groan and bear it


Today’s CODE WORD:

To which part of American culture do you assign “spiritual death”? And I don’t mean the obvious ones. For me?

– Dockers™ pants

– all-afternoon happy hour at Ruby Tuesday’s

– Kevin Federline listening to his own music

– the Lice Aisle at Wal-Mart:



0 thoughts on “groan and bear it

  1. Beth

    American Idol-style yell-singing
    Paris Hilton
    Lincoln Navigators
    ghostwriters (or, worse, celebrities who use a ghost and then claim authorship)

  2. HKK

    – Bluetooth cell phone headsets – Sorry to steal this
    – Fake tree cell phone towers – If electric and telephone wires were good enough for our forefathers and foremothers, the cell phone towers are good enough for us
    – $25 dollar beach parking in Mass.

  3. kent

    Matt — Soyfoods? I love my soymilk, tempeh and tofu.
    1. Bush lying every time he opens his mouth.
    2. Global Warming ripping apart my friend’s houses.
    3. My new over-air-conditioned, silver and grey Herman Miller office cubicle. I feel like I’m prisoner in the Snow Queen’s palace.
    4. ‘”‘”Reality”‘”‘ Television — to the extent that it’s scripted, it’s fake, to the extent that it’s ‘”‘”Real”‘”‘ those people suck.

  4. DFB's&T's

    Pricey hubcaps
    Aguilera-izing of any song: please just hold a note
    Kaballa and Scientology
    Paris Hilton, et al (nuff said)
    absurd political correctness
    People who dial their cell phones as soon as they step off a plane — get a life; you are not that important.

  5. Drake

    Not in any particular order:
    >> Fruit rollups & other processed “fruit” foods – how about having a REAL apple?
    >> Anybody who is wrapped up in Paris, Nicole, Nick, Jessica, Lindsay, Clay… please spend your time on something (ANYTHING!) that matters.
    >> Sub-point to the one above: Paris Hilton playing Mother Teresa
    >> Cheaper by the Dozen 2
    >> Gotta echo all the cell phone stuff from above
    >> Blogs (errrr…. sorry Ian)

  6. Bozoette Mary

    Washingtonienne. For those who don’t know, she’s the DC hill staffer who was fired for keeping a detailed blog of all the hill staffers she screwed (sometimes… well, most of the time, for money). She got a six-figure book deal and now a movie deal. And she couldn’t even write that well. Bah.

  7. jason savage

    bible-belters gaining in political sway
    the onslaught on interviews at sporting events (coaches having to stop and interview on their way to the locker room at halftime, Fox putting baseball managers on the spot in the middle of the 5th inning, tennis players having a mic thrust in their face on the court after a finals match, etc etc…)
    Bill O’Reilly
    Being able to sue because your coffee was too hot
    “God Bless America” becoming obligatory at the seventh inning stretch (for me, “take me out to the ballgame” is a already a de facto patriotic song)
    Sean Hannity
    Alan Colmes
    The popular conflation of new country music (Chesney et al) as legitimate country music
    Treating public space as your space (talking in movie theaters, being unable to lower your voice when on a cell phone etc)

  8. TDSUNC92

    off the top of my head right now, folks who expose us to mr. spears jamming to his brazilian ass-shaker (are you TRYING to make us puke???)

  9. GFWD

    1. People who want to teach the Bible in the science classes of public schools. You wouldn’t want me breaking down photosynthesis from the pulpit, would you?
    2. Toupees. And men with combovers or men who hold on to the last vestiges of their nearly thinned out hair like a winning lottery ticket. Cut it off already. Bald is beautiful.
    3. Fake nails.
    4. People who drive slow in the fast lane. A pox on their houses, er um, their cars.
    5. Everything said above about Hilton, et al.

  10. LFMD

    corporate lingo (“let’s take this off-line”, “who will champion this project?”, “who owns this project?”, “let’s put this issue in the parking lot for now”, “we will need to elevate this issue”. . . Oh, please just SHUT UP!)
    McMansions sprouting up in former pasture land
    Internet pornography
    Bratz dolls

  11. Piglet

    Adam Sandler
    Ann Coulter
    Britney Spears
    Larry the Cable Guy
    “Christians” with Rolexes who advocate hate speech
    American War on Science
    Chants that begin “Hey-hey, Ho-ho”
    Bling Bilng
    Xtreme anything
    People who tattoo themselves with the Chinese character for “General Tso’s Chicken”
    Low Carb beer
    Rapture fiction
    Public Relations consultants

  12. Claverack Weekender

    Ray Charles’ 1959 tune “What’d I Say’.
    Johnny Cash and June Carter covering the same song on their album “Carryin’ On” in 1967.
    1997 SNL skit Ten Commandments with Bill Clinton, Moses, and the Prophet:
    Moses: And the Lord has sent before you, this Fifth Commandment – “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother”!
    [ the prophets agree ]
    And the Sixth Commandment: “Though Shalt not Kill”!
    [ the prophets agree ]
    And the Seventh: “Though Shalt not Commit Adultery”!
    [ silence ]
    What? What did I say?
    Voice Among the Prophets: It’s a little unclear!
    Moses: What?! Someone dares question the Word of God!
    Clinton: [ steps out ] Not question, really. I mean.. you know, it’s just a little unclear. I mean, adultery, what exactly does that mean? [ laughs, holds smug thumbs-up ]

  13. tregen

    Home video games
    pinch hitters
    fast food
    fences in the back yard
    child seats
    cable television
    radar guns
    homes with no yards

  14. emma

    Doctors who schedule your appointment at 10:45, but don’t make their “appearance” until 11:50 after you have been sitting in a room with a measly gown on with nothing to read for 45 minutes!

  15. xuxE

    the skinny-chick-with-implants anime look
    ED and the many nutritional supplements to *cure* it
    U.S. world domination
    hyper commercialization of hip hop culture
    children as celebrity accessories
    the war on drugs
    mutual funds
    white ipod headphones
    (but seriously – paris as mother theresa? please do not kill this i HAVE to see that. please let it be a musical…)

  16. Scott

    1. Wal-Mart, which sort of is the “lice aisle” of the entire retail world.
    2. McDonald’s and, even worse, the “new” Rock n’Roll McDonald’s in Chicago (which is built to resemble the original McDonald’s, only Super-Sized, of course).
    3. ExxonMobil. The Barry Bonds of Big Oil. Not only is ExxonMobil swelling with record profits (at our expense), but this pack of cowboys is the only oil company without alternative energy initiatives (unlike, for example, BP, who is devoting considerable funds to developing safe hydrogen-combustion technology). And ExxonMobil, who has secured most of the ANWR drilling permits, has vowed to sell the bulk of any oil siphoned from that refuge to foreign (namely Chinese) interests.
    In other news, the K-Fed video makes my day. He honestly digs that crap! I’d put him on my list (and other worthless idiots like Paris et al.), except that I constantly wonder “Where did they go RIGHT?”

  17. Joanna

    tank tops popularly referred to as “wife beaters”
    A&F thong underwear for 9 year olds
    Bar mitzvah blow jobs

  18. GFWD

    If I had known that a bar mitzvah rite of passage also came with such a perk as Joanna mentioned, I would have dropped my Catholic catechism like a hot potato and donned a yarmulke quicker than you can say mazel tov!
    Please share the story behind that third rant of yours, Joanna.

  19. Annie

    1. Religious identity politics (just stop it, please. Stop it.)
    2. Everyone jumping to totally opposing conclusions about the Duke lax situation (“I know they did it.” “I know they didn’t do it.” Actually, we just don’t know. And we won’t decide it anyway. So stop pretending that you know.)
    3. Clinton-bashing (the man has been out of office for six years)
    4. People pretending that they know who made the world and why

  20. eric g

    1. The Cameron Crazy Cam
    2. Britney Spears and Kevin Federline procreating
    3. Players leaving college early for the NBA draft
    4. Magazine profile of a female celebrity=female celebrity posing in her underwear (when did this become the norm???)
    5. Lindsay Lohan’s new incarnation as Twiggy
    6. One-use disposable mops (are we really this lazy???)
    7. Airlines experimenting with allowing in-flight cell phone usage (this will lead to an upward spike in air rage incidents, mark my words)
    8. The Segway

  21. Anne D.

    1) People who think they are too good, smart, socially conscious, enlightened, aesthetically superior, etc., to shop in a Wal-Mart. Decent merchandise + cheap prices = legitimate retail destination for all but the urban trust-fund set.
    2) People who seem to know all about Lohan, the Hiltons, etc., but hate on those who enjoy gossip sites and magazines.
    3) People who think only they are allowed to define cultural genres, i.e., country music. Everything mutates, guys. That’s evolution in action, for better worse.
    4) Snark-ism as a way of life. (see Ian’s former post on this topic)

  22. LFMD

    Go Anne D.! You rock! And I agree with everything on your list.
    And, Joanna, what the hell are you talking about bar mitzvah-wise? You are making me very scared.

  23. Joanna

    Regarding the blow jobs . . .
    I read this Caitlin Flanagan article recently:
    GFWD, no need to convert. The bar mitzvah story was just an example of the trend of young girls giving very casual nonreciprocal oral sex. I really don’t have a problem with teen sex per se, but it’s the girls servicing boys factor that is worrisome. Has having a daughter turned me into the Church Lady? I don’t think so. This seems like another part of the culture that calls talentless stars of home-movie porn “celebrities.”

  24. LFMD

    Joanna, that was an interesting article! Gotta love those Judy Blume references. And the author’s remarks that “it takes a village” is a farce because the village is so “polluted.” I really think that is so true.
    I have one other thing to add to my list:
    Chuck E Cheese’s — I hate that place.

  25. Claudia

    extreme plastic surgery makeovers
    fake designer logo accessories
    anal bleaching
    rebates (just give me a frickin’ coupon, people)
    cable monopolies
    child beauty pageants
    artificially-colored foods

  26. Neva

    Anal bleaching?
    On that note – how about the current societal aversion to body hair. As a doctor who gets to see everyone’s “parts” I’m amazed it seems a large majority of people now shave off (or do something to remove?) most of their body hair. Men can’t have chest hair anymore and women might as well forget having any sort of hair that might make an appearance. Between this, the mani/pedis and the fake orange tans, the time and money people spend on grooming could rebuild New Orleans…

  27. Claudia

    Anne D. and Neva, that was my reaction, too.
    There is an episode of _Dr. 90210_ that delves into “unusual cosmetic procedures”–anal bleaching among them. The hair is removed and then the flesh beneath is bleached. Ew, ew, ew.

  28. suzanne

    People who know better, justifying EVER shopping at Wal-Mart (read the Wal-Mart Effect and other “enlightening” books/articles out there. Wal-Mart is a huge reason that many people can’t afford to shop anywhere other than Wal-Mart…)
    Britney/Kevin—in “Chaotic”
    Birkenstocks and then Rainbows becoming fads–was there something in between?

  29. Matt

    Wal-Mart phobia is nearly as perplexing as Bush Derangement Syndrome. Far from harming the economy, the retail giant promotes prosperity and is a model of successful capitalism that should be emulated, not reviled.
    There’s a Wal-Mart in Alexandria that has a McDonalds inside. I chuckle to think of the horror some here might feel upon entering that place.
    Speaking of which, Mickey Ds must be doing something right:
    “Stung by obesity lawsuits and criticism from books like ‘Fast Food Nation,’ the company’s brand seemed passé and the high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium cuisine appeared poised for a long decline.
    “But that did not happen. Today, McDonald’s business, both in the United States and globally, is growing; the chain gets some one million more American visitors a day than it did just a year ago.”

  30. Ian

    Matt, really. Since when is success the barometer for doing something “right”? I just don’t understand the construct of moral capitalism, saying that just because something works and makes money means it’s inherently right. That’s schoolyard bully logic.
    I occasionally shop at Wal-Mart and occasionally have a Filet-o-Fish, but I don’t have any illusions.

  31. Beth

    Might someone be able to help me with an iPod question (a la Neva)? I got my dad a Shuffle for his seventieth, and I’d like to load it with a few of his favorite songs that also happen to be on my iTunes. Can I do that without fouling up either his setup or mine?
    (If I can’t, I can always burn him a disc to get him started. But I’d love to send him something that he can play with out of the package.)
    Thank you so much, ye sophisticated iPod users!

  32. Matt

    Ian, it’s more than that. Wal-Mart donates hundreds of millions of dollars to charity every year and has a huge beneficial impact on our economy — everything from net job creation to tax revenue to the consumer price index. Check out the links when you have time.

  33. Beth

    p.s.: I’ve found today’s comments fascinating. One person’s Wal-Mart is another person’s cell phone is another person’s anal bleaching.
    Or something.

  34. Matt

    P.S. I think I read that Wal-Mart’s profit margin last year (with many billions of dollars in sales) was a mere 4%. That’s not obscene.

  35. Matt

    You’re right, Beth, and I shouldn’t complain about soyfoods. After all, my home state grows an awful lot of soybeans. Kent’s strange taste in food keeps a lot of my family in the black.

  36. Neva

    I have very mixed feelings about Walmart. In general I think they do more harm than good. The “net jobs” are usually manipulated figures that don’t take into account all the jobs lost at smaller businesses around town get pushed out when WalMart comes in. Also, the turnover in Walmart jobs is tremendous meaning most people don’t keep those “new jobs” very long either because they can’t afford to work there and support their family or they are let go before they qualify for benefits? I have read much better quality of job statistics for Cosco, Sears and other big boxes. But.. I will say I was impressed with Walmart’s quick response after Katrina. They were there before FEMA that’s for sure..

  37. Matt

    Neva, I suppose all figures can be manipulated and people will disagree on what they consider a trustworthy source, but I would be surprised if net job figures didn’t take into account jobs lost at the mom and pop shops that close because they can’t compete with Wal-Mart prices. I wouldn’t want to support a family on a clerk’s wages either, but that’s not really what those clerk and shelf stock positions are for. Right now there are millions of French youths who would love the opportunity to have a job at all (unemployment at 25% for people under 25 and at 50% for immigrants under 25).
    But this is how Wal-Mart benefits the U.S. economy (linked above):
    “The expansion of Wal-Mart over the 1985 to 2004 period can be associated with a cumulative decline of 9.1% in food-at-home prices, a 4.2% decline in commodities (goods) prices, and a 3.1% decline in overall consumer prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index-All Items, which includes both goods and services.
    “The main driver of this impact was a 0.75% improvement in the overall efficiency of the economy. Increased capital intensity and lower import prices were secondary drivers. The 3.1% decline in the price level was partially offset by a 2.2% decline in nominal wages, so that the net effect was to increase real disposable income by 0.9% by 2004.”
    So while Wal-Mart may lower wages a little, it makes up for it by increasing consumer spending power.

  38. kjf

    beth – just plug your shuffle in the computer and you can select songs to put on it rather than just let it select them randomly. as long as all the songs you want are already on the computer its not a problem.

  39. salem's little sister

    NOJ, What’s your problem with Charlotte? Do you live here or are you just picking on us for being a nice, affordable place to raise your family 2 1/2 hours from the mountains and 3 hours from the beach?

  40. Father Tim

    Econ 101 with the Barrister: Wal-Mart’s just scuffling by at a 4% clip. Got it. And Wal-Mart is a paragon of corporate altruism. Sure. (Hand raised high trying to get the teacher’s attention)I’ll bet the Exxon CEO’s $400 million pay package is based on sound “market” principles. Looks like we’re 3-for-3 here, Barrister. The Barrister gets ADM’s Money for Nothing and His Chicks for Free.

  41. Matt

    What did I write, Counselor? That 4% is “not obscene”, and it isn’t. It’s damn efficient. If you want to bring Exxon into it, they make Wal-Mart look like Meals on Wheels from any kind of civic duty perspective, don’t they?
    Anyway, who wants to talk this stuff when we have Ian’s latest entry on the Hollywood scene?

  42. Moanica

    I just read the link to the oral sex article. It seemed to raise more questions than give answers. For something in the Atlantic Monthly after it’s already been talked about in the media for years, it ought to have something new or concrete to offer.
    Anyway, people don’t get it: The reason for the oral sex spread is partly Monica. And no, I am not ‘blaming’ her. What I am saying is that the fact that BJs were in the news again and again and again kind of normalized them for semi-polite conversation. How could kids not talk about such things if the president might get impeached for LYING about it? And somewhere long the line, kids had to understand the reason that Clinton was on trial. So someone had to explain it to them. And then they were talking with their friends about it.
    Anyway, anyone who has been a girl can remember whether, at 12, 13, or 14, they would have had the guts to do anythign like that. I would have been too embarrassed and shy. What it comes down to is, some kids are probably doing it, and some are not. If you’re talking about 13-year-olds, parents should be around anyway, so it’s not as if boys and girls of that age should be alone all that often.

  43. xuxE

    yes! clinton caused rampant middle school oral sex, that explains it!
    oh i’m so glad i wandered over here tonight, that put a smile on my face after a looong day.
    ian i wish you had a “best of” area or something for your blog comments, i would probably vote for that one for best clinton bashing i’ve seen so far.

  44. CP

    I got one at 14, from my 9th grade girlfriend, during passover with her fam.
    two things. 1) we were in the privacy of her room. 2) it was still clinton’s first term.
    3) she was an awesome girl, smart and hot, and not a slut. to this day, a HUGE feminista, in that sexy brown/vassar/wesleyan women’s studies way.
    kinehora. mazel. lechiem.
    spiritual death? how about christians, muslims and jews who can’t handle sex but get off on violence?


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