The Hate List – A Selection from Volumes 1 to 7

(Originally published between 1997 and 1999)

  1. The sort of widespread ignorance of computers and the internet which was endemic in the late 90s, and resulted in incidents such as a Ford TV ad which ended with, “E-mail us at”. Unfortunately, if you look up Senator Ted Stevens you’ll find that such ignorance is still widespread, especially among exactly those people in charge of regulating the internet.
  2. When a written document is shown in a film or TV programme, and you don’t know whether it’s important to the plot to read it or not. Then you try to anyway, but only catch a bit of it, and spend the next ten minutes of the film worrying that you missed something crucial.
  3. People who think the only way to type a capital letter on a computer is to press Caps Lock, press the letter and take Caps Lock off again.
  4. People who try to speed up any process on a computer by waggling the mouse all over the place.
  5. My old school network administrator Mrs Chapman, who actually told us that’s a way to speed up logging onto the school network.
  6. The enormous, terrifying forehead of Ant from Ant and Dec.
  7. Boy bands singing a cappella in interviews, and boy bands who think their fans buy their records for the music, not just the pictures of them on the front.
  8. Quaker Puffed Wheats, a complete rip-off of Sugar Puffs, but without the sugar. They are horrible and dry and disgusting. If you’re going to rip something off, you might as well make it at least as good as the original.
  9. People who end sentences with “so”, as if they can’t think of a consequence of what they just said, eg. “And we held a raffle and collected ¬£50, so…”.
  10. The bizarre use of punctuation in the names of new age Christian events, eg. “d:tour”, “re:action”, and the ridiculous “M:\Power”.
  11. Dance music, obviously.
  12. The tendency of children’s art programmes to use the word “effect” or “effective” at least 50 times per episode.
  13. People who say “LCD Display”, “PIN Number”, etc..
  14. The way politicians can make up a ridiculous phrase and use it so much it becomes a cliché within weeks.
  15. People who think “non-shatter” means “non-breaking”, and try to show off that they can snap a non-shatter ruler.
  16. People who call ITV ‘Channel 3’.
  17. The boyband “E-male”, who had a thankfully short-lived career circa 1997. Apparently they were five actors from the stage musical Starlight Express. They gave themselves self-styled nicknames, in the vein of the Spice Girls, all beginning with an “e” sound: “E-nigma”, “E-lusive”, “E-mmense”, “E-zee” and the very apt “E-go”. What a bunch of throbbers.
  18. Reverse-insulting, the most childish response possible to an insult: “You’re gay.”/”No, you’re gay”.
  19. Anything which advertises itself as, “fun and educational at the same time”. A typical slogan is “Children will learn while they enjoy themselves” and is used on stupid computer “games” where you add up numbers.
  20. The multitude of kids’ programmes where there is something that can grant wishes and all the wishes backfire.
  21. The way the original Battlestar Galactica had a summary of the entire episode’s plot at the beginning, and then the background story to the series at the end.
  22. Internet and text message abbreviations, eg. “do u want me 2 w8 4 u?” It happens in other languages too: I’ve spoken to French people on the net who contracted “qui” to “ki”, “que” to “ku”, and “qu’est” to “ke”.
  23. The word “fit” as a synonym for “sexy”. One can see how declining standards of physical fitness would result in its growth in importance as a criterion of sexual attraction, and the consequent reflection of this trend in coloquial language… but can’t we all just agree to put a stop to it? How many times have you used the word “fit”, then had to explain which meaning you intended? Fight back: use “sexy” when you mean “sexy”, and punch other people when they don’t.
  24. Fat Americans on Ricki Lake or Oprah who do that weird, wiggling, arm-waving thing when they shout at people.
  25. Variations of the aphorism, “I think therefore I am”. People apparently believe that Descartes meant thinking was his reason for being. Of course, what he really meant is that thinking was the only thing he couldn’t doubt he was doing, and hence proof of his being. An athlete saying, “I run therefore I am”, doesn’t make sense: running may be his raison d’etre but he could always be dreaming it. I forgive one exception: Monty Python’s drunken philosophers song, because it works so well.
  26. My sister’s music collection circa 1997: an All Saints album, a 911 album, Now 36 and Aqua’s ‘Doctor Jones’ single.
  27. An old Hoover advert which went, “A black hole is when a star’s gravity is so strong that nothing can escape. It’s the same principle with the new Hoover”. No, pretty different principles actually.
  28. American TV audiences who whoop every time someone kisses.
  29. The way Americans say, “You want I should [do something]?”. Yeah, I want you should use some fucking grammar.
  30. When you tell someone they have a particular habit, and they say “When do I do that? Give me one example,” and think they’ve refuted you because you haven’t kept a record of the dates and details of every time they’ve done whatever it is.
  31. People who don’t understand the difference between blackmail, bribery and extortion.

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