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andee's world: Stop the Madness!

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Stop the Madness!

A few things that are burning my britches these days...

Why does everyone have to use the word "amazing" to describe every goddamn thing under the sun?

"Oh my god, your teeshirt is a-MAAAAA-zing".

"Oh my god, their organic smoothies are a-MAAAA-zing!"

"Oh my god, have you heard the new Kelly Clarkson single? It's A-MAAAAAA-ZING!"

First of all, most things you discuss in your day-to-day life do not warrant this adjective. A teeshirt can be many things: "sexy!" "vivid!" "colorful!" or "hilariously ironic!" But probably not "amazing."

A smoothie can be "delicious!" "satisfying!" even "energizing!" But certainly not "a-MAAA-zing!!"

As for Kelly Clarkson -- well, more on her later.

Webster's defines amaze thusly: "to bewilder, perplex, surprise; to cause astonishment." Does that really sound like the word you want to use to describe a cute pair of shoes?

If you still insist on overstating your enthusiasm with inappropriate adjectives, here are some perfectly adequate synonyms for amazing, just to get you out of your rut:


Why is the United States Post Office so completely and utterly incompetent? Are we living in a third world country? My mother mailed me a Christmas present at the beginning of January and I didn't get it until over a month later. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I went through unbelievable trials to rescue the package from the abyss of ineptitude that is the US Postal Service.

Why is something so simple as getting a package in the mail such a maddening ordeal? Why is impossible to get answers? Why does no one pick up the phone -- not even an answering machine -- when I try to call my local post office?

When I need to buy stamps, why are three out of four vending machines always out of order? And the machines that do "work" -- why won't they accept my money? I can stick any old ragged, torn, dog-eared bill into any candy machine on the continent and get a Butterfinger, no sweat -- why can't the government get their hands on that technology?

Kelly Clarkson. Somehow it has become all the rage for otherwise discerning music lovers to champion this manufactured paper doll pop singer, brought to you by the heinous folks at American Idol. True enough, you can walk into any hipster bar in this city on any night of the week and count on it: right around midnight, the dj puts on the inevitable "Since You've Been Gone," and everyone in the place starts screaming and jumping up and down like a pack of 12-year-old girls hopped up on Mountain Dew, as if hearing this trite, meaningless, predictable piece of run-of-the-mill pop pap for the fifth time this weekend is cause for rapturous celebration.

I know this is all partly ironic but you know what? There's no time for that, when truly great artists like Nellie McKay are languishing in obscurity.

And now, to my horror, djs are starting to play more Clarkson singles. Each one follows the same basic plot as "Since You've Been Gone": more mundane chord progressions that you've heard a million times before, more predictable, worn-out melodies and of course, the Big Bridge, where Clarkson dependably caterwauls to the very top of her range, to show you how "talented" she is.

Ok, the joke's over, everyone. Can we get back to real life, please?

Why do you throw your trash on the ground? Do you people really want to see garbage strewn all over the streets where you live? Is it really that hard to wait a few seconds and toss your bottle into a trash can? You've been carrying it all this time, drinking your goddamn Yoo-Hoo -- why do you suddenly have to jettison the thing the very instant you've drained the last of its contents into your stupid gullet?

Has the MTA been taken over by monkeys?! Why is the subway service in New York City so totally fucked, all of the time?

Why can't they hang up a simple sign in the subway platform telling you that the downtown 6 trains are only running express? Why is that so hard? Why do I have to sit in the station for two hours in the cold, small hours of the night waiting for a local train that never comes? Is this the way it has to be?

Why do the conductors wait to tell you about service disruptions until after the doors are closed and you're stuck on the train, hurtling helplessly to a far-flung destination? Why can't they figure out how to use the intercom without unleashing horrid peals of excruciating feedback?

This can't be the best they can do, it just can't. I thought this was supposed to be the "greatest city in the world" -- why is the subway system so embarrassingly shitty?

Why has laziness become Standard Operating Procedure in these parts?

Why can't I expect a piece of merchandise to last more than two years after I've bought it?

Why is mediocrity embraced?

Why has total incompetence and godawful service become acceptable -- and expected -- in this country?


Blogger David R. Adler said...

Here here!

Woman crossing 96th the other day, jettisons her McNuggets box in the middle of the intersection without a thought. Garbage can in full view on the opposite sidewalk.

Carnegie Hall just the other night, a sublime viola passage in the 3rd movement of Shostakovich's 7th symphony. A cellphone rings; a stupid fanfare sounds through the hall. People in the violin section cover their faces in horror. They were from Holland -- welcome to America.

And as for the subway -- #1 train comes to a dead halt this morning at 66th Street. Doesn't move for 20 minutes. Finally they vacate the train; I'm an hour late to work.

1:07 PM  

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