The Hate List – Volume 13

(Originally published on 2nd May, 2005)

  1. Student-produced magazines which use 47 different fonts.
  2. The 15 people out of a million who buy products from email spammers, providing them profit and incentive to continue spamming. These people must be rounded up, stripped naked, and released into a forest. I will then enter the forest, armed with a variety of assault weaponry, and the Games will begin.
  3. Use of the words ‘regular’ to mean ‘frequent’ and ‘steady’ to mean ‘quite slow’.
  4. The tendency, and I’m guilty of it myself, to get annoyed when something good-but-not-well-known which you like, suddenly becomes popular with lots of people. And then to try to claim some kudos for being into it before it got big. It’s particularly despicable, because the only people who deserve any credit are the people who created it – the band members, comedians, etc. A fan doesn’t deserve any for happening to stumble over it a short while before other people. However, since I admitted that I’m guilty myself:
  5. David Blaine. And I’m not jumping on the ‘I hate David Blaine’ bandwagon here. I hated David Blaine YEARS before everyone else hated David Blaine.
  6. Maturity – a concept invented by girls to put a good spin on the fact that they’re not funny.
  7. When you open a link in an email on Hotmail, it opens within a Hotmail frame which says ‘To return to Hotmail, close this browser window’. It gives no instructions, or link, for you to get rid of the fucking Hotmail frame, as if the only possible site you’d ever wish to visit is Hotmail. All others are aberrations which Hotmail is eager to pull you away from, back to the one and only Hotmail. If there is an option to disable this, I haven’t found it. Even if there is, the designer who set this as default deserves only death.
  8. When you keep catching someone’s eye accidentally in a room full of people, even though you’re probably looking at the others just as much. You become paranoid that this other person thinks you’re staring at them or even fancy them. The effect is even worse when you HAVE been looking at them disproportionately, but only because you find them incredibly ugly or freakish in some way. Or the worst of both possibilities combined, when they’re almost attractive, and probably think they are, but there’s something subtly wrong with their face, which you’ve been trying to identify.
  9. The greatest widely-accepted moral lie of our times, the idea that ‘everyone is equal’. If you take a relatively weak interpretation such as, ‘everyone should be treated equally’, that’s fair enough: equal pay for equal work, no purely racial or social barriers to education or jobs, and so on. But there are a dangerous number of people who believe that ‘everyone is of equal value’. Now, either the value of a person is defined such that that’s true, in which case the statement is meaningless; or the value of a person is calculated from their empirical qualities and abilities, in which case the statement is verifiably false.
  10. Special provisions for people who are unsuitable for a certain activity, attempting to make them equally as good as everyone else. Extra exam time for dunces, for example.
  11. Monitors decorated with Post-It notes, photographs, furry toys and small Blu-Tak sculptures.
  12. Girls who like to convince themselves they’re thinner than they are, by squeezing into jeans a size too small. Ironically, it makes them look fatter than they are, with visible rolls of fat hanging over the top, when they’re not really particularly fat and would look fine in a pair which was a size larger and better fitting.
  13. Music used in films or television, which has been chosen solely because the lyrics, or even just the title, contain words which relate to the subject, often when the music itself is completely incongruous. An example is the theme music to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Who’s ‘Who Are You?’. Clearly it was chosen because the topic of the programme is finding out who someone is, but no-one seems to have pointed out that, not only is it rubbish, but beyond the three words of the title it’s bizarrely inappropriate for CSI. Instead of a punchy, adrenaline-fuelled track like NYPD’s theme, we have late 70s prog rock with male voice harmony.
  14. Distinct from the last item, though usually occurring in tandem: when the music editing of a programme consists of a different 3-second snippet of music every 5 seconds.
  15. The title ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’.
  16. The way people have strong opinions about things which they only know about through other people who have those same opinions, and yet are utterly convinced those opinions are reasoned and correct. Applies to all Daily Mail readers.
  17. The great bastions of pseudo-science and superstition in modern Britain: horoscopes, body language analysis, shampoo and beauty product marketing, BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon.
  18. Incorrect use of “so” to modify an adjective – ON ITS OWN. “So” alone is NOT a modifier; it is NOT a synonym for “very”. It is a placeholder, referring to something else which does the actual modifying. This could be another clause in the sentence (“It was so high that it made me feel dizzy”, roughly equivalent to “It was dizzyingly high”) or even something non-linguistic (“She’s about so high”, with a hand gesture indicating the height), but there needs to be SOMETHING. Otherwise you’re left hanging… “It was so hot today!” “Er, ok… but how hot?”
  19. Radio stations which don’t tell you what songs they’ve just played.
  20. The crowd of Olympic badmington supporters from Thailand who were honking horns, bashing cymbals and generally making an obnoxious racket between every point. Look, it’s a sporting match, not the Annual Elephant Day Parade through the streets of Bangkok. So sit down, put the cymbals away and show some bloody decorum.
  21. The platitude, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” They’re not mutually exclusive. “Freedom fighter” is defined by the aim you’re fighting for; “terrorist” is defined by the methods you use. You can fight for freedom without using terrorism, or use terrorism to fight for something other than freedom, OR, as people don’t seem to be able to figure out, you can fight for freedom using terrorism and hence be a freedom fighter AND a terrorist. And since your aim and your methods are fairly objective facts about your campaign, it’s not a subjective question which you are.
  22. The rhyme ‘Thirty days hath September, April, June… etc.’ How exactly is it a mnemonic when learning the rhyme requires you to learn the list of months which have thirty days?
  23. People, and this is almost everyone, who upon finding out that I don’t dance, decide to make it their personal quest to make me dance. Tee-totalers don’t get this treatment: no-one responds to “Could I just have a lemonade? I don’t drink” with “No way! I’m getting you a triple vodka, and I’m not going to rest until you’re absolutely shit-faced!” It’s a genuine moral choice, and I sacrificed a three year relationship at least partly because I refused to dance; I’m not about to change my mind for some stupid tart I’ve just met.
  24. Watching a normal ratio TV programme stretched across a widescreen TV so that everyone’s faces are 50% wider than they should be.
  25. The wasted opportunity of DVD extras. I’m not sure what should be included, but a) scene selection and “interactive” menus do not count as extras, b) commentaries are almost always shit (Brass Eye’s being a notable exception), and c) why watch a trailer when you can watch the whole film? Most of the other things I’ve seen included as extras have either been uninteresting or a gimmick; possibly the only worthwhile extra is the excerpts from Rock Profile on the Little Britain DVD.
  26. The way Lego has changed from being an extremely flexible system based around a few simple but infinitely inter-combinable atomic pieces, to a series of independent franchise-based toys composed of highly specialised pieces with a reduced scope for alternative constructions. Or put simply, how marketing has destroyed Lego.
  27. People who use communal laundries but ignore the obvious laundry bags you’ve placed in front of your machine, and instead dump all your clothes in a pile on the floor. Even worse, on top of an existing pile of someone else’s clothes.
  28. Stickers on CDs which don’t peel off cleanly.
  29. Ask Jeeves, which suffers from the following fundamental problem. It’s designed for idiots who can’t work out how to translate their need into a suitable search engine string. So it invites them to ask a natural language question, and attempts to parse and interpret it. But since its users are, according to its premise, idiots, their questions are inevitably not going to be formulated well enough for any machine interpreter to understand.
  30. One lorry overtaking another on a two-lane dual carriageway. And taking half an hour to do it. At 50mph.
  31. Poor cheese discipline. Mainly, the two sins of cutting cheese from a block at uneven angles, and grating cheese straight from the block.
  32. The Scissor Sisters. Not because all they seem to do is covers. Not because, in terms of the historical dialectic of pop music, I just can’t see why they exist. Not even per se because their name describes a lesbian sex act. But because they seem to have been accepted by the British mainstream, and everyone thinks it’s ok to talk about them on children’s TV and Richard and fucking Judy. I mean, did I go into a coma and while I was out, this sort of thing suddenly became alright? Am I just going mad? I feel like I don’t recognise this country any more. What’s next? A band called Rim Job playing on Blue Peter?

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