The dude in front of you flips the switch and lets loose the dogs of recline. Is that a bad metaphor? Sure it is, but who can craft metaphors with an airplane seat in your face?
Why It Sucks
So many reasons. First off, today's planes are more tightly packed than ever. A reclined seat means a face full of plastic. Second, if you're tall (and I'm not), say goodbye to your knees. They now reside somewhere inside that gross netting that contains the airsickness bags and inflight magazine. And lastly, if you use that food tray to hold your laptop, your new angle will never be right. You can't see the screen. You can't type comfortably. Know what else you can't do? Go more than three seconds without hoping for some sort of airborne catastrophe to destroy your lounge-y companion while leaving the plane and everyone else unharmed.
But You Really Can't Get Mad
It might be annoying, but y'know, it's not really wrong. The seats are made to do that, and there's no rule against it. It's not like when you're sitting next to someone on the train or subway who has their legs spread open or elbows a-flying. This passenger, even if reclined, is still remaining in his authorized space. And man, that's annoying. It's like a kid brother sticking his snotty finger an inch from your face. "Am I bugging you? I'm not touching you!"