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In Which Politeness is NOT A Bourgeois Concept To Make The Underclasses Shut Up.

November 12th, 2012 No comments

Hello, couple shopping at Trader Joe’s in Fresh Pond! Gosh, sir, that is one well-pressed Oxford shirt and Dockers! You truly do belong here! And your daughter, too! WHAT? That’s not your daughter? That’s your wife!? Well, color me embarrassed! I got thrown by the faux-suede jacket, short hemp skirt over black tights and mid-calf faux-suede boots. But now that I look closer, I can see that sees closer to seventy. I beg your pardon!

It’s not that I hate all of Cambridge, just a great number of the people there. This might sound odd, but the Trader Joe’s in Newton, MA feels much more egalitarian than Cambridge. It makes a certain kind of sense, I guess, since Cambridge is the liberal touchstone of the East Coast (as opposed to the most liberal place on the East Coast which would be Provincetown). Almost everything in Cambridge costs more than it’s worth. Especially these two.

Here’s the set up – I’m standing in line waiting to checkout. In front of me is a fresh face woman in her late twenties. In front of her – these two. I’m happily listening to the audio version of That Is All by John Hodgman. There is an irony in this which I’ll save for the end. I’m not really paying that much attention but it’s starting to feel as if this line, consisting of me, the woman in front of me and the Cantabrigian fucktards is moving very, very slowly. Given the appropriate amount of personal space we’ve given each other, I hadn’t really noticed that the Ms. Cantabrigian had left and come back with some new item. On her second (possibly third) trip, I did. But, happily ensconced in my book, I shrugged and continued listening.

On her third (possibly fourth) trip, I took out one of my earbuds to pay a little more attention.

And then she took off on a fourth (possibly fifth) trip. I spoke to the woman in front of me.

“Um…is she honestly…”

“Yes,” said the woman with more grace than I could have mustered, “she’s shopping.”

“What th-“, I sputtered, comic book style. “Man, I know I could move but if I moved I’m sure the line I moved to would have some problem, too.”

The woman nodded but made her decision to move to another line. We smiled and shook our heads at each other. I pushed me cart forward taking her place.

“Excuse me,” I said, politely addressing the couple in my best Eddie Haskell voice. Mr. Cantabrigian looked over, assenting to allow me to speak. “Are you guys…ya know… really famous or something?”

The two of them stared at me blankly, seemingly not understanding the question.

“I’m sorry,” said the man, “I’m not sure I understand the question.”

“I just want to know if you two are really famous. I mean, like…ya know…FAMOUS.” I waved my hands in a kind of TADA/Jazz Hands hybrid gesture to drive home my point. I’m not sure if it was their age or narcissism that prevented them from understanding either word or the pantomime. But they didn’t. So I continued.

“I just kind of figured that both of you must be really, really famous to think that you can shop AND checkout at the same time. Only the really famous or incredibly rude would inconvenience other people like you’re doing. I’ve been waiting probably about 5-10 mins while your wife runs back and forth. Which is fine because I’m enjoying my audio book. But I just wanted to know if you were famous or just rude.”

Oddly, they wouldn’t respond. They put their heads down, but only slightly as the cashier scanned and bagged. But Ms. Cantabrigian stayed put at least. I felt a little let down. I reached into my shopping cart and pulled out some scones.

“Hey,” I said brightly, “Did you get any of these? They’re my favorite! You should go get some. There’s still plenty of time! I can show you where they are!”

Their shoulders drooped a little.

“No, really,” I continued, “They’re amazing. You’d like them. Blueberry Scones. Yum!”

I continued to attempt to engage them and they continued to attempt to ignore me until their bags were in the cart.

“Bye! You guys are great! Thanks for holding everyone up! Hope it was worth it!”

As the cashier unloaded my stuff, she shook her head resignedly.

“That’s not even as bad as they get,” she sighed. “Thanks, though. It’s good to see someone call them on it.”  The cashier at the next register agreed.

And THAT is the issue. THIS is where we stand in America today. In a sane, classless society, as we’re told America is, the cashier should have the power to say (politely) after the third trip back, “I’m sorry. Why don’t you finish your shopping and get back in line?” At a bare minimum, they should be able to ring for a manager, whose job it is to make things run smoothly, to kindly instruct these people on the etiquette of living in a civilized society. Rule #1: Don’t be a dick to those around you.

Instead, had the cashier spoken up, she probably would have gotten reprimanded. Had the manager spoken up, Mr. and Ms. Cantabrigian would have put up a fuss and stormed out railing about their rights to be the biggest assholes on the face of the earth and not be called out on it.

After I got checked out, I saw that an old friend appeared in the next checkout lane. I waited for her to get checked out and told her the story. She shook her head in amazement.

“Is it me or rudeness really being bred into people?”

“I think it’s being bred,” she said seriously. “I see this kind of thing more and more. Especially on the roads.”

Someone recently yelled at me via Facebook for asking them to be polite. “POLITENESS IS A BOURGEOIS CONCEPT TO MAKE THE UNDERCLASSES SHUT UP.” I swear to god, that’s what she said. I responded that if politeness was a bourgeois concept then she would have no problem with me calling her a cunt. And I did so.

Surprisingly, given her Marxist definition and rejection of politeness, she got upset.

It’s odd how that works.

I’m well aware of how old I sound right now. Honestly, I do. And despite calling people cunts and annoying strangers in lines at Trader Joe’s, I consider myself to be a polite person. I do my best to be civil. I honestly believe that something like holding a door for someone (regardless of gender) makes the world a little better place. Or stepping out of a line because you’re actually not done shopping yet. Kindness is kindness. Sometimes it comes out in standing up for a cashier who’s getting jerked around by a wealthy, 0ver-privileged pair of narcissists.

Or maybe I’m just being an asshole.

Categories: Blatant Assholes Tags:

In Which The Gist Is More Important Than The Whole

November 8th, 2012 No comments

This may come off as bragging or it may come off as stupid, but, to the best of my knowledge,  I’ve never used Cliff Notes. I was drunk for most of my brief and abortive college career so it’s possible that that I took a Lit class without knowing it.  Perhaps it’s selective OCD, but if you’re going to read something, read it. While I was courting my bride, I remember feeling shocked and somewhat outraged to find that, as she sat reading Wittgenstein for her MDiv program, she was actually reading it.

“How many pages do you have left,” I asked.

“Like a hundred or so.”

“WHUH? I really don’t know how you do it. One hundred pages of that stuff? And you’re just ripping through it so quickly!”

“Oh,” she said, “you don’t have read every word. Just enough to get the gist of it.”

“B-b-but,” I stammered, “it’s a philosophical argument! The words are important!”

She patted me on the head like a cute but incurably stupid dog and continued reading.

YouTube, it needn’t be pointed out, isn’t literature. About 90% of it isn’t even art. One notable exception is “Chimpanzee Riding on a Sequeway.”

YouTube Preview Image

 But I digress.

Now that the election is over, we can all go back to our normal, non-batshit crazy selves, take our fingers off the triggers, flip the safety on and put down the guns.

JK! It’s gonna be even more fucked up than ever. Prime example: ShellyMicAB.

YouTube Preview Image

 I guess she chose her name because someone already claimed “CrazyDrunkenPsychoticMess”. I’ve listened to about three of the twenty-four mind numbing minutes of this and unless there’s some masterful stroke of rhetoric at the end, I’m not sure I need to listen to anymore. The shorter version goes like this

We lost th’ election! I’m drunk! I didn’t get my own waaaaaaaaay! Nobody watches my YouTube videoooooooooooooooooooooooooooos! If you had shared my YouTube videos Romney would be President. But, NOOOOOOO! you didn’t want to OFFEND anybody.”

I could probably spend a couple thousand words analyzing the nihilistic camera work but why bother?  [<—– Philosophy joke!]

The video itself doesn’t matter and is nothing that special. It’s typical whackjob ranting. It’s a somewhat subtle point, but there are two features that make this a perfect microcosm for the Wingnut-o-sphere.

The first one is obvious.

Comments are disabled for this video.

The second only pops up if, like me, you wanted to ask CrazyDrunkenPsychoticMess shellymicAB to have your rape baby and tried to send her a message to plead your case.

User shellymicAB has enabled contact lock. You will not be able to send messages to them unless they add you as a contact.

What does that tell you? That she literally lives in a bubble, firewalled from the outside world. And, honestly, I don’t have any problem with that except that she makes this statement repeatededly

…you didn’t want to OFFEND anybody

This kind of one-way communication nests almost exclusively in the Wingnut-o-sphere. “You will LISTEN to what I tell you and because it’s true, you are NOT allowed to point out my logical mistakes and/or outright lies.

Put another way, she doesn’t wish to be offended.

Maybe irony did die on 9/11.