The Un-Thankful List 2016

So it’s the week of Thanksgiving and, like the rest of the country, except for enjoying a couple days off, I’ve chosen to kind of ignore it as a topic and just do my own thing!

As someone with a wide breadth of interests I find it fascinating how many super popular trends never catch on with me.  I tend to become obsessed with anything that even slightly grabs my attention long enough for it to become a “hobby” (of which I have far too many), but often the biggest or most prevalent of trends, or at least the ones everyone I know seems to be in to for extended periods of time, always turn out to be anti-interesting to me.  So in lieu of being thankful in a post, I thought I’d share a few of the most popular trends I can think of that I simply just don’t get…  If you like any of these things no strike against you!  Like Jim Sterling always says, I wish I could too because being able to enjoy more things would only improve life.  But here’s this year’s list:

  • Pokemon: This one has been around forever and from day dot I never understood the appeal. Gathering Tamagotchi, training them, then battling them is something that just makes me scratch my head as to why it’s popular. Plus it all seems like rock-paper-scissors while you try to increase numbers so your numbers are better than your opponent’s numbers.  It’s also so nakedly commercial even as mercenary as I am I can’t see past it…  Definitely not for me.

  • Game of Thrones: My sister bade me watch this show when it was early in its second season. I watched the first four episodes of season one and gave up on it.  R rated fantasy soap opera designed to shock you in the same way The Walking Dead did with the “no one is safe” philosophy.  I’m not actually shocked by anyone who died because I don’t care about any of them.

  • Internet Overreaction: Wow has this gotten out of control.  Every rumor, every bit of news, every story snippet is met with a wall of people who bitch endlessly.  Now I’m firmly in the Anti-Ghostbusters remake camp, but the internet reaction was ludicrous.  Pro people acting like a movie represented an entire social movement; anti people acting like a film was destroying all pop history.  In the end it’s just a mediocre comedy.  Any time Games Workshop brings out news it’s declared “the worst thing ever.”  Film casting is the end of the world.  The internet is like a herd of retarded gazelles; they panic at the slightest alarm but all run staggering in chaotic directions.

  • Dubstep: This one has faded into the general EDM noise, but it all still sounds like Sega Genesis music to me. This kind of music just makes me think I need to gain a few extra lives in Streets of Rage.

  • Anime: For a period of three or four years I was all about anime.  I watched tons of it and then…well I’d kind of seen enough.  I still love a few, Rurouni Kenshin, Full Metal Panic, You’re Under Arrest, Love Hina…  But so much of it is so…well poorly written while at the same time being so self-indulgently proud of itself I kind of lost all interest in it.  And the way it has worked itself into all kinds of art and media has turned so many creative ideas into a gray hegemony of anime style.  And wow can these writers really not end a story to save their lives…

  • Beards: I honestly don’t know why this has become the guy fashion trend of the 2010s or who started it. It’s almost like all guys who think it’s too “girly” to spend a lot of time on their hair decided they would grow beards instead and spending time working on their beards would be more “manly.”  Then most of them spend a lot of time on their hair too.  An entire cottage industry of shaving paraphernalia has sprung up around it.  It’s like any fashion trend it’ll pass eventually but it is still essentially just doing your hair guys…

  • Online Multiplayer: We all have been online at some point and watched people interact. It is, with possible exception of sitting in traffic, the worst of humanity on display for all to see.  So why not put a competitive element in it as well?  MMORPGs, First Person Shooters, the new MOBAs that are taking over.  I can’t imagine a more aggravating way to spend hours of my life than dealing with virtual people behaving anonymously for competition.

  • Beverage Obsession: This has gone on a long time…but with the prevalence of hispters in the world it’s only gotten worse. Designer coffees, craft beers (I hate that term), wine culture, I’ll never understand spending ungodly amounts of money on things to drink; it just seems so unusual.  I mean there are so many books and Warhammer models to buy, am I right?

  • Ninten-culture: For some reason Mario and the Legend of Zelda get a world’s free pass as cultural icons. When I was at DragonCon you couldn’t move through the vendor hall without face-planting into some kind of Mario or LoZ  I know a lot of it is my generation grew up with it and now we buy products that remind us of our youths…but retro gaming, and hell even Nintendo, was a lot more than two franchises.  No love for Double Dragon, or Dragon Warrior (Quest)?  Where is all the Atari or classic arcade based merchandise (not counting YOU Pixels…)?  Sure love the two retro-giant franchises but not at the expense of the rest.

  • Device Fixation: Did you get the new iPhone? Or see it? Or bitch about what features it has/doesn’t have?  Yeah I didn’t.  I’ve been asked several times “what phone do you have?” and/or “When will you get the new one?”  My response usually is “A Samsung Galaxy something” and “Whenever this one breaks…”  The amount of time people spend staring at little screens is also astounding.  They’re great tools.  I use mine for social media (I take lots of cat pictures), communication, and workout regimens, but to see the number of people with two headphones in everywhere (even in their cars which I’m pretty sure is illegal) or see how many people are constantly staring down at whatever is on their handheld glowing screen at the moment remains a culture shock.  Karl Pilkington said it best, it’s not about people wanting more information or music than ever before, it’s all about having the accessory.  Sing-it Pilkie01.

So that’s my gripe list for the year.  Yeah some of these are probably repeats but it just goes to show how long a lot of these trends have been lingering.  It’ll be interesting to see if any of these finally die off in the new year…or how many will appear on next year’s list!

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