Have you noticed how angry everyone online is lately? Taking a confluence of factors into consideration, this might have been the most furious Internet week of 2014, and it’s not even over yet. But I’m not talking the myriad of real issues we as a people are facing. Below, let’s quickly look at three topics that seem to be pissing everyone off, when there seem to be much more important things toward which to focus our animosity.
What We’re Mad About: The Little League World Series
Why We’re Mad: Philly’s the type of city that could always use something or someone to root for, but it’s rare that we actually land legitimate options. Now, our very own Taney Dragons, led by breakout star/wunderkind/Sports Illustrated covergirl Mo’ne Davis, is one W away from playing for a national championship. Go Taney! Everyone loves to see awesome local kids have fun and succeed, right? NO OF COURSE NOT STOP BEING HAPPY.
Naysayers are focusing on the immense pressure these 11- t0 13-year-olds are seemingly facing — many of them cry when they make errors and/or lose — and the overbearing fanaticism of parents and spectators. Inquirer writer Amy Rosenberg stated that the attention the team’s getting is emblematic of “our national sickness”; fellow Inky scribe Mike Sielski dug up an old column discussing the concerns of broadcasting kids’ sports heavily on national TV. Tons of my friends employed not-safe-for-kids language to describe the home-plate umpire’s questionable ball-strike ability in last night’s lopsided loss to Las Vegas.
Chill Out: Is throwing a bunch of emotionally fragile children onto a huge stage where there’s a good chance they’ll fail in front of everyone they know an ideal setup? No, but it’s my guess that it’s also the opportunity of a lifetime for many of these players. Where else are they going to get the chance to meet and compete against teams from around the world at a game they all love? Do Americans take youth sports too seriously? Sure. But according to my eye test, all this sociological over-analysis doesn’t seem to be reaching the young Dragons on the field. Call me crazy, but the pure excitement, cheese-grin smiles and admirable sportsmanship they’re displaying indicates to me that they’re having a ball out there. Let’ em play!
Instead: Read this wonderful 700 Level column by Dave Zeitlin about all the positive aspects of Taney’s run, then redirect all baseball hate toward Ruben Amaro Jr.
What We’re Mad About: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Why We’re Mad: The philanthropic craze, started in the states by a golfer in Florida, has gone international, with everyone you know, plus athletes, celebrities, politicians and Lena Dunham, partaking in the bizarre self-soaking ritual in the name of ALS research. Haters of this pursuit, however, find the largely self-shot clips to be phony, self-absorbed, sanctimonious and falsely deferential. It’s more about the likes and the shares than the actual charitable cause, they say. None of these clowns actually know or care about ALS.
Chill Out: Social media is narcissism. Being angry about somebody using Facebook or Twitter to shamelessly promote an opinion, cause or stance is like being mad at a hammer for driving in a nail. Get used to it. If this was just some empty idiotic pursuit with no actual giving backing it, I’d fully understand such vitriol. But consider the numbers — this thing has directly resulted in nearly $23 million for ALS research. Is that not enough to look past that lacrosse douche named Bryce you went to high school with turning a car-wash bucket over his Nantucket reds? Lighten up. People are actually being helped here.
Instead: Watch this amazing compilation of ice bucket fails. It’s probably not going to change your opinion on the whole thing if you despise it, but damn is it hilarious.
What We’re Mad About: Taylor Swift’s new music video
Why We’re Mad: Swift, whom we often forget is a local (s/o Wyomissing), just released the clip for her new pure-pop single “Shake It Off” on Monday.
The clip, which features her writhing around while surrounded by various types of dancers (omg I can’t dance either we have so much in common), has already earned close to 21 million YouTube views — as well as the Twitter ire of OFWGKTA rapper Earl Sweatshirt, who didn’t even need to watch the thing to know it’s “inherently offensive and ultimately harmful.” (He’s referring to a specific segment of the video, in which Swift flails while surrounded by twerking women in booty shorts.) This, of course, has led to a war of words between her many fans and her many detractors, who, throughout Swift’s career, have clashed and commingled like fresh and salt water to create a distinct brackish solution she calmly collects and distills into billions of dollars.
Chill Out: Miley Cyrus famously ran into very similar flak after her infamous VMA performance, but in Swift’s case it’s a little different. For starters, she's awkwardly swanning her way across multiple styles of dance in the video, from ballet to modern to breakdancing, with twerking just one of the segments (“aw gee shucks I’m a pretty white girl who doesn’t fit in anywhere!”). It’s dumb and flat — but is it really culturally deleterious? I don’t hear many people making the same comments about Nicki Minaj’s (awesome) video for “Anaconda,” which could be subjected to the same criticisms. With everything going on in Missouri and elsewhere, it just doesn’t seem like the most valuable target for our rage. Lastly, we’re talking about Taylor Swift here, the reed-thin blonde-chick embodiment of a dad joke. Is the “Shake It Off” video concept well-timed or well-executed? No. It is corny and eye-rolly as hell? Absolutely. But is it intentionally malicious? I don’t think so.
Instead: Concentrate on pretending you don’t like the song so your friends (who also secretly like the song) don’t make fun of you.
Follow @DrewLazor on Twitter.