Have You Ever Noticed…?

It’s Friday. Let’s Have a Lighter Discussion to Usher in Your Weekend

I have Noticed a Few Things of Late

Any of these ring a bell for you as they have for me? Some have been with us awhile, others a bit new. All are, at the least, a bit irritating. There are, actually, a gazillion such things in life, but in the interest of Potential Reader Fatigue (PRF – Stand by for announcements of a telethon to help crush this devastating condition. 😉)

 Health Warnings on Drug Ads

Every time I listen to one of those drug ads on TV, I feel worse than I did at the start of the commercial. The list of potential side effects is always long and terrible sounding. Some are almost humorous. An example: “May rarely result in death.” Yeah, rarely. Once would do it, I think.

I have long wondered about the wisdom of advertising medicines on open media to the public. We have not a clue if these products are any good, but we sure are encouraged to ask our doctors about them. I am an old-fashioned guy. I tell my doctor what my symptoms and concerns are. He or She is then responsible to diagnose and recommend. We do better by staying in our lane.

Our 100 Best Holiday Recipes

Many of us enjoy cooking. So, it’s natural to perk up when coming across a Best of recipe list. A Best of list should be, by definition, limited. Otherwise, the term Best of does not mean much. Recently there have been articles like “Our 85 best Thanksgiving Recipes” or “100 Best Desserts Ever.” I don’t think so.

You might have 85 pretty good recipes, but 85 Best of? How many did not make the cut? 237? 6,000? A Best of List should top out at about a dozen or so. Otherwise, it’s like those sporting events where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. Best of does not mean anything unless its one of a few that makes the cut.

 It’s All Over! Political Ads

We all get political solicitations. If you ever contributed to any candidate, you get appeals from that candidate and lots of others – pretty much all year, forever. That is basically OK – we want to support good candidates.

But the breathless ads of “We are all going to die unless you send us $7 RIGHT NOW!” wears a little thin. They also rather insult our intelligence, although they must work at some level, or they would not keep sending them out. This could be done better.

I remember often getting email requests from Stacy Abrams when the race was on for two US Senate seats in Georgia. They were generally sane, adult messages. They ran along the lines of “This is really important, we know how to do this, we need your help with resources to make it happen.” Works for me.

Telling us every other day that the world will end unless we contribute today seems to me to cheapen the currency of citizen participation at a time we really need that engagement. Ease up, you copy writers. Stop hyperventilating in print. You make it harder to take your message seriously.

No One Replaced Jon Stewart

Perhaps the thing I miss the most from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is the ability of he and his research team to connect behavioral dots and to catch publicity sleights of hand. They were absolutely the best at this. No offense to his successor, who I really like,  and spin offs, but John’s team did it better than anyone else.

I remember in particular a photo Trump and Fox were showing of a crowd at a rally in DC. It had been circulating for over a week on all sorts of outlets. Stewart’s team was the one who demonstrated the time of year, the season, in the photo was off. It was a fake photo. The actual crowd was much, much smaller.

They caught a ton of stuff like that, to my undying gratitude. Too soon to tell if his new show on Apple TV+ will restore that much needed capability. In the meantime, Rachel Maddow’s team seems to be the champs in this field now. They are pretty good at attention to detail and keeping track of statements. John Oliver does reasonably well too. But neither match Stewart’s record. That is a loss. We can fairly expect this standard from journalism more broadly.

What a Mess Cable and Streaming are These Days

 I have wanted to Cut the Cable forever. Many of you have. But so far, although I find a lot I like on several sites, I still find that to get everything I would like to see, it would cost at least as much, if not more, than the more standard cable bundle. Frustrating. We really should be able to better stream what we want.

Why couldn’t someone offer a system that offers about everything, and we pay, the amount depending on commercials, etc. for specific programs we actually watch, whether on TV or streaming. Not subscribing to a “channel,” but paying a reasonable price for each show we watch, free to pick from all that is available. I would not mind paying even a bit more for that.

Of course, we would have to give up Latin American soap operas and Russian talk shows, but we could get over the loss, me thinks. There is a lot of good stuff out there to watch. How about making it easier to enjoy them, please.

Pronouns are a Problem

I am going to close out this list with something that is a bit more important, and a bit more problematic. This might merit its own blog post at some time, for we do not want to misinterpret the issues or options. This one likely will irritate some readers, and I understand that.

Gender identity and sexuality are more complex and subtle today than in the past. People are more inclined to see themselves somewhere along a continuum than in an Either/Or profile. I get that. For a lot of us, that discussion does not apply personally, but that does not mean it is invalid for others. I suspect the trends we see popping up now are healthier in the long run. We should be OK with people trying to figure such things out.

But the matter of selecting what pronouns you wish to be referred to seems to me a nonstarter. Maybe it is because I have enough trouble remembering names, without trying to remember the pronoun of choice as well. And some folks want to use several pronouns. I know this is important to a lot of people, and I want to be supportive, but this seems to me just impractical. I believe Southerners broke the code on this long ago. We just refer to everyone as Y’all and call it a day.


That is more than enough random ramblings for one posting. Have a great weekend. And don’t be shy about sharing your observations like these. What amuses, confuses, or irritates you? Enquiring minds want to know! Wait, someone else used that slogan….

          Bill Clontz

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