Sunday, September 10, 2006

Recycle this blog

Headline of the week:
Man on trial for threatening judge threatens judge.

Steve Irwin
What was with that guy? Who holds a stingray in such a way that it can stab him in the chest? Who would pick up a stingray in the first place? Hello?

Katie Couric
On her first night on the air, she asked viewers to come up with a sign off phrase for her. Now, I realize that “interactivity” is a hot thing these days. But you don’t ask people to come with a catchphrase that totally captures your personality. It just invites snarkiness. Your catchphrase is yours. If people don’t like it, it won’t catch on, and that’s that.

It’s like asking people to come up with a sexual fantasy for you. What if your bosses think the sexual fantasy attracts viewers, but it has absolutely nothing to do with what really turns you on? So with catchphrases. Katie Couric could be trapped forever in a world of dwindling ratings and a catchphrase she despises. She’ll take to drink. An unpleasant episode will occur. It will all end badly.

On this, the fifth anniversary of 9/11, I propose a ban on the following:
(1) The phrase: “9/11changed everything.”
(2) Comments about the Event by people who weren’t at the Event, but watched it on television.
(3) “The War on Terror.”
(4) Dick Cheney.
(5) Cellos or sad violins in promotions for television commemorations of 9/11.
(6) Liberals whining about conservative bias in THE PATH TO 9/11.
(7) THE PATH TO 9/11.
(8) Conservatives painting liberals as Chamberlain-like appeasers. Appeasers to whom? Where’s the Hitler here?
(9) Stupid conspiracy theories.
(10) Lists.

This may be the creepiest photograph I have ever seen:

If, for some reason, you can’t link to it, it can be found in a new book, WATCHING THE WORLD CHANGE: THE STORIES BEHIND THE IMAGES OF 9/11, by David Friend (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

The picture shows five hipsters, with a bicycle, sitting by the river, as smoke fills the sky behind them. You can see a tattoo on one of the hipsters’ lower back. None of them are looking at the catastrophe, but instead seem to be having a relaxed conversation (one of them is even semi-horizontal), as if to say, “So, what else is going on?” “Not much. You?”

And I’ve just violated Rule (2). (See above.)

Guy news.
From Reuters: “Men may have developed a psychology that makes them particularly able to engage in wars, a scientist said on Friday.”

Now’s the time to buy.
I have heard that iPod sales are plummeting. An article in the Guardian (UK) surmised that it’s because the iPod does not have the cachet it once did (because everybody has one- except me). A spokeswoman for The Zandl Group, a trends forecaster, said that some of their consumer interviewees “that the batteries are not replaceable, so when they die the entire player must be replaced. We have heard from some conspiracy theorists that the batteries are made to die soon after the warranty ends.” (Thus violating Rule (9). See above.)

Further, she said, “Other complaints are that iTunes [Apple's online music store] is overpriced and the format is not easily transferred on to other players. In our ethnography interviews, some long-time iPod-users told us that they have stopped updating their iPods because it's too much work, while other consumers who had bought iPods more recently had not even taken theirs out of the package to set it up.”

The backlash may have been engineered by Sony in a sinister plot to bring back the Walkman. Oops! Rule (9) violation! See above.

President Bush…
…last week revealed that we did in fact have secret locations in other countries where terrorism suspects were not tortured in any way. Information obtained from these individuals may or may not have been extremely helpful in the War on Terror (Rule (3) violation. See above.). Now these suspects are going to Guantanamo, in preparation for prosecution by the United States. Of course, the evidence against them will either be considered top secret by the government, or repressed by defense attorneys as unreliable because obtained under duress. Happy anniversary!

Why lefties suck.
I belong to a Yahoo group called Compact, which is ostensibly a group of people helping each other to get off the grid, get frugal, find bargains, shop secondhand, eat healthy, compost, etc. I had read a newspaper article about the group and joined, hoping to find links to places to recycle electronics, say, or how to make your own shampoo out of leftover salsa.

There is some useful information, but for the most part, it’s a bunch of self-congratulatory whiners confessing guilt that they bought a pair of pants at Wal Mart. It’s like a 12 step movement that’s not addicted to anything, but wishes it were.

The other day I came across a post that contained the following:

“Shopping at Goodwill when you're making $90k a year looks to me like your (sic) stealing from the poor. I'm really having a hard time reconciling this behavior with the great concern the Compactors have for natural resources and for others (as their behavior relates to pollution and consumption).”

This post lapses into total incoherence in the latter half of the second sentence, and the assertion in the first is among the dumbest things I’ve ever read. It assumes that (a) rich people make a habit of shopping at Goodwill. They don’t. It assumes that (b) a rich person shopping at Goodwill is somehow snapping up items out of the hands of the poor. He isn’t. If a poor person spots the item first, and picks it up, all the rich person can do is gnash his teeth in fury. It assumes that (c) the purpose of Goodwill is to provide low cost items to poor people. It isn’t. Its purpose is to provide low-cost items (donated) to anybody, to benefit its parent non-profit organization.

One of the commenters on this post remarked:

“I would also like to point out that if a person is making regular ‘donations’ of used items to thrift stores, then, well....obviously one could assume that person consumes way too much.”

So if you make too many charitable donations, you’re part of the problem? Hippies. Oh, how I hate you.


Blogger Herbert Morrison said...

I move that rule number 2 be applied to the death of Steve Irwin, and any similar events as well.

I am not grousing at anybody in particular (your blog just happens to have handy feedback, so please do not take this as personal enmity), I have just heard far too many people opine on the the death of Steve Irwin without the benefit of anything approaching sufficient knowledge, much less actual first hand knowledge. It is beginning to grate on my nerves.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Angie said...

"It's like a 12 step movement that's not addicted to anything, but wishes it were."

Great line!

5:04 AM  

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