Excessive, tacky Christmas lights. I’m fucking fed up with this shit now. A few years ago, it was still ironically amusing when a few sporadic eccentrics would fill their lawns with enough wattage to be seen from space. Now every street has one of these cunts, and it’s getting fucking tiresome. “It’s just a bit of fun!” No, it’s not. It’s an eyesore. Your neighbours hate you. And the waste of electricity alone is obscene. Climate change is destroying the planet: conspicuous over-consumption of energy should be villified, not celebrated. “It’s Christmassy!” No, it’s not. A wreath on the door is Christmassy. Flashing lights, illuminated inflatables, a robotic Santa waving his arm: it looks like fucking Vegas. Or rather, it looks like you were aiming for Vegas, and what you actually achieved was redneck brothel. “I’m raising money for charity!” Oh right, you spend thousands of pounds on decorations, and then expect ME to make a donation? How about you fuck off? I hope you short a circuit and burn to a crisp.
Multi-coloured, flashing Christmas lights. Pay attention next time you see a Christmas scene in a film or advert. One designed by a professional designer. I guarantee you, there will be no coloured or flashing lights. Contrary to the belief of tasteless suburban idiots, what ACTUALLY looks Christmassy is steady, warm white lights. Not flashing, not every colour in the rainbow. At a push, I can even forgive red and green lights: they still look shit, but at least I can see where you’re coming from. But fucking BLUE lights? When the fuck did blue become a Christmas colour?
Makers and sellers of novelty gifts. You know you’re making a load of shit, and you know it’s all going to be thrown away. You might as well dump it all straight into landfill, and simply steal the money from our well-meaning but clueless grandparents. As far as I’m concerned, you’re morally equivalent to OAP-targeting phone scammers. Or worse: at least their business model is less polluting.
Adult colouring books. I’ve been ranting for years about the infantilisation of society. Childish fashions (think grown men in shirts buttoned to the collar, cardigans and shorts). Blockbuster films about comic book superheroes. The popularity of Harry Potter books. But no-one’s being paying any attention. Now we have adult sodding colouring books! Do you believe me yet!?
Games with the marketing tag line “every game is different”. If you think that’s a feature worth advertising, get out of the game design business. It’s a bare minimum. I’m certainly not going to play a game which is exactly the same every time. Yes, I get what you mean: there’s a modular board. Well done. But the strategic landscape of chess or Scrabble changes as much, just from the positions of pieces. “Every game is different” is meaningless marketing bollocks.
The use of “sophomore” as a synonym for “second”, as in “the band’s sophomore album”. This is the sort of unforgivably pretentious and awful cliché that journalists should be docked a week’s pay for.
Any group of things, other than rooms, furniture or musical compositions, being described as a “suite”.
When the media describes a bit of real-life espionage as being “like something out of a spy novel”. No shit. Spy novels are inspired by real-life espionage: it’s pointless to say that real life resembles the fiction that portrays it.
When a company advertises, “we’ll pay the VAT!” Yes, I know, that’s how VAT fucking works.
When a reporter says that the rain “didn’t dampen spirits”. First, it almost certainly did dampen them at least a bit: the crowd might be happy, but they’d be even happier if it wasn’t pissing it down. Second, you are not being witty: every reporter ever says the same fucking thing.
When people talk about “becoming a statistic”, as in, “don’t become a statistic, don’t drink and drive”. Isn’t the number of people who don’t drink and drive (or don’t die, don’t kill someone, etc) as much of a statistic as those who do? I prefer to interpret the advice as “if you’re going to die, do it in the most spectacularly dramatic way possible, to guarantee front page newspaper coverage”.
Misuse of the term “hive mind”. A group of sentient beings in communication with each other and making communal decisions is NOT a hive mind. A group of non-sentient beings controlled by a sentient being (“the queen”) IS NOT A HIVE MIND. A hive mind is a group of non-sentient beings, all following simple rules, whose aggregate behaviour displays signs of sentience. No mainstream sci-fi has ever got this right.
Anyone who uses the phrase, “It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” who isn’t a fundamentalist Christian and doesn’t even believe it was Adam and Eve, either.
People who argue that being gay is “unnatural”. As if anything modern humans do is natural. Is it natural for humans to live with millions of others in giant concrete hives? To sit for eight hours a day in artificially lit, air-conditioned offices, manipulating electrons? To eat processed foods churned out by factories and heated using dielectric molecular manipulation? Sticking your penis in another human being, of whatever gender, seems practically bucolic in comparison.
Anyone who thinks homosexuality is wrong because it’s unnatural, but also thinks it’s a symbol of masculinity to propel himself around at speeds higher than the human brain was evolved to process, in a metal box powered by refined hydrocarbons. After all, it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Evo.
Opponents of equal marriage who claim it’s the change to the meaning of the word “marriage” that they object to. I don’t see them protesting at any other words changing. They weren’t out on the streets with placards when misuse of “literally” got added to the dictionary. You think you’re a language pedant because you defended one word? I’ve been in the trenches for years, fighting the idiots and the marketers and the jargon-peddlers. I don’t need your part-time support.
The older generation of suspiciously selective language pedants, mourning over how “gay” used to be such a lovely word until it was hijacked. You’re not pedants, you’re homophobes, ruining the good name of pedantry.
People who claim something is a “wonder of the world” and have no idea what the Seven Wonders of the World actually are. No, the Great Wall of China is not one of them. Nor is the Grand Canyon. Do a bit of research before having the audacity to tell me what you think I should be wondering at.
People who complain about limits on buying painkillers. “But it won’t stop anyone who wants to kill themselves! They’ll just go to several pharmacies!” But you’re wrong. Demonstrably, measurably wrong. Your amateur ideas about mental illness are false, and your minor inconvenience saves lives.
People who use hazard indicator lights as an excuse for poor parking. They’re meant to be a warning that you’ve inadvertently become a hazard; not an excuse for making yourself one. The double yellow lines are there for a reason: this is a dangerous place to park. But it’s OK, you’ve apparently got a magic button on your dashboard which stops them applying to you. Oh, you’re blocking the road and your hazards are on? I can only presume you’ve broken down and need help. Let me assist by jacking your car up and taking the wheels off.
That feeling of creeping madness when you lose something while sitting down. You know it must be within arm’s reach, yet you just can’t find it anywhere. I mean, usually it turns out you’re just sitting on it, but for a moment it feels like you’re teetering on the edge of insanity.
The similar feeling of frustration when you’re trying to find something that you know is at the bottom of a bag, but no matter how much you rummage, it continues to evade you. You push absolutely everything out of the way and stare directly at the base of the bag: it’s still not there. It must have snuck up the side with everything else, the little bastard. You’re reduced to emptying the bag on the floor. And there it is, innocently pretending to be an inanimate object, and not a sentient, gaslighting little fucker.
Trying to find eggs in a supermarket. Home baking? Near the butter and milk? Next to the bread? Sneakily hidden on an aisle end section? There’s no consistent standard; they could genuinely be ANYWHERE.
The anti-milk lobby. So your argument is that animal milk has evolved to be optimal for the baby animal, not humans? But we domesticated sheep, goats and cattle around 8,000-10,000 years ago, more than enough time for a population of humans on a subsistence diet to adapt to drinking their milk. And your suggested alternative is soya? A substance that’s biologically completely different from any type of milk, and was only introduced to the western diet in the nineteenth century? Go away and try again.
The anti-wheat lobby. So you’re claiming that we haven’t evolved the ability to digest it, even though we’re natural omnivores, adapted for dietary flexibility? The Neolithic Revolution, when humans first started cultivating wheat, was 10,000 years ago. The African wildcat self-domesticated and evolved into the housecat in less time than that, and we’ve observed species in the wild evolving to new environments and food sources within decades. But what’s most ridiculous about the claims of wheat-bashers and gluten-idiots is that they apparently have no problem with any of the fruits and vegetables that Europeans have only eaten since the Colombian exchange of the 16th century, including tomatoes, potatoes, corn and chocolate. Maybe you should re-think that flourless brownie?
People who claim to be gluten intolerant. Less than 1% of people have coeliac disease, an actual auto-immune condition triggered by gluten. Yet 3 in 10 people in the UK claim to be gluten intolerant. Therefore, at least 29/30 gluten-whingers are full of shit.
People whose gluten intolerance and/or food allergies are weirdly specific. Two genuine examples: “I’m allergic to all pastry, except flaky pastry” and “I can’t eat any cakes, except Bakewell tarts.” Hmm. Is there any chance you’re just making this shit up?
The anti-juice lobby. The argument goes, the juice is mainly just the water and sugar from the fruit. Without the pulp and fibre, it loses most of its nutrition and adds to excessive sugar intake, which is bad for you. You should eat fruit, or drink smoothies, but not juice. I’m actually quite willing to accept that all of that might be true. The problem is, it’s only useful advice if the nation’s major dietary issue was over-consumption of fruit juice. But it’s not. If we got everyone who’s currently drinking sugary sodas to switch to fruit juice, we’d improve their health massively. Campaigning against fruit juice is an indulgence for middle class health freaks, but if it puts those who really need dietary intervention off drinking fruit juice, it’s actively harmful.
Predictions of future human evolution which don’t understand the basic concept of natural selection. Yes, we have less hair than our ancestors, but no, that doesn’t mean we’ll eventually lose it all. Is there currently selective pressure for less hair on humans? Is baldness an attractive trait in men or women? Fucking arts grad journalists. Do a science degree and have another go, yeah?
Original Source shower gel. It’s supposed to impress me, is it, that you’ve put 23 lemons in it? When there’s a global food shortage? When people are malnourished, but we’re using perfectly good food crops for luxury, non-dietary uses in excessive, unsustainable ways? When rainforests are being destroyed for plantations, while existing agricultural land is under-utilised to satisfy selfish western demands? You probably wanted me to think, “ooh, that’ll be zingy”. Instead, I’m thinking how appallingly complicit we all are in the destruction of our planet and our fellow humans.
When you push the soap dispenser in a public loo, and nothing comes out. Now your hands are still unwashed, you’ve got no soap, and worst of all, you know that everyone else before you, hoping to get soap, has touched the same germy lever with their unwashed pooey hands.
Cryptic lavatory signs. Not only is it annoyingly twee to have some 50s stock photos or art nouveau prints signposting the male and female doors, it’s bloody impossible to work it out when you’re drunk.
Dyson Airblade hand dryers. They claim to be hygienic. They’re actually a bacteriological dexterity game: you have to slip your hands inside the aperture without touching it, while the dryer itself tries to blow them against the germ-riddled sides. If that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes you can feel the water from your hands being sprayed onto your face. Disgusting.
People who bring ridiculously sized hand luggage onto a plane. So, everything in that small suitcase is essential for you to access during the flight, is it?
Airlines which financially incentivise people not to check-in hold luggage and cram all of their belongings into hand luggage instead. And then either don’t enforce their hand luggage size policy, or have a completely unsuitable one which allows the passengers to bring more onto the plane than there’s space available in the overhead storage.
Online airport check-in at home. I always assumed the point of the check-in was to CHECK that you were IN the airport. A “check-in” at home is just a “check” – and a check for what? If it was no more than 12 hours before the flight, it might at least verify how many ticket holders were still alive and intending to catch the flight. But you can do it up to 30 days before the flight. I don’t even know what this is any more.
Bartenders who use a little straw to taste the cocktail they’ve just mixed. Chefs only taste-test to see if they need to add a bit more salt and pepper. What’s the bartender going to do if the drink is wrong? Have you ever seen one reject a drink or do anything different to it at all, as a result of the taste test? It’s pointless, pretentious theatrics.
People who claim to be into a type of thing, and then you ask them which particular things of that type, and they can only name one or two of the most obvious, widely marketed, mainstream examples of the thing. This isn’t me being a hipster snob and claiming to hate anything that’s mainstream. Mainstream stuff is fine; I like some of it, and you can like it too if you want. But if you only watch general release blockbuster films, even if you prefer a particular type, the answer to the question “what type of films do you like?” isn’t “sci-fi” or “comedy”, it’s “contemporary mainstream blockbuster films”.
People who passively receive whatever mass-market pap is put in front of them, without making any effort to seek out better examples of whatever they’re enjoying. Let’s say someone’s seen a couple of recent zombie films. If they say, “I love Zombieland,” I have no problem with that: it’s a perfectly good film. But if they say, “I love zombie films,” but they haven’t seen any which are more than 10 years old, or even heard of George Romero, then something else is happening. They’re not trying to tell you what they like; they’re trying to define themselves by a passion, in a transparently dishonest way.
Watching a film on a commercial channel that has the same sponsor clip repeated twice every ad break, several times an hour, throughout the film. Your ad is supposed to make me want to buy your product, right? I’m more tempted to crash a tanker full of septic waste into your head office. Why are you putting so much effort into enraging me?
Films advertised as “from the makers of” other films. Makers? That could be the cinematographer, the sound editor, or the guy who fetched the bacon butties. If it’s not from the same writer or director, I’m not interested.
George Lucas. He is now thoroughly exposed as a hack businessman with no film-making or story-telling talent whatsoever. The original Star Wars was a cheesy sci-fi B-movie rescued by editing. We’ve seen the early draft scripts: they’re a mess. Confused, obscure plots, weak characters, no relatable protagonist: in other words, all the same failings as the prequel trilogy, when Lucas had no-one to challenge him. As for Indiana Jones, since Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, we can now safely attribute everything that’s good about the original films to Spielberg and other team members. Lucas’s greatest success has always been as a merchandise peddler; he’s only ever produced anything good by letting other people make creative decisions. That worked well when he was young film-maker, working collaboratively. As a bloated old billionaire studio-owner, his colossal ego and greed are responsible for four irredeemably awful films which ruined not one but two deeply loved series. And he still refuses to let the Star Wars trilogy be released in its original theatrical cuts. We are now literally waiting for him to die before we can see it again. The greatest tragedy of the Great Pop Culture Cull of 2016 is that it passed over Lucas Mansion.