Mostly I write on topics I suspect concern a wide enough audience. Columnists don’t just write on anything that pops into their minds but need to do a bit of service to reader-clients.
But I think it’s OK, now and then, to indulge myself with a topic or two that’s more personal.
In that spirit, I am going to take the risky step of laying out some of my pet peeves as we look back on 2008 and ahead to 2009.
These are not the most serious complaints I have about culture, politics, religion and other human institutions. Instead, they are matters that tend to irritate me personally.
Take my favorite color, for an example. I am nuts about red-orange — the color of the California poppy and the old Mustang and the setting sun over the Pacific. Yes, this is the opposite of a pet peeve, more of a pet love. It is, however, exactly personal and idiosyncratic.
What about a genuine pet peeve, then? Well, heavy bangs would serve as a good case in point. Cannot stand them even if the face is gorgeous in all other respects. Somehow these bangs even suggest something more generally puzzling — why would someone wish to hide a forehead?
Bad dancers get to me, those who go out there and gyrate without a bit of rhythm. Sure, they could be having fun, though I cannot see how, given how bad they are at what they are doing. I just cannot abide by it, maybe because I am such a great fan of the likes of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.
And while I am at it, I should mention singing off key. Totally puts me off.
There is also that genre of painting, the very poorly executed abstract work. I didn’t used to take to any abstract paintings, but then I changed and began to like some of them as a form of design — shapes and colors and intensity, all well coordinated. But when it is without the slightest sense of balance, it really sucks, as far as I am concerned. I even fancy that I can spot one of these awful efforts at a distance.
Pointless jargon, the sort that reeks of having been manufactured despite there being no need for it. I am nearly paranoid about this — some folks write, it seems, to prevent their being understood.
Cops who swagger really put me off, and this includes nearly all those out there enforcing the rules of the road. Frankly, I don’t even regard these people as officers of the law. These rules of the road, however necessary, are just that, rules of the road. They are just a step above rules of attire at some private school. Yes, yes, the rules sort of aim at orderliness and even safety, but more often they appear to aim solely at revenue generation.
I won’t go into the types of driving that I despise. It would fill a book.
But here is at least a small sample of what I just happen to like and dislike.
It may say a bit about me, for better or for worse.
Tibor Machan advises Freedom Communications, parent company of this newspaper. E-mail him at: TMachan@link.freedom.coma