Archive for May, 2010

Apology? (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 223-226)

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Then I’m very sorry I upset you.”

Eddie Cullen is making this statement to Bella because she’s angry with him for reading Mike’s mind. Which, as I said last week, doesn’t make a quark of sense because she knew that he was going to do this. Edward, has taken an annoying path here, a path that while it seems and has the technical words that an apology needs to have isn’t actually an apology.

This should be familiar to anyone that has ever watched the excruciating uncomfortable public apologies that people in the public sector think that they have to make when they are caught doing something they shouldn’t have. Whether it was Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, or Mark Sanford regarding their affairs to Tiger Woods…also with an affair*, or MTV and Janet Jackson’s nipple; anyway the list is long for the public apologies but they all have something in common: they aren’t actually apologies. Sure, the word “sorry” appears but if you read/listen very carefully the issue is not with “sorry” but with two words that appear around it, “if” and “then.”

This is obviously crafted in this manner designed to give the appearance of an apology without actually making the speaker responsible for it. Placing “if” and “then” into an apology changes it to a hypothetical syllogism which then removes all responsibility from the guilty party. Edward isn’t apologizing because he knows he did something wrong, he’s apologizing for her reaction. Janet Jackson, after the Super Bowl thing issued this as part of her statement, “I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention.”

I don’t think that 9/16ths of a second can offend anyone, it’s simply too fast to do the damage the FCC claimed it did, but reading the statement it’s clear that Jackson isn’t sorry she did it. She’s sorry for the reaction she didn’t anticipate.

There are things that are wrong in essence and things that are wrong in effect. Those things that are wrong in essence are wrong/immoral even if the person offends no one. Marital infidelity is usually portrayed as being one of those things, public nudity is not. Spitzer, Clinton, Woods, etc., all committed acts which the general population believes to be wrong no matter the circumstance which means that apologizing for it shouldn’t contain a phrase that negates the apology if no one is offended. Eddies isn’t apologizing for reading Mike’s mind he’s apologizing for Bella’s reaction, essentially making it so that she’s responsible, something that he should actually apologize for.

With the non-apology for something that wasn’t actually wrong to begin with has been offered the planning of the Seattle trip must go on. Bella has convinced Edward that she will drive, much to his disdain. They can’t leave his car in the drive way because “it doesn’t help with the Charlie situation if an unexplained Volvo is left in the driveway.”

Of course an unexplained Chevy would be just fine, but this begs the question of what exactly is the “Charlie situation?” It’s been established that Bella wants to hide her relationship from Charlie, we don’t know why she does this. This is the long running problem that The Slacktivist,** has witth the “Left Behind” book series: it’s breaking the fourth wall. We know that Edward is a dangerous sociopathic vampire and that Charlie should want to keep his daughter from him, but more important than what we know is what Charlie doesn’t know. Charlie knows none of this, his character doesn’t know that he’s in a vampire story so the only trepidation he should express is about letting his daughter go to Seattle with a boy. The book also wants you to think that Charlie would be against his daughter dating a Cullen, but that flies in the face of his already established admiration for Dr. Cullen. Simply put, the “Charlie situation” doesn’t exist.

If there was an actual situation, then Edward does have a plan, “I wasn’t intending to bring a car.”

Bella regards this with some shock, which is odd. Her awe is indicative that he’s going to use his abnormal vampire powers to get to her house, which is the dumbest assumption that she could make since it is the most complicated being in violation of Okham’s Razor. Doesn’t it make more sense to assume that he’s getting dropped off?

The topic of conversation then returns to Eddie’s need to apologize again, “I apologize for scaring you.” This time it’s a real apology and it refers to his reaction when Bella asked if she could see him hunt. The problem with this apology is that it makes no sense when you consider Eddie’s words at the time, “you need a healthy dose of fear,” and his repeated insistence that she should stay away from him. That means that this apology is only word play, it’s sincere in syntax but in meaning it is completely nullified by his actions, like if Tiger Woods was caught on his first affair and then continued.

The question that remains is whether this was a purposeful decision by the writer or not. If it was than Edward the idealized boyfriend for many fans of the series comes far short on the morality list. If it’s accidental it means that Meyer didn’t think that far through with her character. Honestly I don’t know which is worse.

*I should say here, that I think none of these people need to apologize. Their public office has nothing to do with their private life.

**I’ve been kind of waiting for an opportunity to link to this blog as it is the inspiration for this series. Check it out.


Bella and Mike (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 216-222)

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

In an effort to be fair, I do have to admit that the whole experience between Edward and Bella in Biology class is really well written. The awareness that she shows towards his presence is very realistic and her descriptions of the whole experience is quite explicit, “I was stunned by the unexpected electricity that flowed through me, amazed that it was possible to be more aware of him than I already was.”

What is shocking to me is that passages like this are so well accomplished and others so miserably done. Often times it really is difficult to reconcile this author with the author of the rest of the book. What it tells me is that Meyer is writing out of experience, her details are too vivid for this to be an alien experience. It’s either that or she’s the most inconsistent writer that I have ever read given that other passages are so bland and her characters so unlikable. When Eddie comments, “That was interesting” referring to the electricity that Bella already spoke of it makes sense. We, those of us having been in the situation of proximity to an intense crush, know exactly what he is talking about. For once the hypothetical vampire comes through just as we expect. He acknowledges the feeling, the experience, and then he drops it. It’s like the moment when your eyes lock with someone, you smile, they smile, but you never mention that one moment because it doesn’t need to be spoken of.

Those experiences are forces of nature, they aren’t comprised of anything tangible but they can knock you down. The movie over in biology, Bella stands up…carefully, “I stood with care, worried my balance might have been affected by the strange new intensity between us.” It’s too bad really, because everything goes downhill from there. Her balance has never been displayed as being that bad. She sucks at sports, therefore gym, but this care she’s exhibiting is false. She’s only telling us this because she needs to remind us how much she sucks at life. She’s an outcast, we get it Stephanie, stop beating us over the head with the reminders. At this point in the narrative, the imbalance gun can never be fired to our satisfaction, we are going to be disappointed but how much we are is up to her, and I fear for the future.

After Biology, it’s coincidentally on to Gym where they are playing Badminton. I don’t know much about the sport aside from the fact that it is a cross between tennis and volleyball, and the thing you hit is called a “shuttlecock;” I am confused as to why this is a gym sport (or an Olympic sport for that matter). Furthermore isn’t following up Volleyball with Badminton a bit overkill on the part of the “lobbing” sports. Why not follow these two up with tennis just to round it out?

Then Chivalrous Mike appears. Mike, we may remember, is now dating Jessica whilst carrying the torch for Bella who doesn’t like him in that way. We know why, it’s because Mike is too nice to Bella. Mike is the equivalent of John Cusack in Say Anything or any of the other movies from that period. Where Edward sort of pays attention to Bella and treats her with disdain. In this respect Bella seems pretty normal, the nice guy routine never works. In keeping with the stereotype of this alleged code of chivalry Mike volunteers to be on Bella’s team, “Don’t worry I’ll keep out of your way.’ He grinned. Sometimes it was so easy to like Mike.”

So easy to like Mike, but not easy enough. While Bella is the surrogate for the intended audience of the book, Edward isn’t the male substitute, Mike is. Which is why Meyer throws him a girlfriend, this way the teenage males reading a vampire novel aimed at teenage women won’t hate Bella for ditching Mike. Aside from being the pathetically nice guy Mike’s handicap is that he’s not Edward. He needs a little more of the bad guy in him, for sure, but that isn’t enough. The superficial Bella needs more than just a guy that won’t treat her right, she needs to be apart from everyone else. This was plainly obvious the first time she drooled with envy staring at the Cullens sitting by themselves while everyone noticed them but didn’t pay attention to them. Mike is pretty transparent, people know who he is, he throws the gatherings and arranges for the parties. You can pretty much count on the fact that even if Mike wasn’t told about Jessica* he was going to have a date. He isn’t too nice, he’s just a decent person. And being that, we really ought not to spend too much time wondering why Bella ditched him.

He volunteers to be on her team, as I said, because no one else will (we gather) and he’s her friend. The games begin, “I somehow managed to hit myself in the head with my racket and clip Mike’s shoulder on the same swing.” So she’s retarded now!?

Bella’s problems just rack up don’t they. When I first read this passage I did the “magic bullet” recreation scene from JFK in a futile attempt to figure out how she accomplished hitting herself in the head and someone else. The only thing that I could come up with is that she did it on purpose. In retrospect, I think there might be some veracity to this idea. She’s always claiming that she’s clumsy but we never see it. We only hear about it when she’s talking about how Gym class went, but we never actually live through her experience in Gym.

As soon as the class ends the tone of the narrative switches. It’s no longer recollections about gym class in the past tense** but is now in real time as she talks with Mike about Edward. Mike, being a concerned friend, worries about Bella and her new relationship. Bella responds quite reasonably…for her, “That’s none of your business Mike,’ I warned, internally cursing Jessica straight to the fury pits of Hades.

Setting aside the fact that Hades doesn’t have fury pits, she’s being a bitch here. First off, why is she even angry at Jessica? She told Jessica about the secret relationship, she knows that Jessica likes to talk, and she knows that Jessica is seeing Mike. What did she expect Jessica to do, clam up and not talk about it?

Secondly, of course her relationship is his business, he’s her friend-in fact Mike is the first person she met in Forks that wasn’t a creepy anime loving sweat hog named Eric. If he’s worried about her he should express it, that’s what friends do right? The fact that he liked her poisons his testimony but why doesn’t he approve of this relationship?

He looks at you…like you’re something to eat.’ Ok this is a lame attempt at humor. We know that he does this because we know something about him that Mike doesn’t, that’s the humor. A halfway decent writer would just let this joke out and then cease from acknowledging it ever again, perhaps out of embarrassment at something that seemed funny at 2am. What does Meyer do? Something no one telling a joke ever should, laugh at it herself, “I choked back the hysteria that threatened to explode, but a small giggle managed to get out despite my efforts.”

Mike is expressing concern for her, however steeped in jealousy that concern might by and she laughs in his face. Remember last post when I mentioned that she ought to go to the dance because she would have friends there? Well, she should have just lost one. Her reactions are full of pretension and arrogance, entirely appropriate for a woman that thinks she just married into the Medici. This is a telling aspect of her personality, showing something that I knew she had way back in the beginning: her sense of superiority. She laughs at Mike not because he’s wrong, or in this case more correct than he knows, but because he shouldn’t dare question her relationship with Edward. Someone beneath her is showing concern for her, the absurdity of the situation amuses her.

Bumping back into Edward after Gym class, Edward confesses that Mike is getting on his nerves. This makes sense because Edward and Mike are more like rivals than friends. Edward, not used to being around high school kids read Mike’s mind and new what was up. This is telling because I could have told you once the Mike character was established that he would have a problem with her dating Edward. Yet Eddue needed his magical vampire powers, what exactly has he been doing for the last hundred years? Bella gets upset, yelling at him, “You weren’t listening again?”

Of course he was, he’s an abusive obsessive boyfriend. He can’t listen to her thoughts but he can listen to everyone else’s. What I’m amazed about is her surprise, because she never asked him to not do it. In fact he specifically commented earlier in the chapter that he was going to listen, and Bella has been feeding Jessica information specifically because she knew he was going to listen. She’s such a hypocrite.

They get to the car slipping past a crowd of guys admiring Rosalie’s blending-in-mobile, a BMW M3 Convertible. Bella, revealing her vanity once again, notices that none of the guys around the car pay attention to her and her new secret boyfriend as they speed off together in another example of Bella’s ignorance of what the word “secret” means.

*The women are going to be the ones actually in charge of the social life at Forks HS, being that this book is written by a woman. If you think about it all of those John Hughes movies (with rare exception) the men controlled life at the school being a male director.

** Yeah, yeah, the whole book is a first person recollection, I get that. Most of the book can be considered ‘live’ she’s telling us what happened as it happened, but the actions scenes are done as a playback.


May 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Tomorrow my little family is going to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for a little vacation, and we are flying. Long time readers of this blog will know that hate flying. It’s not a fear of enclosed spaces, heights, or terrorism but a disdain for the entire process that goes into flying. Tomorrow will be especially difficult as I tug along a little creatuIre whose capacity for chaos can only be accurately described by a panel of experts testifying at a Senate hearing.

The whole ordeal of arriving at the airport several hours in advance is made doubly fun when you consider my track record since 9/11. I have made five separate round trip since the event and each time I have been pulled aside for random screening. I use the term “random” in the loosest possible sense of the word, since frequent repetition of any even will begin to stretch the plausibility of its application.

I just hope lugging around a whole bunch of little baby supplies doesn’t make me seem like more of a risk than normal. Although given the state of security in the last 9 years this will probably earn me a pass through the gate rather than what I am expecting.

The worst thing about all of the security at the airport is how it hampers those of use who aren’t going to cause a problem. Of course the standard objection is that you need to police everyone because you can’t predict problems with absolute clarity. True enough, but this isn’t security this is the illusion of security. I have to bring a picture I.D. to verify who I am, in theory this makes sense but you can’t tell me that someone committed to terrorist action couldn’t fake an I.D.? Or even worse, that same person seeking martyrdom probably doesn’t care if someone knows who is responsible?

One guy tries to light his shoe on fire and now I have to take my shoes off? Would his bomb have even done anything?

I hate the process, the eight dollar beer at the airport, and the whole safety routine. They should really save the “in case of water landing” speech for trips actually traveling across the water.

All I really hope for is that the ear pressure thing won’t bother little Gwen.

Categories: daily complaint


May 20, 2010 Leave a comment

There are many things in this world that I don’t understand. Mysteries of the universe and the untold depths of the sea hide things that boogie the mind, so as much as some people may claim I’m closed minded I contend quite the opposite. However, I’m going to make a stand right here and call this man’s claim bullshit.

No water or food for over 70 years? No.

Sure I could just sit back and agree with the medical doctors who state that without replenishing water in the body his blood would literally thicken and his heart would fail trying to pump something the consistency of gravy through it’s veins. I don’t however have to do that, because for some reason the enlightened Prahlad Jani still needs to gargle. For what possible reason does he need to gargle unless it be to take in liquid, no matter how minute that amount could be.

I also enjoy the fact that he is bathing too, it’s almost as if the observers could not conceive of a person urinating in a bath tub either. There’s a lot to work with here, such as the 14 day study. Why not make it a month? If he were to live a month that would be something IRA member Sean McKenna once lasted 53 days without food…of course he lapsed in and out of a coma during that time and also was able to ingest both water and salt but that seems to be the record.

Despite the fact that most people want to believe in the sincerity and innocence of the Eastern Religions there’s is no different than ours. They have as many shysters, con men, and frauds over there as we do over here. His claim of deriving his ability from a goddess at a young age is no different than Marjoe Gortner who was claimed to conduct miracles and inspiration from God at a young age (it turned out to be a fraud, by his own omission). Don’t let the exotic aspect of the Indian subcontinent fool you, this guy will be found out and exposed.

Concerns with Google

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve read the legal arguments from both sides of the fence, and the right to Privacy isn’t as clear cut as people think it to be. Sure it is supposed to guarantee that no one can run into your house and steal information about you from you, but isn’t that already covered by the Bill of Rights?

I was having this thought today as I pondered the allegations of the German government against Google for intercepting WiFi information packets as they patrolled through the country taking pictures for Google Earth. Google later admitted that it had intercepted the information and stored it, but remains adamant that it had not looked at the information nor did it intend to do so. This is going to be the first link in the chain, it has already been reported that Ireland and the UK have demanded the information be deleted as well. It’s not going to be long before people get suit-happy in those countries as well as this one.

What was Google doing this for? Their response, which can be taken as cynically as you want, was that it needed the information for triangulation in some of it’s geolocation services. Alright, I guess I can see that except that it seems to wholly unnecessary a move as Google already possesses satellite imagery of the planet as well as access to the global positioning network. Why would you need a rudimentary form of triangulation based on mathematical formulas when an already established and reliable network has already been established since 1995?

This is probably the first real blow to the trustworthiness of the corporation. Microsoft had the anti-trust suits in the late 90s, Apple (don’t even get me started on why I hate Apple) maintains a proprietary monopoly on its products and attempts to shoehorn it’s software into everything,* but Google has never had such issues until now. The question is whether this really can be considered an invasion of privacy.

In their defense, Google didn’t go looking for the information. It’s not as if it popped firewalls and cracked security passwords. The only information that they did collect was over unsecured wifi transmissions. The same kind that allowed me to access the internet for a week in my apartment in Buffalo, the same kind that people use at Panera, Subway, and Barnes and Noble everyday. That information is just floating out there, unsecured networks are just that and shouldn’t be relied upon for security. Aren’t the people bitching just like the people who get fired for posting how much they hate their job on facebook and then being surprised about it?

On the other hand, Google was storing the data. If, as they are claiming, they did not intend to use it then the question remains, why did they store it? What conceivable purpose is there to store something that no one was going to use? Google’s revenue is entirely generated by ads, which it personalizes based on the search preferences of the end user. By having this latest information it would seem that the end motive was money.

I’m not certain how this should end. The governments in question are asking for the hard drives with the information on it in order to see what was collected. They are doing this in order to, ironically, protect the privacy of their citizens. Google is refusing saying that they will destroy the hard drives and erase the data, which seems to be a fair deal in the long run since you can’t really protect privacy by sharing information that is claimed to be private.

At the end of the day, it’s hard for me to take a side. On the one hand, if you left 20 bucks on the ground and someone picked it up then it’s kind of your fault and you don’t really have any ground to complain about losing the money. On the other hand, Google watched you drop that money and did nothing to tell you that you lost it. I just don’t know enough about legal privacy in the computer age to make an accurate judgment.

*For instance, on my Dell Laptop once a day I get an update asking me to install iTunes and Safari, two programs I have never used or have any interest in getting.

Instilling Fear (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 211-216)

May 17, 2010 Leave a comment

One of the easier things about writing this blog series is that the relationship between the two protagonists is a bad one. It’s not that the writing is bad, but that the characters themselves are. Especially Edward who after a century ought to know what he is doing, and the scary thing about him is that he probably does. I would contend that Edward was a predator before he was a vampire, maybe just a victim of his time who can’t help but treat women as beneath him. Or maybe it’s not women (since we have yet to see how he interacts with his sisters) but it’s a class thing. In either case this whole relationship is based on control.

Not say that Bella is any better. Far from being the strong intellectual type that she wishes us to think her as, she plays right into it hoping that she won’t do anything to anger him, and only rebuking him for minor issues, “You know I haven’t forgiven you for the Tyler thing yet.”

Still at lunch she abruptly changes the subject from the warnings that she is receiving from Edward. What I don’t understand is how she can blame Edward for Tyler assuming that the two are going to the prom. Tyler’s motivation is obvious, his actions are commendable in that light if not a little misplaced. Tyler, so far, is one of the most likable characters in the book because he still feels guilt over almost killing Bella. Bella is embarrassed by the guilt and somehow thinks that it is Eddie’s fault…which it sort of is since had he not saved Bella’s life she would not have to deal with it. Tyler doesn’t like Bella, at least not in that way, he just wants to atone for his actions. It isn’t Edward’s fault that he is a decent person and that isn’t something we can really say deserves forgiveness.

With the Girl’s Choice dance looming on the weekend, we still have Bella’s commitment to going to Seattle that day. I still question her motivation on this, she has nothing to lose by going. Everyone knows that she is clumsy but now that she has friends the only thing that she is going to miss is the first hand accounts of everything that her friends are going to be talking about on Monday. Not going does give her two things that she really wants. The first is time with Edward, which is only a recent development. The second is that the “lonely loner” in her is going to get the type of attention that she would only get by not going. She gets to seem doubly mysterious now that everyone is currently seeing the two eat together, by themselves, at lunch.

Several times she notices that everyone is staring at them. Edward doesn’t seem to care, but his failing to pick up on this not-so-good aspect of her personality reinforces my contention that he’s an idiot. He still thinks she’s going to Seattle because of her embarrassment, “Are you referring to the fact that you can’t walk across a flat, stable surface without finding something to trip over?”

We know that he’s exaggerating because she walked to his car, and then from class to class without doing anything close to that but she keeps the lie up. Telling him that he’s never seen her in gym. The two situations are completely different and the comparison fails. This is the fault of the writer who has thus far shown that she is quite capable of doing banter between the two. The problem is that she’s written Bella into another corner, and Meyer isn’t the best at getting out of them. Everyone but Edward knows she is lying, so why not just come out with it?

The only thing that Bella does accomplish is that she strikes a bargain with Edward that she will drive. Edward frowns because this will be missed opportunity to keep the fear going in her. She wants to drive for two reasons, “leaving my truck at home would just bring up the subject (with her father) unnecessarily. And also, because your driving frightens me.

She wants to keep the new boyfriend secret from her father, I can buy that. If that’s the case though, why did she leave her truck at home? I mentioned this two weeks ago, Forks is a small town and her father could very easily just swing home from work for lunch. If she was that concerned about him finding out* she would do better to hide it.

Edward makes a suggestion that they don’t go to Seattle, since Bella has no real reason to go there in the first place. Indeed, the only reason that she is claiming to go is that it is far enough away that people won’t expect her to make a trip and still go to the dance. It’s a bit observant but not for the right reason, “The weather will be nice, so I’ll be staying out of the public eye…and you can stay with me, if you’d like to,’ Again, he was leaving the choice up to me.”

Is really leaving the choice up to Bella? The whole idea of ditching the dance was hers in the first place. I don’t know if this was done to trick the reader or if Bella is just that desperate for his affection because she completely buys it. Not only that, but she also seems grateful for him to allow her to make the choice that she set up to begin with. This would be like cooking a burger for someone else and that person telling you that you could have one as well.

If they are still going to Seattle Edward gets worried because of the location, “I shudder to think of the trouble that you could find in a city that size.” He’s got a noticeable pattern, it’s normal banter, typical boy-girl stuff and then he inserts the danger back into the conversation. He needs to remind her that she isn’t safe, and only he can protect her–more evidence of his desire to subjugate Bella so that she will come to completely depend on him. Bella objects, and realistically as well, by reminding Edward that Phoenix was three times the population of Seattle and also larger in size as well.**

It’s a good objection. We don’t know anything about Bella’s life in Arizona, but we do know is that she got out unscathed. Edward reminding her that she’s a danger magnet isn’t borne out by the facts, it only serves his interests. Unflustered by the audacity of her retort he comes back with, “your number wasn’t up in Phoenix.

This is just creepy. The only way he could know that is if he is going to be dialing her number. I get that he likes to be the bad boy but comments like this put him passed that level and into the sociopath department. The chapter then gets worse as Edward explains that Bella ought to tell Charlie who he’s going with, why? “To give me some small incentive to bring you back.”

Ok, that’s not good. If no one knows where she’s going and with who Edward has no reason to return her? I thought he was the good kind of vampire. Even if he’s joking I fail to understand the humor, and the writing doesn’t bear this out either as Bella seems to be genuinely shocked by his comment. She changes the subject to his eating habit, probably out of fear for the two comments that imply he’s going to murder her.

This gets to a part of the lore that Meyer is establishing. The vampires in her world can feed off of animals. Edward prefers to eat mountain lion, while his brother Emmett prefers Grizzly Bear. See, the type of personality that they have apparently dictates what their favorite food will be. Mountain Lions feed off of deer, elk, and moose. Unlike their African relatives, the Puma (same animal many different names) attacks by ambush, leaping from trees on unsuspecting defenseless prey. The Grizzly attacks up front, but the Cougar slips in quietly waiting for the easy meal. Yeah I agree, the choice of food does match the personality of the vampire. It means that Edward is a d-bag.

Surprisingly Edward tops his previous statements to scare Bella. She reminds him that hunting is seasonal and that now isn’t the season. Edward comes back with an odd reading of the hunting laws saying that the laws only limit hunting with weapons. Somehow I doubt this is the case but she gets scared again but her curiosity gets her and she asks if she could witness them hunting. Shocked and angry he replies no. She can never come, not because it is frightening, in fact, “if that were it, I would take you out tonight,” he said his voice cutting. “You need a healthy dose of fear. Nothing could be more beneficial for you.”

The only reason she needs to be afraid is so she’ll need him more. It’s this type of threat that makes me want to weep when I see girls wearing “Team Edward” shirts at the mall.

*Which aside from normal teenage girl reasons, doesn’t make sense. Her father, Charlie, has thus far only mentioned the Cullen family in a positive light. Even heaping admiration on Dr. Cullen for taking a job in such a small town when his talents could make him more money elsewhere. One might assume that a parent wouldn’t have a problem with their daughter dating the son of a doctor.

**Two things come up here which I am resisting. The first is to nitpick the shit out of her statement by looking up the size and population of the two cities but that would be stupid because Bella wouldn’t know it exactly. The second is to make an immigration joke (which I admittedly don’t have one handy) but I am going to resist the impulse and keep this blog away from partisan politics.

Phrases I would Like to See Removed from the English (re: All) Languages

May 15, 2010 Leave a comment

“The Perfect Storm:” The popularity of this one comes from the movie of the same name where Shooter McGavin says “it would be the perfect storm…” the character in the movie was using the phrase to describe the apocalyptic combination of two storms that develop into one massive storm. Saying that the phenomenon was “the perfect storm” was saying that the only way that the final storm could have happened was the specific conditions required to combine the tropical storm with the Hurricane. Not to downplay nature’s destructiveness but the best storm nature could produce only killed 12 people, and it was a miserly category 1. 

Now every politician and jerk uses it to describe something that is neither perfect nor a storm. Mostly it’s used by television news anchors trying to pretend that two things happening at the same time is far worse than the reality of the situation. So President Obama is weathering a perfect storm of low employment and a struggling economy, or President Bush was dealing with a perfect storm of criticism from the left and from France. I think people like using the phrase because it evokes an image of a boat traveling up a wave larger than a building, but that kind of hyperbole just inoculates itself when overused. 

Have A Good One:” I love this for the simple fact that it’s just lazy. The person saying it simply couldn’t be bothered to include the specific time of day for the person receiving it. “Good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good evening” are said with such frequency that I doubt many of us actually hear them anymore but at least the sentiment is specific enough where some thought has gone into the greeting. It has the capacity to make us feel a little welcome by the person greeting us, whereas “have a good one” is so utterly devoid that it serves as a catch-all phrase used for coming and going.

Bless You:” I know what you’re thinking, the atheist has a complaint about people injecting god into conversations, but that’s not the problem. The problem for this atheist is, ironically, that “god” is missing from the phrase. I’m not uppity enough to be offended when someone says “God bless you” to me when I sneeze, even when that person knows that I do not share their belief. It’s a phrase that is almost a reflex, my problem is that when people shorten it they leave out the thing doing the blessing. If you say “bless you” it’s an imperative sentence with no subject. It is, however, grammatically correct because in imperative sentences the subject is implied, that subject being “I.” So “bless you” is literally short for “I bless you,” which is not what anyone means when they say it after a sneeze.

Originally, the story is, people believed that a sneeze was so forceful that it threw the soul out of the body leaving it open to Satan attack (like in a weird video game that I would totally play), having God bless the person sneezing was a way to throw an aegis around the soul until it came back in the body shortly after. This does beg the question of why God needs his attention drawn to the circumstance while Satan does not. Anyway, leaving the subject out of the command changes who is doing what, forever altering it in blasphemous ways.

Plus, what is leaving the first part out of the sentence saving you? One, two nanoseconds?

It’s Just like the Frog and the Boiling Water:” Even Stephen Colbert has retired this one from his show. The frog and the boiling water is a fable/parable about how people don’t notice gradual changes until it is too late. A frog you see, can be put in cold water and if the water is heated gradually enough the frog will not notice the change until the heat is too great and it will die. It’s a bit overused and this is only one reason that I dislike it.

Another reason is that I first heard this in a terrible movie called Dante’s Peak, where it was used by James Bond to tell Sarah Connor that the Volcano was going to erupt. His proof was that all of the tell-tale signs were there but since they were happening around them nobody really noticed. Which is of course entirely bullshit, since the signs of volcanic eruption are obvious to people with that sort of degree and wouldn’t be ignored because they happened gradually.

The third reason is that it is entirely not true. A frog will indeed reach a point where the water is getting too hot. It’s called “critical thermal maxima” the point where even a cold blooded creature knows that this shit is about to get real. We should change the phrase to, “It’s like that story of the fish and boiling water,” because the fish will never leave the pot. Because the fish is too stupid to notice.

Categories: daily complaint