Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Monday Rant (Delayed): Pet Peeves

Long ago, in the dawn of the intarwebs, I was on several mailing lists from a small company that was trying out this new "e-business model" thing.

Most of these mailings were mildly entertaining - just enough to delay my inevitable move to run Civilization II and continue taking years off my life by repeatedly invading the Roman empire.

I'm off these lists now; some decided to switch to a pay-per-issue model, others became clogged with obnoxious advertising, and one or two simply became progressively more annoying as time wore on.

In the last category was a daily mailing detailling reader's submitted "pet peeves". People would write in to the website and describe minor, every-day occurences that irritated them. Reading these was mildly amusing, in that occassionally a highly neurotic person would write about how people with blue eyes or cars painted black drove them mental.

Dictionary.com lists "pet peeve": a particular and often continual annoyance; personal bugbear.

However, there were two types of "pet peeves" that were completely asinine, to the point of me swearing at my computer (actually, getting me to swear at my computer is not difficult; I do it almost every day). The first category was peeves that were actually reasonable, law-abiding behaviour by other people. Apparently, some people are irritated that I don't pull my car right up to the bumper of the vehicle in front of me at a red light. News flash, dickhead: that space is necessary for multiple safety-related reasons - you can probably think of three all by your self (unlike your abilities regarding shoelaces).

The second category was of peeves that were too large, too serious, too criminal to be considered minor irritants. An example of this second category is what finally convinced me (yes, I'm a little slow sometimes) to cancel my subscription to this service, and all others like it. A woman had written in an entry into the "pet peeve of the year" contest being run at the site. Her "pet peeve" was her father's behahaviour while she was a child. He didn't chew with his mouth open, or swear in front of her mother, or snore loudly. No, his irritating behaviour included child abuse, child sexual assault, adult sexual assault, assault-and-battery (against neighbours), bigotry, and training his children to "hate like a real Southerner". These aren't pet peeves - these are criminal charges! Why did this fucking lunatic woman, who apparently considers these stories to be trivial examples of her childhood, win a prize from a Watson-AND-Crick-Damned mailing list website?

Complain if you want - that is, occassionally, how change is initiated. But perhaps you could confine your ranting to the appropriate venue?


This gives me a lame excuse to clarify the purpose of my Monday rants - I will endeavor to confine these rants to trivial-but-real issues. I don't anticipate "ranting" about war, slavery, torture, poverty, et cetera - there are other venues for those issues that don't share space with "Macs Suck" or "Toe the line".

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