Okay, more of the irksome. Sometimes venting your spleen generates more spleen, but better out than in.
NAIL POLISH. All my best colors are horrible as polish, varying in opacity and drying unsmoothly. All the clear coat in the world can’t help. And when I do manage a perfect laydown, the chipping begins. But the colors that looked rich in the store and happen to turn weird on my hands (or make my hands look green, liverish, corpsey, or the color of a defective medical appliance) flow on cleanly, set perfectly, and last forever. Hateful.
HUFFINGTON POST. They changed their comments policy and people can’t use anonymous handles anymore. They say I can be grandfathered in, having commented to solid acclaim and no complaints for many years, but they still require me (like everyone) to log in with Facebook to make comments. I know this is something most people do without qualm or reservation, but it irks the bejaysus outta me and I balk no matter who asks it.
SLATE. They also changed their commenting format, twice now, to make it “prettier” or some such — but it’s harder to skim comments, impossible to track one’s own comments (and any replies) and more difficult to read at a glance when everything is broken up. Look, folks — I’m a longtime reader of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. I love VF, but it is awful for a variety of reasons, and one of them is opening all their stories at the front of the mag and continuing them at the end. That “please turn to page 183” business is lame and you know it. The New Yorker is great for a lot of reasons, and one of them is that they don’t do that. Fiction, essays, whatever — it all stays together in one continuous, contiguous mass. Easier to read, easier to tear out and file or mail or pass along. Slate could take a lesson.
JOURNALISM (OR “JOURNALISM”): look, I don’t expect news-for-profit to be without a slant. But the open bias, the publishing of PR flack from politicians and corporations — it’s not journalism. Passing press releases as news is a lie. It’s nothing new, but it’s worse than ever. Where does one go for current events that are meaningfully explained and thoughtfully contextualized?
E-BOOKS & DIGITAL MUSIC. They are saving the environment, allowing life in smaller homes, and protecting collections from mechanical damage. Entire libraries can be made available to schools in poverty and shipped to third world countries for the cost of a button; for this I love them. So convenient it hurts. But one of the ways I get to know people is by seeing what they read on the bus and checking out their bookshelves and music collections at home. The way I have been historically most likely to receive musical cross pollination is by borrowing a friend’s music and then trampling the world to get to my local independent music store (or borrowing a book and trampling the world to buy a copy from my local independent book store). Everything is Amazon, everything is iTunes, and everyone’s collections are none of my business. Sad for me.
SOCIAL MEDIA. Not for me, mind you; for me, it’s a lifesaver. I’m in the prime of life and I’ve lived in various states and my family is scattered. Social media allows connection with friends dear enough to miss but not dear enough to call or write. Other folks complain about oversharing the trivial, but not me — I love it. It makes me feel in touch with my far-flung crew. Dinner pics from I Love Sushi in San Jose, Juan’s in Phoenix, The Owl in ABQ, Aunt Martha’s in Springfield, and the Vista Linda in Somers, Montana — it’s as if we’re having dinner together. But the friendship came first. For young people, social media is a place to make connections much more than to nurture them. It’s a place to expose yourself (sometimes literally) — to be brave, hopefully to be known. But the high connectivity can mean low intimacy, and loneliness or lack of community. Not to mention poor socialization. I know it’s easy to worry about kids and they usually do just fine, but still.