I think the depth of human depravity is most often revealed in the smallest inconsiderate and selfish acts. Which is, of course, not to imply that I am not inconsiderate and selfish at times (read: often). Praise God that He chooses to place His Spirit in common, clay jars and not in rare Ming Dynasty vases. I'd be in serious trouble.
However, if the following things came to be considered criminal felonies punishable by law, let's just say my very human, very selfish, and very skewed lust for "justice" might possibly be sated.
In an era of human history where we have an unfortunate tendency to be easily offended, I'd probably be remiss not to mention that what I "rant" about below is done more out of fun, not legitimate frustration or a desire to ruffle feathers.
That said, can I get an "Amen!" for any of these?
One: Extreme coffee snobbery
I do not own a French press.
I do not own an espresso machine.
I do not buy only organic, fair trade beans in bulk from Whole Foods.
Why? Because none of these is the Way the Truth and the Life to true coffee salvation.
I do, however, love dark, earthy coffees. I make it a point to try lots of different brands, roasts, and countries of origin. I buy whole bean coffee, grind it each morning, and drink it black. While I will readily admit that I gag to even think about cream and sugar in coffee, I keep both in the house for guests (even if I joke that I will convert everyone to black-only). I prefer the pour-over to making a pot, but I typically use a sixty-dollar Cuisinart 10-cup percolator. I do not use cold, filtered water to make coffee no matter how much the side of the bag might insist it's an important step in brewing the "perfect cup" -- the tap is just fine.
However, if the "extreme left" of pretentious coffee snobbery drives me crazy, the "extreme right" of half-caf-Maxwell-House-grounds-stored-in-the-freezer drinkers can also give me palpitations. At that far end are those who insist that Dunkin' Donuts (or Wawa if you live in the Tri-State area) makes the best coffee, that they would drink Starbucks if it weren't so expensive (the people who hold this opinion own small, yappy dogs and only buy over-priced "dessert drinks" -- mochas, lattes, frappuccinos, etc, none of which are actually coffee), or that strong coffee is just as good as bold coffee (it isn't).
Oh, and if you are of the opinion that K-Cups are "just as good" and would go on record stating that the Keurig is the one of the greatest inventions known to man...
No, no -- no one out there who likes coffee really thinks that.
Two: Choosing to pull out in front of an oncoming driver when there is no one behind that car for miles.
I'll grant a person who's sneaking into non-stop traffic his choice to jet in front of me. If he doesn't, he'll sit at that intersection for ten more minutes and miss that important work presentation.
I'm talking about the occasion when someone opts to cut you off when there is no one behind you, when he has clear visibility, and when he forces you to slow down for a quarter mile before he finally gets up to speed -- all when he could have waited literally five more seconds for you to pass.
Three: Insisting the movie is better than the book
Seriously, it isn't possible.
At best, you are getting a particular director/screenwriter's vision of a novel -- that is, their opinion of it. They shoehorn their perception of characters, themes, and settings into your brain via visual, 2-dimensional representations of a deeply multi-dimensional work. In so doing, they remove the possibility for you to read or think about the novel in question without seeing particular actors as particular characters and altogether impact the unique, cooperative creativity that exists within reading a novel: the ability to fill in the gaps an author intentionally leaves for his/her reader to supply his/her own thoughts, expectations, and imaginations.
At worst, a bad film adaptation takes so many creative liberties that the credits actually have to note that the move is "inspired by" instead of "based on." At that point, no matter how good it is by itself, the film is no longer an accurate representation of the book.
Not all film adaptations are bad. Some are good -- impressive and perhaps even inspiring. But they're never as good as the book or better. Because they're not the same as the book. Apples and oranges. Even a good film adaptation is merely an impression of a novel -- the way a painting or photograph of a person is not the actual person. And just like brushes and cameras can only capture so much detail, film too falls short of the real thing.
It might be a great movie. But it's not "better" than the book.
Four: Following celebrity gossip
However you do it and for whatever reason, it's annoying. Nick Offerman might read celebrity tweets on Conan O'Brien as a way to mock the very public and very inane comments individuals in the limelight might make (and it might in fact be hilarious), but the fact of the matter is that he is still reading them and also bringing countless other people's attention to them.
Whatever you do -- whether it's reading athletes' Tweets, celebrity tabloids, Facebook news, nonsensical crap on Buzzfeed, whatever -- it's still part of the problem.
Because when it comes to Hollywood, any attention is good attention.
I don't want to discuss who's married to Robert Downey Jr. while I'm watching The Avengers. I don't care that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, nor do I care what absurd things go down between him and his family as a result. When I'm waiting in line to check out in the grocery store, I don't want to look across my pile of Ramen, organic fair trade coffee, and assorted canned goods on the conveyer belt and see grossly unflattering photos of celebrities and the corresponding columns of pulp detailing their train-wrecked relationships and impossibly poor personal decisions. Frankly, I don't care what athletes are up to when they're not on the field, and even if I might read biographies of musicians I happen like and maybe even follow their tour schedules, I don't care to view pictures of them cliff-diving in Aruba.
Crazy idea. What if we all stopped paying attention to what Hollywood was doing? What if we all spontaneously stopped clicking on ads for stuff endorsed by celebrities, turned off late-night talk shows, ignored everything that came on "reality" TV, and deleted any app that provides a slanderous buffet of worthless banter and explicit photos of those people who are willing to sacrifice their integrity and their privacy to a media-crazed, incurably consumerist society? Sure, the crazy coming out of LA might intensify for the lack of attention, and several thousand bloggers might lose their jobs, but it would put the entertainment industry back where it belongs: making movies, TV, games, music, and playing sports -- not invading my life through everything I consume.
Impossible? Maybe. Almost definitely in America.
But it's still nice to dream.
This last one's for my fellow musicians.
Five: Venues a). expecting local bands to play for free (in the name of "exposure") AND also draw a crowd of 30+ AND supply all the equipment, or b). canceling a gig mere days before the show because "due, to low attendance, we don't do live shows anymore."
I'm a spare-time musician. In fact, I don't even know if I can really call myself a "musician" per se. God's given me the ability to lead worship and play a little guitar & keys. So I get to do that with a bunch of guys who are more like brothers than friends (one of them actually is my brother) and are far more talented than I am. However, even though I do it for fun, I also put in lots of practice time as well as money for gas, travel, and equipment. And what I put in is nothing compared to what full-time musicians (such as XXCMTE's own Geoff Langley!) devote to their craft.
For that reason, it is insulting to be told that our cut of the door is a fifteen-fifteen-seventy split among us, the other band on the bill, and the venue... IF we bring more than thirty people, share all of our gear, and provide our own sound guy.
Lots of local venues treat local bands terribly. Lots of local venues are amazing and get taken advantage of. I get that both of these places need to make money. But they don't need to extort other struggling local "businesses" -- that is, the bands themselves -- to do it. They also need to recognize that, while their establishment might have a Facebook page with a couple hundred likes, and even though they might occasionally feature a big-name band on their stage, the opportunity to play on their stage is not the make-it-or-break-it favor they presume it to be.
The reality is that we should be helping each other out. Bands can't be obnoxious, self-absorbed partiers and expect venues to cater to their every whim; venues can't nickel-and-dime young acts and expect to keep both a solid calendar and quality relationship with local groups.
Partnership is so much better than sparring matches.