Wednesday, March 17, 2010

7 Things I Hate (That Most People Love)

Everyone's got a few things that everyone seems to love but you.  Thanks to a bout of insomnia tonight, here are mine:

7. The word "anyways".  It is always wrong.  Always.  Just say 'anyway'.

6. Sports movies.  Am I missing something here?  I just don't buy into 'winning the big game' as something that the audience needs to be emotionally invested in.  And they're so formulaic.  Loser team gets a new coach/quarterback/captain/funny animal player and suddenly they start winning.  The underdogs (sometimes with a literal dog on the team) make it to the finals against Generic Bad Guy team who has been winning all season.  Team Underdog wins at the last possible moment.  Everyone hugs.    There's no tension! You KNOW the outcome of the game before it even starts.  Somehow watching a movie ABOUT a sport is less exciting than watching the sport itself.  Think about that a moment.  You're watching a movie about something that is actually less interesting than watching the thing itself. Imagine if Diehard was less exciting than a real office Christmas party.  I saw Invictus last week with some of my students.  Every person in the theater but me walked out of there thinking it was cinematic brilliance.  Really?  It was just like every other sports movie ever, except that rugby also cures racism.  We already knew that American football cures racism, or am I the only one that Remembers the Titans?  News Flash: Morgan Freeman playing the 'wise old black guy' and a team of underdogs winning the big game is not treading new ground.

5. Harry Potter: I tried to give this book a chance, I really did.  Back when every book club in the country was devouring this little series I picked up the first one and gave it a go.  I got about to the part where Harry makes it to Hogwarts when I realized I had read this story before as a child, except it was called Matilda.  "My family is mean to me but its okay because I'm really a special child and I can use my magic powers to make everything better."  Its a fun story..when you're a child.  And Harry Potter works really well on that level.  I just don't get why adults are camping outside waiting to find out what happens to a bunch of prepubescent British wizards.  I'd put Twilight on the list too but thankfully I'm not nearly as isolated in my hatred of that literary abomination.  And unlike Harry Potter, Twilight doesn't even work on the 'quality children's literature' level.

4. Apple: Not so much the products.  I myself have an Ipod.  The computers are fine if you don't mind that most computer games aren't going to be available and you're paying a lot more for the same specs a PC would give you.  Its the whole idea of buying into a culture.  Its like some kind of strange hipster title that you pay for.  You get to call yourself a 'mac user' and smirk knowingly to other people who paid too much for their computer.

3. The Olympics:  Honestly, this is another thing I don't get.  Why in the world do we set aside a week every four years to pretend to care about sports that we never pay any attention to otherwise?  Do we feel guilty that curling players (what are they called anyway...curlers?) are completely ignored when not competing for immortal glory?  Does it have some kind of geopolitical significance I'm overlooking?  Near as I can tell, aside from a platform to make the obligatory political gesture of boycotting the Olympics (take THAT, China's human rights policies!), they don't serve much of a function.  Hitler attended the Olympics, and while it did give him a platform to make racist excuses for American gold medals, it didn't do much to stop World War II from happening.  Great, so we finally can settle the question of which country produces skaters who can speed skate in a circle the fastest...Unless Jamaica is winning a bobsled race (you know how those underdog teams tend to surprise you), I'm not going to tune in.

2. Gyms: Someday, our descendants are going to look at this period in history and wonder how gyms were so successful.  Here is a business where you pay to go do manual labor with a bunch of strangers.  You know you live in an pretty decadent society when manual labor has somehow become a luxury item.  We're literally so pampered that any kind of exercise has become something we'd pay for.  And pay we do.  Gym memberships are notoriously complicated contractual black holes that are nearly impossible to escape from.  Combine that with gym representatives who are more pushy than a used car salesman to get a commitment out of you, and joining a gym is a very high pressure experience.  What I hate most of all about gyms, though, is the industry that it is a part of.  This is an  industry that is worth billions of dollars and is based on the fact that we have very low self esteem.  Magazines in the grocery store checkout aisles, diet pills, male enhancement, plastic surgery, weight loss programs, cosmetics, fashion, and gym memberships all have the same marketing plan: 1) The customer is unattractive and will die alone without our product.  2) Do we even need a step 2? Did you READ premise one??  And so, like vultures that prey on the rotting carcasses of our self worth, these businesses grow bloated on vanity and broken dreams.

1. Democracy.  Yeah, I said it, and I'm only halfway kidding on this.  Democracy, by its very definition, is rule by the average.  That bell curve of intelligence puts the very smart in the minority.  What does this mean when the majority is making every decision?  It means that politics becomes theater, and the real issues of substance are watered down or forgotten in favor of impressing the slack-jawed masses.  There's this cultural idea that you have a civic duty to vote, even if you have no idea what the issues are or what the candidates stand for. So when MTV 'rocks the vote', you get a bunch of people voting on things they are only vaguely aware of.  What happens when decisions are made in ignorance?  Is it good or bad for the country when policy is determined by people who are voting because they feel they have to, even if they don't know what they're voting for?   I understand that democracy is better than other forms of government, but that's not really saying a lot.  Some time in recent American history, it has become cool to be stupid.  People are proud of their ignorance.  Intelligent people are marginalized as 'elitist' and 'out of touch'.  People would rather vote for the guy they could get a beer with then for someone with a high IQ (in some cases they would vote for that guy for 2 terms...)  Politicians begin to sell empty buzz words like 'dream', 'change', 'hope', and 'rainbow' because the people that are voting want to feel reassured but lack the intelligence to demand substance.  I could rant about the problems of 'rule by the average' all night, but the fact is, what is considered average seems to be getting less and less intelligent... I'd prefer to live in Aristotle's utopia or Plato's Republic to Obama or Palin's democracy...

There you have it...six things I hate that you probably love.  And now that I've channeled all that rage into my keyboard, I can finally get some sleep.  If I offended anyone...too bad.  Insincere apologies would be number 8 on my list if I cared to go back and add it.


  1. I agree on number 1. However, I can no longer "speak" to you due to your thoughts on Harry Potter.

  2. I agree with you on 4 or 5 out of 7 of your points. But like the Boob Nazi, I'm totally not with you on Harry Potter. Lol. But I do see where you're coming from. I don't get gyms either. Or the whole Apple thing. The Simpsons did a really funny parody of the Apple craze this past year. It was pretty funny.

  3. I'm don't agree with everything you've said, although some good points are made, but I absolutely agree with your number 7. Drives me crazy.

  4. No worries if you guys don't agree. I didn't name the post "7 Things I Hate That You Also Hate" ;). These are the weird little things that I just don't get, but most people do.

  5. okay, sports movies = lame. i couldn't have said it better myself. i get so sick of seeing the same thing over and over, and EVERYONE LOVING THEM.

    but sir, Harry Potter... where do i begin? first by telling you that JK Rowling is genius. I can not say you have "given Harry Potter a chance" if you've only read 5+ chapters of the 1st book. Part of the genius is that the books grow with Harry, and the years. By the 3rd you're pretty much out of the "children's book" feel, and by the 5-7th there's definitely more there. I can't even explain it. You just need to read it. Because Harry Potter is good enough for EVERYONE. and it's just SOOOOOO good.

    end rant.

    Why are you in Normandy? I'm jealous. I agree with your addition of #12... there are many many more, and I think I may just have to do a Part 2.

    MORMON BACHELOR PAD SUCKS! I don't even read them, I just HATE them. (actually, they found me -- and read my blog, back when they had 10 followers. hated them then. hate them even more now.)

    end rant.