If I Were a Benign Dictator with Time on My Hands…

 

…I’d outlaw a few things:

–Those head-rattling 150-decibel buzzers that signal when your dryer load is finished. I’d specify in my law that if the signal is turned on, it will notify you with a pleasant “ding” sound. Enough to get your attention when you’re in the next room, but not so loud that it sends you springing from your chair in the middle of a good nap.

–Crass sexual humor and cheap fat jokes that ruin otherwise clever, entertaining shows like Big Bang Theory.

–Tailgating when the driver in front of you is already doing the speed limit. I’d specify that a hefty fine will be imposed on the tailgater and that the money must be paid out to the person wronged for “emotional pain and suffering.”

–Bumper stickers with some enticingly controversial message that are mostly indecipherable except at close range. This encourages tailgaters.

–Pedestrians crossing busy streets by simply walking out into them wherever and whenever they please, and like the Red Sea, the traffic parts on each side to make way.

–Ball caps worn indoors, including at mealtimes and in restaurants. These are ubiquitous in a northwestern state that shall not be named.

–Smug political memes on social media that make an open-and-shut case for some viewpoint, as long as no knowledgeable person comments.

–Rampant overuse of the word “beautiful” as a comment on social media in response to random selfie posts. If everyone is beautiful, no one is. There are plenty of other compliments that could be made. “You are pretty good at figuring out filters,” for instance. I’d make exceptions for loving friends who are really feeling it.

–Random selfie posts seemingly designed to elicit comments of “Beautiful!” “So gorgeous!” “You go, girl!” These photogenic folks are sometimes engaged in a mundane activity–cooking, for instance–and just happen to look perfect, with a little extra skin showing, and they suddenly decided to snap a picture and upload it for their 500-plus friends. This tendency is an energy drain on many of us, as we try to puzzle out questions like: “She makes dinner in that outfit?” or “Why does she have an ‘lol’ after her caption ‘my messy bun?'”

–Advertisements and political campaigns that claim you, or a particular party, “deserves” something. In most cases, the word “deserve” could be replaced with “need” with no harm done to the message. For instance: “Every child needs loving parents.” “Stray dogs need a forever home.” “You need the best deal you can get on insurance.”

–Calling dogs’ owners “Mom and Dad” and the kids their “brothers and sisters.” I will forbid the use of these misnomers, especially in sentimental Facebook videos. Furthermore, we shall no longer say that adopted dogs have found their “forever home,” because it dilutes that phrase as it pertains to adoption of human beings.

–Facebook video captions that promise that the linked video will give you “the feels.”

–Increasingly vulgar topics and images in products for young people: poop emojis, stuffed poop toys, kids’ books about farting and underwear, this children’s song with butt-waggling animation.

–Excruciatingly ugly animation in popular kids’ shows. The trend of drawing unattractive characters started around the ’90s, but these cartoons still seem to draw a big audience.

–Odd words or phrases that are becoming popular: standing on line at the store, never step foot there again, orientatedfor all intensive purposes, wreck havoc. 

–Loud music playing in coffee shops and restaurants so that it’s hard to enjoy the purpose of the establishment: talking, writing, or reading in peace.

–Stores piping in music from some obscure station featuring cheap songs with vacuous lyrics and second-rate covers of mediocre hit singles. These numbers get inside one’s head, distracting the shopper from reading the nutrition information on the loaf of bread. “Surely there could not be a song more asinine than this,” one thinks. But incredibly, the next song is always worse. And sometimes, the singer is slightly off-key.

–TVs on everywhere–restaurants, waiting rooms, kids’ play areas. Establishments shall not be obligated to always have a TV playing.

–Small children getting unfettered access to iPads and other sophisticated devices.

–Political figures and spokesmen on the radio pronouncing ‘s’ as ‘sh,’ as in “infrashtructure.”

–Grossly misleading uses of the word “ban” by members of either political party. This word shall be used only in cases where the activity or item was actually banned.

–Articles and news reports claiming that some commonly consumed item may be really bad for you. Most especially when the item was touted as having healthful benefits not many moons ago.

–The extra sugar that seems to be going into popular confections these days, causing a sickly sweetness to dominate other flavors.  Peanut butter cups shall be restored to their former savory blend of flavors that includes cocoa, salt, and earthy nuttiness.

–Proposing and passing laws as an instinctive response to things we don’t like.

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  1. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    sawatdeeka:

    –Rampant overuse of the word “beautiful” as a comment on social media in response to random selfie posts. If everyone is beautiful, no one is. There are plenty of other compliments that could be made. “You are pretty good at figuring out filters,” for instance. I’d make exceptions for loving friends who are really feeling it.

    –Random selfie posts seemingly designed to elicit comments of “Beautiful!” “So gorgeous!” “You go, girl!” These photogenic folks are sometimes engaged in a mundane activity–cooking, for instance–and just happen to look perfect, with a little extra skin showing, and they suddenly decided to snap a picture and upload it for their 500+ friends. This tendency is an energy drain on many of us, as we try to puzzle out questions like: “She makes dinner in that outfit?” or “Why does she have an ‘lol’ after her caption ‘my messy bun’?”

    Might I request an amendment which amplifies the punishment when the guilty party adds inspirational quotes by Buddha (or whomever).

    And do you prefer Queen or Empress?

    • #1
  2. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka:

    –Rampant overuse of the word “beautiful” as a comment on social media in response to random selfie posts. If everyone is beautiful, no one is. There are plenty of other compliments that could be made. “You are pretty good at figuring out filters,” for instance. I’d make exceptions for loving friends who are really feeling it.

    –Random selfie posts seemingly designed to elicit comments of “Beautiful!” “So gorgeous!” “You go, girl!” These photogenic folks are sometimes engaged in a mundane activity–cooking, for instance–and just happen to look perfect, with a little extra skin showing, and they suddenly decided to snap a picture and upload it for their 500+ friends. This tendency is an energy drain on many of us, as we try to puzzle out questions like: “She makes dinner in that outfit?” or “Why does she have an ‘lol’ after her caption ‘my messy bun’?”

    Might I request an amendment which amplifies the punishment when the guilty party adds inspirational quotes by Buddha (or whomever).

    And do you prefer Queen or Empress?

    Definitely Empress. It sounds more powerful, like I could get away with more impulsive acts.  

    The punishment should include having to read a work by the figure quoted. 

    • #2
  3. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka:

    –Rampant overuse of the word “beautiful” as a comment on social media in response to random selfie posts. If everyone is beautiful, no one is. There are plenty of other compliments that could be made. “You are pretty good at figuring out filters,” for instance. I’d make exceptions for loving friends who are really feeling it.

    –Random selfie posts seemingly designed to elicit comments of “Beautiful!” “So gorgeous!” “You go, girl!” These photogenic folks are sometimes engaged in a mundane activity–cooking, for instance–and just happen to look perfect, with a little extra skin showing, and they suddenly decided to snap a picture and upload it for their 500+ friends. This tendency is an energy drain on many of us, as we try to puzzle out questions like: “She makes dinner in that outfit?” or “Why does she have an ‘lol’ after her caption ‘my messy bun’?”

    Might I request an amendment which amplifies the punishment when the guilty party adds inspirational quotes by Buddha (or whomever).

    And do you prefer Queen or Empress?

    Definitely Empress. It sounds more powerful, like I could get away with more impulsive acts.

    The punishment should include having to read a work by the figure quoted.

    Brilliant! 

    • #3
  4. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    sawatdeeka: –Those head-rattling 150-decibel buzzers that signal when your dryer load is finished. I’d specify in my law that if the signal is turned on, it will notify you with a pleasant “ding” sound. Enough to get your attention when you’re in the next room, but not so loud that it sends you springing from your chair in the middle of a good nap. 

    My washer and dryer play a little tune.

    • #4
  5. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    EB (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: –Those head-rattling 150-decibel buzzers that signal when your dryer load is finished. I’d specify in my law that if the signal is turned on, it will notify you with a pleasant “ding” sound. Enough to get your attention when you’re in the next room, but not so loud that it sends you springing from your chair in the middle of a good nap.

    My washer and dryer play a little tune.

    Ah, those sleek, new-fangled ones! 

    • #5
  6. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Sawatdeeka, if you were a benign dictator, I’d vote for you.

    And I’d see that everyone else did, too.

    • #6
  7. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    But I have one of those dryers that makes a pleasant chiming sound when the laundry is done, and I find it’s smarmy elitist passive-aggression insufferable.

    • #7
  8. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Yes, your Benignity sounds pretty good.

    • #8
  9. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Yes, your Benignity sounds pretty good.

    That’s my god daughter’s name.  Bennie, for short.

    We tried Gnity, but that was too hard on the throat.

    • #9
  10. The Cynthonian Member
    The Cynthonian
    @TheCynthonian

    My dryer buzzes annoyingly, but it has a volume control!  I keep it set to low.

    May I add overuse of the word “amazing” to your list?   E.g., a nice restaurant meal is probably not truly amazing. Perhaps “enjoyable” or “delightful” would be more appropriate.  If everything is amazing, then the user is easily amazed.  

    • #10
  11. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    The Cynthonian (View Comment):

    My dryer buzzes annoyingly, but it has a volume control! I keep it set to low.

    May I add overuse of the word “amazing” to your list? E.g., a nice restaurant meal is probably not truly amazing. Perhaps “enjoyable” or “delightful” would be more appropriate. If everything is amazing, then the user is easily amazed.

    Stunning. And stunned. I picture the bodies of comatose persons lying all around.

    • #11
  12. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The Cynthonian (View Comment):

    My dryer buzzes annoyingly, but it has a volume control! I keep it set to low.

    Mine sings as well, but the microwave dings TEN TIMES when the toaster function is finished. I GET IT, I GET IT

    May I add overuse of the word “amazing” to your list? E.g., a nice restaurant meal is probably not truly amazing. Perhaps “enjoyable” or “delightful” would be more appropriate. If everything is amazing, then the user is easily amazed.

    I was talking to a customer service person who responded “awesome” to everything I said. My zip code, apparently, was awesome.

    From the OP:

    Excruciatingly ugly animation in popular kids’ shows. The trend of drawing unattractive characters started around the 90’s, but these cartoons still seem to draw a big audience. 

    Depends, no? The CalArts style did infect animation beyond repair, but CGI shows are better – and I’ll take most modern shows over the cheap dreck of the Hanna-Barbera era.–Stores piping in music from some obscure station featuring cheap songs with vacuous lyrics and second-rate covers of mediocre hit singles.

    –Stores piping in music from some obscure station featuring cheap songs with vacuous lyrics and second-rate covers of mediocre hit singles.

    Where I shop, they play a lot of 80s. Back in my youth I would have thought “ah, we WON!” Now I think “ah, we’re OLD”

    • #12
  13. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Mine sings as well, but the microwave dings TEN TIMES when the toaster function is finished. I GET IT, I GET IT

    Mine only beeps four times  But loudly, and even if you only put something in for a minute or two it keeps beeping every three minute for a half an hour (until I’m ready to eat).

    • #13
  14. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    EB (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: –Those head-rattling 150-decibel buzzers that signal when your dryer load is finished. I’d specify in my law that if the signal is turned on, it will notify you with a pleasant “ding” sound. Enough to get your attention when you’re in the next room, but not so loud that it sends you springing from your chair in the middle of a good nap.

    My washer and dryer play a little tune.

    Mine make noises until you give them attention. It’s like having a bunch of annoying toddlers in the house 

    • #14
  15. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    But I have one of those dryers that makes a pleasant chiming sound when the laundry is done, and I find it’s smarmy elitist passive-aggression insufferable.

    I am constantly asking : what do you want? A round of friggen applause for doing what I literally paid a fortune for you to do?

    My washer, dryer, and dishwasher all demand praise. If the fridge starts giving feedback I’m out of here

    • #15
  16. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    With the exception of the indoor ball cap injunction I’m with you, especially about the sexual vulgarity ruining otherwise good things. So many times I’ve wanted to show my wife something from The Big Bang Theory but the episode inevitably has something crass. 

    Could I petition Your Highness to consider banning the posting of images of ones meal? 

    • #16
  17. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    With the exception of the indoor ball cap injunction I’m with you, especially about the sexual vulgarity ruining otherwise good things. So many times I’ve wanted to show my wife something from The Big Bang Theory but the episode inevitably has something crass.

    Could I petition Your Highness to consider banning the posting of images of ones meal?

    It’ okay if it’s homemade, though, right?

    • #17
  18. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    With the exception of the indoor ball cap injunction I’m with you, especially about the sexual vulgarity ruining otherwise good things. So many times I’ve wanted to show my wife something from The Big Bang Theory but the episode inevitably has something crass.

    Could I petition Your Highness to consider banning the posting of images of ones meal?

    It’ okay if it’s homemade, though, right?

    Isn’t that kinda worse? Unless, I guess, if you’re inviting people over to share. 

    • #18
  19. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    With the exception of the indoor ball cap injunction I’m with you, especially about the sexual vulgarity ruining otherwise good things. So many times I’ve wanted to show my wife something from The Big Bang Theory but the episode inevitably has something crass.

    Could I petition Your Highness to consider banning the posting of images of ones meal?

    It’ okay if it’s homemade, though, right?

    Isn’t that kinda worse? Unless, I guess, if you’re inviting people over to share.

    I could photograph some ugly food, like burnt toast.  A single-slice ham sandwich on white bread with no cheese wrapped in wrinkled Saran wrap.  I make a great corn on the cob, with just the cob left, too.

    • #19
  20. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    With the exception of the indoor ball cap injunction I’m with you, especially about the sexual vulgarity ruining otherwise good things. So many times I’ve wanted to show my wife something from The Big Bang Theory but the episode inevitably has something crass.

    Could I petition Your Highness to consider banning the posting of images of ones meal?

    It’ okay if it’s homemade, though, right?

    Isn’t that kinda worse? Unless, I guess, if you’re inviting people over to share.

    I could photograph some ugly food, like burnt toast. A single-slice ham sandwich on white bread with no cheese wrapped in wrinkled Saran wrap. I make a great corn on the cob, with just the cob left, too.

    I think you’re on to something there. 

    • #20
  21. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Flicker (View Comment):
    I could photograph some ugly food, like burnt toast.  A single-slice ham sandwich on white bread with no cheese wrapped in wrinkled Saran wrap.  I make a great corn on the cob, with just the cob left, too.

    Hasn’t someone already done the ugly food thing?

    Ahem, @jameslileks

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    sawatdeeka: –Crass sexual humor and cheap fat jokes

    Darn, there goes my répertoire . . .

    • #22
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    sawatdeeka: Furthermore, we shall no longer say that adopted dogs have found their “forever home,” because it dilutes that phrase as it pertains to adoption of human beings.  

    The term “forever home” is more apt for pets than people – presumably the adopted kid is going to grow up and move away at some point.  The dog is probably going to stay until it dies.

    • #23
  24. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    Could I petition Your Highness to consider banning the posting of images of ones meal? 

    I remember a how-to book that came out in the early days of blogging called No One Cares What You Had For Lunch: 100 Ideas For Your Blog. I always thought that was a hilarious and apt title.

    • #24
  25. PedroIg Member
    PedroIg
    @PedroIg

    Please add loud motorcycle noises to your list!

    • #25
  26. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    I was talking to a customer service person who responded “awesome” to everything I said. My zip code, apparently, was awesome.

    Apparently all of my interactions with service persons and wait staff are “perfect!”.  Makes me feel really good.

    • #26
  27. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    sawatdeeka: –TVs on everywhere–restaurants, waiting rooms, kids’ play areas. Establishments shall not be obligated to always have a TV playing.

    Good grief! I second this one. Last week I was subjected to I Dream of Jeanie for twenty minutes while waiting in my doc’s office. I guess it was preferable to CNN.

    • #27
  28. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    EB (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: –Those head-rattling 150-decibel buzzers that signal when your dryer load is finished. I’d specify in my law that if the signal is turned on, it will notify you with a pleasant “ding” sound. Enough to get your attention when you’re in the next room, but not so loud that it sends you springing from your chair in the middle of a good nap.

    My washer and dryer play a little tune.

    Ah, those sleek, new-fangled ones!

    Mine (dryer only) is fairly innocuous also.  Something like “Doodle doo.  Doodle dee-do0-doo.”  It’s not too bad.  The washer doesn’t say anything.  Which is probably why I’ve opened it, on occasion, to find reeking nasty stuff in there…

    sawatdeeka: …I’d outlaw a few things:

    sawatdeeka: –Increasingly vulgar topics and images in products for young people: poop emojis, stuffed poop toys, kids’ books about farting and underwear, this children’s song with butt-waggling animation.

    Yeah, although I think that the recently revived Prince Philip comment on his only daughter’s horse-loving addiction that “if it doesn’t fart or eat hay she isn’t interested,” is pretty funny.  (Note to the late HRH PP: Embrace the power of “or.”)

     

    • #28
  29. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    I was talking to a customer service person who responded “awesome” to everything I said. My zip code, apparently, was awesome.

    Apparently all of my interactions with service persons and wait staff are “perfect!”. Makes me feel really good.

    Perfection is pretty well up there near the top of the very good-great-awsome scale.

    • #29
  30. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Our Dear Empress,

    while Yer at it, would You please ban “no problem” as a reply to “Thank You,” and demand “Yer welcome” instead? 

    • #30