Written by Sean Deveney
We’re about to flip the calendar over to 2011, which works out nicely because, it turns out, there are exactly 11 things that will hopefully disappear in the coming year.
1. “Douchebag.” How in the name of Summer’s Eve did douche wind up with such a bad rap? And how did the bag wind up as the nation’s most popular catch-all insult? Most males of my vintage have no concept on the mechanics of the douchebag, myself included, but I know it is a cleansing device, and cleansing is good. That hardly seems derogatory. If someone is acting like a so-called douchebag, would we not be better off labeling them a sanitary napkin or, perhaps, an enema?
2. Boston-based movies. I live in the Boston area, and it’s got a combination of toughness, quaintness, history and goofy accents that makes it a good movie backdrop. But we’ve baked this bean just about as much as possible: Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone; Fever Pitch; Edge of Darkness; The Departed; The Town; and now, The Fighter. Hollywood should be reminded that there are other wicked good cities out there.
3. Cars that tell me what to do. Enough dinging. I will put on my seatbelt when I am damn well ready.
4. “I just threw up in my mouth a little.” No, you didn’t. If you did, take a Prilosec, brush your teeth and stay away from the garlic-habanero dip.
5. “Really?” Poor “really.” It has become an abused cliché for outraged disbelief, and we need to give it—and its corollary, “Seriously?”—a break. It’s especially offensive when used in conjunction with a complaint directed at a large entity that can’t possibly respond. You know, something like: “Six hours on hold. Really, American Airlines? Really?” Look, American Airlines is not going to call up and say, “Yes, really.” We should leave “really” alone and go back to the simple: “I am annoyed with American Airlines. They had me on hold for six hours.”
6. Cooking competitions. This genre began with conger eel battles on “Iron Chef,” and it should have ended there. There’s no way the Chairman would have approved of, say, “Cupcake Wars.” There’s no conger eels in cupcakes.
7. Intimate posts on Facebook. I am sure that 10 years ago, your wife said, “I do,” and though you’ve had good times and bad, she has made you the happiest man on the planet, so freaking happy your head just might explode. Or that you loved your child from the moment you felt his tiny hand in yours, etc. and so on. But rather than posting that on Facebook, why not turn to the person in question at the dinner table and say whatever you have to say directly? Facebook is for vacation photos, quotes from 30 Rock, and Farmville, not earnest public expressions of things that should be said in a Hallmark card.
8. Car insurance ads. Every few years, an aggressive advertising bubble pops up out of nowhere. Remember the collect-calling ad wars? Carrot Top as the spokesman for 1-800-Call ATT? Mr. T shilling for 1-800-Collect? Dark times for advertising. These days, it’s car insurance. The Geico gecko, the bubbly Progressive lady, the earthy Latino of State Farm, Dean Winters playing “mayhem” for Allstate, the cartoon avatars of Esurance— who’s buying all this car insurance, anyway?
9. Wiki-anything. Pedia, leaks, answers, quotes … I don’t know how wiki got to be a prefix.
10. TV shows that can’t hold the camera still. I get queasy after 10 minutes of Friday Night Lights. Not only does it seem that many shows have gotten rid of dollies, it seems they require their camera crews to be drunk and fidgety at all times.
11. Blogs with no apparent purpose beyond an ego stroke for its editor and occasional contributors. Ahem.