The Grumpy Editor's Enemies (and Friends) List
The weather turned cold and rainy before Labo[u]r Day. My head hurt all weekend. I saw one too many ridiculous comments posted in public places on the internet. The list goes on. That's when I decided: no more Mr Nice Guy. I'm going to be as grumpy and cantankerous as the rest of the planet. At least, for one page-worth of whinge and moan.
Here, then, is my Enemies List, in no particular order.
I don't want to know you if:
- You have ever used 'something-tard' to describe other people on Twitter.
- You're a policeman, and you tried to arrest a nurse for refusing to give you someone's blood sample without a licence.
- You think Hillbilly Elegy is a fair representation of a portion of humanity. Or that it belongs on a university syllabus. Or that it's a reason not to offer their children education or other opportunities.
- You get really excited about Melania Trump's shoes, and where she wears them. People: life's too short for this.
- You're still sure the earth is a) flat, or b) not undergoing climate change, or that NASA are hiding something.
- You think eating meat is a sin, and 'baby cows' are way cute, but don't care what happens to kids in developing countries because you think they're not like you.
- Your favourite forms of entertainment feed consumerism, revenge fantasies, and snobbery. Snobbery is a lot more harmful than people think it is.
Okay, that's me being grumpy. I can't help it. I'm crotchety today. I watched The Eichmann Show last night, and I woke up from a nightmare at 5 am. The film reminded me of the shock I got as a kid watching the original trial. My opinion, then and now? That man's twisted mouth said it all. He'd done something really terrible, and got caught. He didn't feel bad about it, one little bit. He was a miserable human being. I know people want to think he was some kind of monster, but I agree with the director, Mr Hurwitz. Eichmann wasn't a monster. He was just a poor excuse for a human being. Realising that human beings have things like that in their souls traumatised me as a kid, and it still does.
People need to be better than that. They need to pass Stanley Milgram's test – never behave in a way that hurts others, no matter what authority figures tell you it's all right. Because sooner or later, some humans will put somebody in authority who will tell them it's all right when it isn't.
Now, here's what cheers me up.
I'm proud to know these people, or know about them:
- Alex Wubbels. She's the Salt Lake City, Utah hospital nurse who upheld the law by preventing the unauthorised blood sample of an unconscious patient. A policeman tried to arrest her. She passes the Milgram test with flying colours. You go, girl.
- The Cajun Navy. These are Louisiana civilians with shallow-draught boats who headed to Texas in a convoy to rescue flood victims after the recent hurricane. Nobody was paying them to do this. It may not be as historic as Dunkirk, but it's still an amazing act of neighbourliness.
- The mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto. He keeps tweeting cheerfully about all the things the city's doing to uphold its long tradition of multiethnic diversity. He's also committed to improving the environment and works with France on this. And he has a great sense of humour, even when French cartoonists draw him with a receding hairline he doesn't have.
- The good neighbours around here who volunteer to help each other. The kind people I meet in public places who're willing to make a friend. The little kids in the Catholic parish playground who think Elektra walking the Doglet during recess is added value in their school day.
- All h2g2 contributors who keep chipping away at our collective ignorance – and sharing their experiences, good and bad, around this globe of ours. I appreciate you, seriously.
So there you are. That's off my chest. Sooner or later, the sun will come out again. I will find something more useful to do with myself than moan. In the meantime: send more copy to the h2g2 Post, and there won't be any room for editorial rants.