There’s the “wine and cheese” crowd; then there’s the “whine and cheese” crowd.
Well, I don’t have the cash flow to be in the first group, so I guess I’ll settle for the second.
So here’s a little whine for you — a list of some personal pet peeves:
•The gas station ad box: What’s with the little box at the gas pump that starts blasting a commercial at you whenever you fill up your tank? I want to crush them with my bare hands. Instead, I hastily mash the “mute” button. And anything they try to push on me through that ad box will be avoided at all costs.
•The extinction of ‘small’ and ‘medium’ from menus: Were “small” and “medium” abducted sometime in the 1990s? For example, look at Starbucks. “Small” gave way to “tall.” Medium became “grande.” Perhaps clothing stores could follow that lead, instituting “tall” and “grande,” like: “I had ‘tall’ pants, now I need ‘grande.’” Actually, that sounds about right for me.
•Pre-owned cars: Just call them “used.” Shouldn’t “pre-owned” mean prior to any ownership? This is some more language Jiu Jitsu by marketers, kind of like doing away with “small” and “medium.”
•Edu-speak: “We need to integrate dynamic modalities based on empirical data generated from extensive studies of the multicultural systemic model based on Gesalt and Adlerian modalities.” This type of speak doesn’t make you seem smarter. It just makes people avoid you.
•Legalese: See above — kind of the same club-like language but with a lot of “whereas” and “herewith” thrown in. For instance: “I am herewith returning the stipulation to dismiss in the above entitled matter; the same being duly executed by me.” Do we really have to pay $150 an hour to someone to talk like this on our behalf?
•Corporate sponsor bowl names: Imagine Queen’s “We are the Champions, my friends.” Now, insert “Taxslayer.com” before champions? Doesn’t sound so great, does it?
•Pop country: I’m sorry. I know a lot of you like it. But I’ll take a jack hammer or a dentist drill in the adjacent room over a boombox with modern country hits. Old country, now that’s different.
•Lou Holtz: I don’t remember the last time I’ve actually heard his voice. My thumb always hits mute before his mouth moves.
•Adjectives: Here’s one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received: “If you see an adjective, kill it.” Verbs work. Adjectives are typically just the unneeded insertion of a writer’s opinion.
•Inappropriate sports PA observations: I went to Stegemen Coliseum last week and the Georgia announcer proclaimed one Bulldog’s basket as “soft as church music” — really, what church and what music? And he referred to another player’s “sweet” reverse layup. Ugh! Just announce who scored the bucket. I’ll make my own judgment on how “sweet” it is.
•Trailers for horror flicks: I don’t want my kids catching Texas Chainsaw Massacre previews during commercial breaks for sporting events. That really ticks me off. That stuff is a type of pornography in my eyes, a porn for violence.
•The misuse of “literally”: People throw in “literally” all the time to add emphasis without realizing that “literal” requires a factual basis. For instance, I’ve heard: “He was literally on cloud 9.” So, there is actually a numerical ranking of clouds, and he happened to “literally” park himself on the ninth level?
On that note, I’m literally taking my hands off the keyboard.
Time to quit this whine, maybe find some actual cheese.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.
01/19/13 at 10:29 AM
I literally laughed my head off as I read this. Oh, wait...
The most important piece of reporting I saw in this article was that there IS a mute button on that blasted speaker! I never knew that. I usually just stand there, one hand pressed against the speaker and the other hanging onto the gas handle. Thanks, and by the way, I agree with everything you're cheesed off about. :)
01/19/13 at 12:07 PM
".... piece of reporting I saw in this article ...."
This is an opinion piece, not an aricle of news reporting. However, it made my day and I so identified with most of it. I like the adjective thing; when I make construction notes on my building permit drawings, there's very few of those words, just enough to describe "literal" things, like color, size or type. Good to remember as well when commenting.
I especially agree with the movie trailers regarding children. Most parents select movies and videos vary carefully for their kids and then all that trash is thrown at them. Makes me intensely angry! We live in a grossly decadent and disrespectful society.
I would add: televisions, televisions everywhere; not a one to escape (after The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner).