As I was last year, I am again reminded that not only is this the Christmas season, but it's also the Festivus season, and you know what that means. It's time for the proudest of Festivus traditions: the Airing of Grievances. To begin, I've got a lot of problems with you people! And you're gonna hear about it!
Time Warner. Where to begin with you jackasses? Start with the fact that your petty little tiff with the NFL Network means there are nationally televised games going on that I don't get to see. [Granted, nationally televised 9-6 contests between the Packers and Vikings, but STILL.] That'd be enough on its own. Pair that with five consecutive months of abhorrent "service," a cable lineup that's far less inclusive than you'd expect, and now I'm getting word that come January 1st you may not be picking up the Fox network? Not Fox News, not Fox Sports, FOX. The broadcast network. With the highest-rated program on television. That I need to watch for my job. I don't want to switch to a satellite dish, but I'm starting to think I'll do so, and do so happily.
The Chicago Bears Defense. What the hell happened here? You'd performed so well for me all season. Good for 10-20 fantasy football points per game, scoring touchdowns, pitching shutouts. Then last week, when I was in a playoff game for the first time ever and I needed y'all the most, what the hell did you guys do? You gave up 31 points to Tampa Bay and in general cost me the win. WHY ARE YOU GUYS SUCH JERKS???
Lindsay Lohan. This isn't even so much of a grievance. It's a white flag. Because, Lindsay? We're done. Seriously. I don't...no, I CAN'T care anymore. What's the point? We all loved the Freaky Friday remake. We all took your side in the great Hillary Duff skirmish. We ADORED you in Mean Girls, and as a result we gave you an unprecedented amount of slack, the likes of which never gets extended to sloppy-drunk party girls who bitch about the press, blow off work, cocaine their way into a skeletal frame, and steadfastly refuse to wear underpants. And all the while it was "Poor Lindsay. So talented. I hope she can pull herself together." No more, Missy! I think the breaking point was the "Paris Hilton punched me." / "No she didn't, why do you people make up lies?" debacle. I just can't care anymore. Overdose and die any time, Miss Lindsay. We've already mourned the squandered talent.
Matthew McConaughey. I dunno. He's just been irking me lately while he's been on his We Are Marshall press tour. I know I should be cutting him some slack -- that the spacey and faux-zen air about him is due to the fact of him being high all the time rather than him being a pretentious jackass. And Lord knows I shouldn't be quite so irked that he chooses to spend 80% of his waking moments sans shirt. Maybe it's just that I don't approve of the fratty influence he and Lance Armstrong (who I hate unreasonably, putting me on the same side as CANCER) have over sweet little Jake Gyllenhaal. Whatever the reason, every time he's on TV I want to throw something. Stop telling the same story about reading the Marshall script! And put on a shirt!
Taylor Hicks. For so many reasons, really. Your entire season of American Idol, for starters. For your psycho crazy fans who hate me. For the epilepsy. For the smug post-Idol interviews, the most recent of which got all snooty about how Idol obviously on the way down now that you're gone. For making me hate really good songs like "Levon" and "Try A Little Tenderness." For every time I had to read the words "Tay Tay" or "Soul Patrol" on a message board. But mostly, it's for making me inherently distrust good prematurely gray guys like Anderson Cooper. Not cool, Hicks. Not cool.
Superman. You know what, Superman? Why don't you take your square-jawed, All-American, kinda-dorky, do-gooder, white-male, save-us-all-from-the-big-bad-universe ass back to Krypton? I feel like a bad American for this, but I just find the entire concept of Superman so unappealingly retro. Like Rosie the Riveter or an unironic Uncle Sam. And you know what else? Stop asking me to believe people could possibly be fooled by the Clark Kent disguise! It's 2006, dude. People are all media-savvy. Live in the now.
Oxygen Network. No, not for Tyra. Although...no. No. I bag on Tyra enough. No need to go into her whole "Hispanics, Blacks, Muslims, and Whites: who's got it worse?" episode. I'm just not too jazzed with your whole "Giveth and taketh away" deal. Giveth: Campus Ladies is back for a second season, which is awesome indeed. But...taketh away: You got rid of the theme song! Which was one of the best parts of the show! If you get rid of the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency song when that show returns, there's gonna be some problems.
Newsstands that don't carry The New Yorker. My Christmas shopping is done, okay? Done! And I bought my grandfather a subscription to The New Yorker, which is a fantastic gift if you know my grandfather. Thing is, the subscription doesn't kick in until January, but no problem! I'll just find a newsstand that carries...oh, not this one? Fine, how about the next one...no? But you carry Modern New England Child Bride and Longshoreman's Weekly and Playgirl's Hot Hunks for the Holidays? And the Farmer's Almanac (!) the only other publication that could be more like my grandfather and which I probably should have bought him anyway? No, THANKS!
That Old Navy Ad. You know the one I'm talking about -- the one where Bre from America's Next Top Model jumps out of a giant Christmas present and then smiles like a simpleton. It bothers me beyond reason. And yet I cannot seem to escape it.
Mel Gibson. For all the usual reasons, of course. For being maybe the most bigoted man in Hollywood, and I have to figure that could take some doing. For employing the "alcohol makes me totally lie and say things I'd never even think" argument that could not be more the opposite of how alcohol actually works. Then for sympathizing with Michael Richards, not even realizing how that was essentially admitting he's every bit the racist he denied being. THEN for wagging a finger at all of us and saying we should "get over it." Ahh, the sweet sounds of the asshole's apology: "I'm sorry, now shut the fuck up about it." Hate that guy.
Mischa Barton. So apparently the reason I could never get into The O.C. was entirely because of your square-faced self. Because with you gone, and the wonderful Autumn Reeser as Taylor Townshend in your stead? It's a whole new ballgame. Not to mention the retroactive grievance of the entire Brandon Davis affair.
Movie release dates. I've got to join the chorus with my boy Nat on this one. What's the sense of crowding The Good German, The Good Shepherd, Pan's Labyrinth, Notes on a Scandal, and Children of Men into the last week of the year? Why make us wait? Especially when platform releases mean we lowly hinterlands folk won't get these movies until well into the new year. AND FURTHERMORE...furthermore...ah, whatever. I can't quite hold on to this sour mood for very long. It's Christmas! Er, Festivus! A season of celebration. Now bring on the Feats of Strength!