most one-dimensional, homicidally violent, hive-minded kind of fans out there. Music itself may not always be bad, but I assure you that every kinda’ culture fixed around it is sure to be insufferable.
Television -- Pretty much the same deal here as it is with music. Sure, there are good television programs out there, and every now and then, I like to catch a hockey, football, soccer or game on the tube, but this whole idea that TV has to be such an entrenched aspect of one’s life just irks the shit out of me. In a lot of ways, the TV show has kinda’ become a ritualistic surrogate for religious ceremonies; I mean, people spend ALL WEEK waiting for the newest episode of “Breaking Amish” or what-the-hell-ever to air as if the other 167 hours in their weekly lives were just superfluous to that one central point of watching that show they like. You can tell me that shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones” are great, but I know better; it’s just more episodic nonsense, that gives one the illusion of enlightenment and an illusory sense of both personal progression and community via parasocial relationships. That, and I automatically feel dumber just by sitting in front of a set, being bombarded by advertisement after advertisement when all I really want is to hear Sophia Petrillo crack wise for a good 22 or so minutes. The most aggravating thing about television, I’d say, is the same thing that’s perhaps the most annoying about music in general -- its ubiquity. No matter where you go -- a gym, Taco Bell, a video game store, wherever -- you’re sure to be bombarded by a television screen of some kind, making the entire medium virtually inescapable.
Bicyclists -- Hardcore bicycle riders have to be the most arrogant people on the planet. Roadways, in case you haven’t noticed, are for AUTOMOBILE USE. That grey stuff between the grass is a vessel authorized for motor vehicles only; that is, machines, designed to transport individuals from location to location via the controlled explosion of combustible fuels, at speeds which fluctuate from five miles to about 70 miles per hour. Bicyclists, it appear, haven’t figured this out, and have no qualms WHATSOEVER about taking their rinky dink contraption out on the nation’s highways and byways, peddling at speeds in excess of ten or so miles per hour, while actual motorists are stuck behind the rider, whom are completely unable to move because of opposite lane traffic. It’s clear that bicyclists have no respect at all for the unstated social system, nor our communal transportation laws. And on top of that, they dress in goofy, pastel-colored spandex, which just makes them look like gay superheroes.
Families that Like to Exercise Together -- They are so many things wrong with people like this, I don’t know where to begin. First of all, where I come from, families aren’t supposed to do ANYTHING as units -- they’re SUPPOSED to be dysfunctional clumpings of people that are, largely, kept together because of court order. And even IF said families were to perform an act together, it sure as heck wouldn’t be for something with positive health benefits, like jogging or aerobics. Long story short: if your family likes to roller skate as an ensemble on the weekends, instead of fist fighting each other over who’s going to get the last drumstick from Church’s, you’re probably a horrible human being that will never amount to anything in life.
White People that are Really into Reggae -- Folks of the sort are just absolutely intolerable. First of all, the reality is, they don’t even LIKE the music, it’s just that they like to smoke weed and feel some sense of cultural connection (primarily, via the works of a violent rapist) outside their own painfully boring (and almost certainly) middle class white person existence. And regarding Caucasians with dreadlocks; in at least 48 states, others should have legal permission to punch your lights out.
|Believe it or not, I don't think that's a picture of the dude from "Blues Traveler."|
People that Wear Fedoras -- Even outside of all the Brony subculture stuff, it’s just an unsightly fashion choice. But at least it works as something of an unstated social warning: headwear of the sort is more or less the Star of David for boring perverts whom have nothing worthwhile to say about anything, at all.
People that Like to Bump their Stereos at 10 in the Morning -- It’s Tuesday at the Post Office, and there are only two people in the parking lot. Who the hell do you think you’re impressing here? Almost as bad: people that feel the need to blare their custom car sound systems at places that are completely unlikely to draw the attention of like-minded others. Example? Once, I saw a dude bumping and trying to look all gangsta…at 7 PM…on a Wednesday…at Publix.
Post Office Service, In General -- Always staffed by the most incompetent, clearly disinterested people on the planet. Honest to God: I went into the local P.O a few weeks ago, and the desk lady actually greeted me by saying “what are you looking at?” The fact that they always lose your parcels doesn’t really help their case, either.
People that Wear their Sunglasses on the BACKS of their Heads -- The first time I saw someone doing this, I was convinced it had to have been someone with a developmental disorder. Flash forward a few months, and encountering an entire armada of bro-dudes rocking the exact same look made me realize that this ridiculous fashion trend actually exists. When I see someone doing this, I instinctively want to grab a felt tip pen and quickly draw a crude nose and squiggly mouth down the back of their neck. And I’m going to do it someday, I promise.
People that Are in Clearly Unsuccessful Bands, Who Are Convinced They Will One Day Achieve Greatness -- At some point in your life, you’ll probably think about starting a band. That time is called “for about five minutes when you’re 14,” and then you move on to thinking about shit that actually matters. Believe it or not, I know people who are in their 20s, and even by-God 30s in some cases, who are 110 percent sure that their band will eventually lead them to fame and fortune, despite the fact that a.) they’ve never actually been booked for a show before, b.) they don’t have enough money collectively to even record a tape demo (let alone afford the postage to mail them out to anyone) and c.) they’re still trying to find a bassist. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how much music is responsible for the general shiftlessness of today’s generation. David Noebel was wrong about a lot of things, but he sure was right about a whole lot of others…
|Nothing pleases the Dark Lord quite like casual Fridays...|
People that Are Always Going to Concerts -- A kinda’ inversion of the above, this time from a spectator’s perspective. We all know at least one or two people whose lives more or less revolve around going to “shows” -- they take in at least one a week, and sometimes more, and their Facebook feed is pretty much nothing but pictures from the last show, thoughts about the last show, thoughts about how excited they are for the upcoming show, and reminiscing about that one time that one thing happened at that one show that went to. Most of the time, these people are failed musicians themselves (who, I suppose, at least had the good sense to do something quasi-productive with their lives instead), or really boring, buttoned-down people that thrive off the vicarious thrill of watching others do something they can’t (although, to be fair, most of us COULD be behind-the-stage drug addicts that make $80 a gig at doing SOMETHING, I reckon.) Needless to say, there’s not a whole lot of depth to people of the like; it’s best to ignore them, or at least say all sorts of slanderous shit behind their back while they’re trying to get the drummer’s face perfectly stabilized for an Instagram selfie.
Any Kind of Electronic Music, for that Matter -- Yeah, I know I’m talking a lot about music here, and I suppose covering music in general up front sort of covers this one by default, but this aural racket is worth a special deriding for at least a few sentences. Trance, Trap, Techno, Dubstep and especially all of that Ambient stuff -- I don’t even think it’s shitty enough to qualify as actual music, to be honest. It’s just a bunch of zips and zaps and these low pitched hums and droning beats, typically worsened by the inclusion of some completely unnecessary secondary audio track -- like, some dude talking about “Lord of the Rings” or a mandolin solo, or something. Additionally, I have yet to encounter a single person into music of the like that I would consider a decent human being; maybe there’s something intrinsic about the genre that just taps into the human “asshole” gene, I guess?
People that Care about GMOs -- That’s “genetically modified organisms,” for those of you that aren’t in the know. For whatever reason, a large contingency of folks out there decided to go on a jihad about how GMOs in food are some sort of scientifically-unproven lethal scourge, and a lot of people that are really keen on thinking for themselves decided to become part-time GMO-critics, too. These are the kinds of people that are hell bent on convincing you that Boo Berry and Mountain Dew are utterly toxic chemicals, frequently going on tirades about how “raw milk” and Paleodieting is the only way to keep yourself from contracting aspartame-borne cancer or something. I hope I live to be 100, just so I can stand over their graves and eat a Hot Pocket.
People that Think Comic Books are Legitimate Works of Art and/or Social Commentary -- Look, I grew up loving 1970s Spider-Man comics as much as the next guy, but even as comic-collector in the 90s, I knew the shit was junk culture, nothing more, nothing less. Nowadays, people are utterly convinced that comic books are legit art, on par with, you know, real art, and that said medium has just as much validity as film and the ACTUAL written word. You know, because “Maus” was a much more effective, in-depth look at the Holocaust than “Schindler’s List” in either book and movie-form, and “Miracle Man” is far more enlightening than “The Gulag Archipelago” or “The Human Condition.” Even worse are those purveyors of “comics journalism,” which is an honest-to-goodness attempt to get morons to read news by having overrated and overpaid comic artists draw it for them. If you ever wondered why nobody trusts the media -- or why today’s generation is filled with so many numbskulls -- that’s more or less all you need to know right there.
Anime, in General -- Might as well thrown in manga while we’re at it, and any of those JRPGs that are based on anime or manga, or are trying to emulate anime or manga. The stories are stupid and juvenile, while the artwork is completely interchangeable. Hey, look, some dude with big eyes and a sword-arm is fighting another dude with big-eyes and sword-arm! How inventive. And a lot of it is just pervy as hell - the fact that one of the most popular Japanese cartoons out there is a show about a dude trying to avoid being boinked by his stepsisters (no, really) is really all the proof you need there, I suppose. Even more depressing is that this hogwash somehow inspired an entire subculture. Which, of course, provides a natural segue into…
|Some people dedicate their lives to solving social injustices and curing deadly diseases. And others like to dress up like cartoon characters from Japanese children's programs.|
Cosplaying -- Am I the only person on the planet that realizes how stupid this is? You’re a grown-ass adult, dressed up like a cartoon character, in public. Just think about that for a minute, and let the sorrow sink deep into your marrow.
Commercials -- I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. That’s probably the primary reason I could never get into TV, I suppose. When I hear people talking about commercials, I can almost smell their brains turning into mush. And if you post a commercial on your Facebook page, for any reason, you deserve a good walloping. Several, maybe.
People That Have No Idea What Objective News Is Supposed To Look Like -- How many times have you been in an argument with some lunkhead, who was convinced that this one article completely validated their crazy-ass beliefs on something? So anyway, you take the bait, and what they show you is from WND, Breitbart, or god help you, PrisonPlanet. We live in a culture where millions of young people can’t tell the difference between an official government source or a peer reviewed article from a blog post written by some tinfoil-hat sporting basement dweller, or some conspiratorial dweeb’s YouTube channel. Opinion, fact, truth, commentary…who cares which is which, right?
Plasma Screen Menus at Fast Food Restaurants -- When the shit did all this happen? A couple of months ago, I walked into a McDonalds, and the place was like some sort of post-modern Museum, or a picture from the set of “Demolition Man” or something. There’s a counter, a cash register, and a wall of LCD screens behind you, where the good-old plastic menu board with removable paper slots used to be. And to make things worse, they keep changing, so it takes three or four times as long to figure out what you want to eat now. It’s unnecessary, counterproductive, and technological just for the sake of being technological -- which, in a nutshell, kinda’ describes most of our modern world, anyway.
Radiohead, and Anybody That Listens to Them -- There are a lot of bands out there I hate, but I really, REALLY hate Radiohead. It’s the worst kinda’ hatred too, the kind that you really can’t explain in one or two sentences. It’s a sensorial hatred, I would say, an instinctive hatred that goes far beyond the normal constraints of human reason or understanding. For starters, “Creep” (which gets my vote for single worst thing ever recorded) made whiny-ass-white-boy-rock the default genre standard for the last 20 years, and as far as their critically acclaimed stuff goes -- “OK Computer” and “Kid A” and all that mess -- I honestly don’t know what makes it great, let alone enjoyable listening. As a general rule, people that are into Radiohead tend to be the absolute most boring, herd-minded individuals you’ll ever meet -- a buncha’ pseudo-intellectual dingbats that would listen to the sound of a malfunctioning air conditioner and give it a five star review of you told them Thom Yorke was the person that stuck a nickel in its fan. Avoid Radiohead, Radiohead-like things and especially Radiohead fans, and you’ll probably do pretty well in life, I’d imagine.
|Clearly, one of the greatest running back "could've-beens" in NFL history.|
People that are STILL Talking About Tim Tebow -- Yeah, he had one or two good games, but ultimately, he had a whole lot more star-breaking performances than stellar ones. Anybody remember that one game against the Bills in Week 16, or that playoff sodomization at the hands of Tom Brady and the Pats in early 2011? He’s a mediocre to under-performing QB, that ONLY gets media attention because even for a professional athlete, he’s an annoying, self-righteous, overly-proselytizing doofus. And remember: this is the same professional sport that gave us both Reggie White AND Ray “Jesus Wants Me to Win the Super Bowl” Lewis.
People on the Internet that Really Hate Justin Bieber -- These people are just utter scumbags, through and through. I understand not liking a musician, but wanting a musician literally DEAD just because you don’t? It’s beyond asinine, and just another indication of how the Internet has totally eroded our abilities to act like civil human beings.
QR Codes in Public Spaces -- AKA, those bar-code thingies you’re supposed to scan with your phone to get advertisements and shit. They’re ugly, intrusive, and every time I see one, it kinda’ makes me want to do a crossword puzzle. Definitely another reason why I’m glad I don’t have a smart phone, even though all 7 billion other people on the planet do.
Bryan Cranston -- The fact that we live in a world where the Dad from “Malcolm in the Middle” is now considered one of Hollywood’s finest thespians says a lot about modernity. And absolutely nothing good, I assure you.
Louis C.K. -- I gave a few of his stand-up routines a try, and I was not impressed. Probably the most overrated comedian on the planet right now, and considering that’s a planet that includes Kevin Hart, that’s probably saying something.
Christopher Nolan -- Way too revered for not doing a whole hell of a lot to being with; I liked “The Dark Knight” better back when it was called “Heat,” personally. Also responsible for this absurd idea that all comic book properties HAVE to be retooled into quasi-realistic film projects: you know, quasi-realistic film projects about JFK, Jr. dressing up like a leather wombat and fighting a terrorist clown using military-stolen weapons he purchased via stockholders’ money. Bonus Dislike Points for making all of that incredibly blunt, pro-neoconservative agitprop at the same time.
People that are ALWAYS Smoking Weed -- Probably the closest thing liberals have to a sub categorization that’s as annoying as the NRA wads. Of all the political and social ills you could be fighting -- wealth inequity, institutional prejudices, systemic injustices, so on and so forth -- you’d have to be a pretty dim bulb to make “weed legalization” your default causa sui. It doesn’t help that my neighborhood is SURROUNDED by weed-smoking dingbats, whom prove once and for all that marijuana has some sort of negative impact on one’s cognitive abilities.
|Yeah...that's something I wouldn't mind staring over me while I sleep.|
Cats -- I just don’t like them. They’re nowhere near as cute as everybody likes to tell you they are, and unlike dogs, you can’t trust them. That, and they have toxoplasma gondii, which according to whom you ask, may turn you into either a delusional cat-lady OR a really good soccer player.
When My Foot Falls Asleep -- OK, so maybe modern society doesn’t have anything at all to do with this one, but that still doesn’t mean that I can’t hate the ever-loving shit out of it when it does. It always seems to happen at the most inopportune moments as well, like, right when you have to get up and do something important, like walk across a stage to receive an award or when you really, really have to spring towards the commode for a sudden shat. Modern medicine can give an octogenarian a boner, but we haven’t come up with a way to properly address this ailment; that alone is reason enough to prevent me from donating money to ANY sort of scientific research.
Reddit -- Far and away one of the worst websites on the Internet. I’m not sure which aspect of the site I hate more; the fact that’s its almost single-handedly responsible for turning Internet correspondence into a jumble of infantilized blurbs and hackneyed sayings (while at the same time, replacing genuine reflection with the irredeemable scourge of “memes”) OR the fact that it’s goaded so many people that ought to know better into believing it’s a viable source for both news and audience-building. Long story short, Reddit is nothing more than a sounding board for people with various mental illnesses to talk about their oddly specific fetishes and obsessions. If you really want to hate humanity as a whole, just spend about five minutes browsing through some subreddits, and the pan-odium is sure to hit you.
Sports Talk Radio -- Whatever the lowest form of journalism is, I’m pretty sure “sports talk radio” is right underneath it. It’s all a bunch of fat, out-of-shape broadcasters, alongside virtual nobodies with absolutely zero professional sports experiences calling in from home, complaining nonstop about what coaches SHOULD have done and why (insert unpopular local sports figure here) needs to be booted out of town. No matter where you go, these programs are all the same. Especially in the qualifier that they all suck, mostly.
People that Hate on Madden Football -- For whatever reason, this appears to be the most hated video game franchise on the Internet, with many a pissed off IGN reader criticizing the franchise for being nothing more than an annual rehash that doesn’t do anything new with the platform -- this, coming from individuals that do nothing but fellate Nintendo and Square every time they release a Mario or Final Fantasy game that looks, sounds, feels and plays just like the last fifteen that came before it. There are a lot of people out there that are still pissed about the NFL 2K5 deal, even though Madden 2005 was CLEARLY a superior football sim that year and Visual Concepts’ attempt to relaunch its football engine in a next-gen title flopped harder than a live trout tossed off the Willis Tower. Madden at its uncreative worst is still better than a good 98 percent of the titles you’ll find on the Wii U right now, so if you have any beef with the series…well, I don’t really care. And while I’m at it: “Madden ‘94” is a better game than “Super Metroid,” too -- my 300 or so hours playing the former on my Genesis between the years of 1993 and 1996 being all the evidence I need to corroborate my claim.
|How Peyton really spent the 2011-2012 season...|
Peyton Manning -- Even before he became a Bronco, I hated him. I hate his big, stupid country accent, and the way he talks like he only has one really big tooth in his head. I especially HATE how all of those numbskulls in the sports media perpetually drone on and on about how great he is, when the fact of the matter is the NFL just puss-ified defenses so much that it makes it nearly impossible for DB’s to cover wideouts or for safeties to target him without counting to fifty first. Also, I hate how omnipresent he is as an ad figure, even though if you ask me, he really should’ve stopped after that “Your defense is offensive” Xbox commercial about a decade ago. The only silver lining here? Every year, I can’t WAIT to watch him throw yet another season-ending interception in the playoffs…
People that are Really, Really Outraged about NSA Spying -- If you do something online, people will find out about it. GET OVER IT. Bonus hypocritical points: these same folks are outraged that the government MAY be spying on their e-mails, but apparently, they have no qualms whatsoever about Facebook and Google mining their personal data and SELLING IT TO ADVERTISERS WITHOUT THEIR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.
People that React Rationally to Unfavorable Sports Outcomes -- These people make me want to vomit. Sports exist solely as a safe outlet for all of us to return to our primitive roots, where savage violence and fierce tribalism supplants things like “common sense” and “caring about laws and stuff.” If your team loses an important game, simply chuckling and saying “oh, well, maybe next year” just doesn’t cut it with me. As we all know, there’s only one response to such occurrences, and that’s tapping into one’s reptilian brain and saying and doing stuff that a caveman would probably say and/or do. If your team gets booted out of the playoffs, and you DON’T break glass, use profanity loudly or set something on fire, you have no business in my culture, amigo.
Buzzfeed -- Next to Reddit, probably the worst thing about the Internet I can think of. In the long term, Buzzfeed is probably worse, because as awful as Reddit may be, they at least make users say a FEW words in the English language before posting whatever stupid and offensive bullshit they find. With Buzzfeed, we’re watching the slow elimination of language altogether, with animated .GIFS and image macros slowly beginning to replace the concept of “sentences” and “paragraphs” as forms of human communication. Perhaps this is the first step in the long, painful process of the written word deteriorating back into pictographs; 30 years from now, the all electronic-version of “The New York Times” will probably supplant “journalism” with “connect-the-dots” and “color-by-number” infographics.
People that use the term “Straw Man” as a political euphemism -- I’ve never encountered a person that’s used the term “straw man” before that WASN’T a pretentious, smug, self-congratulatory spunk-head. If you ever hear someone refer to an oppositional stance as such, take note that you are assuredly in the company of assholes.
|Can you spot the incredibly overrated director in this sea of Elvis impersonators?|
Quentin Tarantino -- Mostly, for the part about him being Quentin Tarantino.
Civil War Reenactors -- What a boring ass war to dedicate one's spare time to. It's just a bunch of old white dudes, with white beards, running around in blue and brown and pretending to stab each other; I know, that sounds a little cool in principle, but if you've ever seen a Civil War reenactment in person, you know that it's incredibly underwhelming. Why not start staging reenactments of Vietnam instead? At least that one had Chinook helicopters and Punji sticks in it...
White People That Claim Indian Ancestry -- Sometimes referred to as "The Billy Jack Syndrome," this occurs when people who are whiter than a mayonnaise snowflake attempt to reinforce their inherent "Americanism" by claiming to have a certain percentage of Native American blood flowing through their veins. You know, because being 1/64th Choctaw completely negates the other 63/64ths of you being "Anglo-Saxon Dickhead," somehow.
People that are always complaining about modern society, that never offer any constructive solutions as to how to remedy those same problems -- I mean, they are just the worst.