Monday, April 14, 2003

Inspired by a blog entry from my friend one_by_one, I have felt the need for a purgative list of things I hate.

1. One particular syntactical atrocity, "needs fixed," instead of the correct "needs fixing" or "needs to be fixed." I really, really hate that one, and you hear it everywhere, even from relatively intelligent people.

2. People who make puns out of the words "Ba'ath" and "Shi'ite" and think they're clever.

3. Unwritten etiquettes. In other words, traditions that people outside the circle of intimacy know nothing about but which are treated with quasi-religious reverence by those within it. Exhibit A: The whole Masters tournament green-jacket nonsense. I wouldn't wear that stupid green jacket under torture.

4. The shoehorning of contemporary beliefs and mores into our views of the past, both in drama and historiography. This would encompass everything from Marxist/deconstructionist academic history to having to put Morgan Freeman in a Robin Hood movie.

5. People who throw themselves in front of bulldozers and are surprised when they end up dead. As someone commented on the passing of Rachel Corrie, "Machine 1, Rage 0."

6. White rappers. Any and all.

7. The belief, never spoken out loud but enforced with an iron hand, that African Americans must be Communists, or else they are somehow inauthentic.

8. The city of Philadelphia.

9. People who love Fidel Castro.

10. People who say, or hint, that "we had it coming" on 9/11. You actually see as many of these creatures on the paleoconservative Right as you do on the Left.

11. People who respond to atrocities like 9/11 with calls for us to understand "why we are hated" and "the root causes of the problem." This is like saying that the root cause of the Jeffrey Dahmer murders was hunger.

12. The Church's recent reaction to the war in Iraq, which in my opinion crossed the line from simply advocating peace to defending and endorsing the Saddam regime, suffered from a credibility problem which unfortunately recalled the pedophile priest scandals: To me it felt like the Church was as eager to deny the sufferings of the tortured Iraqis as it was to ignore the teenage boys seduced by its representatives. I exempt JPII--who managed to express hope for peace without a pro-Saddam agenda--from this condemnation, but not some of his closest aides, who called the war "a crime against peace." "We all know," said the Pope, in a line ignored by most of the world press, "that peace is not possible at any price."

13. People who speak in slogans rather than in coherent thoughts. For many people the repetition of dogma is a substitute for the most rudimentary thought processes.

14. Tie Domi.

15. Jimmy Carter doing anything else but hammering nails.

16. People who drive all the way to the very front of a traffic bottleneck and demand to be let in, instead of joining the merged traffic when they were supposed to. When I see people doing this, I am always grateful that I don't own a gun.

17. People who get abusive with others over television shows. It's called a life, people.

18. Green tea ice cream. If you have never tasted this, just throw some chalk dust and milk in a blender and freeze.

19. Taxes.

20. The Dallas Cowboys. And by extension, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. Troy Aikman's work on TV has given me a new degree of respect for him but...what the hell, I still hate him. Did I mention Jimmy Johnson? Jerry Jones?

21. Brussels sprouts.

22. The appearance of O.J. Simpson on any television screen for any reason at any time.

23. Pit bulls. I like dogs, but the breed has become a symptom of a certain mindset more than it is a biological entity.

24. Too many recent Hollywood films to name. Not merely films that were boring, or which made no sense, or which were unintentionally funny, or which were vulgar and repellent. What I'm talking about here is the--for whatever reason--viscerally offensive. A quick list from the last ten years would include Shakespeare in Love, Cider House Rules, American Beauty, Amistad, The American President, The Sum of All Fears, and The Contender.

25. Jerky Boys-style phone pranks. I don't have any problem with people pranking celebrities and ridiculing their pretensions. But somewhere along the way it became a source of humor to take ordinary working people who are trying to make a living and feed their families, and screw with them. I would love to see any of these little punks try, even for a day, to do the work that the people they are making fun of are doing. I really, really, hate these bastards.

26. The massive body of laws and decrees and ordinances that we are subject to. We're approaching a point in society where pretty much everyone is breaking some kind of law at one time or another, a point where anyone can be picked up at any time by the government because there is a near-certainty that they have broken some sort of law, somewhere, somehow. End of libertarian rant.

27. Kate Moss.

28. Mean drunks. Drunks in general.

29. The way that certain black people can give "dispensations" to certain white people to act in a blatantly racist manner. The clearest example I can think of is way back when, training for the first Ali-Frazier fight in 1971, when Muhammad Ali went on this rant about how Joe Frazier was a "gorilla," and he had the entire crew of white camp followers chanting, "Gorilla...gorillla." Something, in other words, that would otherwise have created a massive commotion with all the usual Jesse Jackson demands for justice in the form of cash payoffs. We see this now in the way white liberals are permitted to describe Colin Powell and Condi Rice in language right out of the Aryan Nations syllabus.

More to follow...

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