Everybody enjoys the guilty pleasure of going on a self-righteous rant every once in a while like an Aaron Sorkin character or something, whether it's about the way politics and the media are these days, or more everyday things like people with more than 15 items in the express lane, or terrible drivers nobody complains about.
There are certain subjects that people get waaaay too worked up about, though, where it goes beyond "Twilight sure annoys me!" to "EVERYBODY INVOLVED IN TWILIGHT NEEDS TO BE PUT IN TRAPS LIKE THE ONES IN SAW."
Did you know that 400,000 deaths in the U.S. every year are attributed to hypertension? How many do you suppose we could cut if we stopped having aneurysms about things like ...
#6. Remakes That "Raped My Childhood"
If you've spent any time on the Internet, I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase. The most popular childhood rapist cited would of course be George Lucas, who allegedly violated Star Wars fans metaphorically by creating the Star Wars prequels and revising the original trilogy with some stupid edits, a crime certainly on par with forcible sexual assault against a human being.
I probably don't need to go on about the inappropriateness of the terminology, or I should hope not, so let's just suppose they used a less charged word, like it "destroyed" their childhood, or that it "tore up the foundations of my childhood, unraveling the very fabric of it at the subatomic level, leaving in its wake a devastated waste compared to which all imagined post-apocalyptic scenarios pale." Or "This makes me very upset!" Whatever.
The point is that even if they manage to express being upset in a smarter way, why even be that upset in the first place? Suppose someone remakes A Christmas Carol where Scrooge is a cross-dressing drug dealer and the three ghosts are Aquaman, Ryan Seacrest and the robot from Lost in Space. Why not just keep reading the book and watching the numerous previous Aquaman-free versions, and ignore the new one?
It's not like they're cutting off access to the old, pure version that you like so much (with the exception of Lucas' new Star Wars rereleases, I guess, since you can't buy the original ones new now). You can just pretend the new version doesn't exist, like most Indiana Jones fans do with Crystal Skull.
Apparently Real Genius was a sacred part of someone's childhood for some reason.
#5. Minor Factual Inaccuracies
Now, "minor" can be a subjective word, and it's pretty common for someone to defend a big error by playing it off that way, a la "Everybody keeps jumping on me for minor errors like confusing Mexico with North Korea. STOP NITPICKING!"
What I'm talking about is when someone is talking about fixing the U.S. electoral process and says that unlike fixing the Ikea bookcase next to him, it'll "take more than just an Allen wrench," and then someone else jumps in and furiously corrects him, shouting, "YOUR IGNORANCE FINALLY SHOWS THROUGH! Everyone knows the 2007 Ikea 'Expedit' bookcase could NOT be fully assembled with only an Allen wrench, requiring a Phillips screwdriver as well. This whole thing is a sham! A house of cards! HOW CAN I EVER TRUST ANYTHING YOU SAY AGAIN!" Then they refuse to listen to the political science professor discuss the electoral college because he is not an Ikea bookshelf expert.
To be totally honest, I can't remember what goddamn tools we needed to put this thing together.
To be clear, there's nothing wrong with pointing out what "peruse" and "ironic" really mean when someone's misusing them. But there's a fine line -- wait, no, not a fine line, a really wide, gaping chasm -- between pointing it out and having an apoplectic fit over it.
There's a pretty big difference between saying "'Irregardless' isn't a word" and "OH MY GOD I HATE PEOPLE WHO SAY 'IRREGARDLESS' SO MUCH I WANT TO HANG THEM BY THEIR GENITALS." You'd think it would be really easy to stay on one side of that ... line, if you can call something so fat a line.
If you want to write in to a newspaper and remind them that Richard Nixon's screw-up brother was Donald Nixon, not Ronald Nixon, that's helpful, until you suggest that their entire editorial staff should be executed by firing squad for their failure.
#4. Other People Liking Some Shitty Pop Culture Phenomenon
There are a lot of pop-culture targets out there that people love to hate for some reason, maybe because they are bad. Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Twilight, Nickelback, Katy Perry, various Kardashians and Warren G. Harding, to name a few.
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
DON'T YOU POINT AT ME, YOU FUCKER.
I'm not saying we should all be nice and not judge people's tastes and acknowledge that everybody likes different things and you're OK and I'm OK and all that. If people like something terrible, by all means feel free to call them on it, think slightly less of them and make a mental note not to ask them for recommendations in that area. If someone praises Smash for its dialogue and characters, for example, I will stop asking them what TV shows are good to watch.
For those of you who didn't catch the show, here is a sampling of the dialogue.
I can see being disappointed in someone you thought had good taste when they confess how addicted they are to Jersey Shore or something, but there's a certain type of personality that makes a crusade out of it, like instead of just arguing with the Twilight fans in their life, they look for the nearest public megaphone (the Internet, usually) to try to reach as many people as possible with the vital message that Twilight is dumb and we need to fight back against the people who like it.
It's bad enough when they take it to a place where Twilight fans congregate, which is kind of like a Cowboys fan going into a Philadelphia sports bar to stir up shit -- it's just gratuitously antagonistic. But at least it makes sense, I guess, as opposed to when they take it to a place where nobody cares about Twilight either way, like the CNN comment section or something, which is more like a Cowboys fan going to an international figure skating event to stir up shit.
Everyone is just going to be confused and not know what he is talking about, and he is going to rationalize to himself that people are throwing their tiny flags at him because they disagree with his brave opinion and not because he is ranting about things they don't care about and appears to be some kind of crazy homeless person shouting things.
Now, there's a couple of legitimate reasons to be at least mildly annoyed at bad media, like if a bad song gets stuck in your head, or if you didn't realize how bad a movie was going to be and it wasted your time, but if your time is so valuable that two wasted hours is a big to-do for you, it's probably too valuable to waste 30 additional hours attacking the thing.