Back to lukewarm demand, for all of you, Festivus enthusiasts, it’s time for the annual distribution of complaints. Let’s get right to the point. I need to get back to training for feats of strength.
For Jussie Smollett and anyone considering staging a hate crime, you really need to do better. Maybe he thought his story was so incredible, so fantastic, so implausible, that audiences should believe him. But no one believed Jussie’s fable of being attacked in the wee hours of the morning, on his way home from an egg hunt in Chicago, by two men wearing MAGA hats and shouting, ‘C’ is MAGA country! Chicago is a lot. The MAGA country is not one of them. And who goes out to buy eggs at 2 a.m.? The people who work on the third shift and the vampires. That’s it.
In an age when virtually anyone, whether you’re a billionaire or a celebrity, can be launched into space, do motorists still need to hold their phones while talking and driving? Stop. You pilot a 2000 pound projectile and you drive like a jerk. Please stop.
For those of you who still frequent a real post office, a piece of advice, as delicate and sensitive as I am capable of delivering. Pack your business and get out. I have never spent more than 90 seconds in a postal transaction. But for some reason the person in front of me is invariably engaged in a complicated negotiation involving the director and other officers trying to figure out how to send a cooler containing a human liver to a cave in Pakistan. All I want are stamps with birds on them.
There is nothing new about plug-in headphones. I once used headphones and a transistor radio to listen to a football game while my parents forced me to watch a live Nutcracker performance. Unfortunately, the reception at the Philadelphia Academy of Music was not good. So, I missed the most famous play in NFL football history – Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” of the Steelers against the Oakland Raiders. And no, I still haven’t recovered. The point is, although a Philistine that I was, I did not subject other patrons of the arts to my game, or static as it actually was. Today there are all kinds of options for headphones. If you want to watch the sequel to “Tiger King” or the latest episode of “The Bachelorette”, it’s between you and God. But I don’t need to hear it.
Here’s one for the media. It is not all “breaking news”. Now that I dated myself in the previous grievance, I can say I’m old enough to remember when terms like “breaking news” and “special report” actually meant something. Today everything is shattering. The president having a scheduled press briefing is not breaking news. On the other hand, if it unexpectedly goes into a verse from “Being Alive”, it is “breaking news”. If everything is “brittle” and “special” then nothing is.
Why are flight attendants always so worried about my seat being upright and locked? If the plane breaks down, having my seat reclined 2 inches will not be one of my main concerns. I thought they would have more to worry about unruly passengers and masks, and unruly passengers refusing to wear masks. Speaking of which, after giving us snacks and drinks on a recent flight, the flight attendant came over to the intercom and said, “A reminder. You should keep your masks on even while eating and drinking. Pull your mask between bites and sips. As I sat in my seat thinking how stupid it was, it occurred to me that this might be the biggest obstacle to overeating ever. The “mask regime”. Just in time for the holidays.
– Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. He is professor of journalism at the University of Asbury in Kentucky.