Today I want to showcase a couple pet peeves of mine. I am feeling especially grumpy, as I've been battling a severe cold for a week. However, I suspect that when you read these, you'll be in hearty agreement:
1. Authors who poorly attempt to create a character that has unusual tastes.
For example, instead of making a particular detective merely human, he has to like obscure jazz. Now what REALLY bugs me is when they draw the other characters into the scenario. Here's an example:
Detective Snapes is listening to jazz in the dark. His boss calls and hears it in the background. His boss then asks Detective Snapes if it's the little-know tune "Jonquil" by the almost unknown band "Harry and the Hendersons". Almost unknown, that is, except to the author, who is trying to show off his impeccable taste. Snapes agrees that it is, in fact, the music that he (due to having a tortured soul and ecelectic tastes) is listening to.
OK: When have you ever liked something intellectual or obscure and found that your boss or even a colleague knows what the hell you're talking about? You'd be lucky if they knew who COLERIDGE was. And, in some instances, the name "Shakespeare" would bring blank stares. I am so sick of authors who employ this little tactic, and it's not simply one author that indulges in it - myriad authors are guilty of this easy and snobbish device.
2. Most Radio Talking Heads:
RUSH LIMBAUGH is a washed up has-been. I was a fan in the 80s, may I add hastily. However, he's been purchased by the Republican party and in a fawning attempt to please, will never go against the party line unless his listeners are so adamantly against it that he has no choice. The illegal immigration issue is one example: Rush was for them until he began to look as credible as Bill Clinton after Monica Lewinsky's blue dress came out of the freezer. What frightens me is that he still has an audience. This is, sadly, an example of how uneducated and gullible the blue collar workers are.
GLENN BECK started out as a perfect, independent moderate. But fame has turned his head. Because he is running with the Big Boys now, we are beginning to see their influence. Although there are times that he reasserts himself and will stand on his own, there are times that we see otherwise. Both sides are tugging at him, and I'm sorry to say that it appears that both are getting their hooks into him.
MICHAEL SAVAGE is often "right on" as a classic Reagan conservative (in other words, a moderate in today's political climate). But his caustic style and over-the-top viciousness at times dilutes his message. Are his advisors encouraging this? Let's all remember how Eddie Murphy's career died for a while after such blockbuster hits as "Beverly Hills Cop". Eddie began to listen more to his advisors than to his fans or his own common sense. He began to be so self-important that his career spiralled out of control until he got a grip on himself once more.
THE REST: The rest of the talk show hosts all fall roughly into the same pattern. I listened to one idiot yesterday ask sneeringly when we started calling vegetarians "vegans". Before *I* started spouting my ignorance to the world, I would grab a dictionary and look it up.
As most people know, a vegetarian eats no flesh but will eat animal by-products such as eggs and milk. A vegan will touch nothing that has come from an animal.
Then on top of that brillian rant, the moron proceeded to talk about how most vegetarians were hypocrites because they ate fish. I was ready to tear my hair out! That would make them...lessee here... NOT vegetarians! Of COURSE! And here's a tip for everyone: If you run across someone who tells you that they're a vegetarian but they eat fish, they're NOT a vegetarian. They're merely stupid. As stupid, that is, as this particular conservative talk show host.
I'm a moderate. That means that I come very close to what Glenn Beck once was (and perhaps still will be). As always, I find it hard to identify with either side, apparently because I'm educated.
Yesterday, a well-meaning friend listened to my rant and then said patronizingly that such talk shows were merely for entertainment, and the idiot anti-vegan was merely trying to stir things up for the fun of it. That's possibly a fair assessment. But, does that make it the right thing to do? And is it right that these men should be able to reach out to the mostly brainless, drooling blue-collar worker and plant ideas in his head that he will readily accept and absorb because he's too lazy to do the homework?
I am almost re-thinking The Fairness Doctrine.