Pirouetting with Armageddon (3 July 2009)

It is also why my reading habits have long since led me to the British papers where wit, originality, and proper grammar aren't yet considered antisocial. And frankly, I'm not interested in socializing with my newspaper. [. . .]

I was doing research...Oh, all right, I was at the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon standing in one of those long "express" lines, and perusing tab covers while waiting to pay obscene amounts for broccoli.

I stood slack-jawed gazing at cover-after-cover featuring some unattractive middle-aged woman whom I had never heard of and her dodgy-looking husband. I asked the cashier who they were? She didn't know, but in putting out the magazines, had managed to glean that the husband was having an affair! I looked askance at the well-groomed 60ish woman behind me: she shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.

Intrepid reporter that I am, I pulled out a magazine, brandished it over my head, and addressed my fellow shoppers.

‘Excuse me: Does anyone know who these people are?’ I asked the assemblage. Much confused discussion followed, until a woman with a stroller transporting twins enlightened us all.

‘Oh, of course. If we don't know who some supposed-celeb is, it must be reality TV...,’ we all concluded, and went back to business.

Probably more than we need to know

But it was undoubtedly a community-building moment. I'm certain of this, because I bumped into one of the assemblage last week.

‘Hi, did you see Jon and Kate are getting a divorce?’ she asked.

I replied that there was a rumour that the Other Woman (a grade school teacher!) would be on a future episode. We chortled -- neither of us watches the show -- and scooped up our bags of apples secure in the notion that, should Armageddon come, neither of would be voting the other off the raft or out of the shelter because we were both clear on our status as nice, social people.

With the importance of self-preservation in mind, I've also stopped yelling at all the people playing that wretched, self-indulgent Thriller everywhere I go. (No pop song should be five minutes long!) I now realize they probably don't like the music any better than I do. They just want to say what all the grey-haired Baby Boom is thinking: ‘He was just X years younger/older than ME. (Shannon Rupp, “Science Discovers Celebrities are Useful for Something,” The Tyee, July 3 2009)

Note to Shannon: Writing a piece to demonstrate how elevated you are, could be read by some to be rather self-indulgent stuff. Also, identifying yourself so loudly with British wit and substance, and against crass works of popular culture (oh, the writing of the sports journalists!; oh, how I looked askance at all the wretched self-indulgence that permeated my glance!), identifies you as the country bumpkin with pretensions, able to believe herself refined only because she has no idea as to how a lady really thinks and feels. It all has to be done much, much, more softly, discreetly, casually. You thunder about too much: the words you use you think show your class, really mostly blast out at us. Right now, Armageddon struck me as an apt pseudonym. Right now, when you said you "bumped into [. . .] the assemblage," it was too easy to imagine said assemblage crumbling. Right now, when you said you "chortled," it was too easy to imagine you . . . chortling.

Also, word to the wise, if I were you, I wouldn't too loudly complain about the quality work doesn't guarantee recognition bit.

Link: Science Discovers Celebrities are Useful for Something (Shannon Rupp)


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