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“Pet Peeves”

I remember that when I was starting junior high school, the school paper sometimes had a column, “Pet Peeves.” I don’t remember what was in there, and it didn’t run very long. Maybe things like people not throwing their trash in the baskets, or running too fast down the halls. Maybe more general things. I remembered the column, though, and of course the phrase was not original, it seemed to be from that general period.

There are all sorts of things which I might put into that category. I think most people have those. One shouldn’t let oneself get too angry at them, because they are just part of the way things are. (But they shouldn’t be!) And technology, with its concomitant lessening of personal treatment and individuality, has accentuated this. So I could probably write a book on them, except that by the time the book came out, there would be other ones. I will just indulge myself a bit by listing a few, some of which you might find amusing, or sympathize with.

Companies which have sought to save money by having voice mail systems installed, the goal of which is to avoid having to hire people to answer the calls, and so route the caller to the internet, or frustration and hanging up You have a question about a bill, or how to handle some matter with the company; and whereas at one time in the past, you would get an actual person who might try to help, now you get the inevitable recording, which is usually probably what they call a bot.

This recording of a real person or a bot, tries to get you to push other buttons; which if you do, will tell you to push other buttons. You are very lucky if you actually reach someone. And of course the question you had cannot be answered by the bot, because if it could, you wouldn’t be calling. So what could have been a ten-minute call turns into a half hour of pushing buttons, listening to stupid music play over and over, interspersed with ads for the company. “Did you know, that you can…?” “Have you tried our….?” For the sake of fairness, since they all do it, I will not mention the names of places which give me the choice of hanging up, or listening to fifteen minutes of ads before someone might answer, or you hang up anyway.

Large corporations’ endless search for more money, leading to them taking over the rights to various broadcasts, and forcing people to pay for them. For example, people had been able to watch Thursday Night NFL football on television. One had to have a cable package; mine is $145 a month, as it goes up every year, even though I really do not watch that much TV besides news and sports and TCM, and the station which shows noir films twice a week. But just to get TCM, I have to have the package which includes dozens of stations which I don’t want. The cable network, and they are a monopoly in any locale, knows what people like to watch, so they bundle those few stations with other ones, forcing someone who likes TCM to add $50 or so to the bill just to get it.

But the network which used to show the Thursday games, this year does not; it is now the property of Amazon Prime, which one has to join to see any of the games. Also, various Dodgers baseball games are now farmed to Apple TV. Some games are farmed to YouTube networks. The end result is what was predicted decades ago, that the consumer is going to be charged for virtually every program he wants to see. Squeeze them out of every cent, boys!

Rap music. Somehow someone decided that rap music must be played at intros to every game shown on TV. I do not like rap music at all, I don’t even think it is music, more like some kind of haranguing with a loud beat behind it. Yes, I know that some people love rap music, and that there is a cultural component, but it has become like a ritual; they have to play rap on the intros. I won’t mention the people who have their car windows open, their radios turned up as high as possible, blasting rap music out to anyone stuck at the light next to them.

Commercials in general, proliferating at an astronomical rate. I might write a whole essay on that sometime, but perhaps no more needs to be said, though the techniques of advertisers are interesting, if insidious in many cases.

The concept of “Influencers,” paid large sums to try to convince others to do what the payers want them to do.

The rapid decline in literate writing, particularly online. Oh, one does not expect great writing, but at least try to know what the words mean. Try to find more words than “hilarious,” “gonna,” “kinda,” “it’s genius.”Sometimes I think that they have a list of about thirty words, and thus must use them over and over.

“Race counting,” where almost nothing can be shown without some people adding up all the people of various races who are in it, and complaining. Diversity is a necessary value, but art is ruined or at least diluted when the focus is not on the story or dialogue, but about how diverse the cast is.

“No sauce, please.” I do not like sauce on foods, unless it is a light butter sauce, perhaps. Many do, which of course is fine. But try to tell someone at a restaurant, particularly if you are taking out a meal, not to put sauce on it or in the package. I emphasize it, in a polite way, and the person taking the order nods and repeats it–and inevitably the bag is filled with packets of sauces, some of which drip out. One has to look at everything before taking it, or else you are sure to find sauces in there. A corollary: do any of you like your hamburgers plain and dry? I do. I learned from a food server that you should say “plain and dry,” or else it doesn’t work. So I do it, but then they ask me, do I want this or that on it? I say no. Then they ask if I want this or that other thing. I say, ”No!” in a polite manner. And then sometimes they put it in anyway.

Well, those are just a few of my “pet peeves.” Do you have any to add to the list?

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19 Responses

  1. 1. Misuse of “begs the question”.
    2. Confusion of “nauseated” and “nauseous” – even by physicians.

    • 3. Using “gift” as a verb.

      • Yes, there are so many words which got turned into verbs, often part of “business speak” “Operationalize.” ‘Compartmentalize.”

        • Those are not merely examples of corporate bafflegab, they are also half Latin and half Greek and therefore an abomination before God. Like “television”.

          Oh, and shanah tovah!

          • Shana tovah!

          • We must officially be curmudgeons, William, since nobody else seems to have any “pet peeves”.

          • I prefer alte kaker

          • I wish I knew of a Ladino equivalent, if only for the sake of inclusivity.

          • Ladino equivalent: Aksi bashi

          • WOW learned something new today… was never aware of Ladino

            Yiddish – Ashkenazi Jews
            Ladino – Sephardic Jews

            My yiddish is pretty good for a goy… but I guess the jews I was around (worked for 4 years at a Jewish country club on LI) must have been Ashkenazi.

          • One of my undergraduate professors spoke Ladino (I believe it was his first language). He was the grandson of the Chief Rabbi of Turkey.

            I took a few classes in Sephardic history. Fascinating.

          • but I guess the jews I was around (worked for 4 years at a Jewish country club on LI) must have been Ashkenazi.

            Most North American Jews are Azhkenazim – that’s mainly an artifact of American and Canadian immigration trends, even though the first member of Columbus’s crew to set foot in the New World was his converted Sephardic Jewish interpreter, Luis de Torres (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_de_Torres).

            There are a lot of Sephardic crypto-Jews (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crypto-Judaism) in Latin America and the American West and Southwest (pretty much anyone named Torres, Castro, or Moreno is probably of Sephardic descent – even though most probably aren’t aware of it). Emigrating to New Spain was a pretty good option to escape the Inquisition, even though it was technically illegal for Jews or converts.

            And thank you Beata – I should have known you’d come through. I’ve only heard Ladino spoken a few times. It’s a really beautiful language.

          • I hate to put this here, but I’m not sure where else to put it.

            Sunday night I went to Erev Rosh Hashonah services in my old community and as I drove up to the temple I saw that somebody had put a Mastroianno yard sign up directly across from the temple driveway. It was on public property, not in someone’s yard.

            That road is several miles long and there were no other Mastroianno signs anywhere along the road. Nor were there signs for Oz or any local Republican candidates for office.

            Whoever placed that sign there did it very deliberately. To me it was as close to a hate crime as you can get without it being a hate crime.

          • Yikes.

  2. See RD’s last thread for weekly links.

  3. Oh, and while I do not generally take hamburgers “plain and dry”, I am increasingly frustrated by the inability to order a “hamburger” that doesn’t end up being a “bacon cheeseburger”.

  4. My pet peeve: People who applaud during church services. In recent years, this practice seems to have become increasingly common (common, in more ways than one). It even happens at funerals. During my mother’s funeral, people applauded after a soloist sang Rutter’s Lux Aeterna. The song was beautifully sung but the applause afterwards was inappropriate. I had to go outside for a few minutes to compose myself. I recently went to a funeral where people applauded after the eulogy of a young person who died quite tragically. The family did not applaud. They were crying. Perhaps applause is acceptable in some churches but I find it disrespectful to the deceased and their families.

  5. When I converted to Judaism, the rabbi who converted me said I could no longer attend a funeral, wedding or any other type of service at a church. I was shocked. I asked him if that meant if I had converted before my mother died, I would not have been able to attend her funeral? He said that was correct. I wouldn’t be “allowed” to attend my own mother’s funeral nor could I visit her gravesite. Needless to say, I have ignored that completely. I go to any type of religious service or burial site I choose. I do what I think is right. Obviously, I am a bad Jew.

    • I had no idea! Shana tovah, Beata! I guess Lennie Bruce’s grandmother was right after all.

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