Category Archives: the complaint department

Men behaving badly

 

 

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Jennifer Weiner

In an opinion piece called “The Men Who Never Grow Up,” Jennifer Weiner observes that “Americans have a soft spot for our troublemakers and scamps,” excusing the bad behavior on the part of one particular “honest kid” with a dismissive “that’s politics”—even when that kid is 39 years old and his scampishness appears to have included colluding with the Russians to interfere with the presidential election.

“Women and nonwhite men don’t have it quite as easy,” Weiner writes, trenchantly: “If boys will be boys, then girls must be grown-ups, whose job it is to protect men from their worst impulses.” Or serve as post-indiscretion apologists: “like boys in the locker room,” appeased Melania Trump about her husband bragging about his pussy-grabbing prowess. Also implicated in that incident was Billy Bush, who excused his own poor judgment with “I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” He was 33 at the time.

When Anderson Cooper pressed Melania, she stayed on point: “It’s kinda like two teenage boys — actually they should behave better, right?” she said.

Cooper: “He was 59.”

Compare all that with condemnation heaped upon female celebrities behaving badly. Lindsay Lohan, while not one of my very favorite people (except for her star turn in “The Parent Trap” 10 years ago, when she was), is a pariah. Confusing, yes, so here’s the bottom line: men who behave badly are forgiven, women are not and, salt to the wound, must clean up the messes made by males.

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Dear Southwest Airlines

People like this airlines and the way it accommodates human passengers with free bags and reservation changes and whimsical flight attendants. On my first Southwest flight, I’d offer these gentle criticisms:

  • Your app has short-term memory issues, not recalling me or my flight once I leave it
  • There are zero plugs in the Atlanta terminal (we could blame this on Atlanta, if you like)
  • There are zero plugs on board (this one’s on you, Southwest)
  • This phrase, to announce take-off: “Tug your seatbelt and hug your neighbor, ‘cuz this Boeing is ‘a-going.” (Ouch)
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10 Things I Hate About You (Spellcheck)

Oh Spellcheck and your even pushier cousin Autocorrect. You two are bullies, replacing your words with mine. Spellcheck, you unhelpfully underline words with that jaggedy (oh I guess you think jaggedy isn’t a real thing when it’s totally understood by absolutely everyone) red squiggle. So judgy (also not a word, per you) and wrong-headed—I did not mean “jigged” or “judger.” Autocorrect, you just straight up make changes and if I don’t reread what I’ve written, I’ll have to send one of those *corrections, which are annoying to me and the recipient (green underline here, why?). Eight additional bad things about you two:

  • That bad-grammar jaggedy (sigh) line doesn’t help at all, forcing me to try “that” and then “which” and then commas inserted all over the place and when none of that works, recasting my sentence entirely.
  • Can you be a better guesser when it comes to your suggestions? “Reowned” is not at all what I meant when I misspelled “reknowned.” And now I’m going to have to go with “esteemed” not because it’s a better word but because I know how to spell it.
  • How do you spell reknowned (as in “world reknowned” bass fisherman?) Not one of my things, I just want to know this.
  • Sometimes I use French words, not because I’m pretentious but because…I don’t have to explain myself to you, just be OK with it, OK?
  • Sometimes writers like a two-word sentence. To emphasize. To focus the reader. We do not want them underlined.
  • I don’t like alt spellings for common names (Hey, D’iane) anymore than you do, but it seems really judgy to call them out as wrong.
  • Hah! In that last one, I misused the word “anymore” (s/b any more) and you didn’t catch it!
  • Go away, both of you.
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“easier said than done”

What isn’t really?

File this under things people say that need not be said.

Another: “It is what it is.”

And: “Mistakes were made.” This passive-voice non-apology comes with the unsaid disclaimer “but not by me.” And today I learned this is the actual name of an actual book, by the psychologist Carol Tarvis: “Mistakes Were Made But Not By ME” (emphasis hers).

 

 

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did you ever …

not blog for so long that they change the interface up on you — and you can’t figure out how to do it, even when you have something really interesting to say?

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No broughtupsy to be found

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Best piece of writing about KAC I’ve read, taking her to task for acting like a 10-year-old, far as I can see: feet on the couch, knees all splayed, playing with her phone. Says Awesomely Luvvie: “This woman ain’t got no home training. Not a piece of broughtupsy to be found. Does she have on shoes? That couch looks like it stains easily and I don’t know where her feet have been and what she’s trudging in. I’m just mad for whoever has to come clean … and so much more >

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“Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Hell hath no fury like a woman silenced. Like Trump’s Nasty Woman putdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rebuke (and silencing) of Elizabeth Warren last night only fanned the flames of female fury. Here‘s how it went down: Warren began to read a letter from Coretta Scott King’s feelings about a prior Jeff Sessions’ appointment. McConnell objected to both the reading of the letter and to Warren’s history of outspokenness, even after she is asked to stop talking. Then came the line.

“Nevertheless, she persisted.”

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Instantly, this has become a rallying cry for women in government, in the workplace and in relationships to “persist” in the face of would-be male silencers. Writes Heidi Stevens for The Chicago Tribune:

“Just keep talking. Keep your pauses short. Maintain your momentum. No matter if he waves his hands, raises his voice or squirms in his chair, you do you.”

Or push back. “Bob, I wasn’t done finishing that point. Give me one more sec.”

Persist.

Sometimes the floor remains yours; sometimes you get rebuked and silenced by your colleagues.

But you say what needs to be said. And here and there, you inspire a rallying cry.

“Nevertheless, she persisted.”

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The Least Wonderful Time of the Year

Dark mornings, the sun not rising until I’m on the train. Afternoons never mustering real heat or light, dimming by four, dark again by 5. Wind slicing through the streets of lower Manhattan. Snow, rain, ice. Maybe it’s because of a cold coming on; maybe it’s the cleanse and I’m actually a boring person without wine. But I’ve felt little inspiration to think, let alone write. Oh January, you’re the worst.

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New Year’s Resolutions For Other People 2017

cwuntzgwiaafogfThis is an annual thing that’s a cross between complaining and wanting everyone to be slightly or significantly better human beings. Some of them are duplicates from last January because, it has become obvious, many people are not paying attention.

  1. To the people who share cars with me. Stop leaving this kind of thing in the car: the keys (we live in BRIDGEPORT now, ok?); coffee cups where my coffee cup wants to go but can’t because yours was left there; any all foodstuffs and the bags they came in; no gas.
  2.  To cashiers. Stop saying “following guest” when you mean “next guest.” It’s not fancier, if that’s what you’re thinking.
  3. To waiters: Stop saying “no problem” when you mean “you’re welcome.” It should be clear to both of us that pouring me a glass of water is not a problem.
  4. To adult children who come to visit, taking all the phone chargers when they leave. Stop doing that.
  5. To celebrity “news” writers. Stop using these words (italics mine):
  • Kendall Jenner slayed in her mesh mini. Also stop with the Kardashians entirely. We have tired of them.
  • We’re obsessed with Hiddleswift. Also stop mashing up celebrity couple names.
  •  Body After Baby. They have trainers, nutritionists and nannies. Also this fatshames women who carry weight after childbirth, which is, actually, normal.

5. To Donald Trump. Stop tweeting. There are so very many things you can’t change about yourself but here’s one you can.

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6. Manspreaders on MetroNorth. Because you’re taking up my portion of the seat I’ve paid dearly for and also because every year I must complain about MetroNorth.

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new year’s resolutions for other people, 2016

It’s a ritual of mine to helpfully help people and machines select vows to better themselves. You’re welcome!

  • To my husband: stop reading the newspaper aloud while I am trying to read it to myself, silently. He never really finishes his sentences so it is received as a whole bunch of mystery outbursts. This is what he is saying right now: “It’s just like the South African one.” Sixty seconds later: “Creed, can you believe it.” Sixty seconds later: “Did you read that thing about the Uighers?”
  •  To the makers of self-service platforms and kiosks and checkouts that offer no service at all: Either stop making them or, at the very least, stop calling them “service.”
  • To New Year, New You headline writers. This is a hacky, media trope that must end. Worse: #newyearnewyou.
  • Same message goes out to the same (or different, doesn’t matter) writers who call anything “the Brooklyn of..”
  • To people on the streets of New York City, do not: stand in bunches on street corners, blocking me from stepping up onto the curb; stop without warning; walk in groups of more than one (also known as walk in groups); have dogs or baby carriages in tow; be there when I try to turn a corner. Do walk more or less like this:
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Don’t break stride.

  • To the child who doesn’t text me when I text him/her, or return Facebook messages, and let’s not even discuss emails and voice mails: Call your mom.

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  • To the makers of smoke alarms: Can you figure out a way quieter way to alert us that the toast is burning? It’s really not that big a deal.
  • To Donald Trump. Go to hell. And take Ted Cruz with you.

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