Do I have to repeat myself? Stop doing that, Part...
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Feb 15, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

Do I have to repeat myself? Stop doing that, Part IV: Mallick

The fourth instalment in Heather Mallick's series on what people should stop doing immediately

OurWindsor.Ca

The implicit message of most news stories is “Stop doing that” or “I mean it, stop it now.” Editorials phrase it more helpfully: “Please stop doing that, or at least give it a think first.” But you don’t, do you? In the spirit of helpfulness, I offer Part IV of my explicit Stop Doing That series.

1. Stop telling me, “I don’t always agree with you but this time you got it right.” If you always agreed with me, you would be me and neither of us wants that. Anyway, I don’t always agree with myself, which sometimes becomes apparent at 2 in the morning, long after my gentle editors have blown the fairy dust/salad dressing off my column and posted it. The only person I consistently agree with is Noam Chomsky. Oh the breadth of his intelligence, the courtesy and humility! If you were me right now, you’d be drawing “Heather + Noam” in a heart. Now I’m going to go carve it in a tree because I own a tree and am, as my own dear Noam might put it, an “uninformed consumer making an irrational choice.”

2. Stop faking the sorry. Last June I was horrified by a British news story about two men in motorcycle helmets attacking a heavily pregnant woman on a London street, repeatedly kicking her in the stomach and stamping on her so violently that the baby died and the woman nearly bled to death. One of the men, the baby’s father, admitted in court: “When I look back on it now, I could have behaved much better.” He was sentenced to life. Said his lawyer: “He committed the most horrific offence but was otherwise a well-thought-of person.”

3. Stop naming things that should be nameless. For years designers have named dresses, like the Reina or the Kirsty, whatever. But they ran out of good names. Club Monaco has now been reduced to selling the Murgatroyd, the Petuniya, and the Witherbee, which is what you name your dog when you’re desperate. Then you practise your entrancing laugh for his trip to Canadian Tire. “He’s named Clamanta but he’s all-boy,” you trill to mute horror in the laminated floorings aisle. Save those names for hairspray. I look at a bottle of Schwarzkopf Q10Plus BCBonacure Hairtherapy Amino Cell Rebuild Time Restore Satin Spray or Moroccanoil Luminous Finish Weightless Natural Look with No Sticky Residue. Call them Petrulia and Dagny and be done with it.

4. Don’t run a column with this headline: “Most Muslims aren’t jihadists, of course. But some of them are.” It ran in the National Post comment section, which chugs along on hate. Every newspaper has its Barbara Kay, of course, except for the ones who don’t. But the headline’s idiocy got to me. Most men aren’t rapists, of course. But some of them are. So good men and women like us have them jailed, and we go on to live in perfect harmony, so what’s your point? Most wait staff don’t expect a 15 per cent tip, of course. But some do so I’m giving them 20 per cent. I’m just that way.

5. Stop dropping cigarette butts on the pavement. And store owners, sweep the sidewalk and the gutter too, because the little manned scrubbing cart can’t clean under parked cars. Smoking is a private pleasure now, not a public one. But you’re not going to stop, are you, no matter how much I beg.

6. Journalists, stop using words like “laud,” “cuss” and “heck.” Don’t write, “It was quite the …” Campaigners, don’t come up with new names for conditions, disorders or facts that are longer than the old ones. Modern life is all about condensing. Enough with the “cisgender,” “heteronormative” or “twice-exceptional.” I lack the space to translate.

7. Stop deploring the “partisan.” People have beliefs and they go into politics to defend them. Stephen Harper packed the Senate with obedient Conservative hacks who now intend to block legislation passed in the House of Commons, thus destroying democracy. That is genuine partisanship, Trumpish and nonsensical. These partisans then demand that new senators appointed by a Liberal government be “non-partisan,” hollow people who knuckle under, little children of the cloud. The government should appoint smart people from the centre and centre-left, and hurry up about it too.

There. Sorted. Please send suggestions for Part V.

Toronto Star

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