July 26, 2007


Annoying American Phenomena
of the Early Twenty-First Century

(vote for your "favorite" in the comments!)

"Like" is the new "um."

American sports and news announcers persist in their belief that only men play sports, and that only men care about sports. They say, "In the NCAA tournament today," or "In golf today," when they mean, "In the NCAA Men's tournament today," or "In men's golf today," and it drives me crazy. It's ONE SYLLABLE of clarification, fer cryin' out loud.

Amongst a certain group of young men, jeans are only cool if they are barely hanging on. Accordingly, clothing manufacturers are now making jeans that look like they're falling down even when they're not.

People who walked down the street talking to themselves used to be mentally ill. Now they're just on their cellphones.

Children's parties are now relentlessly "themed." Bleah.

Parents talking about their student's college search begin their sentences with "we." E.g. "We would like to apply to at least ten schools." I haven't said, "We who?" Yet.

We start talking about national elections well over a year before they take place, but can't figure out how to have a process that engages more than 50% of the people eligible to vote.

It's gotten harder to move through the world as just yourself... instead, as we move, the demands of our environment seem to require that we leave little pieces of ourselves. (Think pre-registration, keychain swipe cards while grocery shopping, EZ Pass, undsoweiter.)

Sightlines while driving are a thing of the past. Remember when you used to be able to scope out the road ahead of you a bit? Now you can scope out the giant butt of the SUV in front of you.

Undivided attention is becoming increasingly rare. Do I have yours?

(Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings,
who unwittingly provided me
with this lovely opportunity to vent,
and to my friend Scot, who helped me out
when I got stuck at eight.)


Sharkb said...

To we, I often respond - we who? you gotta rat in your pocket?

Herb Urban said...

I despise the bluetooth people. Every time I hear one in the crowd I turn around thinking someone is speaking to me. It gets annoying after awhile.

Fun post! Glad I stopped by.

Wendy said...

here's my rant in fragmented and run on sentences with lots of dot dot dots....in all lowercase because i adore ee cummings:

the oddest thing i saw was a young couple walking hand in hand and each speaking on their own cell phone to another person.

what really irritated me when i lived in nyc were the people that would walk down the hall and into the elevator on their cells...speaking louder and louder until they lost connection.

and the "like" phenomena, it's terrible...i just needs to hear it a few times a day and i find myself saying it. arrggh!

and...having worked in ob/gyn, it used to drive me nuts when i heard a spouse say, "WE'RE pregnant". i used to think, "yeah, if only..."

Crafty Green Poet said...

You totally have my undivided attention, except by mentioning so many annoying phenomena, my mind is now wandering off in lots of different directions. It's a good list.

paisley said...

i am in full agreement many..well probably all of these things drive me nuts too.....

Hope said...

Elections would be my vote, rating right up there with Christmas decorations in the stores before halloween! We spend so much time racing to the next event and then wonder were the time went.

paris parfait said...

I agree with you about all those annoying things! Cell phone usages in public places is just out of control. And mostly they're talking about completely trivial things!

Gill said...

I love your take on the prompt and I fully agree with you about all those annoying phenomena. And the use of the word "like" as mentioned by Wendy - it drives me nuts!

gautami tripathy said...

We gotta live with all those crappy phenomena!

Paul said...

Cellphones have my vote. I was on a train once listening to a man phoning his wife whom he said!!!???!!! he loved very much whilst in the arms of another lady.

mks said...

The more we change the more I wish things stayed the same. Technology is great but so is simplicity. I will let you have all of my technological phenomena for a year living by the sea with a rotary phone, my dog and some good books. Great post.

Regina Clare Jane said...

The whole droopy drawers thing just irks me to no end! I want to run over to these people and pull their pants up!
A great post, Shelley!

Patois said...

Too many annoyances to pick, frankly. But I'll go with cell phones. My answer? I stop what I am doing and I stare at the person so they know I am listening to them. And I just keep doing it. Drives them batty until they have to lower their voice in "shame."

Stacy said...

Presidential candidates (really all political candidates) who speak in the royal "we." Can't stand it though nearly all of them do it.

Loved your post.

SarahJane said...

my sympathies are all over - but the parents' making a "we" of a child seems the most annoying (in that context). great list.