This site has changed a great deal since I started it about six years ago. As I’ve acknowledged several times this past year alone, I was a much different, much angrier young man with a myriad of amusing, almost classical adolescent grievances, all of which culminated in more vitriolic rants than I knew what to do with. Most of those rants have been removed from Express Elevator to Hell’s original format, while others have been streamlined with the benefit of hindsight and a dry sense of humor. Enjoy them at your leisure if you wish, but as a nod to those angst-ridden yet tongue-in-cheek rants, I thought I’d revisit a brief list of popular culture phenomena that still warrant a snark or a sneer from yours truly.
I’ve grown into a healthier individual than I was in 2013, but as the old adage goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I argue the latter also applies to my situation and the environments around me, but in a calming, comfortable sort of way. I hardly listen to grunge, Nas, or Nine Inch Nails any more, but whenever those artists play amidst the background music shuffle, I can’t help but grin. You can lose a great deal of your anger and pain without losing your “edge.”
Without further ado, then, here is a short yet thoughtfully constructed list of things most people — including you — probably like, if not love. I, on the other hand, could do without them most days of the year; if you believe my reasoning unfair, then feel free to snark back or fuck off to another blog.
- Japanese Animation & Comics, i.e. Anime, Manga, et al. = I have never understood the American (Western?) fascination with most things Japanese pop culture, aside from the traditional, predictable, cyclical pattern of various nerd subcultures embracing contrarian backlash to mainstream film, music, literature, athletics, etc. To be clear, I have a strong aversion to most any Anime television show, manga comic, or Japanese animation-inspired project (yes, including Avatar: The Last Airbender [2005-2008]) in general. This is a rule for me, not an exception.
- Why, you ask? Aside from the general art style (those weird, tiny, triangular noses, gigantic eyes, birds-of-paradise hairstyles, over-exaggerated composite shots, etc.), I find the stories ridiculous, the characters simplistic and over-the-top, the voice-acting comical, and fans themselves, irritating. I’ve avoided this subculture like the plague ever since Pokemon and various Dragon Ball series became popular in the 1990s, and no Studio Ghibli film is going to convince me otherwise.
- Your Dog = To clarify, I find dogs fascinating and have fond memories interacting with man’s best friend as a child. Most people, however, seem to assume their specific canine companion is equal to your best friend, no matter the circumstances.
- Aside from most dog-owners never bothering to train pack animals that were specifically bred to follow human commands and socialization, people flaunt their “dog-Mom” status like most soccer moms do their human children. At least with parents gushing about their offspring, I can somewhat understand their incessant rambling (kids are actual humans, and these particular humans contain their parents’ actual DNA… ), but people ranting and raving and shoving their dog in your face makes no sense to me. I understand your attachment to your animals, but in all my years’ of pet ownership, never did I assume other people would tolerate my pet’s nonsense (re: bad behavior), let alone embrace it.
- In other words, just because I like dogs, doesn’t mean I like — or even want to be around — your dog. I don’t want your 40 kilogram animal jumping on me or shoving its face in my crotch, nor do I want your shrunken, ratlike non-dog YipYipYipYipYipYipYipYipYipYipYip-ing! at me every time I walk by within a half-mile radius. Keep your animals at home or trained and on a leash.
Trap Music = Artists can write amazing, clever riffs with subdivided electronic hi-hats and heavy bass in half-time, but the sheer ubiquity of this Southern hip hop style irritates me to no end. The subgenre’s rapid-fire percussion over a slow, almost lethargic tempo is “groovy” enough to dance to if you’re plastered, not to mention easy to force awkward slant rhymes over, so its transition into the current dominant form of hip-hop music is understandable. That being said, the lazy, robotic forms of this beat have become a crutch to mask everything from bad rhymes (e.g. Nicki Minaj) to dull R&B mumbling (e.g Rihanna) to haphazard combinations of both (e.g. Drake). It’s all so, so boring.
- Humble-Bragging about Work Ethic = Google defines the “humblebrag” as, An ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud, while Urban Dictionary explains humblebragging like, When you, usually consciously, try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a phony show of humility. That sounds about right!
- Though perhaps most (in)famous on Twitter, humble-bragging is all the rage on most any social media platform because the Web’s infrastructure weaponizes passive-aggressive communication as a feature, not a bug. I find obvious yet wannabe clever braggarts preferable to meaningless virtue signaling or misguided, mean-spirited political trolling; and yet, the disingenuous spirit of flaunting some achievement while simultaneously attempting (… and failing) to convey humility feels so desperate. It’s the mundane, pedestrian example of trying to have your cake and eat it, too.
- This phenomenon, combined with people’s instinctive desire to signal how hard they work at their job, their personal fitness, or their extracurricular activities, elevates everyday boasting to another level of insecurity overcompensation. I believe it says much about us that so many feel they must constantly remind others — from family members to close friends to general acquaintances to complete strangers — how many jobs they work, how long their work hours are, how severe their training regiment is, etc.
- People rarely indulge me how talented they are or how efficient or effective their work ethic/skill sit is (the children of soccer moms notwithstanding), which I find equally fascinating. The fact of the matter is, however, I really, truly, honestly do not care how hard you work at your activities, regardless of whether you’re a cardiologist, an engineer, a coal miner, a schoolteacher, or a construction worker. I. Do. Not. Care. At all.
- Kale = This leafy green is only acceptable when cooked in a soup or stir fry with many other, better ingredients. It sucks raw. Spinach is superior in taste, texture, and versatility. There, I said it.
That’s all the energy I have for this throwback rant. I can’t tell whether I feel satisfied or more petty. Maybe both? In any case, feel free to post 2 Chainz videos below…