Overrated – The things that slipped through the cracks

Ned Bitters

Ned Bitters

In the past, I’ve been able to gin up two-page rants for topics that a well-adjusted, rational person would not even bother to notice, let alone work up a churning cauldron of stomach acid over. Not being a member of Club Sanity, I’ve been able to wax apoplectic about hot-button topics as incendiary as, oh … messages on a T-shirt, the all-American diner and Christmas songs. (God damn “Silent Night”! Don’t get me started.)

But some things piss me off only a little bit, and as a result, I can only rage about them for a few paragraphs. So today, instead of wearing you out with two pages on the bullshit concept of the American “Hero,” which I’ll do in a few weeks, I’ll just hit on a few items that are mildly overrated, but still worthy of some of my bitching.

Your Halloween Mask: No, not your costume. Although I’m not a big fan of Halloween, but I enjoy seeing a well made or witty costume. What irritates me are these unoriginal jackholes who buy a plastic or rubber mask and then on Halloween show up at work or school or the nearest shopping center in said mask, looking for some sort of reaction. They’ve reached into their shallow, tepid pool of originality and this was all they could dredge up.

Tell me, Mr. Masked Man, just how am I supposed to react to your standing there in front of me with your face covered? You show up not in a costume, but in just your regular clothes and a mask. Then you stand there and stare at me, waiting for me to … well, what exactly? Guess who it is? Okay, I’ll play along. Let’s see … I know you’re not a friend of mine because I could never be friends with someone unoriginal enough to buy a mask at a store and then try to pass it off as some kind witty statement about … again, what?

I’d laugh, but a mask alone is never funny, especially if you’re just standing there. Oh, you’re Ronald Reagan. I see. Oh, you’re a furry monster or werewolf. Okay. Oh, you’re wearing an ugly old man mask. Well, well. I believe I saw that exact mask at Target. And you went ahead and bought it and put it on. Kudos on your stunning wit. Now can you please move along and bother someone else, because I have no reaction or comment for you. Oh wait, come back, I do have a comment. I just want you to know that your mask is covering up not just your face but the fact that you are such a mind numbingly boring human being that your only hope of eliciting a reaction from others is to put on a five dollar mask and then stand in an office or classroom doorway and wait for a reaction. Okay, now you can go.

The U.S. Military Going Green: I saw a headline on the front page of the Washington Post a while back that said that our military was going to up its greenness factor by using different fuel and who knows what else. I read part of the article and then bailed, as the whole concept seemed too absurd.

What, at its core, is the main function of the military? No, not national defense. (Okay, its main function is actually fighting bogus wars drummed up by businessmen and orchestrated by crafty, flag-waving politicians all for the sake of making already fat corporations downright obese with tax dollar cash, but that’s a bitchfest for another day.) The military’s primary job, when called into action, is killing. Everything the military does is aimed at making killing easier, more cost efficient and more effective.

So this vast entity, which has perfected the art of killing humans, is going to get greener, which means they’ll start doing more to protect the earth’s resources while they are in the process of killing the very humans who, had they not had the bad, collateral luck to get killed by a not-so-smart bomb, would have availed themselves of the precious resources the military is trying to preserve.

We’ll still drop bombs that will cause huge pillars of toxic black smoke after they’ve leveled homes and buildings where actual humans lived, but at least the jets dropping these bombs will be greener.

Bashing Courtney Love: Sure, the chick a batshit crazy, self-promoting revisionist, but her music isn’t that bad, the “early good stuff” wasn’t written by Kurt Cobain and she didn’t kill that suicidal narcissist. He offed himself. The level of hatred directed at this woman is baffling. If you worshiped Cobain and are pissed that he disappeared before he was 30, don’t take it out on his moderately talented widow. If you think she profited from his death, imagine how much richer and more popular she’d be if Cobain had lived and if they had stayed married? Killing him would have been bad for her brand.

The most absurd thing about all of this? The fact that my insane, perpetually pissed off ass is telling others to quell their irrational anger.

Frank Zappa: Some people hear the name Zappa and they seemed programmed to have to exclaim, “What a genius!” Frank Zappa was no genius. He was a shockmeister who didn’t write one singable tune. Go ahead, sing one Zappa song right now. Hell, even hum a few bars of one of his songs. See what I mean? You can’t, because you don’t know any. But he’s a genius, man!

This genius’s songs never really made it onto radio, but not because of the raunchy language. He got no airplay because his songs were garbage. The technology to “bleep” out objectionable material predated Zappa by decades, so had he written good songs, commercial radio would have found a way to get them steady airplay. Even in this age of satellite radio you never hear his music. I don’t know one person who has or had a Zappa record or CD. I can’t name more than two song titles, and the only riff I can hum in my head is the chorus to “Catholic Girls.” If you know any disk jockeys, ask how many request they get each year for Zappa songs.

Still not convinced that he sucked? How about this. You probably know more of his kids’ names than his song titles, and that’s because he burdened them with silly names just to get his untalented ass in the news. And don’t tell me he was brave and ahead of his time. You could call him brave if he had been an established rock star who then, with new controversial and profanity-laden lyrics, pushed boundaries that threatened the money train’s monthly stop at his bank account. But that wasn’t the case. His “music” didn’t make any grand statements. He was just shocking, but shocking in an unwitty, unlistenable manner. It took Rap to make “shocking” listenable.

Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at teacherslounge@hobotrashcan.com.

  1. Dar October 31, 2011
  2. John November 1, 2011

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