Gimbling in the Wabe – Mini-Rants

by Sharon Browning

I took last week off Gimbling in the Wabe; after writing three fairly epic works (for me), I was whinykind of burned out, and our Editor in Chief urged me to take a break.  So I did.  And as I looked around for something to write about in the last few weeks, I realized that I had inside of me not one big topic that wanted to get out, but lots of mini-rants.

You know the type.  Where something really trips your trigger, but it’s not big enough or deep enough to warrant more than a momentary distraction.  And I figured a lot of you might have the same sort of reaction to your own triggers.  So I thought I would share a few of mine, just for kicks and giggles.  I realize that a post like this makes me look a lot like a crabby old lady.  Fair enough.  I can live with that.  It still feels good.  So here they are.  Feel free to chime in, if the spirit moves you.

Oh, and I realized that most of them have to do with commercials.  I guess that means I’ve been watching way too much television lately.  So be it.  But maybe it’s also because commercials and advertising are so pervasive, and yet seem to have more than their share of idiocy.  If the shoe fits, I guess.  Anyway, I hope a few of these resonate with you.

  • A car commercial points out that various successful companies (and other endeavors) started in a garage:  Amazon, Disney, the Ramones.  They then point out that their cars come out of garages.  Uh… say what?  Do they expect anyone to draw a connection between those things?
  • Another car commercial shows a woman delighting in a car that her (presumed) husband has just given her as a gift, but then a different car drives by and all of a sudden her brand spanking new car is not good enough, even though she hasn’t even gotten in and driven it yet.  Even the husband looks ashamed for his inadequate gift.  Is there anything more gratuitous and ridiculous?
  • And what about the Cadillac commercial that was aired during the winter Olympics, where some hyper-masculine middle aged fellow berates Europeans for taking so much time off to spend “relaxing” and spending time with their families rather than the good old American ethic of work, work, work so we can have more stuff – like shiny black Caddys, apparently.  I have never seen the American public told so baldly that “stuff” is better than time spent with loved ones.  That one really burned me.
  • Another commercial shows very comely older women in provocative poses giving “come hither” looks to the camera while porno music pulses in the background, shilling a drug that supposedly alleviates pain from sex after menopause.  Maybe this is an issue for some women, but does it really have such a large potential customer base to warrant prime time advertising (as opposed to women talking about this with their doctors)?  Could it be that the pharmaceutical company is trying to drum up users based on innuendo and suggestion, to a demographic terrified of looking like they are growing old?  (Perhaps it’s more for men who hear “it’s no longer good for me” in their aging partners and can only believe it’s a problem with the woman’s plumbing….)
  • And while we’re talking about women and sex, do they actually teach young female actresses, especially those in crime/thriller television roles, to act with their lips perpetually parted?  Is that the “sexy pose”?  You don’t see the male actors doing that.  I want to yell at my TV screen, “Just shut yer mouth, will ya?”  (Sometimes, I do.)
  • When a fast food restaurant advertises a “$1.00 and more” menu, shouldn’t our response be, “Isn’t everything on your menu $1.00 or more?”
  • And while we’re on the subject of fast food – another commercial touts a lunch meal deal of breaded chicken strips with gravy, french fries, a soft drink and an ice cream sundae as “a great meal” for “only $5.00”.  Relatively cheap?  Perhaps.  A “good meal”?  Well, it may taste good, but it sure as heck isn’t a meal that is positive in any other way.  We accept, though, that this is a “good deal”.  And we then bemoan how obese we are as a society, and actively discriminate based on body shape.
  • Actually, from watching the commercials, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m either not cool enough or not pretty enough (or both) to drink anything by Michelob.  Or anything stronger than beer.  At all.  Especially vodka.
  • I’m also not cool enough to drive any Lexus, Chrysler, Acura or even freekin’ Fiat, or ANY truck, period.  But then, since I’ve never been able to afford a new car ever in my life, I’m probably not in their demographic anyway.
  • Changing the subject, slightly:  Not to sound unsympathetic, but it seems like a prerequisite for getting on a reality talent show nowadays is to have suffered some kind of personal loss or tragedy; even better if it has happened recently.
  • Is there anyone, anywhere, who doesn’t believe “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait five minutes and it will change”?  And yet most feel they have some kind of exclusive claim to that statement.
  • Also, I bet that at least 1/3 of the states in the United States claim the mosquito as their state bird on numerous tacky tee shirts sold in airports.
  • I love my library, but sometimes I wonder if the librarians there snicker when all the books I’ve had on hold come in on the same week, with almost all of them being non-renewable, meaning I must read them NOW.
  • You know, I kind of miss being able to stroll into my neighborhood Blockbuster and pick out a movie to watch on a Friday night.  My husband and I used to go there, not knowing which New Release we wanted to watch, we’d just pick something spontaneously.  Sometimes they were out of what looked like the most fun, but not often, and they always had something worth watching even if it wasn’t our first choice.  Nowadays, you have virtually anything available instantaneously, but there are strings attached, always strings attached.   The cable service that you already pay too much for still requires an extra (not insignificant) charge to watch the movies you want to watch, the new ones; or you have to subscribe to a higher tier or a specific “premium” package to get the show you want to watch, even if you want to watch seasons that aired years ago.  Or you can get on a free service, or the other free service, or that other free service, but you have to find another way to link it to your TV so everyone can watch it (if you have the right kind of TV, and you move the cables around), or you can stream it, but your internet provider only allows you so much bandwidth without paying more so after a while it is constantly stopping and buffering, or there is some other kind of technical issue or bug or upgrade or download, or you have to use a different remote and its low on batteries and you don’t have replacements and the rechargeables didn’t get plugged in or something…  Occam’s Razor, baby, Occam’s Razor.
  • When I hear that unemployment is down, does that take into account those people who no longer get benefits but still cannot find work?  That’s a pretty healthy number of people, I’ll bet.  Rolling off the public records should not skew the picture, and the picture should always include the big one.
  • And to bring it back full circle, I don’t care if Amy Poehler is the hiring manager, if you go into a law firm for an interview – even for a file clerk position – dressed in Old Navy checkered jeans and a thin white tee-shirt, you are NOT going to get the job.

So there’s just a few of the mini-rants that I had sticking in my craw.  I’m sure if you gave me another few days, I could come up with another list just as long, but I’ll refrain from posting any more.  I hate it when folks drone on and on after something has become tedious, so I’ll do my best to not become one of “those people” myself.

Just one more thing – you!  You kids!  Get off my lawn!  And stay off!

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LitStackEditor 14 March, 2014 - 9:53 am

LOL This was fabulous and I agree with all your rants, Sharon!

Gregory Fisher 16 March, 2014 - 1:15 pm


As a librarian assistant, I can promise you that we are not snickering. Most librarians are readers and we’ve had that happen to us too. If you rely on a library for a great deal of your reading — as I do — you’re going to have those kinds of due-date crunches. I try to limit ordering new books to just 1 or 3 and order more older books (a year or more older) which can either be renewed easily or re-ordered if need be. It’s not a perfect system and I’ve had to accept fines on occasion just to keep a book long enough to finish it.

Sharon Browning 18 March, 2014 - 11:10 am

Whew! Good to know Gregory! And I try to limit my book requests, really I do, but I’m just so weak, so very weak….. Thanks for manning the desk, good sir! We who rely on our libraries salute you!

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