Archive for the 'Curmudgeon' Category

Yellow is the color of piss

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Yellow KidI was reading some news today (as I do) and, as usual, the point of the story itself escaped me because I was so hung up on the language in which this tale was woven.

And it was a terrible, terrible tale, to be sure – a man went to a nursing home and shot up a bunch of people, killing 8 of them (the oldest being a 98-year old woman which, come on! This lady lived through two World Wars, Russian, Mexican, Chinese, Spanish, Greek, and Cuban Revolutions and Civil Wars – plus a number of other skirmishes – a Great Depression, the discovery of Pluto as a planet and its subsequent dismissal, major floods and earthquakes and hurricanes… hell, when she was born, her life expectancy was 54 years, and she made it to 98 only to be shot to death in some crappy nursing home by some miserable prick? Fuck.)

But also terrible (although not as terrible as the actual events, okay, fine, I get that, get off my fucking back!) was the way the event was spoken of and written about.

The thing started out:

At 10 a.m. Sunday morning, while many residents in Carthage, N.C., were sitting quietly in church, police say 45-year-old Robert Stewart entered a local nursing home armed with multiple guns, stalking from room to room and shooting several residents, even those bound to wheelchairs.

Nice lead… but what does church have to do with it? Why not write, “…while many residents in Carthage, N.C., were happily preparing tasty nutritious Kellogg’s® Pop-Tarts® toaster pastries – Made for Fun!™ – police say blah blah blah…?” If you’re going to insert product placement, make it something that can pay the bills! Are you bringing up church as a stark contrast just to bring home what a bad man this was? Or are you merely emphasizing how God let these people down? I don’t know… but don’t do it.

Then there’s the political posturing. We all know it was a bad thing that happened… bad and senseless and stupid. This politician going on “Hello, Today!” (or whatever dumb morning news show it was) clearly just wanted his share of face time:

“He came in with a shotgun, a rifle and a couple other kinds of weapons and he just went around shooting people, people in wheelchairs and this type of thing,” Sen. Harris Blake of the North Carolina State Assembly said. “This could not be any more barbaric.”

“Could not be any more barbaric?” Seriously? What if he had doused them in kerosene and lit them on fire, or hacked them to bits with a claw hammer? That’s more barbaric. We don’t need some stupid politician to reiterate that it was terrible, and we certainly don’t need hyperbole when the actual event was already bad enough.

And since the political players can’t all jump on the Exaggeration Bandwagon, the police chief went the opposite way with:

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words what has happened here,” Carthage Police chief Chris McKenzie told “Good Morning America” today.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words…?” Excuse me, Alan Alda, but the article you’re quoted in is words telling us what happened there. Just read that out loud. (You can sound out the big words.) And what about the police report? Wasn’t there a police report? You damned well had better be able to put it into words for the police report – pictograms are totally unacceptable. I watch Law & Order (and its many bastard children), and I know how important that police report is going to be in the appeal process. Damn it, man! Get a grip!

And, of course, no tragedy is complete without the district attorney’s office weighing in:

“He acted nothing short of a heroic day today,” Moore County district attorney Maureen Kruger said Sunday.

Unfortunately, she was another one who has trouble putting things into words.

Why can’t the news just report the news, and leave the interpretation to us? Why, during every tragedy, do church and God and faith have to rear their ugly heads? When will people stop dramatizing things that are already packed chock full o’ drama? Save the wailing and gnashing of teeth, do your job, and leave the limelight for the stars of stage and screen to entertain us – they’re much better at it than you smarmy politicians.

Also, if your life sucks – really, really sucks, or you just imagine it does in your twisted, selfish, addled brain – try just turning the gun on yourself and leave the old ladies alone. The Reaper will be here for them soon enough without your help.

You fucking twat nozzle.

Don’t mind me. I’m just babbling.

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Tower of BabelI am in a grumpy mood today, which is one of the hallmarks of gluten poisoning. I ate entirely too much wheat this week, culminating in a fireball of irritability. When I am this supercharged from the gluten, it doesn’t take a big thing to set me off, either. It might just be something as simple as the way someone pronounces something.

For example, right now I am listening to some guys who keep pronouncing dulce de leche as DULL-chay de LAY-chee instead of DOOL-say de LAY-chay. Okay, fine, so they aren’t native Spanish speakers. Great. But they work in the food industry, and this is something they make, and they keep speaking about it as though they are the great authorities on the subject, but how authentic can it be if they can’t even say it right? Damn it.

There’s a guy that does a voiceover for some energy drink thing on television who similarly butchers the word guaraná. He pronounces it something like gur-AH-nuh (as though it rhymes with piranha) when it should be gwar-uh-NAH. And don’t even get me started on chipotle. The worst pronunciation I’ve ever heard of this word was an Irish fellow who says it chih-PUH-tuhl. Good lord. I cringe just thinking of it.

If we insist on stealing words from other languages – and we do insist, because it makes our language fantastically rich – can’t we at least come close to saying them correctly? Or would that make it too easy for everybody around the world to understand each other, leading to the formation of a committee to build a tower so immense that it would have its top in the heavens?

It would be just like the last time, which led God to confuse the peoples’ languages and scatter them throughout the earth.

And this right on the heels of the Great Flood.

Talk about irritable.