Random irritations

The current use of the word “Really?” as a verbal raised-eyebrow said in an ascending, ironic, mock way to express indignation. This is obnoxiously Valley Girlish and will go the way of the ironic “Not” as so well lampooned by Borat. Hearing Soledad O’Brien chirp a “Really?” on MSNBC the other morning on her reaction that ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner was returning to Twitter was the last straw. I am not alone.

“Coozies:” Those closed cell foam sleeves used to keep canned beverages cold. The utility of these devices is fine. I like a cold beer as much as the next drinker, but the slogans generally printed on them are usually groin oriented “How About a Nice Cup of Shut The F^#K Up” or that classic “Smile If You Aren’t Wearing Panties.” What kills me is my inability to utter their name in polite company — “Coozie” — which doubtlessly is an attempt to employ the word “cozy” emanating from the British tea drinkers use of a padded cloth cover to slip over a tea pot to keep it warm, the “tea cozy” which one imagines to be an important part of the Monty Python wardrobe of silly hats. “Coozie”, to my mind, is derived from “cooze,” an archaic reference to female genitalia. Hence I now vow to refer to all closed-cell foam beverage coolant sleeves as “canginas.” I will submit that word to the Urban Dictionary now.

Ukelele music in television commercials to denote carefree blithe days. This awful trend was savaged a couple years ago when a couple Madison Avenue creative directors launched a now defunct web site to implore their fellow advertising industry colleagues to stop using the Train song “Hey Soul Sister” in television ads.  That site, “Stop Advertising from Pulling a Train” got the point across and was dead on, but it failed to purge the ukelele from other ads, where it tinkles away like some goddamn wind up jack-in-the-box tune. I own a ukelele (won it at a ukelele recital on Kauai years ago) and I can’t play it. I know George Harrison loved the little guitar. It can be a beautiful thing in the right hands. But keep it out of advertising, it gives me cavities.

““Everyone is sticking the tinkling sound of ukulele under their commercial,” said Jim Beloff, who wrote “The Ukulele: A Visual History.” “It’s shorthand for lightness of tone. It says, ‘We’re good guys at heart.’ ””

“Lean Forward“: I don’t watch the usual bullshit television news and so I watchthe PBS Newshour if I must get edification from the boob tube. The storm and election season exposed me to MSNBC (see above, re: “Really?”) and my mind was blown. Putting aside the presence of the newly-skinny Rev. Al Sharpton as a quasimodo anchor man (two words: Tawana Brawley) let me focus on the new MSNBC tagline, “Lean Forward.”  This meme du jour first hit my radar during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath when it was reported that President Obama told his staff to “lean forward” and give all Federal support to the devastated communities in the northeast. Then it seemed to me MSNBC immediately seized it and made it their tag line — I guess as an implied pro-Obama election exhortation — and I found myself puzzling over what the hell “Lean Forward” means.

  • If you’ve ever stood on a beach during a hurricane and tried to stay on your feet during a gust, you lean forward. When the gust stops you stumble and fall down. This isn’t what is meant, but given the appearance during the super storm …..
  • The term has been applied to digital media to denote content that you have to lean forward and stick your face into to read. Like this blog. You don’t read stuff like this slumped on the couch wiping orange Cheeto dust off your fingers on the shag rug. This isn’t what is meant either.
  • An alternative direction to partisan tendencies to lean to the liberal left or lean to the conservative right, and an implied exhortation in these days of deadlocked politics to put aside our difference and lean in an upright, neutral moderate position in the direction of the future, not the past. I think this is what was meant.
  • Vote for Obama because MSNBC is not a news channel but a counterbalance to Fox and therefore the news source for people predisposed to want their news to actually lean left as opposed to the Murdochian right lean of Fox. This is what was meant.

Whatever it means, it pissed me off that the airheads who have inherited the broadcast airwaves from Murrow, Cronkite,  et al are wasting my brain cycles trying to puzzle out their latest memetic slogans. And I have wasted 15 minutes of my time and yours ranting about these irritations to no effect and could keep going with more things that get under my skin like Kobe Beef sliders, pumpkin-flavored anything, and Apple products but I have work to do.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

2 thoughts on “Random irritations”

  1. Lean Forward: How about “lead the way” or “put your shoulder to the wheel”?

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