Batavick: A second helping of pet peeves for the end of 2017

As this year lurches toward its denouement (French for “train wreck”), I offer another installment of my pet peeves.

Body wash. We’ve stayed at some friends’ houses lately and, when I hopped into the shower, all I could find was body wash. What happened to the old, reliable bar of soap? I don’t like juggling clumsy plastic bottles, and always seem to use too much of this substance that washes off as fast as you apply it.


Vulgar language. President Donald Trump’s “grab them” line on “Access Hollywood” and the unspooling sexual harassment narratives since the Harvey Weinstein scandal have coarsened society. It appears there are now no standards of proprietary for the words used and acts described by the press, and we are the lesser for it.

Cellphone video. I recently attended a high school holiday concert and was forced to see my granddaughters perform through a forest of smartphones held aloft by proud but annoying parents. Folks, take your eyes off the tiny screens and savor the irreplaceable sights and sounds of the moment.

“Sesame Street” on HBO. New episodes of this cherished preschool series are now airing first on HBO before being shown on PBS. This franchise was created and produced with taxpayer money to help less advantaged kids learn their numbers and letters. How many lower-income families can afford a premium service like HBO?

“Trump Truth” bumper stickers. I can’t think of anything more Orwellian.

Destination weddings. Bali is for the honeymoon, not the wedding. These exotic site weddings appear to be a way to suppress attendance by imposing high travel costs on guests while maximizing the number of gifts and cash sent.

Music at wedding receptions. Whether live or from a DJ, the music often begins with the tunes of the 1950s through the ’90s, but then quickly deteriorates into abrasive rap. Yes, this is an “age” thing, as the tunes go from the anthem-like “Sweet Caroline” to the misogynistic “Like This.”

The “N” word. If it is so offensive to African-Americans, then why do we hear it so often in rap, stand-up routines by black comedians and in their casual conversation? White kids copy almost everything they see and hear in black culture, from baggy pants to slang. The black community needs to send the horrible “N” word into permanent exile, not blatantly claim a birthright to a double standard.

Rush Limbaugh on Stephen Hawking’s support of climate change science: “I'll bet you when they see stuff like this, Stephen Hawking is like Bill Nye the Science Guy … The left has … dumbed down their professoriate, they've dumbed down their commentariat, they have dumbed down practically everybody in their ranks.” This brickbat was thrown at a Nobel Laureate by a college drop-out.

Phone numbers that aren’t numbers but letters that spell something. Clever, but it makes you take that much longer to dial the number.

Touchdown celebrations. I find the dancing, gyrating, miming, taunting and other demonstrations by NFL players after doing what they are paid to do increasingly annoying. They are better than that, and sometimes their goofy actions come a bit too close to minstrelsy.

Coded racism. Many exhibited it this year by taking a sincere protest by NFL players about police brutality and making it all about disrespecting the flag and our military. The real message got lost in the patriotic hoopla.

Messin’ with the ol’ red, white and blue No. 1. A nearby home now flies a flag that is half stars and stripes and half the Confederate battle flag. The latter is the banner of treason and a lost cause, and this hybrid flag sullies our national symbol.

Messin’ with the ol’ red, white and blue No. 2. I can’t thank our police enough for the selfless job they do, but whose idea was it to change the American flag’s stripes to white, black and blue? This bruises Old Glory. Shall we next do camo stripes for the military? Betsy Ross must be rolling over in her grave.

A certain state delegate. Let me guess. You were bullied as a kid, right? That would explain your incessant name-calling and insults now that you “dabble in politics.”


Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Adam Sandler and Jackie Chan. These five men were the highest paid actors in 2016-17 with a combined income of $287 million. America’s got talent? America’s got no taste.

There. I feel much better. That’s it for 2017, folks. Thanks for your readership, and have a healthy and prosperous new year!