Monday, July 18, 2005

Bernard GoldbergThose of us here at Disquieting Modern Trends, Inc. heartily applaud former CBS News senior correspondent-turned-conservative-nut job Bernard Goldberg’s decision to write a book titled The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). We believe in making long and highly subjective lists of things that we do not like and then submitting them for public approval. Plainly this will help to bring the country together, healing the rift between red and blue states and making us all realize that, whatever our differences, peanut butter is a truly outstanding example of what America is all about. And if you are one of those pathetic losers who are allergic to peanuts, then we feel sorry for you, as you have never had the sublime pleasure of consuming mass quantities of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on a very hot day with Rachel Hunter.1

Rachel Hunter in a still from Fountains of Wayne's music video 'Stacy's Mom.' Ms. Hunter has no idea who Fountains of Wayne are.Unlike Bernie, however, we believe that individuals can do only so much damage. Rather, we prefer to slander and generally deride whole groups of people. Because, let’s face it, when people get together, they can really fuck things up.

So, here they are—several categories of people who are bringing the nation to ruin.

People Who Take Classes in Improv Comedy
Here is how we see it: there are some funny people, and about five of them can be funny on the spur of the moment. Those funny people are all on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, and the rest of the funny people must forthwith be ordered to stop making sit-coms and, instead, to write for “The Daily Show.” Everyone else: give up your comedy aspirations and spend your spare time doing community service in nursing homes.

Look, we have read all about how “blogging” is changing the way Americans think and further democratizing the nation. But from what we can tell, most blogs do not resemble journalism or incisive commentary as much as they remind us of our Aunt Sadie who loved to complain about the stuffing every Thanksgiving. “Where’s the celery? What? Your mother has something against celery?” Bloggers, if no one wants to put your views in ink on paper, there is a reason. 2 Your punishment for “blogging” so much: staring at George Will’s bowtie while whistling the Nightline theme.

People Who Still Wear Birkenstocks When They Could Be Wearing Tevas
Summer is here, and it is sandal season, folks. There was a time, we suppose, when the legendarily “groovy” Birkenstock was actually the best sandal out there, molding itself to your foot and guaranteeing that Ralph Nader himself would come to your house to discuss the decline of the labor movement. But now that Tevas—part sandal, part sneaker, all comfort—have been around for at least a decade, the Birkenstock people must face facts. Both sandals make you look like a fool, but only one is truly practical. Nader, of course, only wears Florsheim.


People Who Shop at Costco
We have only recently experienced Costco, and if you haven’t had the pleasure, let us recommend that you never do so. Shopping at Costco is like an LSD trip for people who dream of lettuce. Grocery stores on horrible, mammal-mutating steroids, Costco warehouses suggest that the rest of the world is right about America. Under one roof you can buy a bag of seven-dozen peppers, a 42-inch television and a pack of irregular Fruit of-the Loom boxer-briefs. These “groceries” must be loaded out of the store in cardboard boxes hauled on the kind of dollies used for moving furniture, then loaded in the back of the armored personnel carriers that most Americans now drive rather than cars. It is an utter mystery to us why so many of us choose to live this way, and we do not believe their claims that it is all about saving money. What are people doing with packs containing 50 rolls of toilet paper? Perhaps we do not want to know.


People of the Bottled Water Industry
It was bad enough that coffee went from costing 99¢ in diners to costing $3.99 at Starbucks. But water used to be free! The evil geniuses who found a way to get Americans to spend more than a buck a pop for water could probably convince us of anything. Forget the alleged terrorists—put the Dasani people in the Guantánamo Bay prisons. Bleed them of their devious methods and use them in Iraq.

People Not in the Military Using the Abbreviation “Gitmo”
Speaking of Guantánamo Bay, since when did non-military folk use the abbreviation “Gitmo”? We have done some research on this: the abbreviation is properly spelled “GTMO,” so the whole “Gitmo” thing is both presumptuous and wrong. All civilians who use such insider Navy lingo are, essentially by definition, full of it and should be subject to ceaseless, warrantless, non-citizenlike, Patriot Act-orific interrogation at 0500.


Whoever Thought of Cross-Breeding the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle
We love dogs here at Disquieting Modern Trends, and we particularly love a mixed breed. But no dog should have to live with the indignity of being referred to as a “cockapoo.” On this we stand firm.

Californians—The Whole Lot of Them
First, there are too many of you. Do you realize how terrible that makes Rhode Island and Montana feel? Second, you are too confusing and diverse. You develop a reputation for being liberal, then you elect Schwarzenegger as governor. Plus: all those TV shows about libidinous housewife paranormal crime-scene investigators. Please stop.


The Producers of NBC’s Today Show
We don’t know about you, but there was a time when we liked to get ready for work while watching the first half hour of NBC’s morning “news” show. We seem to faintly recall Katie Couric3 and some other guy—somebody Gumbel?—interviewing world leaders, politicians and even some intelligent people about actual events that mattered to us. Today the “real news” segment of the show lasts 47 seconds before coverage of the Scott Peterson–Michael Jackson–Tom Cruise mud-wrestling match begins. We’d listen to National Public Radio instead but (a) they fired Bob Edwards, and (b) we no longer wear Birkenstocks.

Whoever Is Stealing Our Scissors
Man, are the scissors ever in the drawer where they are supposed to be? Who has the freaking scissors?! We’re serious this time: put them back!

The Current Inhabitants of the White House
Um, maybe it’s just us, but doesn’t this war seem more and more unwinnable every day? It is like an improv comedy bit that just won’t end and isn’t, you know, funny.4 At a minimum, we would like the current inhabitants of the White House to admit that Bernard Goldberg’s 37th-most execrable American, Al Franken, is better at his job (driving Bill O’Reilly crazy) than the president is at his. Then we can let Bernie Goldberg take over the war effort. Let’s see who’s screwing up America then.

NEXT: Mid-summer Edition—Why doesn’t anyone drink Kool-Aid any more?

1 Neither have we had this pleasure, but we have come close, which is to say that we have done this sans the Rachel Hunter part, though our imaginations kind of took care of that part pretty, er, handily. Speaking of Rachel Hunter, we just want to say that the least disquieting thing about last summer was the pleasing success of Fountains of Wayne's power-pop hit "Stacey's Mom" (video starring said Ms. Hunter), and that we hereby endorse and approve of FoW's lastest song, "Maureen," which will probably go largely unplayed on American radio this summer (quite possibly because of the lack of Rachel Hunter in its video), which is--yes--a disquieting sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-shame.

2 By now, we think you must be aware that we are aware that this criticism can be leveled as easily against us as against our enemies. The difference is this: "Blogging" has gotten more publicity in the last year than Tom Cruise and Ashton Kutcher combined, whereas we (and our chosen form of expression, smarty-pants, pseudo-literary wiseass Internet bitching) remain thoroughly unheralded. In fact, it is incumbent on us to announce that Disquieting Modern Trends has been accorded no less an accolade/insult than this: we have been individually dubbed "C-List Blogebrities" by a Web site cited in the online Wikipedia. This means, among other things, that Mssr. Fischer's name is right next to that of chubby lesbian former talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell on this list, B.T.W. In any case, being C-List is, essentially, to be no-list at all. Any real "bloggers" worth their weight in toner cartridges have had the opportunity to be on MSNBC, minimum. We have yet to be invited on a cable-access show. Though, we'll tell you true, we will never appear on television until Terry Gross has interviewed us. Just a matter of time.

3We do not expect you to believe this, but one of the critical members of the D.M.T. team actually attended Katie Couric's wedding. And, we hasten to add, his invitation was not forged. We can attest to the fact that Katie--once a nobody-turned-America's-sweetheart and now a journalistic bottom-feeder who surely knows better--was once a foul-mouthed wisenheimer who caused us endless delight. It pains us to list her as part of a Disquieting Modern Trend, but it is our obligation to you that comes first.

4 Did we watch the president's recent speech in which he tried to assure us that things are going well in Iraq and that he has got everything under control? Yes, we did. We are not suggesting that we abandon Iraq now, after having gone Godzilla all over the place with our laser weapons, but our thought is: maybe the right to finish this job should be earned on the basis of having caused the mess in the first place.

Muggles, Mudbloods, & Morons The Y.P.R. Book Club hereby declares Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Clam by J. K. Rowling its next selection. We'd like to see your magical parodies, deleted chapters, musical adaptations, illustrations, etc., whether you've read the book or not. Please...
All About Me: 12 Poems   Caveman Someday I want to go spelunking again with 400,000 albino epileptics with tails. I haven't done it since I was a sperm. *     *     * Yamahaha I'm thinking about replacing my vital organs with a synthesizer....
Everlasting Gobstopper In light of topical humor, may we present you with some recycled material? "Wonka'ed" by Geoff Wolinetz...

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