5 Things Adults Shouldn't Be Allowed to Get Mad About
"If you're over 18, why don't you act like an adult?" That's a quote from one of the most important educational works of our time, Slick Rick's classic single "Hey Young World."
It's a deceptively difficult question to answer. Most of us wouldn't be able to because, if we're brutally honest with ourselves, we know that there are plenty of times when our behavior veers away from what anyone would classify as adult-like. I know I spend a lot more time acting like an entitled 10-year-old than I have any right to at the age of 27 (approximately). You probably do as well, even if you don't realize it. That's especially true if you ever find yourself getting angry about any of the petty things listed below.
Here are five things you no longer get to be angry about as an adult.
Teen Pop Singers
Make no mistake, there is definitely a time when hating the Justin Biebers and David Cassidys (ask your mom) of the world is perfectly acceptable. That time is when you're a young male in the 10- to 16-year-old range. That's when a man starts to take an interest in girls, which means he's moments away from finding out that most of those girls, in turn, have taken an interest in Justin Bieber (or their respective decade's equivalent). At that tender young age, Justin and his slick dance moves and somehow baggy yet also skinny jeans make him the ideal version of a man in the eyes of most of the chicks that young dudes are trying to get awkward with.
And in the eyes of men that young dudes should try to avoid.
Those gentlemen get to hate Bieber. They are fighting for territory on the same battlefield and he is beating every single one of them soundly. He is the enemy.
Once you've outgrown that awkward period in life, though, you are allowed approximately three more circumstances under which you can be angry at a teen pop sensation. Those are as follows:
1. You're a parent who's forced to listen to shitty music because kids don't know any better than to have awful taste in everything.
2. You work at an establishment (bar, restaurant, brothel) that plays background music you have no control over.
3. You are pretending to hate him for comedic purposes.
I can get behind the cause of every person who falls into one of the three categories above, but what about you, single guy in his late 20s to early 30s who works from home? Does Justin Bieber make you this angry?
I already made nice with Billie Joe Armstrong (I'm sure he's relieved) a few columns ago, so let's not dwell on that famous breakdown again. Instead, get a load of this guy:
He goes by the name "Angry Grandpa," because old people cursing is a shtick that never gets old enough to just fucking die already. If you listen to his tirade, especially starting at around the 0:46 mark, you'll note that he's not just making witty quips and observations about the various intricacies of the tween pop movement. Instead, he's being a profane, screaming bully who probably just cost himself six months of co-pays on a new blood pressure medication because, for some reason, at this late stage in life, the mere existence of Justin Bieber on the music scene is enough to send this old man into irrational fits of anger.
Don't be Angry Grandpa. The parents of Bieber fans take comfort in knowing that their kids won't just outgrow Justin Bieber, but will grow into being as disinterested in his brand of bullshit as anyone else. Comics and Internet writers see Justin Bieber like they see Kim Kardashian or any sitting president or especially Steven Seagal -- as a limited-time-only target for jokes that, ultimately, have no ill intent behind them.
Well, there probably won't ever be a time when we give up on making fun of Seagal, but you get it. Making fun of Justin Bieber is all fine and well, but if he legitimately makes you angry, you have way bigger problems than awful music.
The Outcome of Awards Shows
If you sequestered every single music journalist and music fan into one massive room with the goal of not leaving until you'd found 10 who would admit to honestly believing that awards shows matter for anything, you would probably die in that room. For "real" music lovers, suggesting that the Grammy Awards have any relevance to modern music is like admitting that autotune did produce a few kind of awesome songs. Maybe it's true, but damn if you'll find many people who agree with you.
So why do we continue to complain when, say, a band like Arcade Fire wins the album of the year award? Remember all of the controversy surrounding that decision?
It led to accordion sales skyrocketing to seven that year.
People were irate, but again, we're talking about a meaningless prize that matters to no one, right? Well, tell that to Steve Stoute, formerly known as the guy Puff Daddy beat with a champagne bottle but now known as the guy who took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to protest Arcade Fire's unexpected win. In that letter, he gives life to every single complaint you've ever had about the Grammy Awards by arguing that, based on record sales, Justin Bieber deserved a best new artist nomination, and Eminem is the Bob Dylan of his generation and at the very least deserved to win that Grammy over Arcade Fire. Because, again, he just sold so many more records than everyone else.
And what does this have to do with your right to be angry about awards shows? The answer to that can be found in the official Grammy response to Steve Stoute's New York Times ad. Rather than defend their decision, they too saw the album of the year award not going to the person who sold the most records as a fatal flaw in the system that could only be repaired by way of the broadest set of rule changes in the history of the awards.
"In time we hope the industry can forgive us for forgetting about what truly matters ... unmitigated greed."
So there you have it. Unless the album you were pulling for also happened to sell the most copies, you don't get to be angry when it doesn't win a Grammy. Rules are rules.
The Outcome of Sporting Events
True story: I was visiting a state on the West Coast that I'd never been to. For privacy's sake, let's call it "Boregon." I was there on vacation with a friend who was also visiting this place for the first time. We had flown out together to meet her brother. In terms of entertainment, he was our only option. If he had not made plans to sport us around town that night, we would be scrambling to find a way to not spend a "relaxing" vacation night sitting in a motel room on the outskirts of fucking Niketown.
If they catch you alone after dark, Nike's legally allowed to keep you as child labor, regardless of your actual age.
As "luck" would have it, our visit coincided with the NBA playoffs, and our host was a Lakers fan. Like, too much of a Lakers fan. The kind of fan who could probably be persuaded to flip a car with eight of his newest friends following a championship win.
The Lakers were playing the Spurs that night, so our plans started with meeting in the hotel room to power drink on the cheap and watch basketball. Things got awful right away with the Lakers losing for most of the game, falling behind by 25 at one point. And that's when the worst possible thing happened. The Lakers almost came back.
If they'd just kept losing, we probably could have turned the game off early and gone to dinner. But with Super Fan possibly witnessing his team pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history, all plans were on hold. With each point the Lakers chipped away from the Spurs' lead, the atmosphere in the room became electric for our host and borderline hostage-like for everyone else. I'm not a Lakers fan, and it's my nature to make fun, but I'd have been as likely to make a Kobe rape joke in that room at that moment as I would be to make a Kobe rape joke at a women's shelter. So a strong maybe at best, which is nowhere near the level of confidence at which I normally operate.
Unlike Kobe, some of us know to pass when the time calls for it.
When the Lakers' comeback efforts finally fell short with a missed three-pointer at the buzzer, I knew my night was effectively done. No more than 30 seconds after the game had ended, our host informed us that he would call us tomorrow and stormed out of the room. He did not return or even answer his phone for days, leaving us to just kind of figure out a new city on our own while he sulked about a basketball game. Good trip.
Listen, I understand that sports are an emotional thing. I'm passionate about the Chicago Bears, to the point that I refuse to watch important games in the company of more than a few people. But if I punched a wall or drove my car 65 in a 30 every time they lost, I'd have died of a stroke by the age of 21. We watch the teams; we aren't on the teams. Leave the overaggressive reactions to the people who get paid to take the steroids.
Oh, and it should go without saying, if you're crying about a loss ...
... you damn well better be on the team. For everyone else, it's just a game. Treat the situation accordingly.
Celebrity Romances Gone Wrong
I'm just going to come right out and say this. I know it's a bold stance, but it's one that I feel as if I need to make. Here goes: Men should not hit women.
You're right, that isn't a very bold stance to take at all. It's damn near a societal norm. And your accepting nature makes me feel a lot more comfortable running this next one by you: I don't give a shit that Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together. You shouldn't either. At least not to the point that you get mad about it.
So are we still friends? I sure hope so, because I don't mean to make light of her predicament. I simply mean to let you know that, if we knew what was good for us, we would not give a damn about celebrity relationships in general. The Rihanna fiasco has a sad twist that makes it a little more newsworthy than most, but if you think that drawing attention to how she's handled it is doing the domestic violence cause any favors, you're fucking insane. Hers is quite possibly the last relationship we should be writing feature news stories about.
It's time that would be better spent warning people about how terrible this album is.
That's exactly what we do, though. We have television shows and newspapers dedicated to nothing but digging up private information about public figures. And no story gets more coverage than when a relationship between two famous people goes terribly wrong.
Unfortunately, the end result of our fascination with knowing the ins and outs (if you know what I mean) of every celebrity union is that we now have stories like Rihanna's just sitting out there like a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off in the heads of untold numbers of kids in single-parent households (or particularly unruly two-parent households) who will grow up learning all they know about coexisting with the opposite sex from watching the Hollywood couples and athlete WAGs the media parade around as examples of how successful relationships work.
"Adopting Third World kids isn't cutting it anymore. Time to start conflicting rumors about your sexuality."
"Yes ... 'rumors' ..."
And the saddest part is, there isn't a whole lot we can do about it now. As much as I'd love to say that we shouldn't flood our social networking timelines with angry words when we hear that Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together, how do we not? When you read the details and see the pictures, it can be downright infuriating. But did the collective outrage we expressed really accomplish anything?
Sure it did. We now have a Rocky-type anthem for women who lack the necessary courage to give their relationship with the piece of shit boyfriend who broke their face a second chance.
That's about it though, unfortunately.
I'm not saying you're wrong to get angry when you hear about one celeb who's done another wrong. I'm just saying that your rage is going to send a way different message than you wanted it to if the celebrity in question for some reason fails to heed your advice.
Movie Adaptations of Childhood Cartoons
Remember all of those great cartoons that you loved as a child? I was especially serious about my G.I. Joe fandom. How serious? I once wrote an angry letter to "G.I. Joe headquarters" at the age of 6 because some bullshit G.I. Joe peripheral item that I'd sent in a bunch of "Flag Points" to purchase failed to arrive in a time frame conducive to the success of the military operation I was unleashing in my backyard at the time. That serious. In fact, at one point, I had every single G.I. Joe action figure available. I did not include the gigantic G.I. Joe line in this assessment of my Joe collection because, even as a child, I knew that dolls were for girls.
Pictured: Some Village People shit.
"Bring me a big G.I. Joe if I ever need to show you where the Army man touched me" would have been a hilarious thing for a child of my age at the time to have said, but I was nowhere near that clever back then. That's probably why a bunch of plastic action figures and a cartoon that co-starred dozens of automatic weapons yet always ended with some kind of morality tale provided me hours upon hours of question-free entertainment.
Honest questions: 1) How the fuck do Destro's lips move?
2) How many panty eggs did it take to make Cobra Commander's mask?
It's also why I understand that I have absolutely no right to be bothered that the movie version of the G.I. Joe franchise, featuring a Wayans brother and the "acting chops" from Magic Mike, mind you, fails to strike a chord with my adult sensibilities.
The G.I. Joe franchise has paid its debt to me by absolutely rocking my grade school world with its special brand of military do-goodery. We're talking about a cartoon series that's over 30 years old now, though. I loved it as a kid because I was a kid when I loved it. But I have no expectations that the people in charge of rebooting G.I. Joe for a new generation of schoolchildren have me in mind. The people making the movie have to try and impress some other demographic if they're going to accumulate enough new G.I. Joe fans to make their one-off reboot into a franchise. That demographic definitely does not include a bunch of dudes in their mid-30s.
No, for marketing purposes, you are dead to Hollywood. They still want you to see the movie, of course, so they'll throw the "purists" a few bones in the form of whatever grown men who can't let go of the mundane details of the G.I. Joe universe deem an appropriate nod to their sad existence. But for the most part, the studio is just going to make the movie that they want to make, no matter what the fanboys have to say about it. And that's exactly what they should be doing. It's their job.
If a movie based on your favorite childhood cartoon doesn't resonate with you today, don't work yourself into a nerdy rage because someone is "disrespecting the franchise" or whatever. Instead, take it as a sign that, as you've grown as a person, you've simply become a little bit more difficult to entertain. That's nothing to be angry about.